PedNet recently took action on a very important (but kind of complicated) advocacy issue. You support PedNet, so I want you to know what the issue is, how we’ve been tackling it on your behalf, and how we might need your help in the future.
What are CATSO and the LRTP?
Columbia has a transportation planning and decision-making body called CATSO, which is made up of representatives from the City, Boone County, and MoDOT.
CATSO develops a Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) every 5 years. In September, CATSO released its draft 2050 LRTP, a document that will establish Columbia’s transportation direction for the next 30 years.
The LRTP includes a project list that plans out major transportation construction projects in the future. Inclusion in the LRTP project list doesn’t mean that a project absolutely will happen, but when the City, County, or MoDOT are planning projects, they often pull from the LRTP list.
Why haven’t I heard of CATSO?
CATSO has a history of very poor public engagement. We often describe CATSO as the most influential local government body that you’ve never heard of. PedNet staff are often the only people who attend their meetings. This means they often make decisions with very little public input or consideration of community priorities.
Why is the 2050 LRTP a big deal?
We read the draft 2050 LRTP (all 137 pages of it) and were frankly stunned and troubled by how much the LRTP ignores the priorities that community members have repeated over and over.
It also entirely ignores and would work against the transportation goals of multiple existing City plans, including Vision Zero and the Climate Action & Adaptation Plan.
What’s included in the 2050 LRTP project list?
Total projects cost: $1.19 billion
- 78% Roadways & Maintenance
- Primarily highways and large, high-speed roads
- $62.5 million (20% of total Roadways & Maintenance costs) is for building new, high-speed roads
- 19% Transit
- 3% Bicycle/Pedestrian
The 2050 LRTP makes heavy philosophical lip service to walking, biking, and transit, but the plan’s recommended projects would instead work against these forms of transportation by primarily investing in vehicle travel on high-speed roads.
How did PedNet respond?
We submitted a position statement outlining the problems with the plan, and how it conflicts with community-identified needs and the City’s own goals. We asked that CATSO:
- Take steps to significantly improve its public engagement.
- Not accept the proposed draft 2050 Long-Range Transportation Plan.
We gathered around 25 people to attend and submit comments at an Open House meeting on the draft 2050 LRTP. The meeting was so poorly publicized that we believe nearly every person who attended the meeting was there because of PedNet’s outreach.
Who else is involved?
Members of the Climate Task Force submitted comments to oppose the LRTP because it would work against Columbia’s newly-adopted Climate Plan.
The Energy and Environment Commission requested PedNet’s LRTP analysis, then submitted comments, saying that the “draft plan has many glaring errors and is not quite ready for finalization.”
The Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission discussed the LRTP at their October meeting and shared their concerns.
PedNet staff also met with the City Manager.
We believe our collective concerns have been heard. CATSO staff are analyzing the comments on the draft 2050 LRTP, and we believe they will present a revised plan.
The 2050 LRTP will likely come to CATSO for a vote in the next couple months. We will keep you updated as we know more. If the 2050 LRTP is not significantly revised, we may need your help in a larger advocacy push.
Thank you for your support of PedNet which allows us to follow these more tedious policy issues and advocate for walking, biking, and transit on your behalf.