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Urban Area Agency asking for help

by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE
Staff Writer | August 5, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT – The Urban Area agency is asking the community to reach out and get involved by answering surveys about a variety of transportation issues.

Before the meeting got underway, the council was presented with updates to the urban area planning process by Public Works Director Amanda Wilson. During the presentation, Wilson said that the agency is taking a hard look at transportation conditions from a “transportation perspective” with the help of the community.

Wilson told the council that the agency had been reaching out to the community in a number of ways including surveys, to determine needs and priorities. The outreach efforts included setting up a booth at Jeff James Town Square during the farmers market this past weekend. Over 100 community members stopped by the booth asking questions and learning about the Urban Area Transportation Plan and the recently adopted Sandpoint Multimodal Transportation Plan.

“So well-received feedback in that regard,” Wilson said.

Through the community outreach and workshops Wilson told the council that five primary goals were outlined.

“So goal one is enhancing local and regional multimodal connectivity. Goal two, improving the safety of the multimodal network. Goal three, identifying projects with the strongest potential for implementation. Goal four, plan with population and traffic growth in mind. And then, last but not least, a really important goal five — do support cross-jurisdictional collaboration, specifically to cross-jurisdictional jurisdictional collaboration,” Wilson said.

While the planning update was presented to the council, Wilson made it a point to remind them that the entirety of the efforts are a “cross jurisdictional” effort with multiple cities and departments including the cities of Dover, Kootenai, the Idaho Transportation Department, and the Independent Highway District.

“All of us have been meeting on a regular basis and we are at the next phase of the project evaluation workshop,” Wilson said.

After the feedback gained from this past weekend the team met again on Monday to ensure that priority projects were, in fact, priorities, urban area capital improvement projects, and how to evaluate and determine priority projects. Wilson told the council that all these factors boiled down to developing priority scoring criteria and further refining project details.

“The next steps are finalizing that prioritization and concept development. They're going to conduct detailed modeling in certain areas of concern and then they're going to be recommending some policy recommendations and developing the final plan,” Wilson said.

However, before moving forward with the final planning process Wilson encouraged the public to view the information about the plan on the city’s website and to complete the survey, also found on the website.

“Please complete the survey. It has some really important questions that will help inform the future plan as well as additional detail on the goals and objectives and some of that existing data that we've learned today and the draft priority project. So can't emphasize enough that we are looking for the feedback,” Wilson said.

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