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Hall roads plan recognized as one of best in US
Study says document is user-friendly and informational
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The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan has been recognized as one of the nation’s best planning documents, officials announced Wednesday.

The Florida Department of Transportation, along with the Federal Highway Administration and the Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council, studied long-range transportation plans from 359 MPOs in the country, excluding Florida, and determined that Gainesville-Hall’s plan exemplifies long-range planning “best practices.”

The plan “is a user-friendly document that uses appropriate language and text to communicate the plan to a wide audience,” states the Florida study.

It “is written using easy-to-read language with annotative paragraphs,” the report adds. “The (plan) speaks to the audience, providing brief details on each listed subject, making the concepts ... easy to understand for the
general public.”

The Gainesville-Hall MPO document, approved in August 2011, cites some $2.1 billion in area transportation projects, with funding coming from federal, state and local sources.

It features mostly road-widening projects, but work also focuses on transit, intersection, bicycle, pedestrian and bridge improvements.

The document covers key projects in three time periods: 2012-2017, 2018-2030 and 2031-2040.

“We are honored to receive this recognition, and we look forward to watching this plan unfold in the future as we make sure the transportation needs of Hall County citizens are met,” said MPO director Srikanth Yamala, who also serves as Hall County’s planning director.

Jeff Carroll, partner with CDM Smith in Columbia, S.C., was the consultant on the planning document.

“This national recognition is a reflection of the tremendous dedication and leadership that is provided by the (Gainesville-Hall MPO) ... and its many planning partners,” Carroll said.

“It also validates that collaboratively planning multimodal transportation systems is vital to providing a clear direction that improves safety, reduces congestion and provides more mobility options to Hall County residents now and in the future.”

The Gainesville-Hall MPO is Hall County’s main transportation planning agency, conducting federally mandated metropolitan planning for the Gainesville “urbanized area.”

The U.S. Census Bureau defines an urbanized area as “core census block groups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile and surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile.”

Hall’s urbanized area of 130,846 people encompasses Gainesville and most of South Hall.

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