Do you have an opinion on mass transit, bike lanes or improving the walkability of downtown Birmingham? If so, the city is looking for your help.
Through this Sunday, Birmingham residents are invited to fill out a survey, the results of which will help guide the city as they prepare to create a new multi-modal transportation plan.
According to City Planner Sue Weckerle, the survey will be used to identify travel patterns and what kind of improvements residents want to see first.
Birmingham has been working to craft a multi-modal transportation plan — which will largely guide the city in implementing the state-mandated Complete Streets program — since last year. Complete Streets requires municipalities to accomodate alternate forms of transit when planning road construction, including pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit users.
In July 2011, the Birmingham City Commission voted in support of Complete Streets, directing city staff to develop policies and procedures on integrating Complete Streets practices in Birmingham's construction projects.
However, after Birmingham residents fought back against a plan to reduce East Maple Road from four lanes to three late last year, commissioners specifically told staff to create a comprehensive plan to better implement Complete Streets practices in the future.
In May, the city began searching for a consultant to help create what the Birmingham Planning Department called its "multi-modal transportation plan," noting that it's main goal will be "(to) create an environment where walking, cycling or transit is as comfortable, convenient and easy as choosing to drive."
In the end, Birmingham hired The Greenway Collaborative, Inc., a consulting firm out of Ann Arbor that focuses on non-transportation planning, in conjunction with Toole Design Group. Besides working with Birmingham, Greenway is also working with the city of Clawson to craft their downtown bicycle and pedestrian plan.
The first step in crafting Birmingham's plan: asking residents what they want. The survey, created by city staff and Greenway Collaborative, takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete at www.surveymonkey.com/s/BirminghamMMTP.
Residents can also request a paper version of the survey from the City Clerk's office, the Planning Department or Baldwin Public Library. Completed surveys can be returned to those same locations or faxed to (734) 668-8820.
The survey closes at 11 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 4.
The results of the resident survey will then be studied and presented to the Birmingham City Commisison at their regular meeting on Nov. 12.
Residents can also weigh in on Birmingham's transportation plan at two public workshops scheduled for early 2013:
- A project visioning workshop will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Jan. 17 at Baldwin Public Library. This workshop will begin with a presentation of best practices, following which residents will have the opportunity to refine the city's goals and objectives, as well as help identify areas in the community where different types of multi-modal elements would fit.
- A preliminary plan open house will then be held from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the library. Each session will begin with a brief presentation of recommendations so far, following which participants can review the alternatives and offer input.
For more information, visit the website for Birmingham's Multi-Modal Transportation Plan at Greenway Collaborative. The group also has a Facebook page and Twitter account.