Please make a comment to MDT by July 12 to involve our local transportation plans

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Billings is one of many towns across Montana who dedicate time and valuable resources to developing our local transportation plans, such as our Billings Area Bikeway and Trails Master Plan, The Billings Urban Area Long Range Transportation Plan and countless other studies you can see here.
 
These plans take into consideration the needs and desires of the community members they affect (INCLUDING bicyclists, pedestrians, and people using assistive mobility devices), they address our city’s transportation infrastructure as a whole, and are vetted with our government advisory boards.
 
It is important for Montana Department of Transportation to use our local transportation plans when they work on the roads in Billings they maintain, such as 27th St., Montana Avenue, 1st Avenues North and South, and portions of Division Street, to name a few.
 

MDT is currently in the process of updating its TranPlan, Montana’s statewide long-range plan for Montana’s transportation system, and is taking public comments on the plan until July 12.
 
According to MDT’s website, “The TranPlanMT update is part of an ongoing process to identify transportation needs and priorities in Montana, evaluate future transportation concerns, and establish policy goals and strategies. The plan will guide MDT’s efforts to plan, manage, and preserve a safe and efficient transportation system.”
 
The section of the plan that addresses nonmotorized transportation is on pages 12-14 of the “Users” section of the TranPlan.  While the plan suggests that MDT will “work with local jurisdictions to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities and assure all modes are considered in the planning and design processes,” it does not commit to using a community’s local transportation plans.
 
Billings TrailNet sent the comment below:
 
“I work as an advocate for bicycling and walking infrastructure and would like to ask that MDT please use the transportation plans which have been vetted and approved by oversight committees from the communities within which MDT is working.
 
MDT routes run through the heart of our communities in Montana, and your roads affect bicyclists and pedestrians navigating through them. Our local transportation plans take bicyclists and pedestrians into consideration, and treat them as valid road users- and MDT must respect the plans the city’s governmental agencies create to accommodate them.
 
Representatives from MDT sit on the oversight committees as these local transportation plans are created: thus, MDT’s interests and constraints would and should be woven into these documents.
 
PLEASE add a sentence or paragraph stating that local transportation plans will be considered when MDT is improving roads in that community, such as: ‘MDT will use a community’s local transportation plans when working in the community, provided those plans have been vetted by the Department of Transportation during the document’s planning process.'”
 
YOU can make a difference. Please comment on the MDT website by July 12 and help give our local plans more consideration in our statewide transportation plan!