TEMPLE, Texas — The City of Temple is inviting the public to attend the second public meeting to provide input on the first-ever Mobility Master Plan that will help shape the transportation future for the city.
The meeting is tonight at the Wilson Park Recreation Center beginning at 5:30 p.m.
"A mobility master plan, or MMP, is a strategic plan to improve the movement of people and goods in Temple," said Jason Deckman, who works in the Transportation Division of the City. "The final plan will be a blueprint for growth. As the city grows, the transportation network will grow along with it."
Deckman said the feedback from the first meeting was everything the city hoped for. Over 90 residents brought to light the community's desire for better sidewalks and a more robust transportation system.
"We’ve heard from a multitude of people of different walks of life that there is a need for expanded transit service in Temple," Deckman said. "People have expressed a desire for reduced congestion along key corridors, such as West Adams, South 31st Street, and I-35. We’ve also heard a desire for expanded sidewalks or hike & bike trails that provide more choices for how they can move around."
The Mobility Master Plan has been in the works for nearly a year.
Deckman said through the various studies conducted, the city has learned quite a few things they hope to use over time.
"We obtained data that showed us a large number of cyclists travel up North 3rd Street, across I-35 via the new bridge, and into the Industrial Park. We expected trips to and from some of the larger parks and the surrounding neighborhoods, but that was an interesting discovery," he said. "We've also learned traffic model scenario shows us that optimizing signal timing can improve the traffic flow at roughly 50 percent of poorly performing intersections."
Feedback received in the past has allowed the City to evaluate different scenarios and to anticipate future needs. Deckman said that the feedback received tonight will be incorporated into the recommendations phase of the project.
"We were always going to evaluate different scenarios to help us visualize and anticipate future needs. We specifically incorporated a transit scenario to look at how that service is provided based on feedback from city leadership, stakeholders, and members of the public," he said.
Deckman believes it's important for residents who have questions, concerns and comments to come.
"This is their plan, for their city. City staff must make decisions about which projects move forward, and that decision is influenced by what we hear from the public," Deckman said.
"We have a project on Apache Drive that is moving forward as we speak. It started when someone drew a line on a map to draw our attention to a problem - children trying to get to Western Hills Elementary School were walking in the street because there were no sidewalks. That sidewalk is funded through a TxDOT grant and will begin construction later this year," he said as an example of just how this works.
Deckman has been knee-deep in this project and is helping to lead it and told 6 News the emotions involved are immense as the vision for the next many years unfolds for the City.
"I’m very grateful that so many people care enough to get involved. I strongly believe that everyone is affected by how well or how poorly our transportation network functions. Different people have different reasons for why they use the highways, streets, and sidewalks, and sometimes those needs come into conflict. It’s only going to get better through the combined efforts of people from all walks of life. Which is why I’m excited by the level of public engagement we have seen in this plan," he said.
Deckman added that this project is vital to the future of the city and everyone who calls it home and the City hopes an interactive map will help residents pinpoint for leaders problems they may not know about.
"The Mobility Master Plan is timely in that it builds from the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, so we’re working in the proper sequence. When we develop projects to implement this plan, we will incorporate recommendations from some of the Neighborhood Plans that have been completed to date, such as modifying future thoroughfare classifications or improving links between neighborhoods, downtown or community parks," he said.
Temple residents who can't attend physically can do so virtually but must pre-register.