Transportation Plan May Help Jonesboro Area Traffic

August 3, 2004 -- Posted at 6:33 p.m. CDT, updated at 7:27 a.m. 8/4/04

JONESBORO -- A long-term plan will give the public the opportunity to express what changes they would like to see to transportation in the Jonesboro area.  With the population continuing to grow in and around Jonesboro, the federal government has required the city to submit a long-range transportation plan to the State Highway Department, and ultimately the Department of Transportation.

"Our plans have to fit a format that they suggest or recommend. We have certain latitudes about how we go about it, and what we want to prioritize, but it's pretty much a federal requirement in order to keep getting federal funding," said Dr. Joe Horsley, Chairperson of JATS and MPO

The Jonesboro Area Transportation Study Metropolitan Planning Organization met Tuesday morning to discuss the priorities and goals for this twenty-year plan.  Goals and preparation includes reviewing the community's history, it's strengths and weaknesses, and identifying and listening to what the community wants.

Part of the long-range transportation plan for the area is the completion of a public survey similar to this one. One of the questions on the survey asks the public to rate the transportation system in the area.

"Our job is given the considerations the community says, align our priorities in accordance to that," said Dr. Horsley.

Buses and public transit are a small part of the plan; it also includes land use, and traffic volumes.

"It's assignment of different quarters, secondary streets, primary streets, and the relative roles each play in the permanent community," said Dr. Horsley.

One main goal is for all of the transportation outlets to work as one unit.

"Roads, and walkways, bikeways, and if we have waterways, and even railways, we want it to be together," said Muhammad Amin Ulkarim, transportation study director.

Everything is still in the planning phase right now. After the policy committee approves the surveys, and adjustments are made, they will then be distributed to the public.  A "kick-off" meeting will be held in the coming months where the public is invited to attend and address issues and concerns they have. As always though, the metropolitan planning organization meetings are open to the public.