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April 1, 2009 > Improve public transportation

Improve public transportation

By Dustin Findley

Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), in partnership with the city of Milpitas and MTC, is conducting a study as part of a community plan to improve transportation in Milpitas.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the regional transportation agency for all 9 counties in the Bay Area, created a Community-Based Transportation Planning Program as a way to focus local planning efforts in low-income communities.

The goal of the planning process is to work with the community to identify transportation needs and possible solutions to address them. Milpitas has been designated as one of these communities and VTA is now conducting extensive community outreach to get public input on transportation concerns in the city.

MTC made recommendations for a targeted approach, focusing on specific groups within the city, but VTA decided to take a comprehensive look at the whole city of Milpitas, according to Aiko Cuenco, Transportation Planner for VTA.

"The biggest component to this study is our outreach efforts. We want to know what types of transportation improvements, anything from transit, bike, or pedestrian-related issues, people are most concerned about" said Cuenco.

"While we will look to propose improvements for all modes (of transportation), due to anticipated transit demand expected in new redeveloped areas currently not served by bus or rail and future BART-related improvements, there will be a heavier emphasis on transit needs" Cuenco clarified.

Cuenco explained that they want to especially reach out to people that are most "dependent on public transportation." VTA needs input from those who need public transportation the most. People can give feedback through comment cards, public meetings and focus groups.

Comment cards have been distributed throughout Milpitas and VTA will accept them until May. Cards are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Comment cards can be dropped at suggestion boxes located in City Hall and the Library or returned by mail.

Two public meetings are scheduled for April 2 and May 28. Interpreters will be available at the public meetings so people who speak different languages can understand what is going on and can voice their opinions.

"The April 2 meeting is another opportunity for community members to share their thoughts and concerns with us, receive updates on the study's progress so far, and see our presentation on findings to date" Cuenco said.

In between the public meetings they will hold focus groups to bring "targeted issues to a small group of people for feedback... to help guide the direction the study" Cuenco revealed.

When the outreach efforts have concluded, VTA will document their findings in a community plan. The community plan that emerges will include recommended solutions and a list of proposed projects to pursue for future funding opportunities.

"MTC gives priority for Lifeline funding to projects identified in community-based transportation plan" Cuenco said. So if Milpitas were to take on a project proposed in the community plan it could go to MTC for available funding.

For more information visit: http://www.mtc.ca.gov/planning/cbtp or email aiko.cuenco@vta.org

Public transportation meeting
Thursday, April 2
6 p.m.
Milpitas City Hall
455 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas
(408) 586-3000

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