Sunday, July 13, 2008

Volunteering Change-Up

It seems that many of my posts recently somehow relate directly or indirectly to my pending reintroduction to the college life. I am just 5 weeks away from the first day of classes in my "encore career" degree program (see Mid-life Crisis for the details).

In preparation for the significant time investment I will be making (two classes while working full time), I have reduced some of my volunteer activities.

Effective after our upcoming August meeting, I have resigned from the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho's (COMPASS) Public Participation Committee (PPC) and Transportation Modeling Advisory Committee (TMAC). I have served 2.5 years on each of these committees. I have the utmost respect for the people working in these organizations. Compass has the legal responsibility to create a long term transportation plan for the Treasure Valley, which they have delivered upon - Communities in Motion. Unfortunately our public officials have significantly ignored this plan and pushed on the status quo of more and more sprawl. This doesn't imply that there has been no value out of the plan, it has had an impact and will continue to be relevant. With higher gas prices and a downturn in the economy, this plan may become more relevant than ever. I am pleased with my contributions in this area and will continue to be a strong proponent of Compass and the long range plan.

I have also resigned from the Steering/Technical Committee of Blueprint for Good Growth. I have only participated on this committee for the past year. The Blueprint team is an Ada County activity focus on putting the toolkit together to enable better planning and execution of growth. For example, a major work product of the team is the adequate public facilities ordinance. This proposed ordinance is intended to ensure that there is a plan to fund the public facilities required by new development before the new development is approved. Hmm, seems kind of obvious but unfortunately no such requirement exists in any of our cities or in the county. Other activities of the group include the open space plan, work on transit ready development, and a coordination process for areas of impact planning. All items that need a great deal of attention for the health of our community. I found my role in this group much more difficult as I had little to offer. Most of the work was in the details of how planning takes place within our cities. Being an outsider to city government, I just didn't find many ways to contribute. I did find it a valuable and interesting process personally. This group is currently in transition as the contract for the lead program manager has expired. The activity is likely to move over to Compass.

Just as I reduced my activities in the above three committees, my boss brought a new community opportunity to me. This opportunity was for Valley Regional Transit's Regional Coordination Council.

The Regional Coordination Council (RCC) is a group of Treasure Valley public transportation stakeholders who are meeting to:
• Develop a Transportation Service Coordination Plan on behalf of local stakeholders within the service area of Ada and Canyon counties and the greater Boise, Idaho metropolitan area
• To respond to a federal requirement established with the passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) which mandates the development of a coordination human services plan in order to access applicable federal funds
• To examine the potential to complement, through coordination activities, existing public services provided within its core service area of Ada and Canyon counties

Based on the fact that my employer would support me in this activity, I agreed to join the group. The group is made up of a variety of stakeholders representing key transportation users. I will be representing large businesses within the committee, although I also qualify for a transit user but there is another user fulfilling that official role. I showed up late to the first meeting, so the group elected me chair of the committee. Actually, no one would volunteer so the Valley Regional Transit representative asked me if I would be the chair. I agreed. Since no one else wanted to do it, I was unanimously voted into the position.

Even though I have added this additional committee, dropping the other three should significantly reduce my workload on transportation issues.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

No comments: