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Building Partnerships

The inclusion of the whole community informs and brings people together, while strengthening a project's foundation, Pamela LeBeaux, PB

In Warren County, NJ, the inclusion of the whole community informs and brings people together,while strengthening a project’s foundation.
photo credit: Pamela LeBeaux, PB

Successful CSS projects tend to generate new partnerships and/or strengthen existing ones. Despite – or perhaps because of -- their small populations, rural communities can bring together a wide range of stakeholders, from residents and business owners to financial institutions, developers, and public agencies, in the process of envisioning, designing, financing, and championing CSS projects. As anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”



Façades, Festivals, and Footpaths: Greenville, Kentucky’s Downtown Redevelopment
Greenville, KY
<p>Five years ago if you took a stroll down Main Street in Greenville, Kentucky on a Saturday night you would have likely walked on deteriorated sidewalks, peered into vacant storefronts with dilapidated façades, and felt enveloped by silence and darkness. Like many other small towns throughout the United States, Greenville’s downtown had slowly deteriorated as development and investments were directed elsewhere.</p> <p>However, thanks to a forward-thinking mayor, a proactive tourist commission, an involved local community, and a supportive area development district, that same walk down Main Street today looks and feels very different. In this town of 4,300, as many as 8,000 people have been known to fill the streets of Greenville on a weekend night in the summertime to enjoy live outdoor music, find something to eat at a variety of food stands set up by local establishments, and enjoy each other’s company. Previously vacant buildings are now abuzz with activity, many now home to new retail stores and restaurants. A mature woodland area off the downtown area has been preserved as a 12-acre nature park, complete with trails, bridges, and a manmade waterfall. Sidewalks have been built and repaired, historic-looking street lights now shine down on the streets below, planters and trash receptacles have been installed, and engraved brick pavers line new curbs. Residents in the region no longer think of Greenville merely as a lazy county seat with a historic courthouse, but rather as an economic and entertainment focal point in Muhlenberg County.</p> <p>This positive change in Greenville was neither an accident nor left to chance; rather, it was the result of a small community with a vision for how to build on its local assets and infrastructure, seek innovative financing, and cultivate partnerships in a challenging economic environment. This southwestern Kentucky town’s revival can serve as a model for other small communities throughout the country working to revive their historic downtowns and Main Streets.</p>
Vibrant Rural Communities: Clinton, Iowa
Clinton, IA
<p>In 1996, the City of Clinton, Iowa, set out to improve a stretch of US Highway 30 that runs through the heart of town. The road forms a segment of historic Lincoln Highway— dedicated in 1913 as one of the nation’s first transcontinental highways. It also serves as an entryway to Clinton and the State of Iowa. As such, city officials wanted to reconstruct the road in a way that meshed with the local context. With the cooperation of several State and Federal agencies, the community created a corridor that respects existing development, presents a welcoming gateway to the community, and sustains adjacent neighborhoods’ economic vitality.</p>
Houghton Streetscape and Brick Street Re-Installation
Houghton, MI
<p>The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Ishpeming Transportation Service Center (TSC) and its partners took an innovative approach on the US-41 Houghton, Michigan, downtown streetscape project by, among other things, actually drawing traffic and business into the work zone during construction. US-41 runs through the city of Houghton on a one-way pair, with northbound traffic on two-lane Shelden Avenue, and southbound on two-lane Montezuma Avenue. Originally, MDOT proposed a simple resurfacing project for downtown Houghton. However, when MDOT approached the city with its proposal, the city volunteered to help make it much more.</p> <p>By coupling funding from traffic and safety, road preservation, and Transportation Enhancement grants with city-secured monies from Michigan's Vibrant Small Cities Initiative and a Rural Development loan, a simple resurfacing project became a $4.6 million end-to-end and storefront-to-storefront reconstruction. The ratio of funding, with the city putting up more than two-thirds of the money, was atypical for a state trunkline project.</p> <p>Since the project then included complete reconstruction of the roadway, the city took the opportunity to replace the underground utilities (water, sewer, storm sewer and electricity). Together, MDOT, the city, and the project design engineer, U.P. Engineers and Architects, developed a plan that included concrete brick pavers (another unique choice for a segment of state highway) for the roadway, new decorative sidewalks, and new streetlights matching historical lights from Houghton's past.</p> <p>Routing traffic away from downtown was bound to cause concern for businesses and their customers, planned mitigation notwithstanding. The city and MDOT went to great lengths to make sure the negative impact of the detour on drivers, businesses and their customers was minimized. Special events, held during the project, drew thousands of people to downtown Houghton right in the middle of this complete reconstruction.</p>
SR 179, Village of Oak Creek to Sedona
AZ
The goal of the SR 179 project was to plan, design and build improvements that could achieve a consensus in the community while providing enhanced safety and more reliable travel times for everyone.
Design for Reconstruction of US 93: Evaro to Polson, Montana
Evaro , MT
US 93 runs from Arizona to Canada. It is a two-lane road through much of Montana, entering big-sky country from Idaho at Lost Trail pass and passing through Missoula, Kalispell, the Flathead Indian Reservation, and along the western shore of Flathead Lake before entering Canada. The road is heavily used, filled with recreational travelers as well as commercial and local traffic. It is also Montana’s most dangerous two-lane highway — not only for people, but animals. To address escalating safety concerns, the MDT initiated a plan to expand US 93 to a four-lane highway in 1989. (Based on data gathered over 20 years, MDT knew that most fatalities occurred during passing, and during weekly and seasonal peaks.) However, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes (CSKT) opposed the plans, expressing concerns about their natural, cultural, recreational and scenic resources on the 55-mile stretch of highway that traversed the Flathead Indian Reservation. Expanding the highway wouldn’t just add lanes, tribal members pointed out, it would also encourage higher speeds, which would increase the number of animals killed by speeding traffic — a safety issue for wildlife and motorists alike. Despite several efforts to come together, the project stalled--for more than a decade.
Article Icon Smart Transportation Guidebook

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey Departments of Transportation have partnered in the development of the recently released Smart Transportation Guidebook. The goal of the landmark Guidebook is to integrate the planning and design of streets highways in a manner that fosters development of sustainable and livable communities. The Guidebook has equal applicability to rural, suburban and urban areas.

Both DOTs feel that transportation needs will always outweigh available resources. Smart Transportation proposes to manage capacity by better integrating land use and transportation planning. The Guidebook states that the "desire to go 'through' a place must be balanced with the desire to go 'to' a place." Transportation investments must be tailored to the specific context and needs of each project.

The Guidebook advocates the use of a multi-disciplinary team to work closely with communities and develop a wide range of solutions. It defines Smart Transportation as also including consideration of network connectivity to help ease the burden on the major highways, thereby allowing the DOTs to develop solutions which are more sensitive to context.

Smart Transportation can be summarized in six principles: tailor solutions to the context; tailor the approach; plan all projects in collaboration with the community; plan for alternative transportation modes; use sound professional judgment; and scale the solution to the size of the problem.

Other trend-setting concepts promoted in the Guidebook are:

1. Right sizing of projects to achieve a high value to price ratio, instead of constructing projects to achieve optimum Levels of Service performance measures;

2. Defining wide ranging measures of project success;

3. The need to understand place in transportation planning, design and construction;

4. A roadway typology that is not based solely on functional classification, but also takes into account land use and place;

5. The idea that high design speed does not automatically equate to high design quality.


The Danville Project
Montpelier, VT
The Danville Transportation Enhancement Project is a partnership among the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Agency of Transportation [VTrans], and the Town of Danville, Vermont designed to integrate artistic enhancements into the redevelopment of a portion of U.S. Highway Route 2 through the village center.
Woodard Avenue
Absarokee, MT
When the small town of Absarokee, Montana faced the prospect of needed safety improvements along its Woodard Avenue main street, citizens never imagined how much their town would improve as a result of the solution offered by their state transportation agency.
Gateway 1: Collaborative planning for Midcoast Maine
ME
Gateway 1 is a landmark long-term strategic land use and transportation planning project for the Midcoast Route 1 region in Maine. A collaboration amongst communities and state agencies, Gateway 1 explores new ways of combining transportation and land use decision-making. By doing so, the project will balance community growth and local values with transportation services and needs.
Main Street - Littleton, NH
Littleton, NH
This town of 6,000 serves as a regional center and recently used "placemaking" to develop new concepts with the community and NHDOT for a total reconstruction of Main Street starting in 2005. CSS experiments were used to test the validity and acceptability of potential changes.
Mannsdale Road, Mississippi Route 463
Jackson, MS
Mannsdale Road is located west of the city of Madison northwest of Jackson, Mississippi. The road is about 8 mi long and is currently two lanes wide. Land use varies significantly along the short project length. Light commercial is prevalent at the beginning near the Interstate and shifts to existing and developing suburban areas along the middle of the corridor. The end of the project is primarily rural with very low density residential and agricultural uses. Most of the project area is rich in history with two early town areas, a former plantation, and two 150-year-old church congregations. To date, the local residents have been successful in influencing the character of the growth in the culturally rich area. Realizing the cultural significance of the area, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the FHWA determined that the project should be developed following the principles of CSD. MDOT has chosen to implement and develop context sensitive solutions by utilizing the NEPA process. A multidisciplined project team was assembled to see the project from initial concept through the NEPA phase. Currently, the design team and the public have reached general consensus and are advancing two build alternatives through the NEPA process. Early in the project a Citizen's Advisory Team (CAT) was assembled to represent the citizens in the corridor and work with the project development team to see that the project addressed citizens' concerns.
Route 50, Loudoun-Fauquier Counties - Virginia
Lenah, VA
<p>This project is a national demonstration project, funded under TEA-21 and VDOT's (Virginia Department of Transportation) Virginia Transportation Development Plan. The project is described as "Traffic Calming Measures for Route 50 in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties." </p>
Springdale, Utah: What's Good for a Park is Good for a Town, Too
Springdale, UT
"Surrounded on three sides by Zion National Park, the town of Springdale, Utah, has long served as the gateway community for the park's visitors ... However, with almost three million visitors every year, by the early 1990s, traffic congestion and illegal parking were taking their toll on the park and its gateway town. The heart of the project is the free shuttle bus system that runs through town, picks up and drops off passengers at parking facilities, hotels and major areas, and ends at a new visitor center located within Zion National Park."
US Route 101-Lincoln Beach Parkway
Lincoln County, OR
U.S. Route 101 is one of the most scenic highways in the United States; not surprisingly, it serves high local, regional, and tourist travel demands. A major conflict facing the entire Route 101 corridor was the need to provide better access to resort-oriented communities to enhance economic development while balancing the impact of capacity improvements, an issue was particularly acute in Lincoln Beach. Jurisdictions along the highway eventually approved the concept of a Pacific Coast Scenic Parkway to "increase the aesthetic experience, assist in access control, and develop community identity," despite its deviation from typical ODOT design concepts.
U.S. Route 3
Port Ontario, NY
U.S. Route 3 runs north-south between the shore of the east end of Lake Ontario and Interstate 81 in New York State. Route 3 is a two-lane rural highway that passes through many old downtowns and small villages. The route is part of the Seaway Trail, a national scenic byway, and is also part of a state bicycle route. This particular project consisted of reconstruction and improvements along a 1.1-km section in the village of Port Ontario, town of Richland, Oswego County. The project included the replacement of two bridges over the mouth of the Salmon River, intersection improvements, accommodation of bicycles and pedestrians and general improvements in geometric standards. The location where Route 3 crosses the Salmon River in Port Ontario is approximately 1 mile upstream of Lake Ontario and is approximately 1,500 ft.
Bridgeport Way - University Place, Washington
University Place, WA
Bridgeport Way is a major urban arterial and it could be considered as a "Main Street" of University Place. The project involved reconstruction of an existing five-lane road into a four-lane divided roadway over a distance of approximately 1.5 miles. The purpose of this project was to address the safety concerns due to the high number of crashes over the past years. At the same time it was viewed essential to the vision statement of the City Council that aimed in improving the quality of life in the community by creating a town center. The goal of the project is to develop Bridgeport Way as a corridor that will improve traffic safety, increase the mobility and cohesiveness of the community, enhance the appearance of the corridor, and control traffic growth.
Paris Pike - Kentucky
Lexington-Paris, KY
Paris Pike is a US urban/rural primary route between the northern limits of Lexington and the southern limits of Paris, serving commuters as well as through travelers on a segment officially designated as a scenic route. The project involved reconstruction of an existing two-lane road into a four-lane over a distance of approximately 13.5 miles. The need for this improvement is based on Paris Pikeメs importance in the regional transportation system, i.e. its system linkage, its lack of sufficient capacity to adequately serve not only projected travel but also existing traffic demands, inadequate existing roadway geometrics and design features, safety considerations, and social demands. A wide range of context sensitive issues were addressed as part of the construction, impacting both the natural and human environments.
Maryland Route 108
Olney, MD
Since the mid-1980's, land development around this suburban Baltimore highway has lead to drastic increases in traffic volume. Officials sought to maximize Route 108's capacity and relieve its congestion just as Maryland was developing their "Thinking Beyond the Pavement" approach. As a result, this project contributed greatly to MD's knowledge of Context Sensitive Solutions. The reconstruction of Route 108 resulted in lessons learned about the CSS process and its benefits.
Maryland Route 355
Montgomery County, MD
Significant regional traffic growth and localized development has resulted in traffic increases along Route 355, a two-lane highway in rural and suburban Maryland. Completion of this mobility-enhancing project required a comprehensive approach involving design creativity, stakeholder involvement, and agency coordination. Stakeholders learned that converting a two-lane highway into a six-lane arterial in a built-up area is no small feat, especially when the conversion is done in a manner in which the finished product fits with the surrounding area.
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Toolbox to Address Safety and Operations on School Grounds and Public Streets Adjacent to Elementary and Middle Schools in Iowa
This study identified transportation safety issues at existing Iowa school sites through on-site observations, traffic data collection, and interviews with schools, law enforcement and traffic engineers.
-- Iowa Department of Transportation, Office of Traffic and Safety; Center for Transportation Research at Iowa State University
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Building Projects that Build Communities: Recommended Best Practices
A handbook by Washington State Department of Transportation to help everyone work together on transportation projects that meet the community's needs.
-- Community Partnership Forum, Washington State DOT
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Improving Small City Highways: New Techniques for Improving Safety and Livability Through Technology Transfer
Highways provide needed access to destinations in small cities in addition to allowing through travel to other places. Many small city highways are very wide and traffic speeds excessively high. Extensive paved areas, narrow sidewalks, and little greenery has resulted in a dangerous, unpleasant environment for residents and visitors. Increasing traffic volumes and resulting highway reconstruction often make problems worse. City residents recognize these problems and would like to see design solutions that improve the safety and livability of their communities.
-- Greg Pates, Landscape Architect, Minnesota Department of Transportation
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Main Street ... when a highway runs through it: A Handbook for Oregon Communities
When Main Street also serves as a state highway, communities are faced with significant challenges. The biggest challenge is to strike a balance between the needs of pedestrians, shoppers, employees, business owners, and residents with the needs of through traffic - both auto and freight - to move safely and efficiently over longer distances.

Main streets that are also state highways are found throughout Oregon: from small, rural ranch downtowns to segments of large cities. some of these main streets have kept their historic character, with a classic, small town, "Mayberry USA" appearance that is typified by a mix of uses and multi-story buildings fronting a wide sidewalk. Other main streets may have lost much of their historic appearance to strip development, parking lots, and expansion of multi-lane highways.

Whatever the character of your main street, this handbook recognizes that good highways and main streets are both critical to the health of the state's communities. It describes the many tools available to identify the problems and figure out good solutions for Main Street ... when a highway runs through it.
-- Oregon Department of Transportation
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report NCHRP Report 582: Best Practices to Enhance the Transportation - Land Use Connection in the Rural United States

The report explores how different types of rural communities can integrate land use and transportation planning. The report also highlights programs and investment strategies that are designed to support community development and livability in rural areas while providing adequate transportation capacity.

Rural communities throughout the United States are facing a wide and complex range of challenges that both affect and are affected by the transportation system. These include economic shifts away from traditional employment in local farming and manufacturing toward industries such as agribusiness and tourism; changing demographics such as rising percentages of elderly residents or new levels of racial and ethnic diversity; rapid growth in some rural areas and population decline in others; and a lack of adequate capacity and/or commitment to engage the public in transportation and land use planning. These trends are further complicated by funding challenges associated with operating, maintaining, and building transportation infrastructure.

Although urban areas may be facing many of the same or similar issues, the presence of such challenges in a rural setting poses a unique set of circumstances that requires a distinctly different approach. Although abundant research findings exist on strategies and measures to address the effects of growth and development on transportation systems and services in urban and metropolitan areas, there has been little corresponding research to address how rural communities can work with transportation agencies to set and reach mutual goals for livability and mobility.

Surveys for this project indicated that the number one challenge for rural communities is to provide access within the community to destinations such as jobs, shops, services, education, and healthcare. The particular type of accessibility need for each community varies based on the community's particular setting and economic base. For example, exurban communities are primarily concerned with providing access to jobs in adjacent urban centers; destination communities focus on bringing visitors into the community and providing access to tourist destinations; and production communities either attempt to improve accessibility between local products and their markets or to diversify the local economy. Other frequently cited challenges include maintaining or improving water and air quality, improving driver safety, protecting open space and environmentally sensitive lands, and providing access between the community and destinations around the larger region.

Best practices and strategies for achieving these results within various types of communities fall into three major activities:

  1. Set the regional framework for where and how development should occur, through practices such as
    • Growth management and preservation strategies to guide development into suitable locations; and
    • Regional access management strategies promoting access to designated development areas as well as discouraging unwanted rural development.
  2. Improve local accessibility to daily needs such as jobs, shopping, services, and health care, through practices such as
    • Development standards and plans to promote mixed-use, walkable community centers; and
    • Transportation investments focused on improving street connectivity, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and transit service to community focal points.
  3. Enhance community design, through practices such as
    • Context-sensitive roadway design techniques that complement natural and built environments; and
    • Local access management and community design strategies, particularly along key commercial corridors.


Article Icon Road Works
Web residing general information documents generated by the Clallam County Washington Rural Roads Design Standards Advisory Committee which I chaired.
from  Bill Hennessey, M.D.
Article Icon When Main Street is a State Highway
This handbook is a comprehensive outline for a groundbreaking project development process and uses a team approach to present a means of organizing, developing and working cooperatively with SHA on highway improvements that reflect community goals.
-- State Highway Administration: Maryland Department of Transportation
Burlington, Iowa: Revitalizing a Struggling Small Downtown
Burlington , IA
<p>Burlington, Iowa, was a significant Midwestern river and rail transportation hub from the 1820s til the mid-twentieth century. Manufacturing remains an important component of the local economy, but sprawling suburban development has made it difficult for the downtown area to compete. In the 1960s, the community college moved from downtown to West Burlington. Major retailers, such as J.C. Penney, left for a mall there in the 1970s. And in 2000, Burlington lost 1,500 downtown jobs when the area hospital moved west as well. In the face of these challenges, the Burlington community has rallied around its downtown and formed a successful public-private partnership to support reinvestment.</p>
Cutler-Orosi, California: Community-Based Transportation Planning
Orosi, CA
<p>The two agricultural communities of Cutler and Orosi, CA were struggling with high poverty rates, inadequate water and sewer capacity, and a dangerous traffic problems on the main street/ state highway. Through an innovative design charrette, community residents (many of whom speak only Spanish) and business leaders made context sensitive design recommendations to improve pedestrian and bicycle uses, lighting and sidewalks, which supported goals for traveler safety and economic development. Since the 2001 workshop Caltrans has repaved entire stretches of the study area, using reflective materials for foggy seasons and visibility. All intersections now have crosswalks. ADA compliant ramps have been added, and tree wells have been put in to make way for plantings to be contributed and maintained by community and civic groups. New traffic lights are being added or upgraded, as well as new and upgraded signage to alert drivers that they are in downtown and school areas. </p>
Edgartown, Massachusetts: Promoting Walkable, Attractive Development on Upper Main Street
Edgartown, MA
<p>This case study examines ways in which to ensure the character, quality and pedestrian-orientation of historic, downtown main street facing typical, strip commercial, auto-oriented development patterns. The economy of this 19th century whaling community in Martha's Vineyard revolves around serving vacationers and retirees drawn to Edgartown by its seaside character, a busy harbor, and a well-preserved town history. Through a carefully managed planning process in coordination with arts and community development agencies, the town developed a master plan that has guided historically consistent, appropriately scaled downtown growth and supported additional bicycling, walking and transit options for local residents and some 20,0000+ summertime visitors. </p>
Hutchinson, Minnesota: Implementing a Transportation Plan to Accommodate Regional Growth
Hutchinson, MN
<p>Home to Hutchinson Technology, Inc. and consumer products manufacturer 3M, Hutchinson MN is a manufacturing town that is also attracting exurban development based on its proximity to the Twin Cities. The town used a context-sensitive solutions approach to revitalize flagging downtown businesses and reduce the impacts of rising regional highway traffic. Key projects from a highly coordinated local and regional planning process include a bypass for high-speed regional traffic in conjunction with multimodal modal improvements to the original Main Street highway. </p>
Lincoln City, Oregon: Taft Village Redevelopment Plan

<p>This case study examines what can be done to revitalize a small urban village in a rural setting, with a state highway running through it. Lincoln City spans eight miles along the Pacific coast. Taft is one of the city's five villages, all of which are bisected by State Highway 101,a heavily trafficked coastal road. The Taft village plan resulted in a special ODOT designation that allowed officials to treat Highway 101 differently than most state highways because of its joint function as a main street. Using the STA modified design strategies, more than $10 million in roadway and streetscape improvements has helped to develop the local economy, improve traffic flow, and enhance the downtown. More than 15 new businesses have opened, many older businesses grew or remodeled, and many new jobs have been created. For more information about Special Transportation Area (STA) designation, see Main Street-When a Highway Runs Through It: A Handbook for Oregon Communities, ODOT, 1999. </p>
The Northwest Vermont Planning Project: Changing Land Use to Effect Rural Highway Improvements
VT
<p>This case study was spurred by a controversy over indirect and cumulative impacts of the proposed Chittenden County Circumferential Highway road project (known by most as “the Circ”). Based on more than 20 years of difficulty advancing plans for the project, the state realized that much of the growth problem stemmed directly from a lack of resources for growth-related planning at the local and regional levels. VTrans was reacting to transportation issues caused in part by poor land use decisions at the local level. By providing planning support and sophisticated scenario modeling tools through five regional planning agencies, VTrans worked with a variety of rural communities to coordinate plans and resources towards a mutual goal of building efficient transportation infrastructure that helped them cultivate desirable development. </p>
Sedona, Arizona: Serving Visitors and Preserving the Region’s Natural Beauty
Sedona, AZ
<p>This case study examines innovative and cost effective transportation and land use strategies, including public transit services, that enhance this southwestern rural region's livability, preserve its cultural and environmental assets, and support some five million annual visitors. Through a collaborative process involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies, a regional transportation plan was created that emphasized the following: creating a regional multimodal transportation system, limiting new highway construction, fashioning an effective public transportation system, and changing community design to create a more livable community for pedestrians and bicyclists. A major catalyst to the project was the hope that creating a true multimodal, livable community would both preserve its natural beauty and character and would increase the marketability of the region for visitors to make their stays lengthier. </p>
Unity, Maine: Preserving Farmland Through Strengthening Community Character
Unity, ME
<p> Located in one of Maine's poorest counties, Unity has a small liberal arts college that specializes in environmental programs; a concentration of senior and low income housing; a declining agricultural economy; a flaggin town center; and development of former farm fields for new homes, businesses and even the new Masonic hall. The Unity Barn Raisers group came together to revitalize the center, bring essential services back to Main Street, improve the local transportation system, and create a true sense of community in Unity. Through locally-driven building projects, land use ordinances, and pedestrian investments that foster compact growth, the organization is helping to restore the community's walkable scale and vitality. </p>
Virginia Creeper Trail: Leveraging Transportation Improvement for Revitalization
Abingdon/ Damascaus, VA
<p>Constructed in 1984 on an abandoned rail line through national forests and parks, this 33-mille hiking, biking and equestrian trail has attracted visitors, new residents, and businesses to the Appalachian towns of Abingdon and Damascus,VA. More than 100,000 people use the trail every year, generating between $2.3 and $3.9 million in local revenue. The communities of Abingdon and Damascus have successfully used the trail to improve their historic areas and attract tourists from the region and far beyond.</p>
Western Piedmont Region, North Carolina: Managing Highway Corridors and Guiding Development
Hickory, NC
<p>This regional case study examines innovative and cost effective transportation investments that enhance a rural region's livability and preserve its cultural and environmental assets. The region's' two major highways, Interstate 40 and US Highway 321, have increased the potential for economic development by providing increased access to the region and by providing opportunities for business locations (such as retail outlets for locally manufactured furniture). At the same time, corridor development has created challenges such as disrupting access to properties along the highways, threatening scenic landscapes and the natural environment, and disturbing traditional community character Over the course of nearly two decades, local governments and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) developed three corridor plans along the two major routes, each aimed to promote safety, traffic efficiency, aesthetics, economic development, and compatible residential uses. All three plans supported common objectives (primarily access management and rationalizing land use), but in each case the planners adapted the research, public engagement, technical methods, and recommendations to suit local conditions and needs.</p>
Moss Point, Mississippi: Rebuilding A Rural Community After Disaster
Moss Point, MS
<p> This case study examines rebuilding a devastated rural community with interconnected transportation and land use goals. Highway 613, the local Main Street, and the bridge over the bayou to Interstate 10, were expanded in ways that helped speed the decline of downtown. Businesses along one whole side of the center of Main Street were removed, making the town center feel open, deserted and uninviting. The wider street with few controlled intersections made pedestrian movement difficult. After Hurricane Katrina washed away several other key community buildings, the town conducted a design charrette. The resulting plan included moving the city hall and fire station out of the flood zone and onto Main Street while realigning other streets to make way for a proposed waterfront park. Just south of the park would be a restored main corridor with mixed use buildings and storefronts pulled up to the street in the original style of the town center. As of summer 2013, the city has built a new central fire station, opened a new city hall, and has revitalized the downtown riverfront park and main street landscape. The City's downtown association has adopted a "Main Street Four-Point Approach" created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.</p>
U.S. Route 62 Village of Hamburg
Hamburg, NY
<p>The purpose of the project was to coordinate highway improvements and revitalization efforts in accordance with the Department’s Context Sensitive Solutions philosophy and Environmental Initiative. The intent is to incorporate the Village’s desire for change, improvement and a rebirth of the community into the Department’s basic mission for improving the transportation corridor. </p> <p> Route 62 in the Village of Hamburg is not only the center of local business, but also a major truck route. As such, the project addressed, safety, capacity,aesthetic context concerns, and infrastructure deficiencies. The New York State Department of Transportation project encouraged collaboration and community engagement, which resulted in in well-informed and community-valued design alternatives.</p>
Policy Icon Policy Document Planning for Transportation in Rural Areas

This FHWA document is designed as a resource to rural planners, city and county engineers, stakeholders, local officials, and other decision-makers involved with developing rural transportation plans. It is intended to foster a better understanding of the characteristics, issues, and trends affecting rural transportation systems and the benefits of good rural system planning. It provides approaches and case study profiles for public consultation, environmental review, transit system planning, intelligent transportation system planning, and access management.


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