The Lake~Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Governing Board today approved the final version of Transportation 2035, taking a major step forward towards the implementation of a new transportation plan for the next 25 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies set out in the plan seek to meet the future mobility needs of the residents and visitors of the region while serving as a road map to achieve the community’s vision for growth and transportation across the region.
“This plan includes the last roads that will be widened in Lake and Sumter Counties. Between our physical, environmental and local policy constraints and the high cost of building new roads, we know we will never be able to build enough roadway capacity to accommodate automobiles. Therefore, Transportation 2035 focuses on a multi-modal transportation system to safely move people and freight around the region,” said MPO Executive Director T.J. Fish.
MPOs are required by federal law to develop and update at least every five years a cost feasible long-range transportation plan for the metropolitan area covering a planning horizon of at least twenty years that fosters mobility and access for people and goods, efficient system performance and preservation, and quality of life.
The adoption of Transportation 2035 reflects a strong sentiment by the public and elected officials to advance a more balanced transportation system supportive of multiple modes (cars, walking, biking and transit). It supports several of the key principles identified in the regional How Shall We Grow process, Lake County’s Our Community Our Future and the Sumter 2030 visions. The development of the plan involved a highly collaborative process led by MPO Staff with support from Renaissance Planning Group – a truly enjoyable partnership”, Katharine Ange, AICP, Principal, Renaissance Planning Group.
Plan development started almost two years ago when MPO staff began meeting with members from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and other local government staff that assists in land use decision making as well as interested parties from the public to determine what land use and population forecasting approach to use that would lead to a plan that best reflects the regional vision that was born out of Our Community, Our Future, Sumter 2030 Visioning, and the How Shall we Grow regional visioning efforts.
“This has been a long but worthy process and now we have a nice workable plan that will benefit everyone,” said MPO Governing Board Member Robert Thielhelm”, City of Mount Dora Councilman.
The traditional approach applies the currently adopted comprehensive plans for all our member governments to project future population and employment. The Lake~Sumter MPO decided to go with a non-traditional model that allocates land uses to vacant developable parcels based on their relative attractiveness to other parcels, as well as the historical growth patterns surrounding those parcels. This model, Land Use Conflict Identification Strategy, or LUCIS, is a “What if?” land use scenario model that uses a GIS to produce a spatial representation of probable pattern so future land use.
Forecasts contained in Transportation 2035 indicate that the region’s population will grow to approximately 750,000 by 2035 (an increase of roughly 85 percent). Employment will increase to about 284,000 (an increase of roughly 95 percent). This growth means more people going to more places – on an already heavily used system. The investments and actions called for in Transportation 2035 would allow the region’s transportation system to accommodate this expected growth while maintaining a reasonable level of performance. The plan identifies $1.3 billion in transportation investments that can be funded over the next 25 years. (This figure accounts for inflation over the life of the plan.) Funding sources include local, state, and federal sources.
“The Town of Montverde strives to keep true to its heritage and character while maintaining a high quality of life for our residents, Transportation 2035 respects and promotes these qualities”, said MPO Governing Board Member Glenn Burns, Town of Montverde Councilman.
Highlights of Transportation 2035 include:
- A commitment to a truly multimodal plan that designates multimodal corridors where priority is placed on transit quality of service, and multimodal infrastructure improvements that support and promote walking, biking and utilizing transit.
- A call for improved and expanded bus service throughout the region.
- An ongoing program to improve safety and security on the regional transportation system.
- A greater commitment to bicycle and pedestrian transportation.
- An increased emphasis on encouraging transit-oriented development, smart growth, and livable communities.
A creative and customized multimodal approach to improving freight and goods movement in the region.
The plan is available on the MPOs website, www.lakesumtermpo.com
The Lake~Sumter MPO is the metropolitan planning organization for Central Florida’s Lake and Sumter Counties and the 19 municipalities located in the two counties. MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.
“The MPO keeps up with the planning in the future, adding and deleting as necessary keeping priorities for the citizens”, said MPO Governing Board Chair Sanna Henderson, City of Leesburg Commissioner.
“It looks really good. I have wanted rail for quite some time, tying freight movement and people travel to rail would be a great benefit”, said MPO Governing Board Member Sharon Kelly, City of Fruitland Park Commissioner.
The Lake-Sumter MPO Board consists of 29 board members (16 voting and 13 non-voting) representing the communities of the Lake-Sumter region. Each member government appoints an elected official to the MPO Board, along with an alternate representative.
“Transportation 2035 outlines a better transportation network for our future, tying land use and transportation together, moving people not just cars”, said Susan Sadighi, FDOT Director of Intermodal Systems Planning.
The apportionment of membership on the Lake-Sumter MPO Board includes one voting representative from each of the seven most populated cities in Lake County, including Clermont, Eustis, Lady Lake, Leesburg, Minneola, Mount Dora and Tavares. In addition, the five members of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners and the two designated county commissioner from the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners are each voting members. The seven least populated cities of Lake County share one at-large
vote that rotates alphabetically each year. The rotating members are Astatula, Fruitland Park, Groveland, Howey-in-the-Hills, Mascotte, Montverde and Umatilla. The five cities in Sumter County also share one at-large vote that rotates alphabetically each year. The rotating members are Bushnell, Center Hill, Coleman, Webster, and Wildwood.
The Governing Board also includes an Ex-Officio member from Lake County School Board, Sumter County School Board, and Florida Central Railroad.