Every year the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) updates its Coordinated Plan for San Diego County, and 2010 is no exception. However, this year Ramona and other rural communities will get special attention.
SANDAG is conducting an indepth analysis of transit and human service transportation opportunities in rural areas. The agency has launched its rural outreach effort in Ramona that will include surveys and community meetings.
“This outreach effort is two-tiered,” said SANDAG Associate Regional Planner Phil Trom, one of the agency’s transit planners. “First, we’ll work with community leaders to collect information. Then we’ll follow up with meetings to facilitate sustainable, community-based transportation solutions.”
SANDAG is seeking Ramona community leaders who would like to serve as liaisons.
“We have already started contacting people,” Trom said. “This is an all-inclusive effort. The more community liaisons we have for Ramona, the better.”
According to Trom, the community liaisons will be an important part of the ongoing planning efforts for Ramona. Trom stated that community leaders interested in becoming liaisons should contact SANDAG representative Dillon Minor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SANDAG has created two surveys for use in this rural outreach effort. The first survey gives community leaders an opportunity to summarize their group’s travel needs and resources. The second is for community leaders to distribute to their group members for more detailed input. These surveys will be distributed through liaisons in rural communities throughout the San Diego region. Data collected from the surveys will be used to paint a regional picture of the rural transportation scenario in the updated Coordinated Plan for San Diego County.
In addition, SANDAG’s unprecedented rural outreach promises to be more than just a research exercise. “Essentially, the plan will serve as a justification for future project development and will provide essential detail for organizations or agencies wishing to apply for transportation project funding (operating, capital, mobility management, or otherwise),” said Trom.
Having Ramona’s transportation needs identified in the plan is the first step in Ramona becoming eligible for certain federal and local transportation grants.
The Coordinated Plan of San Diego County provides a five-year blueprint for public transit and human services transportation in the region. It also serves as SANDAG’s federally mandated coordinated plan and its regionally mandated Regional Short Range Transit Plan. In past years, the plan contained little detail regarding the nature of rural transportation needs and/or resources in the San Diego region.
This year, when the plan is updated, it is expected to be a richer, more meaningful document for Ramona (and other rural communities). The updated plan will identify the transportation needs that will have the highest priorities for any available grant monies.
“This is an opportunity for individuals and organizations in these communities to provide input that can have positive short and long-term benefit,” said Max Calder, executive director of FACT (Full Access and Coordinated Transportation), who is working with Ramona Transportation Action Committee (RTAC) to launch a Ramona shopping shuttle pilot for seniors next month. “I encourage everyone interested in improving mobility in the backcountry to complete the survey. Your input is crucial to the success of this effort.”
The formation of a local “transportation access” committee (RTAC), the launching of FACT’s senior transportation pilot project, and SANDAG’s rural outreach efforts are all considered cause for hope for Ramona’s access to transportation.