Trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials seek­ing in­put on out­reach ef­forts

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - LOCAL NEWS - Berks County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion

In one way or an­other, our trans­porta­tion sys­tem af­fects our lives on a daily ba­sis. We travel back and forth to work, school, shop­ping, med­i­cal ap­point­ments or recre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties. The goods that we con­sume are shipped be­tween fac­to­ries, ware­houses and stores. Peo­ple and goods travel in cars, trucks, trains, or busses; we also walk, bi­cy­cle, car­pool, take a taxi, or telecom­mute. Over time, our trans­porta­tion needs out­grow the cur­rent trans­porta­tion sys­tem and changes are needed.

The Read­ing Area Trans­porta­tion Study (RATS) is the re­gional body of ap­pointed of­fi­cials charged with as­sess­ing the trans­porta­tion needs of our area and pre­par­ing var­i­ous plans and pro­grams. One of those plans, the Pub­lic Par­tic­i­pa­tion Process, deals with the poli­cies and prac­tices used to en­sure the pub­lic has a greater role in mak­ing de­ci­sions about road­way, pub­lic trans­porta­tion, bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian in­vest­ments in Berks County. It en­sures that the opin­ions and needs of spe­cial pop­u­la­tions are con­sid­ered by the plan­ning process. We are look­ing for your in­put into the best way to achieve th­ese goals.

RATS is be­gin­ning the process of up­dat­ing the Pub­lic Par­tic­i­pa­tion Process doc­u­ment. From now through the end of Fe­bru­ary, we are so­lic­it­ing com­ments from the com­mu­nity to iden­tify the best ways to both in­form the pub­lic of pend­ing trans­porta­tion plans and projects and to get the pub­lic’s feed­back on their con­tent. A sur­vey link has been posted at www.co.berks. pa.us/plan­ning as an ini­tial method to gauge the pub­lic’s pref­er­ences to a va­ri­ety of out­reach meth­ods. As a per­son or an or­ga­ni­za­tion that rep­re­sents a par­tic­u­lar seg­ment of the com­mu­nity, we ask that you com­plete this sur­vey and also for­ward this in­for­ma­tion to those whom you rep­re­sent. If you wish, we would be happy to for­ward printed sur­veys for your clients/con­stituents to com­plete.

Two meet­ings will be held to hear from com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions and ac­tivists re­gard­ing out­reach meth­ods and re­sults. Th­ese meet­ings are not about spe­cific projects or is­sues; rather, they are about the ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and how to best en­gage the pub­lic in the trans­porta­tion plan­ning process.

On Tues­day Feb. 21, a night­time meet­ing will be held at 7 p.m. in the au­di­to­rium of the Berks County Agri­cul­tural Cen­ter (1238 County Wel­fare Rd, Leesport, PA 19533), and on Tues­day, Feb. 28, a day­time meet­ing will be held at 4 p.m. in the Berks Area Read­ing Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity (BARTA) board­room (1700 N. 11th Street, Read­ing, PA 19604).

By us­ing the re­sults from the sur­vey and in­put from th­ese meet­ings, the Pub­lic Par­tic­i­pa­tion Process will be up­dated to en­sure more thor­ough com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the pub­lic is achieved. We hope you can at­tend one of th­ese ses­sions. For plan­ning pur­poses, in­clud­ing the need for schedul­ing trans­la­tion/in­ter­pre­ta­tion ser­vices, we ask that you RSVP no later than Feb. 14, for the Feb. 21 meet­ing or no later than Feb. 21 for the Feb. 28 meet­ing, to plan­ning@coun­ty­of­berks.com, or call 610-478-6300.

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