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cowboy_wilhelm

How do you contact the DOT with ideas for highway improvements?

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I have a few suggestions/ideas for my area that I want to share with the Department of Transportation. These ideas (for those interested or want to use them in reference to my question) are:

These ideas are not exactly "large," as in something you would see in the long-range Transportation Improvement Program, but rather minor improvements that I think would have a big impact and are critical for this area. Turning lanes are added to roads all the time, and painting lines and adding signs don't exactly require years of planning. They're not "pie in the sky" suggestions either, which I'm sure many transportation engineers/planners are used to hearing from over exuberant arm-chair engineers.

My question is, how in the world do I go about contacting the DOT with these ideas? The hierarchical organization of the DOT makes it nearly impossible to know who to contact. I attended the public meetings for a county Comprehensive Transportation Plan in 2006 (when I unfortunately hadn't thought up these specific improvements), so there won't be any more public involvement meetings for transportation in my area for several years. Can I just e-mail the division engineer with suggestions, or is that a futile effort that will get no response? I don't want to be on the "avoid" list every time they see a letter from me either, knowing that I'm a crackpot with more suggestions that they can't do anything about.

Has anyone on here had success in contacting the DOT with ideas/suggestions? And if so, did they listen? ;)

I also already know my transportation division (14) and district (1), but as you can see from those links, there are quite a few engineers to choose from.

I hope to hear back from others that like to become involved in OUR transportation system planning. And it'd be REALLY great if someone on Urban Planet works for the DOT and has a suggestion for suggesting my suggestions. Thanks a lot!

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You have to contact your state congressman for that stuff, as NCDOT can only do such projects that congress has funded and mandated them to do. Given how many projects they receive and how many roads they are responsible for, it could take years to get to projects. That being said, my experience with state congress has been that they will only act on such things when the get a HUGE number of complaints about the particular subject.

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Cause a few fatal wrecks at that location and start a media storm. That'll usually get something done.

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Going the political route is one way (as Gard suggests.)

Projects that are already planned will often have public input sessions, though it is unlikely that a single voice will be heard, so you'll need to bring a large group of like-minded individuals. And this only goes for projects that are already planned; though it is quite possible that the improvements you suggest could be included in some other project (for example, I-26 reconstruction if it's already planned).

The last way is the "proper" method. It goes something like this:

NCDOT's projects and priority lists (known as the TIP) are written by MPO's and RPO's. MPO's take input from the counties and municipalities within their jurisdiction. Each body creates a "priority list" ranking the projects that they think are the most important. The MPOs then weigh those priority lists against each other to come up with a final TIP. I think the projects you suggest would be in the FBRMPO. So, you should figure out which city / county the project you want to see belongs in. Then, find out which commissioner / councilor / whatever represents that location at the MPO, and let them know what you would like to see. It would also be worthwhile to find out what staff member from that county/city/whatever compiles the priority list and copy them on your e-mail as well. Even more effective would be to combine the political route (state reps and senators) with the MPO route.

Good luck. You have to remember that transportation money is scarce - EXTREMELY scarce. There's a HUGE backlog of important projects that are waiting for funding. Just your single voice honestly won't count for much so you'll need to get other people - preferrably important people - on board.

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I have a few suggestions/ideas for my area that I want to share with the Department of Transportation. These ideas (for those interested or want to use them in reference to my question) are:

These ideas are not exactly "large," as in something you would see in the long-range Transportation Improvement Program, but rather minor improvements that I think would have a big impact and are critical for this area. Turning lanes are added to roads all the time, and painting lines and adding signs don't exactly require years of planning. They're not "pie in the sky" suggestions either, which I'm sure many transportation engineers/planners are used to hearing from over exuberant arm-chair engineers.

My question is, how in the world do I go about contacting the DOT with these ideas? The hierarchical organization of the DOT makes it nearly impossible to know who to contact. I attended the public meetings for a county Comprehensive Transportation Plan in 2006 (when I unfortunately hadn't thought up these specific improvements), so there won't be any more public involvement meetings for transportation in my area for several years. Can I just e-mail the division engineer with suggestions, or is that a futile effort that will get no response? I don't want to be on the "avoid" list every time they see a letter from me either, knowing that I'm a crackpot with more suggestions that they can't do anything about.

Has anyone on here had success in contacting the DOT with ideas/suggestions? And if so, did they listen? wink.gif

I also already know my transportation division (14) and district (1), but as you can see from those links, there are quite a few engineers to choose from.

I hope to hear back from others that like to become involved in OUR transportation system planning. And it'd be REALLY great if someone on Urban Planet works for the DOT and has a suggestion for suggesting my suggestions. Thanks a lot!

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NCDOT's projects and priority lists (known as the TIP) are written by MPO's and RPO's. MPO's take input from the counties and municipalities within their jurisdiction. Each body creates a "priority list" ranking the projects that they think are the most important. The MPOs then weigh those priority lists against each other to come up with a final TIP. I think the projects you suggest would be in the FBRMPO. So, you should figure out which city / county the project you want to see belongs in. Then, find out which commissioner / councilor / whatever represents that location at the MPO, and let them know what you would like to see. It would also be worthwhile to find out what staff member from that county/city/whatever compiles the priority list and copy them on your e-mail as well. Even more effective would be to combine the political route (state reps and senators) with the MPO route.

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I'd like for them to change the control cities at many of our major interstate interchanges. Who in Raleigh really cares to go to Benson?

Or at least keep them consistent. Taking the ramp for I-485 Statesville/Pineville off of 85 and then being offered the option of Statesville or Columbia (huh..what happened to Pineville???) can be a bit confusing.

Why are cities so small and close used as control cities anyway? In Atlanta they use the next major city (Greenville, Chattanooga, Birmingham, Macon). Here in St. Louis, our interchanges use far away places such as Chicago, Memphis, Indianapolis, and Tulsa (over 400 miles away) as control cities.

Typical rural NC politics.

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Gov Perdue and Secretary Gene Conti are supposedly moving towards a decentralized NCDOT, where there is more work done at the District level as opposed to doing practically everything through Raleigh.

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I agree about the control cities. When I was lived in NC I always thought I-95 when leaving Raleigh should be signed Fayetteville South, and Richmond North. I remember reading once that the control cities are supposed to be the next metro area. Is Benson it's own metro?

On that note technically when leaving North out of Atlanta I 75 should say Dalton. Dalton became a metro in 2000 census. Same applies to Cleveland TN.

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