FaceBook is not always the best way to participate in a political discussion especially if you are blocked by a current Alderman who has disenfranchised you from the conversation. So, I am joining with others to provide a place for all citizens of Germantown to share our point of view on the issues facing our City.
Welcome to our first blog.
I’m Terri Harris and my claim to fame is two kids who lead me down the road of parental advocacy. Along the way, I learned that there are at least two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle is the truth. And your truth may not be my truth. But a greater understanding of other people’s perspectives leads to better advocacy.
If you are like me, you are struggling to understand the planning process that is the backdrop to the much talked about issue of the Germantown Road Realignment Project. The City says the project is dead but some citizens are claiming that’s not true because the project is still listed in the Memphis MPO 2040 Livability Regional Transportation Plan. These citizens want the Plan redacted to remove the Germantown Road Realignment project. But who has the authority to make such changes to the plan?
I decided to find out.
Not being an expert on planning stuff, I started with the mayor of Memphis because it says Memphis MPO.
[The above paragraph had to be deleted from the original blog because apparently repeating what was said to you in a popular Germantown Facebook group can get you removed from the group. Since there’s already been enough blocking and excluding people, I’m just going to redact the blog to appease the administrator in charge of that Facebook group so I won’t get kicked out. Which means I can’t tell you what was posted on Facebook but I can tell you that I have it on good authority, the Memphis MPO is not run by the City of Memphis.]
Armed with that piece of information, I continued my search to find the one with the power to redact the 2040 Livability Plan.
I reached out to Ms. Pragati Srivastava from the Memphis MPO. Ms. Srivastava confirmed that projects submitted to the Memphis MPO for inclusion in the 2040 Livability Plan come from the jurisdiction responsible for the project and that jurisdiction is the definitive source of information about the project.
That means the City of Germantown is the definitive source of information for the Germantown Road Realignment Project. So, when I asked about the project, Ms. Srivastava directed me to the City of Germantown for the most up-to-date project information.
According to the City, the Germantown Road Realignment Project is dead. A public statement to that effect was recently issued by the City of Germantown and I have included the link so you can read for yourself. Ms. Srivastava confirmed in the City’s statement that the project has been withdrawn from any plans for funding requests.
But even though the City’s statement has made the rounds on Facebook, there are those who are still disbelieving. Rather than read all the arguing about it on Facebook, one of my fellow “blockees,” Audrey Grossman, decided to take matters into her own hands by contacting Kate Horton, a Transportation Planner at Memphis MPO whose job duties with the Transportation Improvement Program include Public Involvement and Social Media.
Ms. Horton explained that items appearing in long-range plans are not happening until they have made their way to short-range plans. In the case of the Germantown Road Realignment Project, Ms. Horton stated that this project is no longer included in any short-range plans and it lacks the federal funding necessary to move forward.
For some, most notably Ken Hoover, Pauline Lathram, and a few other vocal citizens on Facebook, the issue remains as to why the project is still listed on page 177, item 66 on the 2040 Livability Regional Transportation Plan. They suspect that by remaining on the list of long term planning items, the Project could be brought up at a future date. To nix any possibility of this project, they are insisting the 2040 Livability Plan be redacted.
So, I asked Ms. Srivastava about the possibility of redaction. She said that the Memphis MPO is currently in the initial stages of development for the 2050 Livability RTP. This new plan will have the most up-to-date information on Germantown projects.
For those TRULY concerned about the Germantown Road realignment project, my best advice to you is to be proactive, not reactive. By this, I mean, watch the formation of the 2050 plan like a hawk and be ready to oppose the road realignment if you see any indication of its revival. But don’t waste your time, trying to redact an old plan that is on its way out the door.
Be an advocate on the issues and focus on actions that matter. We all know that even if every copy of the 2040 Livability RTP could be located so big bold strike-outs could be made to item 66; there would still be those who would not be satisfied and would demand further meaningless actions.