STANISLAUS COUNTY -- What's a better use of road money: fixing streets, widening them or building new ones?
Where should growth be directed in Stanislaus County: anywhere, only in cities, next to cities or nowhere?
Questions such as that appear in an online survey designed to get regular people talking about growth, transportation and how the two affect lives.
Consultants also came up with a new brand: Valley Vision Stanislaus. They will launch public workshops Wednesday.
Invitations to take the brief survey began popping up in email inboxes a couple of weeks ago. Consultants are using email addresses provided by Stanislaus County and its nine cities, cross-checked against voter rolls, and others can take the survey by visiting the website.
"We know that most folks don't go to meetings, so we tried to extend our reach," said Kendall Flint of Flint Strategies, in an email. "This is a good way to engage more people."
The idea is to take "a big-picture look at how we can grow over time" with less driving and pollution while protecting farmland, "in a way that meets our needs and matches our values," the website says.
Behind the push is the Stanislaus Council of Governments, composed of the county and cities. The agency is charged with long-term transportation planning, but state law now requires that to merge with land-use planning in hopes of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by driving less.
StanCOG and its counterparts in the San Joaquin Valley engaged in a similar "Blueprint" process a few years ago that focused more on housing density, or encouraging more compact communities. This is similar but separate.
Ideas from the public will help update a regional transportation plan and inform a Sustainable Communities Strategy, both of which should be adopted in October.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2390.
SHARE YOUR VISION
Wednesday's Valley Vision Stanislaus workshop begins at 6 p.m. at Seasons Multicultural Events Center, 945 McHenry Ave., Modesto.
Written comments can be mailed by Feb. 5 to StanCOG, 1111 I St., Suite 308, Modesto 95354. Questions may be addressed to StanCOG at (209) 525-4600.
On the Net: www.valleyvisionstanislaus.com.