The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) launched what they're billing a "Bike-Ped Wiki" to help increase the number and quality of public comments for their upcoming Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Unlike some of the Wiki efforts we've seen in the past such as I Bike U, which has gone to the digital graveyard, and StreetsWiki, which is sort of available here, the "SCAG Wiki" is to help create the bicycle and pedestrian portion of the Plan.
So sadly, unlike the original StreetsWiki and I Bike U, there won't be an entry for me.
After creating a userid and logging in, users will be able to comment directly on the most recent planning documents and view other people's comments. This is a step forward in how agencies collect information and feedback from the public. Can you imagine how public comment for the City of Los Angeles Bike Plan would have been improved if you could comment on virtual copies of the maps and the plan itself easily on a website?
SCAG seems pretty excited about this innovation too:
“This site marks a new approach to public involvement in transportation planning,” said SCAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata. “Traditionally public review and comment has been submitted via electronic or regular mail and followed a slow cumbersome process for review and inclusion. The new BikePed site allows the user to be part of the planning process by directly editing and commenting on the plan itself.”
In addition to the Wiki, the website has an impressive library of maps, reports and other primary sources on bicycle and pedestrian planning. Theoretically, someone who doesn't know anything about planning could spend some time in the library and turn around and offer expert comment almost immediately. In an age where it seems the government is trying to restrict information, this is quite a step forward.
Of course, SCAG needs to show that this website isn't just window dressing. We'll keep an eye as they move forward with the process on their LRTP to see if your comments, no matter how they're delivered, are impacting the final plan.