In Part I of my explanation of a comprehensive plan, I explained how they start and some of the basics of their contents. However, before moving on to the rest I wanted to investigate what kind of plans we already have.
So when the issue of sidewalks came up a couple weeks ago on social media, I contacted the city to see if I could see the plans for the Bluff Park Sidewalk Project and hear a little bit about how things were going. As it turns out, not only is there a plan for Bluff Park, but there is a city-wide Hoover Pedestrian, Bicycle, Greenway Master Plan created in 1999.
This was a really cool discovery. One wonders why it needs discovery?
Further, I am happy to report that I continue to be impressed by our professional city management. Anytime I have requested information, they have been courteous and helpful. They have been there to answer questions and explain the history behind the when, how and why. (Spoken history is a huge part of what’s happening in Hoover).
These people know what they’re doing, and they know how to get things done. People in the planning field will tell you we have some of the best in the business. It’s not just an election year statement to say I really hope you’ll allow me to work with them on the big picture.
What I found is in line with just about every experience I’ve had with city staff so far. They are a very capable team that is extremely good at getting things done.
So what is the problem here?
The problem I see is a complete breakdown in the political leadership when it comes to policy and long term strategy. Where is the published, public plan that can be easily located and read by the citizens of Hoover? Where are the yearly reviews and follow up? This document started out as a publicly driven, comprehensive plan for non-automotive transportation. What happened? I’ve seen what the plans are, but what is the vision?
Most importantly, why doesn’t every person in Hoover know that we are using a giant, sidewalk building robot?
These things, my friends, are the responsibility of the City Council. When it comes to long term planning our elected leadership has been inconsistent and without vision. More critically they have lacked the political will to execute a high level plan that takes us beyond the next election. And here we are.
It’s time to change all this. And I hope you’ll pick me to be part of that change. Walk, bike, or drive, but whatever you do get out there and vote August 23rd!