Eastern TTAP at
Michigan Tech

Pathways Newsletter
Fall 2016
 

Program Director
John Velat
Editor
Scott Bershing
Web Developer
Chris DelReal

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Mashpee Wampanoag RSA Follow-Up

In February, Eastern TTAP provided Road Safety Audit (RSA) training for the Mashpee Wampanoag in Mashpee, Massachusetts. The three day training brought together representatives from various departments within the Mashpee Wampanoag, the Town of Mashpee, local law enforcement, the Massachusetts LTAP, a local contractor, the Cape Cod Commission, the Massachusetts DOT, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Masphee RSA  - Before Brush Clearing.
Mashpee RSA - After
Top - Before view of one of the driveways showing poor visibility and underbrush blocking the view.
Bottom - After picture showing improved visibility due to brush clearing.

As part of the training, six locations of concern were evaluated, and a summary report was completed using input provided by all of the agencies involved. One location of particular interest involved the two main driveways for the Mashpeee Government Center. The grounds where the Center is located are shared with Indian Health Service offices, Tribally owned public works maintenance facilities, and neighbor the Tribe's powwow grounds. The office complex is busy year round, 7-days per week, with regular visitation peaks during normal business hours and at normal morning and afternoon commute times, and occasional peaks for special occasions. As a community center catering to social and official business, traffic varies and may peak at unusual times, including nighttime and weekends. The Government Center is located on a two-lane urban minor arterial (MassDOT designated) exhibiting rural road characteristics with medium to high traffic volumes. Two relatively new, two-lane/two-way access drives are located at the north and south ends of the facility's parking lot, which is a change from the previous single drive entrance. The drives are approximately 400ft apart and the exiting traffic is controlled with stop signs. The drives cross a non-motorized, multi-use, paved trail. The path is approximately 8ft wide and marked to warn path users of the drive crossing near the access drives, but with no traffic controls for the path users. Portions of the road that the Government Center is located on, including the area in front of the Center, are in Tribal inventory, but the road and right of way (ROW) are owned and maintained by the Town of Mashpee, a non-tribal Massachusetts municipality governed by state and local laws and ordinances.

It was noted during the RSA that a number of concerns exist in this segment of roadway, as well as with the driveways themselves. The primary concerns related to the lack of clear zone, lack of visibility of the Government Center from the road, and particularly extremely poor visibility of oncoming traffic when pulling out of the driveways due to ample trees and brush along the roadway and a horizontal curve between the driveways. When approaching the Government Center, lack of signage coupled with the vegetation meant that the Government Center would often "sneak up" on motorists, causing them to quickly decelerate in order to pull into one of the drives. This raised concerns over potential rear end collisions. The extremely poor visibility when pulling out of the driveways into the roadway often caused motorist to creep out in order to see, in the process blocking the multi-use trail. Once they decide to pull out, they often do so somewhat blind, risking pulling out in front of unseen oncoming traffic.

In August, Eastern TTAP Director John Velat returned to Mashpee to work with the tribe to assist them with finalizing their Transportation Safety Plan. Upon arriving, one of the first things he noticed was that the Government Center was easier to see from the road due to thinning of brush and trees. The thinned vegetation also increased visibility and made it easier to pull out of the driveways and made a noticeable improvement.

This work was completed in large part due to the recommendations in the RSA. It required the cooperation of the Town of Mashpee working in conjunction with the Tribe to remove a number of trees and thin out and clear the underbrush near the entrances and between the driveways. Although there are still a number of minor things that can be done near the driveways to further increase visibility, the work already completed was a great first step towards implementing the recommendations of the RSA and making the roadway safer for everyone.

Are you interested in Road Safety Audit training? Contact Eastern TTAP via email at ttap@mtu.edu or 1-888-230-0688.

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2016 Michigan Intergovernmental Tribal Transportation Meeting Summary
Stu Lindsay, tribal liason from MDOT, speaks after accepting special gifts celebrating his upcoming retirement.
Stu Lindsay, MDOT Tribal Liason, speaks after accepting special gifts celebrating his upcoming retirement.

The 2016 Michigan Intergovernmental Tribal Transportation Meeting was held at the September 14 & 15, 2016 at the Odawa Hotel in Petoskey, Michigan. The biennial meeting is coordinated by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and is geared towards Tribal Leaders, Engineers, Planners, Historians, BIA Indian Reservation Roads Engineers and Planners, Regional and Local Government Agency Officials and Planners, FHWA and MDOT Engineers and Planners, and any other interested persons working in tribal transportation.

This year's meeting was hosted the Little Traverse Bands of Odawa Indians and brought together over seventy participants and presenters representing tribal, local, municipal, state, and federal agencies. This meeting serves as a valuable discussion forum on government-to-government transportation policy, planning and project development. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in a cultural tour along the M-119 "Tunnel of Trees" where they learned about the historic and cultural significance of areas along the road, with stories and reflections about the Odawa people from the area.


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2016 Wisconsin Tribal Transportation Conference
November 1 & 2, 2016 - Green Bay, Wisconsin

The 2016 Wisconsin Tribal Transportation Conference will be held November 1-2, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Registration for the conference is now open. To register for the conference, please click here.

The conference is an outstanding opportunity for Tribal, state, local and federal professionals to increase their knowledge of the government-to-government relationship between the 11 federally recognized Tribes of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

This year's conference will include sessions on safety, economic development, environmental and cultural resources and other topics related to tribal transportation. Networking opportunities for businesses and organizations interested in the transportation construction industry will also be part of this year's conference line-up.

Vendor Registration Deadline: October 7, 2016
Attendee Registration Deadline: October 23, 2016
To register for the conference, please click here.

View the Conference Schedule

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Spoonville Trail - Celebrating a New Link
Alex Doty • Grand Haven Tribune
Sep 17, 2016
adoty@grandhaventribune.com

ROBINSON TWP. MICHIGAN — Ottawa County officials celebrated a milestone Friday when they cut the ribbon to the first phase of the new Spoonville Trail.

“Having this opportunity to collaborate with MDOT and our other partners to create this Spoonville Trail project is a fantastic opportunity that we’re all very excited about,” Ottawa County Planning Director Paul Sachs said.

The trail’s $1 million first phase stretches 1.8 miles from North Cedar Drive in Robinson Township to Leonard Road in Crockery Township, incorporating the Sgt. Henry E. Plant Pathway on M-231 over the Grand River.

The trail’s second phase is scheduled to be constructed next summer. The remaining 2 miles of non-motorized pathway will span from Leonard Road and 120th Avenue to Nunica, and will include more than 1,000 feet of pathway crossing the Crockery Creek Natural Area.

“The trail itself provides a fantastic, critical north/south connector between a lot of trail activities that are in the works in Ottawa County,” Sachs said.

The new trail is designed to be the key connection between the North Bank Trail, which runs along the north side of the Grand River, and the planned Grand River Greenway Trail south of the river. The trails will form a regional loop of non-motorized pathways known as the Grand Connection that will span from the shore of Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids.

Click Here to view a video of the Spoonville Trail Virtual Tour.

“We are delighted that, ultimately, this will tie into the spectacular Grand River Greenway, which will go all the way from Lake Michigan to Kent County, and tie into Millennium Park eventually and the whole network that goes through Kent County,” Sachs said.

The trail also offers historical and educational opportunities, county officials say.

“We just think there are many opportunities not only to exercise, but also to take part and appreciate the culture of Ottawa County,” County Administrator Al Vanderberg said.

The Sgt. Henry E. Plant Pathway across the Grand River includes a plaque that commemorates Ottawa County’s first Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. MDOT officials plan to construct an educational terrace to educate people about local Native American culture and heritage while displaying images of artifacts found in the area during the M-231 construction.

Crockery Township Supervisor Leon Stille said he is excited about the new trail, and looks forward to the continued growth of the county’s trail network.

“Congratulations to both the county and MDOT for supporting this, and thank you very much for that support,” Stille said. “We’re delighted to be a part of it. Every time you bring more bicycles and cars to Crockery Township, we kind of smile.”

The trail’s funding came in part from the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program, administered by MDOT. This provided more than $600,000 in federal funds toward pathway construction.

Other funding partners and donors who helped make Phase I possible include: MDOT Transportation Alternatives Program, Scholten-Fant, Ottawa County, Youth Advisory Council of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition, Quiet Water Society, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Charter Communications, Consumers Energy, Rycenga Building Center, The Loutit Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey D. Johnson, Shape Corp., Mr. and Mrs. John H. Nash, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation, Spoonville Gun Club, M-231 Run, Jacqueline Fisher, DALMAC Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Fisher.

How to get involved

For more information about making a tax-deductible contribution to Phase II of the Spoonville Trail, contact the Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Department at 616-738-4852 or email plan@miottawa.org.

Doty, A.. (2016, September 17) Grand Haven Tribune. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://www.grandhaventribune.com/Local/2016/09/17/Ottawa-County-Announces-the-Completion-of-Phase-I-of-the-Spoonville-Trail

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Eastern TTAP Needs Survey

Eastern TTAP has developed a client needs survey to help us identify the priority transportation training and technical assistance requests for tribes in the Midwestern and Eastern BIA regions.

We realize your time is valuable, but please take a few minutes to complete this survey.  Your contribution can help strengthen and improve transportation services for not only your tribe, but all of the tribes in our service area.

The information gathered on this questionnaire will be used for planning purposes only.  Your responses and any individual information you provide will not be given out to any private, federal, state, or local agency.  The questionnaire is for addressing tribal transportation needs and issues and assisting the Eastern TTAP with meeting those needs.

Please note that the survey is set up so you can respond anonymously, or you can optionally provide your contact information which will be useful to us if you have specific training or technical assistance needs or concerns.

To complete the survey, please visit the link below.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ettap-survey

 

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Request Training or Technical Assistance for Your Agency

Eastern TTAP recently provided provided a three-day GIS for Tribal Transportation workshop. he training session covered topics related to the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Tribal Transportation Program, including RIFDS and the in-development Tribal Transportation Data Model.

The training also included instruction on the ArcGIS environment. Additionally, participants were able to get hands-on field training by collecting route information using a handheld GPS receiver and importing the collected data back into ArcGIS. Finally, participants learned how to examine the collected data and use it to construct strip maps, a requirement for submitting tribal routes into the BIA road inventory.

This GIS training was one of many that the Eastern TTAP can provide. Click Here to request training sessions for your organization. Eastern TTAP can assist you with road safety plans, road safety audits, and inter-agency safety projects. Please contact us for more information or to schedule these activities.

If you don't see a topic listed or have a suggestion for training that you'd like to have at your tribe, send us a suggestion.

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Pathways is published quarterly by the Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program, which is in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and part of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute at Michigan Technological University. The Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program is part of a nationwide effort jointly financed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). It intends to relay the latest technology and information on tribal roads and bridges, tourism, recreational travel, and related economic development to tribal transportation and planning personnel. Tribes in the Eastern TTAP region include those in the Midwest and Eastern BIA Regions. Contact the TTAP office to submit articles and suggestions.

The Eastern TTAP logo was created by Sally R. Brunk, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Eastern TTAP and Pathways are sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.
 
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation
under Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH6114H00006.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.
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