GO Hillsborough has reached the halfway point in our countywide public engagement effort to help create consensus around our transportation crisis. We think it’s a good time to share what we’ve learned from you during our first series of public meetings.

First, we’ve been overwhelmed by the interest residents have shown. Since beginning our effort in mid-February, more 1,000 people have attended 16 open-house style workshops, and nearly 12,000 residents listened and asked questions during two telephone town hall forums. You’ve shared with us how transportation is having a negative impact on your quality of life, and you want to find solutions to our transportation issues.

Hillsborough is a huge county – larger than 8 states and the District of Columbia. And although we have varied and diverse needs, GO Hillsborough found that regardless of where you live, there are many shared values and priorities. We identified 5 top priorities among residents across the county, and maintenance – including resurfacing existing roads – was the number one priority countywide. In fact, 10 out of 12 neighborhoods ranked maintenance as the highest priority.

The other top priorities vary, depending on where residents live, and include a desire for new or widened roads (including intersections), and new or expanded transit. Central Hillsborough and South Hillsborough have very different priorities, but that isn’t the case in the West and East areas of the County, which each ranked transit as No. 2. Also ranking very high on the priorities list were better sidewalks and bike lanes. To read the entire Issues & Opportunities report, visit www.GoHillsborough.org.

With our first phase complete, it’s time to move to the Making Choices series, where we’ll explore potential transportation options and identify areas where we can all agree. From now through the end of May, we’ll conduct 16 additional open house-style workshops at locations throughout the county, and two telephone town hall meetings. Visit www.GOHillsborough.org for a list of upcoming dates. You can also join the conversation on our GO Hillsborough Facebook and Twitter pages.