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THE 30-SECOND ELEVATOR SPEECH

We’re starting to turn things around for North Monroe, but it still has major issues with safety and usability.  Our regional transportation planning agency is working on a federal grant application that, if successful, would provide North Monroe with $21 million for improved intersections, new sidewalks, better lighting, etc.  A 20% local match is required, and we're asking Blueprint to designate its existing North Monroe budget ($4.216 million) for the match.  This would give us a 1-to-5 return on our Blueprint dollars!  If you support this makeover for North Monroe, please sign this petition to let Blueprint Directors know you support the local match.  Let's make our #1 gateway a source of pride for Tallahassee!      

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THE DETAILS

The North Monroe corridor is Tallahassee’s No. 1 gateway; more people come through the I-10 / North Monroe interchange than any other point in the county.  Because of its high visibility, the entranceway should be welcoming, vibrant, and a reflection of Tallahassee’s promising future.

 

Over the past few years, our community has made North Monroe a greater priority.  In 2021, the Leon County Commission established the Citizens' North Monroe Task Force, which developed a list of recommendations that were subsequently added to Leon County's five-year strategic plan.   The City of Tallahassee’s new police headquarters at Martin Luther King Boulevard will be a game changer.  Between John Knox and Lakeshore Drive, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is installing new landscaping and curbing in the medians, and sidewalks along the west side will be constructed later this year.  East of the corridor, Blueprint’s Lake Jackson Greenway, running 5 miles from Lake Ella to the Lake Jackson Mounds Archeological State Park, will be a community treasure.   (The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department has created an excellent website that provides an overview of these projects and more.  Click HERE to visit the website.)

 

Even with these new projects, though, there are serious safety and usability issues.  In 2023, the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) conducted a regional analysis and identified significant safety concerns for the North Monroe corridor.  For example, the heat map below shows high densities of crashes along the 7-mile stretch between Tharpe Street and Capital Circle NW.

Crash Density along the North Monroe Corridor (2018-2022)

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Source: Signal 4 Analytics; RS&H Presentation to CRTPA, January 16, 2024

As a result of these findings, the CRTPA is now focusing on the specific safety improvements needed for North Monroe -- upgraded intersections, new sidewalks, better lighting, safer street crossings, etc. -- and it plans to apply for a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Safe Streets for All (SS4A) grant to obtain the necessary funding.  However, a 20% local match is required, and the matching funds must be designated and held while the application is under review by the USDOT.

 

Fortunately, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency has $4.2 million available for its own North Monroe Gateway improvements.  If we use these Blueprint funds for the match and the grant is awarded, we'll then have $21 million for the design and construction of the safety improvements.  We'd be drawing down $16.8 million in federal funds for North Monroe -- that's a 1-to-5 return on our local Blueprint dollars!

 

Before the $4.2 million in Blueprint funds can be used as the match, however, the Blueprint Directors must vote to designate it as such.  We hope the Blueprint Board of Directors will consider this an excellent opportunity to leverage Blueprint dollars for much-needed safety improvements, but we won't know for sure until their next meeting on February 29th. 

Showing widespread community support for this 'Monroe Makeover' plan could be essential, so we hope you'll sign this petition and ask your friends, family and co-workers living in Leon County to do the same.  On February 27th, we'll provide the petition submissions received by that point to Blueprint staff, so they can include them in a board materials packet for the Directors' review.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and thank you for your support in making North Monroe something we can all be proud of!

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