GOSHEN — Better sidewalks, more bicycle lanes and improved public transportation were among the popular suggestions citizens had at the final public meeting to collect comments for Goshen’s comprehensive plan update.
Roughly 40 people met Monday evening, March 24, at the Goshen Public Library to have their voices heard on the future of land use, transportation and infrastructure in the city. The meeting was the last of four sessions scheduled.
Required by Indiana code, the plan is a guide for physical and economic development. Each community’s plan is unique and includes input from citizens.
Goshen is one of 10 cities included in a pilot program through the American Planning Association to develop standards that could be used in comprehensive plans across the country. Goshen’s application for the program highlighted the city’s high concentration of production occupations, complicated land use patterns, downtown development and diverse population.
Abby Wiles, an assistant planner for the city, outlined some of the projects that were kickstarted because of the city’s comprehensive plan spanning 2004 to 2013. The city installed 275 sidewalks, connected the MapleHart and Pumpkinvine trails and added 16 bike racks downtown, she said.
At Monday’s meeting, citizens voted on roundabout locations and used sticky notes on a map of the city to indicate where sidewalks need to be added or upgraded.
Goshen councilman Jim McKee said he would like to see the city seek more funding for public transportation. Other recommendations for transportation improvements included more bus shelters, better traffic signs, ridesharing programs and better access for disabled individuals.
Residents suggested areas where growth should be concentrated and what the city should work to attract. Several people recommended mixed land use, cleaner industry and small businesses in neighborhoods while avoiding urban sprawl.
Suggestions about street design included better lighting, intersection improvements and more lanes designated for buses and bicycles. City councilman Brett Weddell noted that well-planned streets are easy to navigate and allow room for multiple modes of transportation including bikes, cars and pedestrians. Teaching people how to safely share the road is key, he said.
“If you’re going to have something like that, you have to have good public education,” Weddell said. “People need to know how to use bike lanes and roundabouts so drivers don’t end up hurting people.”
The plan commission will use the suggestions collected at Monday’s meeting to prepare the comprehensive plan. After it is completed, the city council will adopt the plan.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.