Saturday, December 26, 2009

Encouraged To Write In Plain English, SEWRPC Muffs Assignment One, Paragraph One

A couple of weeks ago, two federal agencies renewed some authority that they give to the regional planning commission (SEWRPC), but told the planners they needed to better communicate with the public, using plain English and not plannerspeak (my word, not theirs).

And, of course, SEWRPC dutifully said it was making great strides in that assignment.

So on the SEWRPC homepage,, here is the very first single paragraph of text that. ironically, comically, describes that federal reauthorization.

Plain English??

"Certification of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process

During the fall of 2008, The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) conducted a federally required quadrennial review of the metropolitan transportation planning process carried out by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). The objective of this review was to determine whether the metropolitan transportation process meets the Federal transportation planning requirements outlined in 23 CFR 450.300 and to assure that an adequate process exists to ensure conformity of plans and programs in accordance with the procedures contained in 50 CFR Part 51. The 2008 certification review was based on routine FHWA and FTA interaction with the Commission in day-to-day operations; a review of SEWRPC planning products and processes; a field review meeting with staff from SEWRPC, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and local transit operators October 22-23, 2008; a public comment period from October 8 to November 8, 2008; and, a public open house meeting on the evening of October 23, 2008. Based on the reviews conducted and ongoing oversight by FHWA and FTA, the Commission’s metropolitan transportation planning process has been certified as meeting the Federal transportation planning requirements. The report documenting the evaluation of SEWRPC planning processes can be found here."


Jim Bouman said...

They are in love with wooden-headed nonsense like this acronymic address line and compound-complex two-sentence paragraph to people who are on their "interested parties" list.

"EJTF List:

Parties interested in SEWRPC’s Environmental Justice Task Force:

We may see some of you at 4:00 PM today in the Sijan Conference Room at General Mitchell International Airport; but, to save on paper and reach everyone, attached is information regarding Task Force suggestions and Commission actions by various categories. This information had been requested by the Task Force and may be used at a future meeting.


Gary Korb"

Getting a message addressed "Interested parties" is a lot like getting a bedbug letter, though it lacks the essential feigned cordiality and bogus sincerity built into those famous cooling out missives from the president of the Pullman Company.

James Rowen said...

Hey, Jim B: This is another of my favorites: paragraph one introducing the land use plan. I challenge anyone to follow the timelines:

Year 2035 Regional Land Use and Transportation System Plans for Southeastern Wisconsin

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has completed the review and update of the land use and transportation system plans for the seven-county Southeastern Wisconsin Region. The new year 2035 regional land use and transportation plans are intended to provide a vision for, and guide to, land use development and redevelopment and transportation system development in the Region for 20 or more years into the future. The new land use plan, along with the new transportation system plan, represent the fifth major long-range regional land use and transportation planning effort conducted by the Commission. The first such plans - for 1990 - were adopted by the Commission in 1966, the second-generation plans - for 2000 - were adopted by the Commission in 1978, the third-generation plans - for 2010 - were adopted in 1994, and the fourth-generation plans - for 2020 - were adopted in 1997. While the fourth-generation plans, which have been amended and extended to the year 2025, have served the Region well, it was time to review and update the plans, in light of year 2000 U.S. Bureau of Census population data, year 2000 regional land use inventory data, and year 2001 regional travel survey data. The new plans replace the existing plans, and serve as a guide to land use development and redevelopment and transportation system development to the year 2035.