The information architecture and UX of the HDPT part of Harrisonburg.gov is awful. There is no reason for Bus Routes to have three separate pages. Seeing any schedule information requires a PDF download. If you don't already know the bus system, you're probably downloading multiple PDFs just to figure out the routes, and then going to another page entirely to see when those routes run. The NextBus website also takes 5-10 minutes to get to any useful information, and nobody except marketing teams likes QR codes (how many people even have a QR code reader app), so that's not helpful. The worst part is that all of these things add up to a horrible user experience on mobile, particularly for people who have limited data or older devices. Between the poor IA and the forced downloads, this issue is disproportionally affecting individuals with low income and intellectual disabilities.
Can anything be done about the traffic light timing on Port Republic Road as it crosses the interstate? A good day is when I have to stop for only three of the four lights.
Why is this not in our down town yet?
Our local police can decide whether a criminal is violent and here illegally and should be reported to ICE, rather than agreeing to turn over all info on those suspected of possibly being here illegally to the federal government, risking distrust when community members think that cooperating with authorities can put them at risk for deportation. I'm not sure what our city's current policy is on this, but it would be great if we could announce our town as being an official Sanctuary City, making our community members feel even safer here.
10% of our city school system's limited-English-proficiency students are from Iraq, one of the countries included in Trump's recent Executive Order. Many local students, college students, and family members are here on green cards and special visas. We also are home to many Dreamers. Let's make sure they feel safe and secure in their home city, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
I don't care that it's a Wal-Mart Fresh Market. It's another Wal-Mart, and that is the last thing Harrisonburg needs. Is there any way we could entice a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Wegman's, anything else here? I'd rather see the space used as an indoor farmers market. Anything but another Wal-Mart.
Too many animals are senselessly murdered everyday!! End the murder!
Drinking water: City's National Forest reservoir water is probably some of the most healthy/cleanest in Va.; a key treasure. Concerns: the Oct. 29 City Council work meeting, there were many signs that City should complete a "full water study": 1-rate structure (since~1988?) actually *discourages conservation; 2-staff seemed unsure what City's "Musts & Wants" were to future; 3-most USA systems have or now plan pro-active, practical ways to drive down water average + peak demands plus ways to drive down their high *fixed costs (automation, upgrades, billing every 2 months); but, none were mentioned; 4-City should try hard to *avoid the ~$25 Million cost (in~10 years?) to install a big water pipe thru County to Shenandoah River (S. Fork; McGaheysville) +costly treatment equipment (Shen. water has lots of agr. runoff, bacteria, viruses, etc.;); 5- customers get triple benefits- since each gallon conserved also lowers costly sewer charges, which are rising fast; 6- +etc. benefits- TBD.
The City is currently planning the construction of a multi-million dollar middle school to accommodate the growing number of student in our school system. I believe that the City should take a long-term view of the cost and usefulness of this building, and as such should strive to make it LEED certified (or equivalent) and a Net Zero Energy Building, meaning that it produces as much energy each year (on average) as it uses. Doing so would decrease the long-term costs to taxpayers, insulate the City from future increases in energy prices, promote sustainability, and enhance our children's educational experiences by creating a modern, forwarding looking building that incorporates scientifically and technologically sound building practices. Depending on the financing mechanism chosen, a LEED/Net Zero building need cost very little or no more initially than a conventional building, though I would encourage the City to focus more on long-term costs than simply the bottom dollar up front. If we as taxpayers have to invest a few extra dollars now in order to save many more dollars for years (decades) to come, isn't that the best choice?
The architects have been selected, but the school design has not yet been set. The firm chosen has experience in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and LEED, including with K-12 schools. Please join me in asking our School Board, City Council, and other city leaders to make the new middle school LEED/Net Zero. It is the best choice for our city, our children, and our future prosperity.
For more thoughts about why a Net Zero middle school would be a good idea, see this blog entry by a local architect with expertise in this area: http://harrisonburgarchitect.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/why-build-a-zeb-middle-school-in-harrisonburg/
Regarding your "Managing Polluted Runoff" discussion, with an eye toward establishing stormwater fees how about publishing, or otherwise make public the city's historical and latest numbers regarding stormwater runoff? This would give some grounds upon which Harrisonburg citizens could see exactly what "stormwater runoff" actually means.
When the new City Hall is built, what should happen to the Municipal Building? It's one of the most important historic buildings in town and is centrally located. How could it become a focus for the community? We need public spaces for events downtown. Some have suggested a "Harrisonburg Museum." A public private partnership? Heritage tourism? How could we create a place that honors our past and helps to shape our future?