When I started my community development educator career with Penn State Extension over five years ago, I was hired to assist a partnered program known as the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, a non-profit corporation whose mission is “to enable communities to enhance their viability, quality of life, and long-term sustainability by providing education and technical assistance, and by promoting smart growth principles."
We were then deep into a multi-year planning process called the Route 30 Master Plan (See http://www.route30plan.com/), and my role was to engage the municipalities, and the communities, of the corridor in the planning process. The effort was funded by local foundations, state government grants, by some local municipality contributions, and by private sponsorships of the effort. The purpose of this study was to analyze land use regulation and transportation management options so that actions to address corridor safety, efficiency and mobility could be identified and implemented.
While the resulting plan and more importantly the process to create it eventually won a 10,000 Friends Commonwealth Award as one of the best examples of corridor planning in the state, the Route 30 Master Plan has been criticized by some local leaders as "a waste of money.”
See http://extension.psu.edu/ecd/news/2012/what-is-planning to read more.
Illustrations from the Route 30 Master Plan, and images taken during the public engagement meetings of the planning process