My departure date -- a week from this Saturday -- feels like its racing towards me.
This past week Betsey, Peggy, and I have spent our time setting up meetings for the trip; dealing with a very irritable laptop computer that apparently wants to stay home; and finalizing the Summer issue of the Planning Commissioners Journal. But we also took some time out yesterday to have a very enjoyable staff and spouse dinner at the diner (Libby's Blue Line Diner in nearby Colchester, Vermont).
The "official" start of my Route 50 trip will be on Sunday, May 27th, in Ocean City, Maryland, where I'll be visiting with Ocean City planner Jesse Houston; and then meeting back on the mainland with folks from the Worcester County Planning Department -- the unofficial start will be the night before where I'll be staying with my hosts, Ron Cascio and Katherine Munson in Berlin, Maryland.
One thing I've given some thought to is how to make use of this "blog format." Most blogs I've seen are quite opinionated. That's not meant as any sort of condemnation -- indeed a strongly expressed, but well thought-out, point-of-view can make for stimulating reading, sometimes even when you strongly disagree with the writer. But I don't see my role as an expounder. In fact, since I'll be in most places for just a day or two, I'll be in no position to claim in-depth knowledge of any community I'll be visiting.
So what's the "slant" to this blog? If there's a slant, it's to serve as a sort of "listening post" -- where you'll be able to stop by and hear what's on the mind of planners, planning commissioners, and others, and learn about the most challenging issues they're facing & how they're trying to deal with them. And I do think there's value in having an outsiders' eye, and getting at least a snapshot view of the issues communities are facing.
The bottom line is that I''ll be successful with this blog if I can give you some food for thought, and some points of comparison to issues you face in your own community.
But it's not all a one-way street. You can help make this blog work by commenting on postings, or e-mailing me during the trip. Let me know if there are questions I'm not asking that you think are important to ask -- and I'll try to adjust as I go along. And if you have any experiences or perspectives on topics I'll be reporting, consider sharing your thoughts. Finally, if you find that what I'm reporting has some value, let others know about this web blog.