What is NOACA?The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is a transportation and environmental planning agency serving Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. NOACA:
- Is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for northeast Ohio, and is charged with determining which proposed highway, bikeway and transit projects will receive federal funding.
- Works with the Ohio Department of Transportation, project sponsors and other organizations to help address northeast Ohio’s transportation, air quality, and water quality needs.
- Conducts metropolitan planning for vehicles, freight, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, etc., while considering the transportation system’s impact on the environment and land use.
- Prepares the region’s long-range transportation plan and short range transportation improvement program, which is the capital budget for federally funded transportation projects.
- Conducts studies that address congestion, improve safety and strengthen community livability.
- Is directed by a 45-member Board of Directors and committees.
- Employs a diverse staff of planners, engineers, GIS specialists, accountants, IT professionals, and communications and support specialists.
What is a metropolitan planning organization?A metropolitan planning organization (MPO):
- Determines how federal transportation dollars will be spent within the metropolitan area.
- Is made up of locally elected officials and other representatives from local governments and transportation agencies.
- Is required by federal regulations to carry out metropolitan transportation planning in cooperation with the state and public transit operators.
- Helps ensure that local project sponsors follow all federal regulations, and meet federal and state requirements for federally funded projects.
- Prepares and maintains a long-range transportation plan and transportation improvement program, which is the region’s capital budget for federally funded transportation projects.
- Engages the public proactively when developing and updating major planning documents.
What does NOACA staff do, and what’s their relationship to the Board of Directors?
Approximately 40 full-time employees work at NOACA.
- NOACA staff includes transportation planners and modelers, engineers, and environmental planners, plus support staff in administration, communications, computer support, accounting and graphic design.
- NOACA staff carries out the work of the agency and keeps the Board of Directors fully informed on projects and issues, but members of the Board of Directors are NOACA’s decision makers. The Board is NOACA.
What is the structure and power of the Board of Directors?The NOACA Board of Directors has 45 members.
- The makeup of the Board is proportional to the population of the region. The Board governs the agency keeping with the NOACA Code of Regulations, in accordance with state and federal regulations.
- Board members receive no compensation for their time at board meetings or by serving as a Board officer. As public officials, part of their responsibility may include serving on the NOACA Board of Directors.
- Congress created metropolitan planning organizations so that locally elected officials could set transportation priorities for their metropolitan areas. The NOACA Board determines how federal transportation dollars will be spent in northeast Ohio. We believe this is much better than having bureaucrats in Washington set our priorities for us since locally elected officials understand the region better than anyone.
Are the NOACA Board and Committee meetings open to the public?Yes. All NOACA Board, committee and council meetings are generally open to the public.
- On rare occasions, the NOACA Board of Directors or Executive Committee may enter into closed sessions to discuss personnel issues, competitive bidding issues or other issues requiring confidentiality.
- NOACA conducts all its meetings in accordance with the State of Ohio’s Open Meetings Act. NOACA will provide public notice (usually one week) in advance of all public meetings through:
- The NOACA website calendar
- Direct mail or e-mail
- E-mail newsletters
- Press releases
- NOACA staff takes minutes and makes audio recordings at all public meetings. NOACA will make copies of approved, official minutes and recordings upon request.
How do I interact with NOACA?There are lots of ways for citizens to express their views to NOACA.
- Talk to your locally elected officials who serve on our Board. Our Board membership includes mayors, county commissioners, the Cuyahoga County Executive, city council members, county council members, county engineers and others. They are your elected representatives, and they are NOACA’s decision-makers. Making your views known to them is a very direct and practical way to influence decisions.
- Make agenda-relevant comments at Board and committee meetings. These meetings are public meetings, and the time, place and agendas for these meetings are available on our calendar. Please arrive a few minutes early to sign in.
- Email us. The easiest and most obvious way to submit comment is through the Contact Us link on our home page.
- Comment on projects that are being considered for funding through our Project Planning Review page, which includes information on projects being considered for Board approval. The page includes a link for public comments, which we always welcome. We are now working to create a GIS- based online platform for Project Planning Review, which will offer much more detailed project information and opportunity for public comment. That system will be available soon.
- Comment on our major planning and policy documents as they are being drafted. We will announce comment periods for these documents on social media and in the News and Announcements section of our home page.
- You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter by clicking the icons at the bottom of the page. It's a great way to stay informed and involved. You can also sign up on our home page for our E- newsletter, NOACA connection, to get regular updates on NOACA.
What is NOACA’s relationship with planning partners?NOACA planning partners make up our Board of Directors and committees, which review and approve projects, policies and documents in accordance to state and federal regulations.
- Planning partners include elected officials, representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation, transit agencies, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.
What does NOACA do in the area of water quality?NOACA’ s water quality planning staff supports the Water Quality Subcommittee, which provides advice and policy recommendations to the Board of Directors with regard to region-wide and watershed level water quality issues. NOACA also:
- Assists local health districts in implementing the State of Ohio’s Sewage Treatment Rules,
- Provides technical support to the Northeast Ohio Public Involvement/Public Education Committee to promote effective public involvement/public education activities and materials,
- Works with the Rocky River Watershed Council, Friends of Big Creek, and other non-profit organizations to help implement their action plans,
- Participates in regional storm water training for local government employees and officials, and
- Works with local designated management agencies to keep their facility planning area and community sewer option maps up to date.
What does NOACA do in the area of air quality?NOACA’s air quality planning staff supports the Air Quality Subcommittee, which advises the Board of Directors on transportation-related air quality issues.
- Staff works with:
- County and city health departments
- Environmental non-profit agencies
- Educational institutions
- Research organizations
- Private-sector entities engaged in transportation-related air quality activities
- NOACA also helps implement emission-reduction strategies and Board recommendations related to Ohio’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) for air quality, and publishing an annual Air Quality Trends Report.
- NOACA staff conducts air quality forecasting daily, and staff issues alerts when air quality is not healthy for at-risk populations.
Does NOACA do engineering and roadway construction?While NOACA staff does not design and manage roadway construction, we do provide a technical service by reviewing pending projects through our Project Planning Review process and by participating in corridor studies.
- NOACA staff assists with Road Safety Audits, Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative studies, and conducts other traffic planning analyses for local communities, county engineers and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
What does NOACA do about urban sprawl?NOACA doesn’t have the funding or the legal authority to control land use in the region.
- Ohio is a home rule state, so each community is free to set its own development and land use policies.
- However, one of NOACA’s 10 transportation goals is to foster reinvestment in urban core areas in the region. NOACA’s Regional Transportation Investment Policy contains a list of policies that encourage urban core reinvestment beginning on page six.
- In addition, NOACA’s Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) provides federal funding and technical assistance to urban core communities for local transportation studies that can strengthen community livability.
- NOACA is also a planning partner for the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC).
What is NOACA doing for bicyclists and pedestrians?NOACA encourages cycling and walking as healthy transportation options, and works to make the region’s infrastructure better and safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
- NOACA’s Regional Transportation Investment Policy requires applicants for roadway project funding to “consider bicycles and pedestrians in the planning and design of their proposed project.”
- NOACA‘s Regional Bicycle Transportation Plan:
- Provides a vision for increasing the use of bicycles for transportation and commuting
- Serves as a guide for developing bicycle infrastructure in northeast Ohio
- Outlines a priority bikeway network as part of NOACA’s long-range transportation plan that will evolve over time as roadways undergo reconstruction
- NOACA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Council (BPAC) reviews project funding applications on a quarterly basis and makes recommendations regarding bike and pedestrian integration where appropriate.
How is NOACA funded?The dollars to support NOACA's transportation and environmental planning programs come from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and annual dues paid by local governments throughout the region.
- FHWA and ODOT provide about 72% percent of NOACA's Fiscal Year 2015 operational budget, with FHWA supplying the bulk of those monies. Five percent is received from FTA. The environmental programs comprise about two percent of the budget, local dues supply 14% percent, and miscellaneous funding makes up the remaining three percent.