January 8, 2021 Chair Updates
- Welcome: Welcome to the new NCUTCD News page. Executive Secretary, Richard Moeur, and I will use this page to post news and announcements of interest to our members. In some cases, we may use this page in lieu of sending out an “all members” email, so check this page often, especially during our meetings this month.
- Twitter and Facebook: Don’t forget to check our social media accounts for late-breaking news. You don’t have to have an account for either to see the latest posts.
- Calendar of Events: The NCUTCD home page has a calendar of NCUTCD events. The events do not contain the links to virtual meetings as registration is required for those meetings.
- Attitude on NPA: We have been looking forward to a new edition of the MUTCD for a long time. The publication of the NPA is a welcome sign of progress toward a new MUTCD, but it is only one step in the process. It is very important that we view the NPA as a positive step and maintain a positive attitude as we are reviewing it. After waiting so long for the NPA, we do not want to jeopardize continued rulemaking activity with any overly critical or inappropriate comments about the MUTCD. It is okay to disagree with NPA and recommend improvements, but we want to keep it professional. Let us recommend tweaks where appropriate and look forward to a final rule that gives us a good base for addressing issues that were not included in the NPA. I don’t want to discourage anyone from offering an opinion or suggestion, but we all need to recognize that the ultimate goal is a final rule for the 11th edition. All of us should be sharing the message that we are looking to make minor improvements to what is already a good proposed rule and an important improvement over the 2009 MUTCD.
- Links to Technical Committee Meetings: Links are available only to those that have registered for the meeting. When you registered, you received a message from Cvent with the meeting link(s). Earlier today, Richard emailed those links again to registered users through Cvent with meeting links. Look for an email from Richard Moeur with “Registration Confirmed” in the subject line.
- Word file for MUTCD NPA Language: Gene Hawkins is planning to distribute Word files of the clean and marked up versions of the proposed MUTCD language to the technical committee chairs this weekend. These are NCUTCD documents and shall not be distributed outside of the NCUTCD.
- There are grammatical/spelling errors in the marked up version of the text. NCUTCD members should not make any special effort to correct these errors.
- FHWA presentation on NPA: Thanks to Kevin Sylvester and his MUTCD Team for their presentation on the NPA. Many have asked if the slides can be shared. The FHWA presentation this morning was their first and they want to work on it some more before sharing. We will post an announcement on this page if/when FHWA makes it available
- Docket Extension: The NCUTCD submitted a request to extend the docket by an additional 90 days. The NCUTCD letter is viewable at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FHWA-2020-0001-0089. The chair encourages other organizations to submit an extension request for an additional 90 days.
- The NCUTCD does not know when the federal government will respond to the request.
- Some of our sponsoring organizations that have also submitted docket extension request include: AASHTO, AHUA, AREMA, ATSSA, IBTTA, ITE, and NACE.
- Council Meeting Format: This is how we will conduct our Council sessions during the third week this month:
- Only Council members, technical committee chairs, and honorary members will have the ability to speak during a Council session.
- All Council delegates will be muted. Delegates will have to raise their hand to be recognized. They will be unmuted to speak after being recognized by the Chair.
- All others will be participants who will have to submit questions and comments through the chat feature.
- The Chair will address all Council questions and comments before addressing any submitted through the chat feature.
- The Chair will monitor the chat submissions to the best of his ability and address them as he feels is best appropriate. Some questions and comments may not be addressed.
- Inconsistency/Errors in NPA: There may be errors or omissions in either the Federal Register NPA notice (called the preamble) and/or the NPA proposed MUTCD text. If you find an error or omission in either the preamble or proposed text, please inform your technical committee chair so that he/she can send Richard and me an email describing the error or omission. We are compiling a list of these items and want to identify them as soon as possible.
- Inauguration Day: On January 20, the start of the NCUTCD Council session will be delayed by one hour to allow members to observe the early activities of the official inauguration. The Council session that day will run from 2:00-6:00 pm eastern time.
- Developing Docket Comments: The last two pages of my December 11 Chair’s Message outlines the process that we will use to develop our docket comments. (https://ncutcd.org/wp-content/uploads/ChairsMessage/ChairsMessage2020No6.pdf) Technical committee chairs have been provided additional information to guide them in the development of draft docket comments for consideration by Council.
- Submitting NCUTCD Docket Comments: The NCUTCD will submit comments to the NPA docket in batches as they are developed and approved. Our early docket comments will address items in the NPA that are consistent with previously approved NCUTCD recommendations and that do not require Council approval. We expect to conduct numerous virtual Council meetings beginning after mid-February to approve additional docket comments. We will continue to conduct virtual Council meetings until we have completed the NPA review process, even if some comments are submitted after the docket comment deadline. I will not sacrifice the value of our consensus-building just to meet a deadline. We may be addressing some of the docket comments at our June meeting, hopefully in a face-to-face environment.
- June 2021 NCUTCD Meeting: At present, we are still looking at conducting the June meeting as a face-to-face meeting but we are monitoring conditions, including employee travel restrictions. If we cancel the face-to-face aspect of the meeting, we would conduct the meeting as a virtual-only meeting.
- FHWA CMS MUTCD Interpretation: On January 4, FHWA issued an interpretation clarifying messages and uses for changeable message signs. The interpretation is available on the MUTCD website.
January 8, 2021 Chair Updates