Developing 20-year transportation plans is an important part of regional and local planners’ duties.

It is an essential component of any community – how vehicle traffic gets through or goes around it.

But it shouldn’t just be left to the professionals.

Local residents need to have their say – before any proposals or revisions are set in concrete.

Astoria is in the midst of creating a new 20-year transportation plan, similar to the one Seaside unveiled in 2011 and Clatsop County in 2003. Its previous plan, passed in 1999, was set to last until 2016.

Last week’s public planning session attracted about 20 or 30 people seeking to assist in the process.

Questions addressed include one that affects Astorians just about every day of their lives. Should streets in downtown Astoria, including U.S. Highway 30, be two-way? A vast majority of attendees last week voted yes.

City leaders have already sought to broaden the number of voices chiming in with ideas. Members of the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association, and downtown revitalization expert Michele Reeves have contributed ideas. Others have made the point that Astorians walk more than residents in many other small towns. Bicycles and public transportation must also be factored in from the get-go, and not left as an afterthought or an inconvenience.

The next briefing on the plan will be an Astoria Planning Commission work session May 7.

A good turnout will signal that Astorians care about something that will affect everyone every day and are willing to share in some creative and engaged participation.