A public involvement handbook for median projects

A public involvement handbook for median projects

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A public involvement handbook for median projects
Becker, Janet
Giery, Margaret A
Florida. Dept. of Transportation. Systems Planning Office
University of South Florida. Center for Urban Transportation Research
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Roads--Florida--Design and construction ( lcsh )
Highway planning--Florida--Citizen participation ( lcsh )
Median strips--Design and construction ( lcsh )
letter ( marcgt )

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University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
33955865 ( OCLC )
C01-00243 ( USFLDC DOI )
c1.243 ( USFLDC Handle )

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A public involvement handbook for median projects
Tampa, Fla
b Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
c 1995 October
Roads--Florida--Design and construction
Highway planning--Florida--Citizen participation
Median strips--Design and construction
1 700
Becker, Janet.
Giery, Margaret A.
Florida. Dept. of Transportation. Systems Planning Office.
University of South Florida. Center for Urban Transportation Research.
Williams, Kristine M.
t Center for Urban Transportation Research Publications [USF].
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?c1.243


A Public Involvement Handbook for Median Projects Prepared for the Rorida Depaltment of Transportation Systems Planning Office CUTR Center for Urban Transportation Reaearch Unive111ity of South Florida


A Public Involvement Handbook For Median Projects Prepared for the Florida Department of Transportation Systems Planning Office Prepared by: Kristine M. Williams, AICP Msrgaret A Giery Janet Becker, Book Design Center for Urban Transportation Research College of Engineerin g University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, ENB 118 Tampa, FL 33620 (813) 974-3120 October 1995


TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1: Introduction To Publiclnvolvement .................. . . ....... 1 Objectives ........................................................................................ 1 What is public involvement ........... ................................................... 1 Why involve the public? n 2 State and federal requirements ............... ............. .......................... . .. 3 A typical process ............................................................................... 4 Public involvement issues ................................................................... 5 New public involvement procedure ........................................... 8 Chapter 2: Principles of Public Involvement ..... ... ........................ .. 9 Process principles & str.ategies .... ... ........................ ....... . . 9 InterperSOnal principles & strategies .. ........................................ ....... 11 Communicating with the public ...... : ...... ....... ... ..................... ........ 14 Organizarional values ... ............ ......... ........ ..... ............. ........................ .. 16 Working with the media .................................................................... 18 3: Public Involvement Techniques ... ........ ..... ..... ....... ........ 21 Opinion surveys or polls .................................................................. 21 Monitor actual impactS ......... ....................... ... ... ............ : ..... ............. 21 V J.SU.a.l preference surveys ......................................................................... 22 Focus groups ......... .. ............... .... ...... ........................................................ 22 Task. force ..................................................... ............ ......................... ..... \. 22 Public meetio.gs ....... ..................... ......................... ........................... .... 23 Individualized meetings ....................................................................... 23 Charettes ............................................................................................. 2 4 Open-house meetings ............................................................................... 25 ..................................................................................... 29 Logistics ...... ...................... ........... ..... ..... ......................... ... ...... ............ 3 2 Buildio.g common ground ..................................................................... 34 Chapter 4: Developing A Public Involvement Plan ........................ 37 Developing the plan ............................. . .............................. ... ..... . ....... 37 Case Studies .................... ..... ....... ...................... ...... ....... ..... . ..... ......... 41 Bibliography ................... . ..................... .............................................. 23 Appendix A: Resource Kit Appendix B: Median Evaluation Driver/Business Survey Results {District V)


CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT OBJECTIVES The objective of this handbook is to assist planners and engineers in developing a public involvement strategy for controversial access management issues. The strategies are designed to facilitate open communica tion with affecud parties and to assure adequate public involvement at key stepS in the decision process. The emphasis is on median projects and state practices, but much of the information is equally applicable to pennitting decisions and regional or local practices. People will get involved in decisions that affect them, whether or not they are offered a formal opportunity Th e challenge, therefore, is to involve them in a way that is productive and meaningful for them and for your agency. This is achieved through techniques that help minimize conflict, public trust, and safeguard projects against arbitrary or undesirable changes. Course Objeaives: To review the principles of public involvement To explore techniques for involving the public To learn how to design a public involvement process To share ideas, strategies, and concerns WliAT IS PUBUC INVOLVEMENT? Public involvement implies a role for the public. in agency decision making. It goes beyond informing the public or allowing an opportunity to comment, although these are important componentS of any public involvement program. h also requires a mechanistn for responding to public concerns or ideas. Adbeting to minimum statutory requirements meetS legal conditions, but is rarely sufficient to address public concerns Effective public involvement is: l Not a discrete task Integrated into the entire work program Involvement at key decision points Pllhlic Involwmtnt Handbook For Median Projtcts ================ 1


INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued 2 WHY INVOLVE THE PUBUC? "When decisions are controv e rsial, public involvement is a mean s of demonstrating the equity of the decision-making process to the public." -fames L. Creighron, "The Public lnvol'!lt171mt Manual Democnq and Public Accountability The primary role of any government gency is to serve the public. In a democracy, government m\LS't be responsiv e and accountable to citizens. Unfortun2tely, bureoucncies h2ve a tendency to become self-conuined. Government ogencies m.oy lose sight of their responsibility to the public as inform2tion and octivities become increasingly

. INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued Benefits of Public Involvement An effective public involvement program can ultimately safeguard an access management project agoinst arbitrary or undesirabl e changes, avoid costly delays and hearings, and reduce resentment that can lead t o future ret:Wation It will also build trust and enhance relat i onships with the public, as well as elected offici:als and other agency staff This, in tum, strengthens the credibility of your agency as one that makes responsible decisions and has a commirunent to preserving the publ ic trust. Ultimately publi c involvement increases the likelihood of public acceptance and leads to better project outcomes. An effective public involvement program: Builds trUSt and enhances relationships Strengthens agency credibility Educates and informs Increases the likelihood of public Reduces costly delays Helps avoid h e arings or litigation Leads to better outcomes STATE AND FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS ISTEA The lntermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) sets forth the most extensi ve mandate for public involvement in transpor tation to date. Rules for state transportation planning specify t hat; "Public involvement processes shall be proacti v e and provide complete information, timely public notice full public access to key decisions, and opportUnities for early and co ntinuing involv e ment. ... Public Inwlwmem Hanrlbook For Median Projtcts ====;;;;;;========== ' 3


INTRODUCTION TO PUBUC INVOLVEMENT, continued 4 Florida ISTEA (Chapter 339.155(6), F.S.) Florida!STEA was2doptedin 1993 to implement ISTEA's new transpor tation planning requirements. More extensive public involvement requirements were included for development of the Florida T ransporution Plan, but public involvement requirements for development of project plans remained largely unchanged. Chapter 339.155(6), F.S. requires that public hearings must provide :ut opponunity for effective panicipation by interested persons in the transpottation planning process, in site and route selection, and in the location and design of transporution facilities. The factors involved in the decision and any alternative proposals must be clearly presented so thai the persons attending the hearing may present their views relating to the decision. Subsequent rehearing is required during the design phase only where the design is so changed from that previously presented to have a substan tially different social, economic, or environmental effect." A TYPICAL PROCESS PD&E The statutorily prescribed public involvement process for facility loca cion and design occurs during the Project Development and Environment or PD&E. study phase. The typical process begins with an optional kick off meeting to inform community le2ders and government officials about the project. Upon analysis of alternatives, a second meeting may be held to inform the public of design alternatives and their impacts, and to obtain public input. Additional workshops may be held to follow up with special interest groups regarding additional design and environmental analysis. Finally, a public hearing is required to present the conceptual design for the proposed facility and obtain public comment. Median issues may arise during the public hearing related to the concep tual design, but the number and type of median openings or closures may or may not be ..tdressed in detail, depending upon the District. Upon completion of the public hearing, affected parties are provided 30 days to Public Inw/wment HandbO

INTRODUCTION TO PUBUC INVOLVEMENT, rontinued . . comment. H no major objections are received, then the preliminary engineering document is submitted to FHW A for location and design approval. Design ,Phase Following the PD&E process and public hearing the.deuils of median design are determined. This involves four subphases: Phase 1 (30% design plan) documentS the existing condition and preliminary improvements ; Phase 2 (60% design plan) includes proposed improvements; Phase 3 (90% design plan) addresses right-of-way acquisition ; and Phase 4 (100% design plan) is prep aration of the final design plan. rehearings are conducted if a major design change occurs after the initial public bearing. However, what constitutes a major design change is subjea to interpretation of project environmental documents. These documents are reevaluated by each District and the FHW A, but this is typically treated as a formality unless a design decision is highly controversial. Additional public meetings or public information activities during the design phase are optional. PUBUC INVOLVEMENT ISSUES Many median projectS fall oUtside of the minimum public involvement requirements. Although the PD&E public hearing is required for aU new projects and road widenings (other than int=eaion widenings), median changes are eypical!y not addressed in detail during this hearing. In addition, median changes tend to be interpreted as a programmatic Categorical Exclusion (CE). This category is reserved for projects with minimal impact and therefore does not require public involvement. If a project is state funded, then the Department need only document that potential impacts were considered and public involvement is not required. Issues In Current Practice PD& E involves the conceptual design hearing, and design is not usually addressed in detail. PD&E hearings have typically focused on resolution of envi ronment concerns, rather than sp ecific project design. Public Inwlwmerrt For Median Projects ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;i;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; 5


INTRODUCTION TO PUBUC INVOLVEMENT, continued 6 Years may lapse betWeen public hMng and production and affected parties often change The process relies on publichMngs and only highly controver sial or complex projects may involve meetings or workshops. Many projects involving medi2n changes faU outside of mini mum public involvement requjrements. Public involvement during design is required only for major design changes and is not automatic with median changes Inconsistencies in applying median opening standards or overly strict interpretation of standards has damaged agency credibil ity. Need for clear guidelines regarding appropriate level of flexibility. Inadequate local government suppon for medi2n projects and access decisions. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Median decisions should be treated as major design changes. Public opposition and political appeals are common with median projects. Yet current statutory and procedural requirements do not address the need for public involvement during the design phase when controversial median decisions are made. The PD&E public hearing may occur years before production is initiated and meclian projects are frequently consid ered to be exempt from the PD&E public bearing process. As a result, Districts vary in tenns of the level of public involvement provided for medi2n projects Public illvolvemmt related to median decisions should begin ill PD&E and occur agaill early in production. Continuity is crucial in a public involvement effon. Some meclian issues, such as installation of a new raised median or substantial redesign of a meclian, mUSt be addressed in PD&E and decisions must be clearly documented. Public involvement activities should be initiated again early in the production process to allow adequate opportunity for the public to express concerns and for consid eration of potential design alternatives. If public involvement is initiated too late in the design phase, it loses legitimacy and decreases the likelihood that desired project changes can be incorporated. Public /rrvolwmnu Hantlbook For Median Projeca


.. INTRODUCTION TO PUBUC INVOLVEMENT, continued . . ... Public hearings should not be the sole forum public involvement in median decisions. Districts that rely on public hearings for median projects reportthattheytendto beadversari:al andh:we not been effective in resolving public concems for several reasons. Fim, the hearings are hdd before the median design has been devdoped and thus there is no closure. Second, the hearings must focus on the broad range of issues related to the project, and .acces> issues are no t adequately addressed. Third, not enough is done to explain to participants the purpose of access management and the need for the proposed median changes. As a result, political appeals are frequent and results have been unpredictable. Coordination and consistency in median decisions is cniclal to agency credibility. Problems with implementing median changes have been compounded by inconsistencies within and across Districts in addressing deviation from access management standards. Better coordination and consistency of median decisions, as well as a fair procedure for evaluating requests fordeviaton, will strengthen the credibility of the access manage ment program. This is crucial for effective management of the political controversy that surrounds access management projects. The public involvement for median projects should be open, f:Ur, and technic:ally sound. Districts that involve the public in median design decisions report higli success in achieving access management objectives and relatively few problems with managing political appeals. According to District IV, fewer than 1% of access management issues go to the District Secretary. District V has never had to go to administrative hearing on a median decision. Each District attributes their effectiveness to their fair and open process for responding to public concerns In the process, both Districts are building tdationships that are fundamental to long term success. These fmdings hold promise for the initiation o f .imilar public involvement programs for median projects in other Dis tricts. The reasons for median improvements need to be strongly communi cated to the public. A sound logical and technical basis for median decisions is necessary to achieving public confidence. Department policies and standards are not a sufficient justification of the need for a particular design :alternative Preliminary mffic engineering analyses should be completed prior to initiating public involvement. This pro vides the logical basis for justifying a proposed alternative to the public and explaining why other alternatives were not selected. This includes .. Public /7tVolwment Handbook For Median Projtas 7


INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued 8 better data on resulting improvem ents in safety and roadway level of service, and economic indicators such as reduction in property damage and expansion of overall m2rk e t area. NEW PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PROCEDURE A median opening usk force was formed in 1994, including representa tives from the centw office and each FDOT District, to discuss issues in current practice relat e d to median openings and public involvement for median projects. From these discussions, anew procedure was devel oped to improve consiStency of median opening decisions, establish a commit tee process for review of deviation requests, and to provide more effective public involvement. The new procedure, entiTledi>euialions from Median Opening StAndards: A Procedu"' for Engineering Decisions, was adopted by the Depanment in 1995. The procedure C.US for initiating public involvement on median design during PD&E and carrying this through into produCtion, with some involvement to occur by at least the 30% design phase. A tiered public involvement program was recommended, with more extensive public involvement for complex or controversial projects. An open bouse meeting format was suggested for this purpose, as weD as personal visits and meetings with l ocal government officials, civic associa tions and others as warranted. The need for clear graphics, adequate traffic engineering analysis prior to the public meeting, involvement of all those affected (including leasors of businesses and neighbors or users of the corridor), and internal coordination were also emphasized. Pwblic Inwlwment HAm/book For Median Projms


CHAPTER. 2: PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT Knowledge of the following principles is useful for managing public o pinion on controversial projectS. Several of these principles are also applicable to dealing with applicants in permit situations PROCESS PRINCIPLES&: STRATEGIES "Procedures, rather than actual decisions, are the origin of most people's perception of political legitimacy. -Public Planning and Centro/ of Urban Land Development Satisfy process values. Consent is most likely to be achieved when the process values of affected parties have been met. In other words, participants should generally agree that the decision-making process is fair and reasonable, that they are being heard, and that their concerns are being considered. In particular: People will be less likely to accept a project or decision if they feel it is being imposed on thetn or that the process that produced it is not legitimate. Affectedpartiesaremorelikelytoacceptsomehardship,ifth e y have been treated fairly in the decision making process. Political appeals can be more effectively managed if it can be demonstrated that a complainant's concerns have been carefully weighed. Those that refuse to participate in the problem solvingproeess, only to become vocal opponents late in the process, tend to lose c redibility. Involve the .stakeholders. The objective of public involvement on controversial projects is to bring public concerns to the forefront so they can be debated and reso lved. Seek out majo r stakeholders and actively solicit their involvement. Also, never try to exclude anyone who wants to participate. This creates suspicion o f the agency's intentions and could transform potential participants into opponents. Public Inwl

PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued 10 Start early and minimize the number of steps. Involve interested partie$ early to provide for me:aningful invo lvement and allow enough time for ossisted problem solving. Concerns that are raised early in the process are more likely to be re$olved than those tbt arise after the projecthas been designed. For median projects, the public involvement process should begin in PD&E md parallel the production pr= so public concerns can be addressed in project solutions. A void clngging out the process. Encounge early re$0lution of issues md minimize the number of steps required for achieving a decision. Clarify the parameters of median decisions. The public should be informed of the Department's median policy md medi211 opening standards, as these are import211t par;uneters of the decision process. However, these are the parameters, rother than the justifieotion, for a design .Jternative. Politie.J pressure may revolve around opposition to the medim policy, rother thm how the median is designed. If so, then Department rep=tatives must be prepared to explain in clear and persuasive terms, the basis for the medim policy. Disputes related to requests for deviations from median opening st211dards should be addressed in the context of the department's technical and procedural guidelines. A fair and objective review of .!tematives proposed by the public is e$5ential to maintaining credibility of the public involvement prOCe$5. M2intain continuity of involvement as a project progresses. Project managers often lament that the people often do not get involved until the project is well underway. It is important to realize that different publics tend to get involved at different stage$ of the project development process. In gener.J, more people will tend to get involved as project progte$5e$. This is because issues that may be obscured in the planning pbase, come to light in the design phase when people can clearly see bow proposed access chmge$ will affect them. Therefore, it is essenti.J to have opporrunites for involvement at each milestone of the decision prOCe$5. Continuity is crucial, because: Different groups get involved a t different stages More people get involved as a project progresses Continuity of involvement helps keep project on track Public Inwlwm<11t Handbook Fcw M

PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued Never try to slip a controversial decision past the public. Even if you can get away with this, the affected parties will find out eventually and your project (and possibly even the access management program), will be living on borrowed time. The damage to your agency's credibility will be difficult to reverse, and the potential for future retaliation will be high. Prove to the publicthattheir<:ODcemswill beaddres$ed. Make it clear to participants that the project is not set in stone; that there is a process for considering modifications. Acknowledge the public's role in the decision process and show a willingness tO modify the project in response to valid public concerns. The challenge is to balance technical solutions and public concems, while advancing access management principles and project intent. Even where nothing should be done to change the project, it is important to let the public know that their concerns have been considered and why no better solution could be achieved. Achieve clear resolution and provide prompt feedback. Nothing is more damaging to the credibility of a process than failure to resolve issues and follow-up with participants on decisions made in response to thcir concerns. Summarize the key recommendations or concerns that were expressed, the official response, and any future opportunities to partici pate. If additional analysis is called for, then it should be completed as soon as possible after meeting with affected parties and obtainingtheirconoems or comments. Clearly resolve the major issues or concerns. Although consensus is generally unattainable, it is important to achieve some resolution of the issues-even if some remain unsatisfied. INTERPERSONAL PRINCIPLES & STRATEGIES "When it comes right down to it, other things being relatively equal, the human dynamic is more important than the technical dimen sions ofthe deal. -Stephen R. Gbwy, 7be 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Providing an opportunity for public involvement is not sufficient. Plan ners and engineers must also develop skills lor managing the differences that arise when diverse interests are given a voice in the process. Dealing with diverse interests requires strong communication skills and an under standing of the limits and objeetives of the public involvement program. It also involves application of some basic rules of human interaction. Public Inwlwmtnt Handbook For Median Projtcl$ -=============== 11


PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued 12 Strive for conscut, not coruensus. It is genenlly to expect consensus for decisions related to controvenial projectS. Instead, project manager.; hould strive for consent-defined in this context a$ "a grudging willingneu to go along. Affected parties should be able to acknowledge that the project is needed or at least that the propoted action is better than doing nothing. Effons to achieve consensus can result in endless discussioru, which are frustrating for everyone. Instead, the project manager should elicit the key concerns, take in all points of view, and then make the final decisions Build trust and enhance rebtioruhips. Rdatioruhip building is crucial to long term success. Get to know the "local d e cision maker.; and communiry leader.;, and keep them informed about the status of project decisioru Ask the sam e of themin return. Building a network of relationships will help you avoid unpleasant surprues. Participate in a professional or community activity where they will be present or communicate with them informally when the opportunity arrives. This will help promote trust and increase your credibility and ultimately that of your agency Seek to clearly understand public concerns. Many planner.; and engineers feel tll2t the primary objective of a public meeting is to make participants undeMand their position. This puts you in a defensive, or wor.;e yet, offensive mode. It is far more important that you fim focus on dearl y undemanding the concerns and position of participantS. If you are unclear, then .. k, "Let me see if I really understand what your position is and what your concern5 really are abow this alternative." !ul accurate diagnosis of public concern5 is crucial to achieving a compromise. So=times simply t.rlking tlnough w concerns of all thost inwlwd in a decision, 'fl!illleaJ to discovery of an accepuble solution. It will also help participants betterundemand and respect each other's intereru, ready them for a compromise, and incre..e the likelihood they will work toward the best possible mutual soluti o n. Present your position from your listcneJ"'s frame of reference. The natural tendency in r .. olving disput .. is to begin with an appeal to logic. In contro ver.;ial situations, it is more important to first establish your credibility a$ someone who is capable of reaching a fair decision. Stephen Covey adv:i>estllllt "being influenceabl e is the key to influencing others. He suggeru that an effective presentation would: "De>cribe the altema tive they are in favor of better than they can themselves. Show that you undemand them in depth. Then carefully explain the logic behind your request. Public lnwlwmen: Hantlbook For MedUn Projtcts


PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued -.t... . ; ... Establish need. An audience that disputes the need for a proposed project will be less receptive to proposed design plans and less willing to compromise. Establish why the project is important as w e ll as what must be done. Present a convincing argument using data on accidents, injuries, property damage, or increases in traffic volumes to demonstrate need. Do prelimin:uy traffic engineering analyses prior to the proposed design to demonstrate how change has negatively affected the corridor and why the project is needed. Use before and after studies of other similar projects to demonstrate project benefits Try to be affirming. The resolution of conflict requires us to offer personol acceptance to the other side-to acknowledge each individual's value and importance to resolving the issues at hand. It is a basic human need to feel accepted and valued. If acceptance is withheld, then that often becomes the PrUnarr source of contention. Try letting participants draw up their own solution. Strive for solutions that are fair, workable, and tlw address the concerns of involved parties. Try giving participants an opportunity to draw up their own solution. Sometimes, this will stimulate their understandirig of the difficult trade-offs. Be tolerant and stay c:alm. It is difficult to keep cool under fire, but it is essential for obraining and maintainingpublicrespect. Avoid aggressive posturing and do not behave as if you have all the answers. Instead, respectfully explain your position, listen carefully to public concerns, and ask their help in devising a better solution. If the audience is emotional, then strive to be reasonable and listen. Never allow your conduct to be influenced by others. Anticipate some anger-especi4/Jy if the line< of communication have been closed in the People often need to vent their hostility before they are ready to consider alternatives. This is sometimes a necess:uy if unpleas ant, step in achieving their trust. Let volatile individuals "bum them selves out." If the discussion gets heated, reiterate that we are not here to fight, we are here to find solutions. We want to fmd common ground. However, if the meeting becomes too hostile, you should probably postpone the conclusion and let people cool off. Public involvement specialist James Creighton notes that, "some issues simply cannot be resolved till the time is ripe. Usually, that time occurs when both sides Public Inwl'fJeffltnt Handbook For Median ProjectJ ================;; .13


PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued 14 realize that continued conflict is getting them nowhere and that, to get what they want, they will have to compromise t Rcmc:mber:peoplecangenerallydiffercntiatewhat'$=onablefrom what im't. People are generally capable of differentiating legitimate concerns from unreasonable or self-serving demands. Although some people will try to get as much as they can, they will not necessarily expect all of their demands to be met. For complex issues, the public will require professional assistance in w e ighing the implications of proposed alterna uves. Practice prototype scenarios. A prototype scenario is an example of a set of circumstances and issues that the agency is likely to encounter. It could be used prior to proposUig a median improvement to develop a ruategy for communicating with various groups and to he lp highlight potential problems and appropriate responses. Practicing prototype scenarios is one way to develop knowledge and experience that can be applied to real world situations-without having to learn the hard way. Avoid bany concemons or c:ommitmmu. Some try to appe2Se others by making coqcessions. This can backfJ.l'e when managing diverse interests and rarely produces a lasting solution. Avoid committing to a project change without first considering the ramifications. Advise the concerned parties that you will look into the matter. Be aware that an approach which is popular with one group may incite the wrath of another. In addition, a premature commitment thatlater must be revoked would put the project manager, and the Department, in an awkward position. COMMUNICATING WIIH TiiEPUBUC Tell the truth. Consistent responses and clear communication are essential to credibility. Vague or inconsistent responses erode public confidence and can lead to harmful misunderstandings. Be forthright, negotiate in good faith, and request the same of your audience. Don't hold information back. If affected groups are fully informed about the ways a project or program will affect them, they're much more likely to accept the situation as a necessary inconvenience. Speak (and write) in everyday language Avoid abstractions and jargon, inclu ding acronyms. Instead, translate technical material into everyday language and presentthe information in such a way that people can clearly Public lnwlwmmt Handbook For Median Projects


PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued : . ,;. .. understand how it affects their lives. Your presentation will be more persuasive if you bring policies and principles down to a personal level. Even an experienced spe:aker may have difficulty speaking in a public meeting forum. Be aware that issues which seem perfectly clear to professional staff, may not be clear to the public. A clear, well-rehearsed presentationinlayman'stermswillyieldamoresuccessfuloutcOmethan one which assumes ilevel of awareness that the audience may not possess. Follow these guidelines: be concise use commonly understood words and phrases speak slowly and deliberately Use clear visuals. Portray existing conditions and project changes so they can be easily interpreted by a lay audience with a minimum of explana tion. Use conceptual drawings and aerial photos, rather than construc tion plans to communicate proposed median changes. A few btfore and a:fter slides showing the transformation into a more attractive, functional corridor can be highly effective in selling the project to the public and are worth the effort to produce. Be prepared to answer objections. Learn as much as possible about the toncerns and values of influential groups and their basic position toward the objective. If you don't know or understand their position, then ask them to explain it. Says planning strategist Jerome Kaufman, "whatever the concerns of the target groups, strategists should know about them in specific terms so they can anticipate or lesson perceived negative aspects."' Practice your responses, be prepared to answer all possible objections, and emphasize perceived positives of the project. Keep the lines of communication open. It is surprising how many misunderstandings are created because the lines of cornmunication were not adequately open betWeen the agency and the public. Make yourself available to the public and respond promptly and courteously to calls, lettters, complaints, and requests for information. Consider establishing a minimum turn around time for letters (one week} and calls (24 hours). Irwol

PRINCIPLES OF PUBUC INVOLVEMENT, continued 16 A prompt and courteous response will help avoid unnecessary conflicts and maintain relationships. Attend to nonvbal communication. People send messages to one another, often unconsciously, through their body language, facial e x pressions, hand gesrures, or simple positioning of their arms, legs, or head. Be aware of these nonverbal indicators, and try to avoid sending signals that could be interpreted as defensive or agressive, SUth as standing w ith arms folded or frowning. ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES "Trust is a big part of successful change. The way you build trust is by practicing the pol itics of inclusion. -David Osborne, Reinventing Gowrnment Establish A Unified Value System The Public Oulrt4<:h Handbook fqr Departments of Tramportarion (NCHRP Report 364, 1994} emphasizes the need for organizations to develop a strategy and unified value system for dealing with the public. Says the repoi-t, only a calm, forceful current at the deepest level strategy and valuescan'keep a DOT from being carried off on the tides of opinion or beaten by the .,...ves of attitude, rather than remaining master of its own fate. This value system should promote "the politics of inclusion -including people in decisions that affect them, keeping people informed, and opening the lines of communication. &Proutive A primary objective of high.,...y agencies is to produce transportation projects in a timely and cost-effective way Public involvement may be percieved as an impediment to this objective. For this reason, it .is crucial to proactively engage the public early enough to avoid production delays. A simple technique is to allow changes that arise from public meetings to be attached as an addendum to the project report, so as not to hold up the report. In addition, it may be necessary to demonstrate to management and project staff how not involving the public on other projects has resulted in longer delays or unsatisfactory outcomes. PJJ/ic Inwlwment Handbook For Meditln Pro jects


PRINCIPLES OF i?UBUC INVOLVEMENT, continued Establish a Committment to Customer Service Generatin,g public support requires a strong commitment to customer service. Customer service is everyone's respo nsibility n ot just that of the public information officers or of some group other than yours. The imp r ession people get w hen dealing with the Department o n median issues affectS the image of the department and the o.ccess management program When affected parties contact the Department for infonnation about a median project or decision, it is essential that they are dealt with efficiently and courteously. Make sur e support staff know how to refer call-ins. Giving callers or visitors the bureacratic run-around is the kiss of death for any government agency. Conduct Public Outreach The D e partment should create an understanding of a median project or :1ecess management program among the public through informati on. Build a public constituency in favor of the project and the policies being advanced through targeted public outreo.ch. The Public Outreach Hand book for ofTransportalion suggests that DOTs should con duct public outre:leh on noncontroversial issues to build a foundation f o r trust. It also recommends the following strategies, which can be applied to access management: Humanizethefaceyourdepanmentpresentstotheworld. For example, instead of discussing problems related tO "increased conflict points, describe the hazardous turning movements aSsociated w ith a median opening or give an example of an unsafe access situation that resulted in an injury or property damage. Create a positive image through success stories or "institu tional legends." I dentify some access management success stories and use them to improve the image of th e program. Before and after corridor stUdies can be used for this purpose, not only as safety and efficiency improvements, but also for their aesthetic benefits Inform people about efforts underway to improve the efficiency of the system. Access management and median improve ments are traffic management strategies and this should be emphasized in planning arid public information programs. Public Invol

PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued 18 Collaborate with rhe/ntblic information office. Public infor marion officers should be briefed on the purpose and intent of access management policies and projects underway. They should also be able to in from c:allers how to get involved in the decision process or who to contact for more information. Create a Speaker's BIITtaiL Extensively brief one or more people on staff on all aspects of a major project or the Department's access management program. Then make these speakers available to local governments and community or business organizations for presentations. Slide programs cov ering various aspects of rhe access management program are available from the central office for this purpose. WORKING WIIH THE MEDIA Good media coverage is helpful to achieving public and legislative suppon for Department projects and prognms. Unforrunately, it is much harder to get positive coverage of access management projects-especially when the Department's story is complex and technical, while the other side raises basic human concerns It takes some knowledge of inherent biases of the media, to tailor your news so it is more "newsworthy" Be aware that the media, like any agency, has certain production biases. R.eponers may manipulate the news, take quotations out of context, and sensationalize headlines to attract readers. But your agency can play to these biases so your side of the story will be heard. Also, establish a working relationship with a reportet preferably one that has a reputa tion for fair and thorough coverage of issues. In his article "How Public Managers Can Exploit The Biases of the Press, Roben Behn explains these biases and provides the following tips for getting broader media coverage of your side of the story.' Journalists prefer stories that are: simple to repon, simple to understand, contain personal vignettes, are symbolic and represent eternal truths or age-old themes Public Handbook For MedU.n Projects


PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued . Jowmlists tend to: report what is said about complicated regulations, rother than think it through. feel monl.ly compelled to cover government incompetence: government fueds, scandals, mistreated citizens. gloss ,over philosophical disagreements, Project managers can play these pr_ oduction biases, by: Press Kits making their news easy to cover, understand and report. providing personal vignettes. linking it to an enduring American theme. making the bad news complicated and abstract and without a moral lesson. Jowmlists are pressed to get each story out quickly and appreciate press releases and other prepared matt rials about the project. Toward this end, project managers could prepare a press kit. The kit could contain facts about the project, a press release including quotations from key agency rt}lresentatives, infonnation on any future public involvement activities, who to contact for more information, and crisp graphics or tables (ie, graphics showing accident hot spots or data on rising traffic volumes on the corridor slated for improvement). References 1 James L Creighton, The Public lnwlwment Manual, Cam bridge: ABT Books, 1981, pp. 76. 2 Jerome Kaufman, "Making Planners More Effective Strategists," in Barry Checkoway, ed. Strategic Perspectiws on Planning Practice, Univ. of Michigan: Lexington Books, 1986. 'RobertO. Behn, "How PublicManagersCanExploit The Biases of the Press, Governing, June 1994, pp. 80. Public InvolfJtment Handbook For Mtdian Projects -==;i;;;;============ 19


' PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, continued NOTES: 20 Public Inwlvmzrnt Handbook For Median l'Tojecr.


CHAPTER 3: PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES "We need a way to deal with the public on median opening issues. -FDOT Design Engineer One of the most common difficulties related to median projects is the tendency for opponents to be far more active than supponers. The traveling public, which is more likely to suppon a medWi project, is often not represented at public hearings. Elected officials, f.tced with an ira te constituency, often react as if the opposition were the majority view. One way to overcome this problem is to conduct a survey or poll to obtain public opinion related to median projects Opinion surveys are especially useful for obtaining information on perceptions of v:ujous groups regarding the median project, after eon strw:tion. Favorable results can be used in selling future projects to the public. FOOT Districts IV and V have used this technique and f ound opinions of the travelling public and truck drivers to be generally favorable. A siuvey by District IV found the majority of business owners perceived no loss of profit foDowing a median change. A sample of the District V survey results appears in the Appendix of this Chapter. MONITOR ACTUAL IMPACTS One o f the difficulties in achieving public consent on median projects is responding to concerns about potential negative impacts of the project. One way to address this issue, is to monitor the actual impacts of a project after it is constructed This wiD provide essential information on actual impacts, some of which m a y not have been anticipated and could be avoided in future projects It will also indicate anticipated imp.cts that were not realized. This could be accomplished through opinion surveys, evaluation of operational and safety impacts, information on business activity, and so on. Each District should initiate a process for monitoring actual impacts of a project and docw:nenring this inform atio n for future use. This should be accomplished by the project designer, who has more intimate knowledge of the issues and concerns that surrounded the project and may recognize issues that others would overlook. It should also involve someone who is less closely tied to the project and less likely to bias the results. Public !nfJofvemtnt Handbook For Median Projects =============== 21


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued 22 VISUAL PREFERENCE SURVEYS A visual preference survey can be used to identify design characteristics that citizens prefer. Several examples of median and non-median images could be displayed on slides, with some from the affected community. Citizens would be given about 5 seconds per slide to rate the image on a scale of+ !Oto -10. Afterthesurvey,citizensare given a questionnaire and are asked to write down additional comments. The results of this session are synthesized into the 10 most positive and negative images. The visual preference survey can be helpful in providing the support of public opinion for proposed median designs. FOCUS GROUPS Focus groups are an effective way of assessing public opinion regarding policy directions and program objectives. They could be used to obtain the views of a particular group related to an access management or median initiative, or to obtain a random cross section of views from various groups For example a focus group was htld by FOOT consultants with Florida devtlopers to identify developer attitudes regarding varous tech niques for right-of-way reservation. A focus group involves a small group discussion with a professional facilitator. The agenda is focused on answering only a few key que stions and the emphasis is on identifying points of agreement as w e ll as diverging opinions. Discussion is free flowing and spontaneous, rather than controlled. The idea is to elicit, not shape, penpectivestherefore this is not a problem-solving technique. Some presentation of material may be needed to clarify the subject and participants are not required to prepare. TASKFORCE A task force is an excellent, although somewhat tim e consuming, ap proach for building collaboration and achieving resolution of a complex or controversial problem. Applications could include a corridor access management program or major median project. The task force is established by a sponsoring agency and should be comprised of a cross section of interestS. Members must be thoroughly apprised of the issues and alternatives through background information and technical presen tations. They are charged with deliberating the issues and formulating an appropriate course of action. For e xample, a task force was established by the Santa Rosa County MPO for the US 98 corridorto identify acceptable access manage ment strategies.


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued PUBUC MEETJNGS Public meetings have a dual purpose-to furnish infonnation to the genera! public, and to obtain public comments on a current or proposed project. These meetings can be held throughout the life of a project to heighten community awareness, obtain public feedback, and involve the public in project decisions. For controversial projects, public meetings are an essential intermediary Step, before conducting formal.iz.ed public hearings. Benefits of public meetings: They allow early, timely citizen involvement .. They allow for broader participation They reflect agency .Uppon for public involvement. The procedures are flexible and infonnal They = be held whenever necessary throughout the project. They allow use of various involvement techniques, depending upon the meeting objective. INDIVIDUAliZED MEETINGS Small group or one-on-on e meetings are useful to discuss specific issues th2t are of concern to a particular group or individual. These meetings can be anticipated with local officials, business or other interest groups, associations, legislative representatives, and p roperty owners. Small meetings tend to be more pr<>

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued 24 Document the retults of each meeting for participants and the project file. If during the course of a public meeting or workshop, i t appears that agreement is being reached on a particular subject, participants should be asked if they support the recommendations or ideas being discussed. A direct,

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued day long event, or last a few hours, depending upon the issue. It typically involves extensive preparation and resources, such as graphic materi.:Us, slides of diHerent alternatives, maps, overlays, and aerial photographs. OPEN-HOUSE MEETINGS An open-house meeting promoteS an open exchange of information betWeen citizens and project sWf in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. This forum can be used for public hearings or for more informal meetings. It is highly recommended for the purposes of informing the public regard ing median changes during design, and should be done prior to develop ment of 30% design plans. It is described more fully below: Getting the word out. An open invitation should l>e extended to all those who would like to participate. Special effort should be taken to inform and invite stakeholders and those directly affected by the project. This should include those who lease property on the corridor, and may include neighborhood associations and other civic or business organiza tions. Flyers advertising the meeting should be posted in highly visible locations near the project and distributed by hand to all businesses along the affected corridor. If the project involves a large geographic area, it may be necessary to use a combination of techniques or to solicit assistance from the local government. If a busine$$ proprietor is amenable, leave a stack of handouts in the business to notify customers. A notice of the event should also be published in the local newspaper and sent directly to any organizations that may have an interest in the outcom e . Attendance. The project manager and technical specialists should attend so that questions can be answered at the meeting. Project managers may consider staggering attendance of the public by inviting diHerent groups to attend at diHerent times. This allows the project manager to mqre thoroughly address the needs and concerns of a particular group at different phases of the meeting. If this alternative is chosen, be sure to indicate that anyone may still attend at any time. Writing the Invitation. Write the invitation in everyday language. This is in contrast to a formal public notice in legalistic language, which sets an almost adversarial tone. Briefly explain the project and why it is needed, the meeting time and location, and extend an invitation to the public to comment. Use phrases like, "You: are invired to .... We plan to improve the median along .... and have scheduled an open house to show you the preliminary design concepu ... We welcome your ideas, comments, Public Inwlfltmtnt Ha.ndbookFor Median Projtcts ================ 25


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued 26 or suggtstions as we Strive to create the most effective design for th:at corridor." Time and Duration. The meetings should be held during non-work hours or on the weekend. Typical times ruo from 4:00pm to 8:00 pm or 5:00pm to 9:00pm. The duratio n of the meeting could range anywhere from two to eight hours, depending on the number of participants expected to attend. Typically, three or four hours is sufficient Citiu:o Reactions To Open House Format "The information was well pr

PUBUC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued Handouts. Handouts play a crucial role in open house meetings, as they replace formal presenucions. Handouts should include: a welcome letter that briefly describes how the open house forum works and how citizens can submit comments. a graphical depiction of the location and design of the project a description of the project and a surement of need or purpose a brief description of the project decision process, including the timel.ine for decisions malcing and any deacllines for submission of comments. provide some handouts in Spanish in areas with a large Spanish speaking population. Tips for handouts: Keep your message clear, simple and informal. If you find your writing is too formal, try writing as you speak. How you present your message is just as important as what you have to say. Don't use passive voice-it is too impersonal. Translate jargon into human terms to make the handout more accessible and interesting to a lay audience. Also, be sure to spell check all correspondence, including summaries of public comments-sloppy summaries and mispellings send the wrong messages to tbe public. These commonly used planning tenns are impersonal and therefore not as effective in stimulating interest or understanding. Instead, try using the alternatives outlined below: input ideas, concerns, suggestions provided input participated mitigate reduce implement carry OUt significant impact s (means many tbings-b.e more descriptive) maximized increased minimized reduced utilize use Room Set-Up. Information tables should be set up at the entrance of the meeting place and each panicipant should be required to sign in before receiving a copy of handoutS. A "greeter" shouldstaffthistabletoexplain the handouts, provide comment cards, and direct the public to the displays inside. Exhibits should be displayed and a separate "commen,t Public [nflolvemtnt Handbook For Median Projtas =========;;;;;;;====== 27


PUBUC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued 28 table could also be set up with a box for comme n t cards. T h e room set up should allow visitors to circulate freely between the displays and t he comment table (see Figure 1). FIGURE 1: OPEN HOUSE MEETING FORMAT Exhibit 0 Agency Staff 0 0 0 I I Videotape Vtewing Area Citizen Comments I I Comment I I Information Table sign-in Entrance I & Forms I v v I Box I Rlmning the Meeting. The project manager and technical specialists should be available at the display area to answer any questions that might arise. Other Depanment representatives should be available to assist with sign-up and nmniag the meeting The public should be encouraged to speak with Department representatives and other experts who are present and to ask as many questions as they wish. Do preliminary engineering before the meeting. This provides you with the necessary technical information to adequatel y respond to ques tions and concerns about the project. It also assures that y o u hav e clearly thought through the majo r design and operational issues prior to the public meeting. Being prepared and h aving reasonab l e and technically sound answers is important to establishing the credibility of your agency and the project. Public Handbook For Median ProjectJ


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued Advantages. Advantages of the open-house forum include: DOT genm!ly receives much more public input from citizens than at a formalized hearing, where comments may not always be given. Citizens feel more comfortable making written comments than they would at a form.! hearing where they may be intimidated by other speakers or embarrassed to ask questions. The public has more flexibility in attending at any point during an established time frame. They can come and go at their convenience, and it is a more efficient use of everyone's time. A written reply to all comments helps the public undemand that DOT is. responding to concerns. 1 PUBUC HEARINGS Public hearings should be held only after every effort has been made to address the concerns of each interest and obtain public support for the project. The purpose of the public hearing is to establish an official record of agency decisions and to meet minimum legal requirements for public involvement. The proceedings are recorded and transCribed into a written record, which is is certified by a hearing officer. Some time is allowed beforeandafterthehearingtoallowadditionalcomrnentstobesubmitted into the record. Public hearings are advertised in a newspaper of general circulation, furnishing the date, time, and location of the event. Preferably, the hearing should ratify a project decision that has .!ready been informally worked out. This does not mean total agreement will have been reached, only that every effort has already been made to reach an agreement. A public hearing is less of an occasion for citizen involvement than it is a legal precondition to agency decisions. They are typically ineffective as a primary public involvement technique because: They're typically held too late in the decision process. They put the public and the agency in a defensive and often adversariol posture. Public Inwlwmenl Hanilbook For Median Projtt:tJ =============== 29.


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued 30 Citizensoftenfeelthattheirconcernswillnotbeaddressed,and only pow e rful or politically adept opponents tend to hav e any infiuence over the process They do not reflect a high level of agency concern over public involvement. Public Hearing Fortll2tS The fonnat for a public h.Wg may be either informal, using the open house format, or formal, with presentations and a moderator to manage the comment period and broker discussion. Some of the common problems associated with formal public h.Wgs are: Typically, the public has dev e loped misconceptions about the project through rumors or incomplete m e dia reports Those most affected by the project-usually those with the most to lose-are more likely to invest time and energy in attending theh.Wg. Frustr.ltion grows due t o procedural formalities, long waits, and inability to see displays. People may feel intimidated by polished presentations and having to speak into a microphone in front of a crowd. Unaccustomed to the publicspoiligbt,many become emotional or even militant, w.iag uncompromising and inflammatory language. A vocal opponent may use the hearing as an opportunity to obtain public sympathy and rally opposition. Suspicious of agency intent or asswnptions,thepublicmaybeeasilyswayed. This "mass tffea" Ca\!Se$ the heuing to deteriorate into an arguing match, and agency representativ e s are harrassed by an irate public. An informal "open house" format is preferred as it creates a more relaxed atmosphere and does not require participants to sit through lengthy debates. This is similar to the open house meeting described above with some differences. It requires a court reporter to record Public Inwlwmmt Handboole For Mtdian Projects


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued lengthier comments, as well as additional displays and more detalied handouts. A sample appears in Figure 2. (Note: One of these displays should address changes that affect property access, such as proposed installation or redesign of a restricti,ve median.) Additional experts need to be on hand to address various aspects of a project, such as right-of-way, environmental experts tnffic operations and design engineers, and others as needed to respond to questions and concerns. Project staff not only pr!)vide information, but also may l earn of issues that otherwise would not have arisen, 'such as changes in property o wnership or design alternativ es. FIGURE 2: OPEN HOUSE PUBUC HEARING FORMAT Exhibits II ll Slide/Tape Pr 00 0 0 Agency Staff 0 0 0 Exhibits I I 0 0 Agency Staff r-0 Resour.ce People 0 0 0 0 0 I I Court Reporter Citizen Comments r-1 Comment 11 Information '\, 0 1 & Forms 1 0 0 Table tgll-Jn Entrance I .. Public [n

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES continued 32 Participants should be greeted, asked to sign in, and then be directed to the display with the fewest people. Provide three methods for public c om ment: comment cards with a tabl e where participants can fill them out and a box to deposit them; a court report to record lengthier oral comments; sending written comments with an address and de:tdline i n the handout materials and signs explaining this in the hearing room. After the time period has el apsed for comments then the official tran script should be sentto a location stated in the handout for public rev i ew A thank you note or response to specific questions be sent to every participant that commen t ed. In addition, if supporters or opponents want to provide information or circulate petitions set up tabl es o utside the hearing room for this purpose LOGISTICS Before drafting a notice advertising an upcoming public meeting, think about your target autlience So often, public notices regarding plans or projects are so "legalistic" and complicated, they are not understood by the recipients This gives the impression of bureaucracy. T o improve public involvement at meetings, the invitation to attend should be clear, co n cise and above all else, readable. The purpose of the meeting (whether to solicit citizen input, describe a current proposal, or provide information on an ongoing project) should be clearly stated in the notice. Date, time and place of meeting should also be clearly visible. There should be a number for peopl e to call for directions or further information. Take the time to invite community leaders to the meeting. An individu ally addressed invitation or tel ephone call may e nsure their presence. To fmd out the names of community. leaders, call the chamber of comme rce, the p lanning commission, or the mayor's office. Pub/it: Involwmmt Handbook For Median ProjectJ


PUBUC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, rontinued Choosing a Meeting Site The three most important factors in deciding the site for a public meeting are: location location, and location! The site for a meeting designed to improve publicinvolvementshould be one which is readily accessible and well known by the majority of the expected participants. The meeting site also needs to be )oc;>ted in proximity to the project site. Excellent m eeting places include churches, schools, and community centers, which are generally centrally located and usually provide ample parking. Ail environment conducive to discussion and exchange of ideas will help contribute to the success of a public meeting. Even the location and distribution of chairs and tables in a: meeting room can influence how much getS accomplished. Accommodating Persons with Disabilities Issues to consider when p reparing for a people meeting include: Are primary entrances accessible? Isthcreadequatecirculationspaceforwheelchairsattheentrance and throughout the room? Arc meeting notices in alternative formats for people with visual and hearing impairments? Are published materials avaibbl e prior to meeting in alternative media: large print, computer disk, taped or Braille? Record Keeping Keep thorough records. The political process can be fraught with pitfalls, including sudden reversals on previous agreetnents or attempts to influence the process through misinformation. It is extremely important to maintain good records of all persons notified of contacted, each meeting, and any issues discussed or decisions made. Keep thorough notes, put as much as possible in writing, and maintain everything related to the process on file. Follow-Up Failur e to follow-up with participants aft"f a meeting is highly damaging to the credibility of a public involvement process. The public meeting should be viewed as the termination point of one phase of activities and Public Inoolwmtnt Handbook For Mtdian Projts ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;:;;;;;;;;;;;;o 33


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued 34 the starting p oin t of another phase. Community inpUt generated at the meeting should be weighed during susbsequent project decisions and participants should be informed of any changes made as a result of their involvement. Some methods of appropriate follow-up include: Respond in writing. Brio thank you letters should be sent to all participants, along with a summary of comments rectived, actions taken or underway, and oxplanations of what happens ntxt, including any additional opportunities to participate. Update the mailing list. Names and addresses should be taken from the sign-in or attendance list at the public bearing, and projoct mailing lists should be updated accordingly. Distribute transcripts. Copies of accurate meeting transcripts could be sent to appropriate state and federal offices and made readily available for participants or other members of the public to review. Analyz.c comments and prepare responses. An in-house mttt ing should be bold to review tho input from the mttting If additional analysis is required, this should be dono imm o diately. Suggestions, comments, and criticisms transcribed from the public meeting should be described, addressod, and followed-up in writing whore appropriate. BUILDING COMMON GROUND In Brukmg tht lmptuse: OmsmsJ4al Approaches to Resolving Public Dis putes, Susskind and Cruikshank advist that "courts are an appropriate forum for resolving constitutional questions, but disputes involving the distribution of gains and losses are best addressed through consensual approaches."' The conventional approach, based on political compromise, calls for "splitting the difference or forftiting one vote in exchango for another. This rartly produces decisions basod on kllowledge and experience and instead often leads to arbitrary results. Facilitation and mediation are two mechanisms for resolving disputeS. Tb

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT TECHNIQUES, continued Intergovernmental Agreements :md ResolutiOil$ Intergovernmental agreements and joint policy resolutions can be used to coordinate access management activities betWeen agencies that share jurisdiction over a corridor. Written agreements can require specific actions, yield tangible results, clarify roles and priorities, or simply stimulate further discussion. 1 For example, the North Carolina DOTand local policy makers in the Charlo-Mecklenburg metropolitan area entered into a joint policy agreement in 1993 for coordinated approval of access, median opening and signalization requests along Harris Boulevard. Tlie policy establishes general guidelines for median openings and promotes sbared driveways and driveway design appropriate to the traffic characteristics of the land use. The MPO Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) is charged with reviewing requests for median openings and access along the Boule vard, with final authority resting with the NCDOT along selected segments, and the City of Charlotte DOT along other segments. Neutral Third Party Sometimes a third party can achieve what disputing parties cannot. Simply bringing in a third party can help break down the communication barriers created by past problems or personality conflicts. A consultant could be used to meet individually with affected groups to encourage participation in a collaborative problem solving effort. Facilitation If you feel a meeting may be confrontational, consider using a trained f.u:ilitator. Facilitation involves the use of a trained, objective facilitator to run a workshop or meeting and moderate dialogue between parties. The f.lcilitator helps design an agenda and keep discussion on substantive issues, rather than personality conflicts or past problems In this way, a facilitator can help diffuse conflict and promote a more productive dialogue. Thefacilitatoralso ensur e s that notes and minutes of the are accurate. Public ]11f)()lvtmmt Handbook For Mtdian Projem 35




CHAPTER 4: DEVELOPING A PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN DEVELOPING Tim PLAN A brief public involvement plan should be prepared for each project in the work program to establish the appropriate level and sequence of public involvement activities. The plan may be only a page long or it may be seven! pages, depending upon the nature and complexity of the project. The plan should also identify: who in the agency should be involved; whether outside expertise will be needed to assist with public involvement activities; major "issues to be addressed in the decision process; who should be notified; what techniques will be used. A public involvement plan is a reference, and may need to be revised as circumstances change or more information becomes available. Aside fromdarifyingwhodoeswhat, when, whyandhow,itcan also be useful in facilitating management support for a public involvement process. Assign Responsibility Public affairs officers or public involvement cootdinators can assist with various public involvement activities, but primary responsibility for preparing and implementing the public involvement plan for median projects should rest with the project manager or consultant. This helps to assure continuity of involvement and provides a knowledgable point person for public comment throughout the decision process. Evaluate the Context It is essential to gain a basic understanding of the decision context. For example, is there a histoty of opposition to median projects in your area? Is this the first time such a project has been proposed? Have there been any previous outreach efforts on this subject? If so, who was involved and what were the public's reactions? What are the primary concerns of stakeholders? How do elected officials and community leaders feel about the project or program-who supports it, who does not, and why? Sample environmental assessment questions are included in the appen dix of this chapter. Public Inwlwm.,t Harulbook For Median Projtct.s 37


DEVELOPING A PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued 38 For major projeas it is useful to conduct interviews with community leaders and stakeholders. Sukeholder interviews are an opportunity to collect information about the ideas and concerns of various groups. This is also an opportunity to find out how the group wants to be involved. Stakeholder Interview$ Introduce the project and describe purpose and need. Explain that the interview is to inform them about the project and provide them an opportunity to shape the public involvement process. Sample questions might include: 1. Have you previously been involved in issues related to this project? 2. What is your understanding of the project? 3. Do you have any concerns or questions related to this project? <4. How would you characterize the concerns/ expectations of the community or other interest groups? 5. What has been your experience with (our agency)? What has been your experience with public involvement activities on our past projeas? 6. What are the best ways to communicate with you and involve you on this and upcoming projects? Determine Level of Involvement and Decision Process The level of involvement needed will vary according to the nature of the project and the level of public inter<$! or concern Large controversial projects, such as retrofitting an entire corridor, require the most exten sive public involvement program and public involvement should be carefully integrated into the entire decision-making process. ProjectS resulting in minor changes and affecting only a few property owners Public l111JDlwmmt H4mibook For Mtdian Projtcts


DEVELOPING A PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued may require little involvement beyond notification or individualized negotiations. The project DWlllger must decide how the public will be consulted, and who will be consulted, at eac!> key phase of the technical decision making process. Select lnvolvemmt Techniques An understanding of the nature of the controversy or conflict, as well as situational factors, is needed to select appropriate involvement techniques. Agencies should ask themselves: What are we trying to accomplish through the process? What information must be provided to the public and what do we need to learn from the public? What publics do we need to reach and how can we best solicit their involvement? A description of some of the situational factors that affect public involvement programs appears in Table I. Also, look for ways to leverage resources and use available networks to help get the word out. Schedule Activities Schedule public involvement activities to coincide with technical deci sion points. For medians, it is essential that the process begin as early as possible. Th e scope and timing of activities will vary according to the level of involvement. Ataminimum,publicinvolvementshouldoccur prior to completion of 30% design plans. Public Inwiwmeru Handbook For Mtdi4n Projects -===============39


DEVELOPING A PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued 40 TABLEt: SITUATIONAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PROGJlAS Lack of support: May requite a minimum program and trad.i tiooal teehniques, such as public meeting> or hearing>. Limited raourt groups than with the general public. May need an advisory group that can be thoroughly informed. Divided public: Deal with leadership of the various interest$, rllther than working through elected officials. Hostile.public: Create opportunities for ventiliation of hostility. This may require a .eries of meetings before the program is productive Wdl-illformed public: Determine if accurately informed and provide infotmll tion based on thi. appn.isal. Uninfonnedpublic: Requires public information program. Work with leaders of interest groups to get them to inform their membership. Apathetic public: Plan a public information campaign o people can decide whether or not to panicipate. High level of significauce to groups: Emphasize conflict resolution tech niques, such as small group discussion, workshops. advisory comtnittees, and c:onflict mecliation. Compaa geographic area: Potential for meetings, workshops, face-tohce discussions. Dispersed geographical an:a: May need to rely on newspaper inserts, mail-in or phone-in responses. Meetings will have to be repeated in several locations. Source: J>mes L. Creighton, The P.blic Involvtmrnr Manll41, Cambridge: ABT Books, 1981, pp. n-78. PMbuc lnw/wmenl Handbook For Mtdian Projects


DEVELOPJNG A PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued CASE STUDIES Recognizing the need to address public concerns related to median improvements, some Districts have initiated public involvement programs during the design phase of production. Belo'\" is an overview of rwo public involvement programs, one in District IV and another in District V, that were initiated to resolve public concerns related to medians as well as other controversial projects. District IV FDOT District IV in Ft. Lauderdole has formal Community Awareness Plan Guidelines for public involvement on tranSportation improvement projects (see Appendix). The public involvement guidelines were developed and adopted in the mid-1980s to address growing problems with public opposition during the production process. The guidelines pre scribe minimum requirements for public involvement, including the developmentofacommunityawarenessplanforeachprojectinthework program. The stated objective of the guidelines is to notify local governments and the public of proposed construction and to resolve controversial issues that arise during the design phase. Project managers are responsible for developing and carrying out the public involvement plan. The guidelines prescribe a tiered approach for informing and involving the public. Projects are categorized as levell-3 according to the complex ity or anticipated level of controversy, and greater public involveme nt is required for more controversial"level3" projects (see Table 2). Projects involving closure of median openings or construction of a restrictive median are categorized as level 3. Generally, where only small groups of people are affected (defined as less than thirty), then these persons will be informed of the project through the maiL A general explanation is provided, along with a reduced copy of the plans and a telephone nwtiber of the contact person. A reasonable amount of time is set aside for comments and responses are handled by phone. Greater involvement may be scheduled, at the discretiO!l of the project manager, depending upon the nature of the project. Public lri'I/0/'IJement Hantlbook For Median Projects -============== 41


DEVELOPING A PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued 42 TABLE 2 ACTIVITY LEVEL 1 2 3 Pub lic Hearing a a a Notice of access i mpact to owners Project information workshop with local staff Publ i c information meeting Comments requested from City/County Plan review from City/County Presentation to elected officia ls, MPO 0 0 0 Dear Neighbor l etter Pre-co n struction notice to City/ County News Release o Only as legally required o Generally only as requested For controv ersial corridor improvement p r ojecu, the process is more intensive (see Figur e 3). When the engineering study is complete, a meeting is scheduled with local government staff to discws the report The meeting is scheduled at l e ast 18 months before the construction letting date and local staff are provided with copies of the report for revtew. After obtaining a preliminary agreement from local engineers, the District then involves elected officials. A complete packet of information is sent to the affected local elected officials and the ar e a state representative and senator. Elected officials may request a workshop presentatio n to ask questions and provid e their position o n the project Typically, however, el e cted officials also request that the project manage r hold a public meeting to obtain public reaction before stating their position. Public Handb0<1k For Median Projeca



DEVELOPING A PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued 44 Public meetings are held in phases. Where organized civic groups will be affected by the project, then separate small meetings are held to inform them and obtain their position before the gener.al meeting. This could include neighborhood associations and affected which may be part of a local business association or Chamber of Commerce chapter. If a project is highly controversial, then local government staff may be contacted for advice on who to involve in the process. After small meetings with affected groups, an open public meeting is held for all concerned parties. A logical meeting site is se lected, preferably near the project site to encourage attendance. Official invitations are sentto all property owners and organized groups, and news releases are issued to publicize the meeting. A table is placed aero$$ the entrance of the room with a sign-in sheet, to obtain the names and addresses of all who anend for purposes of follow-up. The District does not use a traditional public hearing format for this meeting. Their experience with public hearings is that on controversial projects, even gener.al acceptance can be overrumed by a highly vocal minority. Instead the format is an open public forum, s imilar to an open house. The meeting runs about three to four hours and is staggered by having different interest groups attend at different times. The invitation advises when each group should attend, such as business operators and neighborhood residents, but states that all questions will be answered at any time. Attendance of business groups may be staggered even further between tenants and owners, because they often have different concerns. The format involves no formal presentations, unless specifically requested by the local government. Instead, displays of the project are exhibited and staff are available to answer questions, and note unanswered concerns. Project changes that arise from these meetings are carried out and if the changes are major, then a formal lener is sent to inform the affected citizens. This marks the end of the conceptual stage of the public information process The last phase involves before and during construc tion n ews releases to inform motorists and others of the progress of the project. The open house approach has reduced counterproductive confrontations in public meetings, while maximizing direct communication with affected property owners regarding their specific concerns. The number of meetings is minimized by combining several meetings into one, and thus is )<$$expensive intermsofstafftime. The result has been so successful that nearby Ft. Lauderdale has adopted this format for their public meetings. Public lnwlfltment Handbook For Median Projten


DEVELOPING A PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued t .. The public involvement process lw helped the District build relation ships with community leaders and elected officials, and has produced information of importance to the project. "A good project is one that addresses botb technical and re:al world considerations, $3)'> traffic operations engineer Freddie Vargas. Vargas emphasizes the importance of maintaining good written records of all meetings, as attitudes and agree ments can change. He also advises project managers to obtain the opinion of elected officials, as well as local government staff, when obtaining a local governments position on a median project. Also beneficial is a consistent proceclure for handling variance requests that result from the public involvement process. District IV has estab lished a Variance Committee, comprised of of Design, Opera tions, and Maintenance, that meets once per month to decide on requests for variation from median standards. The Committee handles variances related to permit applications as well as those that arise during reconstruc tion. A formal variance review process improves internal coordination and consistency in access management decisions, and is therefore a logical complement to the public involvement program. DistrictV FDOT District V has adopted a public involvement approach for median changes that occur during the design phase of production. The project manager or the design consultant is responsible for carrying out public involvement activities, which are programmed into the project budget. This helps assure continuity, as the individuals responsible for the project stay informed of the issues aJ)d decisions that emerge from the public involvement process. Consultants are asked to prepare a public information packet, including slides, graphics and other materials to demonstrar;, benefits of the project. A videotape on median projects, entitled Managing Our Higlrways, was developed for use in the District's public involvement activities. A brochure providing an overview of median projects and answers to commonly asked questions was also prepared for the public (U!t Resource Kit). Public involvement activities are initiated early in the production pro cess-prior to completion of Phase 1 design plans. This allows adequate opportunity for the public to express concerns and for consideration of potential alr;,matives. If public involvement is initiated too late in the design plwe, the process loses legitimacy. This also decreases the likelihood that changes may be incorporated into the project. Property Public l11'1Jt>lwment Handbook For Median Projecu =============== 45


DEVELOPING A PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued 46 owners are notified of the opporrunity to review and comment on the project in two ways. A notice is mailed directly t o all registered property owners affected by the project and notices are also hand delivered to tenants within the affected area. An open house meeting format is used, with no formal presentation. The open house may run from 3:00 to 9:00pm or 4:00 to 8:00pm and affords opporrunities for interested parties to view the proposed project and ask questions or comment. The District uses graphic display b oards for this purpose. The boards display an aerial photograph of the affected corridor ab ove a simple graphical representation of the proposed median design This enables participants to clearly see the effect of the project on access to their property. The display board costs approxitmte ly SSOOO to produce but, says District Traffic Operations Engineer George Gilhooley, .. it pays for iuelf many times over." All preliminary traffic engineering analyses are completed prior to initi ating public involvement. This provides the justification for the proposed design and aids in explaining to property owners and their engin e ers t he purpose of the median changes. If a concern is raised in relation to the median design then additiorual analysis may be done to evaluate the issue in more detail. "We have come up with a fair amount of changes that property owners like and that we can live with, says George Gilhooley. Capitol Region Council of Governments Corridor lntiative A growing number of metropolitan planning organizations are incorpo ratingaccessmanagementstrategiesintotheirplanningprogram. A good example is the effort underway by the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG)-the metropolitan planning organization for the Hartford, Connecticut metropolitan area. CRCOG is currently engaged in corridor studies that will culminate in corridor management and improvement plans for four key routes. Objectives are to prepare a transportation master plan for eacb corridor that defines transportation management strategies and needed improve ment projects. The plans will also establish a congestion management system and strategies for eacb corridor, including access management and growth management and activity center strategies. All corridor studies will also involve the preparation of an access management plan for eaeh town on the affected corridors. The project will include extensive public involvement activities. Special corridor committees will be formed to guide the study. These will include Public Inwlwrnmt Handbook For Mtd;an Projtt:ts


DEVELOPING A PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued a technical committee of planners and engineers from each town, and an advisory committee composed of planning and elected officials as weli.S business representatives and residents. These committees will address development trends and regulations, assess the viability of alternatives, and provide guidance on key policy issues. The Connecticut DOT will actively participate and special meetings will also beheld with each affected town council and planning commission, as well as separate meetings with the public, at appropriate points in the planning process. At a minimum, special meetings will be held during analyses of exining and future c:onditions, analysis of alternatives, and development of the corridor plan. Newsletters will be prepared and diStributed to keep citizens and local officials informed along the way. The access management plans will address traffic signal location, median improv e ments, and problems with exiSting curb cuts. The study will review and evaluate development regulations in each town and identify options for integrating access management into local regulatory practice. Curb cut and median design plans will be prepared that address needed improvements from a regulatory and design perspective. An access management report will be prepared for each town that sets forth tlie results of these analyses and study recommendations. Collaborative effortS such as this will be essential toachieving greater local participation in managing access to high priority corridors. Public Inwlwment Handbook For Mtdlan l'rojeciS 47


DEVELOPJ711G A PUBUC INVOLVEMENT PLAN, continued OTES: 48 ;;;;;;;============== P..blic Inwi'!Jmlm < H11ndbook For Mtd;lln Projtcts


BmLIOGRAPHY Bowler, Printer L., Readable Writing Handbook for Management and Staff, Dept. of Highways; State of Montana, Department of Highways, 1990. Creighton, James L. The Public lnw/'1/emmt Manu.d. Cambridge: ABT Books, 1981. Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit AdminiStration, lnno wtions in Public !mJOlwment for Transporiation PLmning, U.S. Depart ment of Tr.msportation, January 1994. Gandrud, CryStal, and Terry Murray, MassachusettJ Department of Public Works Omlmuniry Li4ison Handbook, MDPW, BoStOn, MA, 1987. Godschalk, David R., David W. Parham, Douglas R. Poner, William R. Potapchuk and Steven W. Schukraft, Pulling Together: A Planning and Dt-ut}qpment 0>11$t1W4$-Bui/ding Manual, Urban Land InStitute in coop eration with the Program for Community Problem Solving, 1994. Dlinois Departmen t of CollServation and the natural resources planning firmofHoffman WilliamsLafenandF!etcher,Pub/ic/n1JO/wmentPlanfor Illinois Rail-Trails, Illinois Rail banking Study, September 1990. InStitute for Participatory Planning, Citizen Partidpation Handbook for Public OfficWs and Other Professionals Serving the Public, Fourth Edition, 1981. Ithaca-Tompkins County Transpomtion Council; Public lnwl'l!emmt Procedum, 1993. MDT, Public Inwlvement Handbook, Public Affairs Bureau, Montana Department of Tr.msportation, AuguSt 1994. McClendon, Bruce W., and Ray Quay. Mtstering Change: Winning Strategies for Effectiw City PLmning. American Planning Association, Chicago: Planners Press, 1988. Potgieter, L.J., and Dr. J. Van Rooyen Handling ofO>nflict, ORMET Town Council of Springs, National InStitute for Personnel Research. ODOTStatewide Transportation Improvement Program 1995-1998, Pub lic Inwlvement Plan, Oregon Transponation Commission, 1993. lnwlwment Hanclbook For Median Prt>jeas -============= 49


50 BIBUOGRAPHY continued Regional Tnnsit Auiliority, Public Input on Phase I Options: Summary, June 1, 1994. Susskind, Lawrence and Jeffery Cniksbank, Breaking the Impasse Consen sua/Approaches to Resolfling Public Displ

APPENDIX A: RESOURCE KIT This Resource Kit includes a sample public involvement plan form, an environm e ntal scan worksheet, and an example project newsletter. Also included are materials ooUec:ted from FOOT DiStricts IV and V including acru.l invitation letters lll!d fliers, a brochure on median projects, and community awareness plan guidelines. They are provided as examples to assist you in developing your public involvement activities. PublU: ]11'0olvement Handbook For Median Projects ..;==============


PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN FORM Project Description: Decision Making Stage: Level of Involvement Needed: Cl Level 1: Project Is non-controversial, causes negligible access impacts and minimal traff disruption. Examples are work outside the roadway simple rural resurfacing, signal work, paveme markings, bridge repair out of traffic. Cl Level 2: Project has general public acceptance little impact on access and a reasonable degrE of traffic disruption. Examples are railroad crossing repairs, urban resurfacing median revisions (n access control), and bridge repair without detours. CJ Level3: Project may be controversial, or will significantly impact traffic flow or will adversely affe access to several properties. Examples are all interstate work, parking removal, railroad crossing repai including temporary closure, median opening closure, traffic signal removal, bridge replacement roadway widening, major reconstruction and projects Including detours. Publics to be reached: Public Involvement Objective Information Provided to Public: Information Needed From Public: Public Involvement Activities (approximate dates): . . Special Issues or Problems:


What arc the dictt.s of median improl l'llll'llts! Median improvements effect all of the users of a roadway. Most Stolte Roads service from 10,000 to 50,000 drivers per day, and th i s equates to between 3.7 millio n and 18.l million drivers per yea r Effects which motorists can expect from median improvement projects are: A higher voluti'\C of tr3ffic i s ab l e to travel a roadway undEt safer cond it ions. More driver confidence along r oadways most motor ist s ag ree that roadways which have undergone median improvements are safe r thari before Increased r oadwayef fi c iencyall owsforcontlnued eco nomic grow th Better trafl'ic flows olre n h ave a positive impact on the market value of cotnl1'leftial propMie-s. A reduced need for othe r roadway lmprc:wements which require rhe acquisition ol a dditional right-of-way. O t her enhan c ements, &uc h as landscap ing beautifica tion project$ and redevelopment grants, can often be coup led with median improvements. Many improv ement projects also incorpora t e better pavement markings, signage, and traffic signals Drivers in an area may have to slightly alter their driv ing pau er[ls. Motorists may required to in crease thei r usage of UTurns. T1)tFior ida Oeputmen t of Transpor -sollcils all comrnenu o n roadway improvements, whether negJtive or poslllve: Public P art icipa lion I s a key (actor f or impro vi ng our tr;nspOft31i(Jn$ySytem. Remember, our pfimary Q ,bjeclive i s the overall s.afvty and convtnlence of those using Fl

. Criteria Developed To Compare Alternatives Toenswe tbatlhccommunil}' issues ""'fuUy reviewed. consi

Table 3--Erataat/an Crftrrla Crlterlan Objective . Tlltrntgb T-oo W1Jt SlhCrorsillg Hlddblf Reduce volume of 1111fllc ctosslng Hedding from north to south (p.m. ) Reduce traffic and Benyessa NextSteps At the next T!lSk Force meeting, members will be working to assign relative weights 10 the evaluation criteria. Tbe weighting process will de:'elop a priority listing of criteria before they are applied to the alternatives. After the criteria measurements and weights have been finalized. they will be applied 10 each alternative. The application will result in a ranking of alternatives to be reviewed by the Task Force. The final recommendations nf the Task Force will be summarized in a repon to the City COU11Cil. The scbedulo is shown on the back page, Figure 2. For More Information . If you have any questions about the Task Force activities or would like to contaCt Task Force mem bers regatding the study, please call Hans Larsen or Jennay HarTison. Ciry of San Jose. Transportation Division at (408) 277-4217 3


Figure 2 Study Scbedul City of San Jose Dept. of Public Works Transportation Division Route 101/Mabury Road Area Freeway Access Study IS I W. Mission SL, Room 203 San Jose. CA 95110 Route 101/Mabury Road Area Freeway Access Study 0 Printed on Recycled Paper


orm 1al lll TO : ilPIES TO St..BJECT November 24, 1987 Project J:LA Wolfe vv DAS Fowler, Directors, Dept. Heads, Community Avereneaa Plan Cuidelinea ----.MEMORANDUM Sutc Df florida Vrepanmr111 of TuMpOru.tton B. Sarff The attached Community Awareneaa Plan Cuidelinea are nov in effect aud are to be followed for each project in the plana production, Plana need not be vrltten end filed far projacta which will be lat fiacal year, however, good judgement must be uaad in anauring that the intaut of those guidelines ia met, A Community Awareness flau muat ba prepared for all other construction projects. It is anticipated that the Plan will be short; perhaps one pase. The Plan shall be specific ae to and access impacts and identify and schedule the eppropr!ate public information evant a. JW:c Enclosure


COH!MIITY AIIAP.flltSS PLAH CUlDELIHEs PURPOSE To eatablish auidelinea for awareness plana production in Diatricc 4. SCOPE A community avaranaas plan muat be developed and followed for each project durina plana production. Theaa community avareneaa actiona are in addition to public contact vhich may have occurred durins tha project development and environaantal phase, Tho objective of this plan ia to notify local government and the public of the Department's proposed conatruction and tha anticipated impact of that construction. In addition to the benefit& of advance notification, thla procaas should allow the Department to resolve controversial issues during the design pha Threa araae of peeifie eoneam arer influences on a cce to bualnaaaea, drainage and aointenanca of traffic during conatruction. Thooa suldalinea aatabliah a proceoa for achieving theao coa.unity involv.aent objectivea. Principal reaponaibility for daviaing and carryins out the Co.-unity tnvolv ... nt Plan liaa vith the Project Manasar. Tba co .. unity Avaraneea Taea is reaponsible for an appropriate plan ia follovad"for each project in tba vork proaram. GUIDELINES 1. General Provisions The Project Mana11er ah2ll dev .elop and ensure the implementation of a Community Avareness Plan for each project during the plana production phase. This Plan ahall. be in accordance vith the provisions of these guidelines to accomplish proper advance notification oppropr13ta consideration of all maintenance of .traffic and other on motorists and budnua men. A. Activity Event number 3S9 shall be use d to represent the coapletio n o f a Co .. unity Avareness Plan by the Project Hanager. This event shall be no later than Phaae I. The Plan may be updated as required. 11. The Plan shnl.l be subalttcd to the District Design Engineer fo r in-house project& or to the Consultant Management Adai.nistrator for conaultant projects. The appropriate Departaent Head shall review and app r ove the Plan for i.pleaentation. C. A co ... unity Awareness Revicv Teom shall be established, chaired by the District Director of Production. Other members be tho District Director of Operatioeoa and the District Public Information Offieer. Other members may be appointed as deemed appropriate. The Rovicv Team ahall meet at lout once every aix months to reviev and comment on all Plans that have been filed, I 11/87 --... --.;... _.._ ___ ._.,. __


z. Ma1ntennnc:G of Traffic Design A. A Community Awareness Plnn is not complete withoue 'evaluating the projaet a 1tcga.t:ivc impa.c:ts on thu pub lie and on buslncatH!S, ond deaigainsto minimize those B. The following must be addressed on each project: (1) Conatfuction The schedule should consider whether the time of the letting should be restricted. The schedule should consider restriction o t working houEs during the peak hours1 longer work dayR. night: work. weekend work. holiday restrictions, delivery restrictions, and incentive/disincentive clauses Many of,these options cost more than the traditional approach to contract provisions and scheduling. We must be prepared to accept additional cost whore such action is reasonable and (2) Contract Time. Time be minimized. Many of the scheduling options listed above may be effective. Design is not complete unless contract time baa been carefully analyzed. (3) 'Maintenance of Traffic Plan. A conceptual HOT Plan shall be devised by Phase I. Duration and design of detours should receive early attention. Consideration should be given to the impacts of construction on local oeeesa. 3. Access Impacts Permanent access impncts should be identified.enrly in the design process. Affected property owners a nd tenants must b e advised of 'the impacts .at m early. date. A high level of notification is required for median opening closure, traffic signal removal, parking removal, restrictive channelization, restrictive driveway modification and other such direct impacts. 4. Public Involvement Levels The Project Manager shall the project according to public involvement level, Level 1 to Level 3, ao defined below. A. Levels Level 1 Project is non -controversial, cnuses negligible access impacts and minimal traffic disruption. Examples are work outside the roadway, simple rural resurfacing, signal work, puvement markings, bridge repair out of traffic. Level 2. Project has general public acceptance, little impnct on access and e reasonable degree of traffic disr11ption. f.xamples are railroad crossing repairs, urban resurfacing. median revisions (not access control), and bridge repair without de tours. 2 11/87


'3 .. Jrotuct aaoy hrt ur "fll Rtr.nlflcnntly impact trnffic flow or will offeet aeeeas to several properties. nre 411 tnterBtnte voik, parking removal, railroad repairs Including te-mporAry closure, median opening closure, traffic signal removal, bridge replacements, roadvoy widening, major reconstruction and projecta including detours. B. The level.dafinition will assist in determining the appropriate level c community involvement. Each Plan shall be however, in eonaideration of tta special c1reumstanees. Deatsnation of level does not in any way restrict or designate required actions. 3 11/E . .,,, __ ----__ _________ _.;;:._. __ ....


s: Publtc ActivJ.tlc,; Public Information Activities au ltsted with a typlcnl time of occurrence. 11u:t level dcgiguation m:ty be: uncd :Jt; rule. of thumb in c.onsldering use of eacb opti on bu t does not replace good judgment. Time of Occurrence Only as required 1. ,BY Phase 1 Phase II l'hoae II Phase 11 -Phose lil At Phose Reviews Requested 1 Mont h Prior jo Const. Pro-Const3 lleeting Pre-Const3 Meeting PUBLIC IHFORHATION ACTIVITY Public Hearing Notice of access impact to affected owners Project Workshop with City/County atoff Public Infbrmat1on Heeting/1Dear.N e1ghbo r1 Letters, cc: Lc&ielators Notice to City/County comments government solieit Phase Roviovs to City/County staff; 1, 2+3 Presentation to City/County Comm., MPO 'Dear Neighbor' Pre-construction notice to City/County News Release/IIOT Sketch, cc: Legislators, l.ocal Cov. 1. Only as legally required by the P.U.and E. process. Cocnra. Involv. 1 2 ) I. 1. 1. X X X X X X X X 2. 2. 2. X X X X X X X 2. Generally only as requested. Othet public information activities may result in a request tu appear. 3. Handled by Construction !rojcct Han3ser and Public Information Office. Approved: 'Jomes A. llolfc District DirP.ctor of Production 4 11/117


YALID REOUIRJMINT CHICKLIST FQR PQBLIC INVQLVEKBHT The project engineer, along with his supervisor, will decide if the type and category of the assignment requires public involvement CHECK TYPE OF WORK [ 1 MEDIAN REVISION [ 1 SIGNAL REQUEST OR REMOVAL [ ) ONE-WAY OPERATIONS [ 1 PROJECT INVOLVING PEDESTRIAN FEATURES [ ) DRIVEWAY CLOSURES [ ) PARKING REMOVAL [ ) LANDSCAPE REMOVAL [ ] PRIVATE PROPERTY ACQUISITION [ ) INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENT WITH, CLOSURE AND/OR ADDING TURN LANES [ 1 HIGH MAST LIGHTING [ ) OTHER (EXPLAIN) If one or more items are checked above, check appropriate category below: If If [ ) 1 -Project directly impacts five or less property owners and/or tenants. [ ) 2 -Project directly impacts more than five and up to 30 owners/tenants and/or involving elected officials, and/or local government. [ ) 3 -Project directly impacts more than 30 Property owners/tenants and/or elected officials, and/or local government. checked [ ) [ 1 [ 1 checked [ ) [ ) 1; 2; Discuss with ATOE regarding public involvment. Send letters to property owners and/or tenants. Address public concerns Discuss with ATOE regarding public involvement. send letters to property owners and/or tenants, public officials, and civic groups. Always contact elected officials first. [ ] If a public involvement meeting is required, project engineer will turn public involvement responsibility over to ATOE. If checked 3;


FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TKANSPORTATit TRAPPIC OPERATIONS DISTRICT 4 3 Wes t Commercial Boulevard Ft. l,audecdale. Flocida 33309 Telephone (305) 486-!400 Novu mber 5. 1993 Property Subject: State Pcoject Stat Ro3o 5 (US-!) Prom NW 49 Street to Bailey Street Roadwa'' Safety Improvements The portion of State Road 5 (US-I) in reference has been experiencing above normal crashes since 1987. Due to this safdt)' problem. the Department of TransportatiorL hired a consultar\t tn the corridor. a11d recomm e11d solutior1n t o alleviate the safetY problem. Project Facts: Over 550 Crashes from !987 to 1992 Over 350 from 1987 to 1992 Number of crashe$ exceed the state wide average. Among the proposed improvements the m 'ost important element ts access control. The proposed change will impact a':eess pat.tern to and from your property or residential street generating need .for U-turns. We are inviting you to a public information meeting to be hel d on November 23, 1993. at the Ascension Catholic Church: at 7250 North Federal Highway. in Boca Raton, Florida. The meeting are as follows: Business owners or tenants -from from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Residents -from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The plans will be on djsplay durihg those hours. In additiclll, Jlersonnel from the Florida of Trar\sportation will be to answer any questior1s you may have. PlaJ\S will be available for review at the City of Boca Raton Engineering Division. at 201 West Palmett o Park Road. I n the meantime, should you have any questions/commerlts please feel free to contact me at (305) 777 -4354. FV/mcp:VARLTR.FV S i n!? e 1 y ., . P reddfe :...vargas . P. E.. Assistatlt District Traffi6


FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIO tRAFFIC IS DANGEROUS. liT'S FACE lr. . ATTENrniON ALL BUSINESSES :., : along Federal Highway (U.S. 1) in north Raton from 49th Street north to Bailey Str.eet near the C-15 CanaL YOU ARE invited to an informal meeting with representatives of the Florida Pepartment ofTransportation (DOT) to discuss plans to improve.traffic safety in this 1.2-mile area of Federal. THE MEETING will be Tuesday, November 23,from 4 to 8 p.m. in the church hall at AscenSion Catholic Church, 7250 N. Federal Highway. DOT REPRESENTATIVES will explain the project on an individual basis and answer questions about it. DOT plans to improve safety by eliminating several openings in the center ofF ederal that currently provide for turns onto and from the highway. THIS SECTION of Federal recorded over 550 crashes and 350 injuries between 1987 and 1992, exceeding the statewide average. IF YOU NEED further information,. please cafl DOT project manger, Freddie Vargas, at DOT's toll-free number 930-3368 or at his direct number in Fort Lauderdale at (305) 777-4354


F'LORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSf'ORTATIO TRAFFIC OPERATIONS DISTRICT 4 3400 West Commercial Boulevard Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33309 Telephone (305). 486-i400 June 2, 1994 To Whom it May Concern: Subject: State Section 86020, State Road 5 (U.S.l) From N.W. 13th Street to N.W. 19th Street The Floridaoepartment of Transportation in response to citizen safety concerns for the intersection of N.W. 15th Street, conducted a study to evaluate the problems and identify solutions. An enqineerinq report was prepared and the recommended improvements were adopted and a roadway improvement project is beinq implemented. . We are developinq the final plan for the implementation of the recommended improvements. Before the final plans are completed, we would like to obtain your input and comments Therefore,. we are invitinq you to a Public Information meeting to be held at: SITE: DATE: Fort Lauderdale City Hall -Commissioners Chamber 100 North Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL June 16, 1994 *TIMES: For Property pwners Anytime from 4:00 p.m to 5:30 p.m. For Tenants 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. *If the time is not convenient feel free to attend any time between the hours of 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. PROJECT FACTS: There are over so crashes per year. 2 fatalities and over 22 injuries per year. Should you have any questions, please contact Leopolda Gimenez at 777-4356 or Freddie Varqas at 777-4354. A preliminary copy of the sketch for the proposed improvements is included for your information. --


' I l5l /s ; l "i' tf "'" ..... .&'"' -"1 u-" ; r.> ....... (4) !i


. FLORIDA DEPARTMENT Of' TKANSPORTATH TRAFFIC OPERATIONSDISTRICT 4 3400 West Commercial Boulevard Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33309 Telephone (305) 486-1400 September 12. 1995 Dear Neighbor: Subject: State Section 86120 State Road 810 (Hilsboro Boulevard) at SW 34 Avenue City of Deerfield Beach Broward County NEW SIGNAL & MEDIAN MODIFICATIONS ON SR-810 IHILLSBORQ BQULEYARID As per the request of the City of Deerfield Beach, the Florida Department of Transportation will be installing a new signal at the intersection of SR-810 (Hillsboro Boulevard) and Country Club B oulevard. This action and the high frequency of crashes requires the Florida Departinent of Transportation to make median modifications to SW 34 Avenue. A median island will be installed restricting left turn movement f rom the north and south approach off SW 34 Avenue. Please see at\llched plan sheets for additional information. If you have any questions regarding the concept of these improvements, please contact Alina M Sardinas of the City of Deerfield Beach at (305) 480 -4272, or for questions regarding construction schedule, cost, design, etc., contact Freddie Vargas of the Department of Transportation at (305) 777 -4354. FV /GS/gsj:NGHBRL TR. VGS Enclosure cc: Alina M. Sardinas Gilbert Soles File 6530.07 Sincerely. Frecfd!e Vargas, P S: Assistant D istrict Traffic Operations Eng


ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN WORKSHEET Who ore your agency's clients? State, region, county, city, local, con sumer, legislature, governor, commission, elected or appointed board, advisory group? Wbo makes the decisions f o r your agency? Direct o r, executive commit tee, elected officials, citizen group? What are the attitudes and positions of these clients toward your agency? Support, tolerance non-support, animosity? Wbataretherelationsh.ipsofyouragencywithotherregulatory/planning agencies? Monetary, mutual interest, law, formal, informal, interdepen dent, common decision makers, mission statement? Wbat is the attitude of the decision makers abou t public involvement? Favorable, ho-hum, neutral, only special interesrs and cronies? What is the history of public involvement in your community? A select few people at b,...kfast, presentations to civic groups, complaint-driven, standing and ad hoc comminees elected citizen groups, town meetings, consen.sus, majority rule, minority rule, long-standing, part of the com munity culture, only select communities? What is the attitude of the public toward your agency? "Say who?", defensive, supportive, tolerance, animosity? What iS the attitude of the media toward your agency? "Say who?", non committal, supportive, tolerance, animosity? Wbat special interest groups exist? Chamber of Commerce, neighbor hood coalitions, Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, Land Conservancy, community home owner associations, economic development agencies, Homebuilders Association, Real Estate Board, environmental council, main street business association? Who are the special interest group members? Bankers, builders, commu oity activists, realtors, business people, stUdent alliances, b icyclists, politi cal leaders, nonprofit foundations, nonprofit associations, "no--see-ums"? Public Involvement Hltndbook For Median Projects


What is their attitude toward your agency? Supportive, altruistic, neutr.U, self-serving, enmity? What is their power to influence decision makers? Political campaign leaders/workers and funding sources, influential status in community, complainers, newspaper/electronic media owners and reporters, rela tives, perceived experts, funding sources? Who talks to whom? DirectOrs-to-peers, staff-to-staff, staff-to-directors, public-to-private, private-to-private-to-public? Formal and informal or ganizational relationships? How would you describe the political environment? Conservative, libenl, radical, forward thinking, yeam-to-retiun, status quo, open to learning, changing or closed? Is this an election yearl U yes, what are the stated positions of candidates toward your agency and its programs? What is the length of term(s)? Incumbents, challengers, unopposed, multiple party candidates? Are you in a growth region? AJl economically depressed region? Describe the changes which have occurred and the consequences for your opera tlon. How does your agency work with the other planning groups? Local land use, specl;aljzed transportationt parks, trails, recreation, historical, and economic development groups? What is the present and future land use pattern in your community? Dispersed, concentrated, mixed use zoning or discrete zone districtS? Are support services controlled by your agency? Are these services provided by autonomous quasi-public entities? Describe the physical character of your area: varied, mountains and plains, rolling hills, river basins, plains. What are the economic factors? Limitations on revenue collection and expenditure mandated by legislation and referendum, employment base incr=es and decreases, changes in types of jobs to lower wage scale, shift in funding sources from federal to state to local, decline in property tax revenue? WHO WANTS YOU TO DO WHAT? -WHERE? . WHEN? .. HOW? . UNDER WHATCONDffiONS? Public Inwlflt11lmt HantlboDJe For Median Projects


WHO An eleeted official? A county engineer? A special interest source? A plan? Whose pLuU Who will approve the project/ plan? Who will fund the work? Who makes the final decision to adopt the plan or build the project? WANTS YOU". What is your role? Do you have a choice? What is your experience? Do you have the resources required? Is the project/plan In your work program? Isthisassignmentoverand aboveyourexistingworkload? Will success or failure effect your job? Do you feel excited, threatened or nonchalant about the request? ""TO DO WHAT? What is the project/program description? What OutCome is expected? What need(s) will be met? Whose needs will be met? Whose needs won't be met? What is the location of the project or area covered in the plan? What jurisdictions will be included? What adjacent jurisdictions will have to be consulted? What is the attitude of the political leaders of these communi ties toward the project/plan? Wbat natural environmental constraints exist? What neighborhoods, commercw and industrial developments are in the vicinity? What is the history of the project! plan? Who supports/ opposes the project/pLuU Who will gain/lose if the project! plan is done? What regulatory agencies n e ed to be consulted? Do these agencies have authority to control any permits that will be required? Do these agencies control funding and approval? Do the local engineers support! oppose the project/ plan? What other non-regulatory agencies have an interest in the project/ plan? Each area will generate questions unique to its situation. WHEN? What is the time frame? Months/years? Before the next election campaign? Now, because the money just became available? Is it in this year's work program? Is it in the TIP? Public Inwk>ement Handbook For Median Projects


HOW? Using CUrTent staff? Hiring a consultant? Revising an old plan? Creating a new plan? Using an existing project design? Consulting with elected offici2ls and local e ngineers? Conducting a comprehensive public in volvement process? C o nfirming that past public $Upport is still valid? Identifying citizen concerns at the incepti o n of a new projec:tl plan? UNDER WHAT CONDmONS? Existing budget? Additional budget? Private/ public financing? Will historic data be used or will new economic, demographic and travel information be generated? Must the project be technically sound and politically acceptable? Must it have public $Up port? Must it be completed within one year, two years, no limit? Must it include special interest groups e g., environmental activists, transit dependent populations, historic preservationists? Must it be multimodal and consider alterna tives, including no-build? Must all information be easy to understand, avaiW>le to everyone equally, and must staff keep local engineers elected/ appointed officials regulatory agencies, and the public informed of the progress of the project and plan? SoNTCt: Adapted from, janet Bell Stromberg, Emmonmmtal Scan Workbook, 74th Annual Meeting, Transportation research Board, Washington D .C. Public Irwolwmn.t Handbook For Medi4n Projecu


APPENDIX B: MEDIAN EVALUATION DRIVER/BUSINESS SURVEY RESULTS (DISTRICT V) Public !11'110/wment Handbook For Median Projects ===============


DISTRICTWIDE MEDIAN EVALUATION TECHNICAL MEMORANDUM (DRAFT) CORRIDOR LAND USE, DEVELOPMENT & DRIVER/BUSINESS SURVEY ANALYSIS Prepared for: THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION DJSTRI.CT FIVE State Project Number: 5 1199 09 Work Program Number: 99005-1510 April, 1995 (Revised May, 1995} Prepared by: IVEY, HARRIS & WALLS, JNC. 63 I South Orlando Avenue, Suite 200 Winter Park, Florida 32789 ( 407) 629-8880


TABLE 10. Response to Orin.r Sun-ey Que.ttionnaire suavn OUEmOH LU:JW. ..; l.E&0. w % . ........ ..,....,,.. .................... .........,,.... .. : --.......... l. .,..,_ ................ ltjnl ....... .. ..... ., ... d I ..... ...-l ...ai&Uif7 .... ....... ,! ... 'f!, ,. ;J J. .._,_ (....., ...... ,................... .:;: ......... wt .. ,. '-" __,., ... J.a ,......., ::i hii..,...WW.cuba .... ,..,.r :;; ... 4. DW,.....,.. ..... .......,....._._..,..._ ... t1 I f ._ ... ; 4l'K 27 % .>. IJ "" '"' '> )6 "' -"' "' .... -' ))% "" '"' -"' SA U O " 9 " " ' "" -"'' "" "" "'' "" "' '"' "" USJl .. TOTAL " .. ., ., 111 "" '"'K Jl% _. u ... "'" .. -"'' "' ... ,... 10 "" "'' ,.,, "" "" .,, v,.--...ru ..._..--.,.__ ... ... $ s. o.,.. .... cWI,..,_, ..................... ...... _.....,.! ... ... '> <.'!'.o--r: ;M t :.-:t:' 10 > :,t-,, "" ,, o.,..,... ... ..,. .,. ....... ..u :'4 .. pl .. ,. -f .,, .. ... .,.....,..._..._...._r U1 Jf'Jif, 'i ll "" "" "" -"" "" "' "" "" "' ' " " .. " .. "' "" .. .. ..,. '"' "" "" .... .... '"' "" .... '"' '"' ,.,, "" ""


TABLE 11. Respome to Busiaess Survey Qut;StionnaJre SUA.VtY guSTJON Marlcct Fast Food Rc:suw'8lrt, Bank, Sitodowu Rtstatnnt ot Retail Establishment orr ... or a WareboiiStldislribution 1. Hu ,...,. .,_._bee la. opcndo 1tdU locdM for 1110,. daaa,.,... ,...n! Yes No "-3. AR JW filier witD dlt &oct dla4 IIIII ....Si ... : claip o f tbe .... rodwr \.: lllocat tick )'OW' bUll .. bu cluactd widlbl tk :: Y% 30 83% .: )0 "" -"' 10 21 1)% : .. 2 19% 61% . 2l '"' '. I$ 9 14 10 41% 14 ,9% 21 ll% : 4S ,27% T ll 13 JO% . 40% 24 6G% 21 90'Y. : 3 8 10% "" "" ll% ll II 12 .U% ':.' 29 I Y.l 10% .. 6% 6% l8% 134 64% ., .< U%, 21% 66 40% ,' Sl'% '"' ......


.. .. 0 0" 0 0 0 .. "" 0 On NO " "0 NO """ .. 0" 0 ON 0 N 0" 0 0 <'O r o .. 00 0" 0"0 ... w w i . ;;, e e Q ... e ,; l : "' I 0 "0 0. 0 NO 0 0 0" 0 :: ... "0 ""O NO "0 0 "" j


TAB L ES. Fin a l Re l urned Survey T ola l s (3/ 6 /95) Cor ri d o r Dale Type o r Survey Re turned % By Corridor D istri b u te d B u s iness Driver Total B u siness Driver T o t a l S.R 423 -Lee Rd. East 2/14/95 48 47 95 4 8 % 24% 32% S.R. 42 3 L ee Rd. West 2/IS/9 5 S2 41 93 52% 21% 31% SR43 6 2111195 36 0 3 6 36% 0% 36% SR 520 2/1619S so 41 9/ 50% 2 1 % 30% S.R 600 2122/95 42 51 93 42% 26% 31% Tota l Surveys D istri buted 500 8 00 1 ,300 Source: l'+'ey, Hurls and Walls, Int. N o te: s urveys n o l distribukd ror SR 4 36


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