Chapter 4. INTEGRATING PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES WITH STUDY TASKS

This section details the approach to public involvement activities and outreach for Tasks 3 through 10, highlighting how public input will be obtained at key points of the project. Figure 1 details how the public participation program interrelates with each of the study work tasks. Appendix A includes a working table that may be used as the study progresses to keep decision-makers current regarding public participation activities.

  • TASK 3: Review of Previous Planning Work and Identification of Existing and Future Year Conditions

    After development of the project management plan and this public participation plan, the team will work with City staff and the ITF to inform the public of work activities to date and how the current study relates to previous work efforts. Outreach materials will include a study newsletter, Web site update and a press release. Project presentation materials will also be developed.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Update public on study status
    • Develop early data on stakeholder information needs
    • Prepare for and invite public to scoping meeting


    Public Participation Activities:

    Web Site Update. The project Web site will be maintained, with the posting of meeting information and project documentation as it becomes available. In addition to ongoing Web site maintenance, the team will update the Web site with substantial information at key project points, such as preparation for the scoping meeting. Comments received from the Internet will be summarized and shared with the technical team and ITF.

    Press Release. For this task, the press release will announce the start of the PE/DEIS phase of the study to the public and will preview the scoping meeting.

    Stakeholder Interviews. To prepare for the scoping meeting and early issues identification efforts, the team will conduct initial interviews with representatives from key stakeholder groups, including elected officials, business and neighborhood associations, and others. The information obtained at these meetings will enable the team to develop a list of frequently asked questions to be addressed in project presentations and in the scooping meetings, and establish relationships with stakeholder groups as we develop methods for public involvement outreach.

    Project Presentations. The team will work with the ITF to develop the base presentations to be made to stakeholders throughout the PE/DEIS phase. Designed to present consistent, clear messages that answer the public’s questions and address their concerns as outlined in the preliminary stakeholder interviews, these presentations will be expanded and adjusted as more information is developed during the course of the study.

    Newsletter Mailing List. As part of this task, the team will obtain, review and update the project mailing list and develop a database of interested parties that will be maintained throughout the project. The list will be updated for recently elected officials and will be checked for inclusion of various groups and stakeholder leadership.

  • TASK 4: Scoping Meeting and Purpose and Need Statement

    During this phase of the project, it is important to identify key issues of the project to help develop the Purpose and Need, better defining the overall goals of the project. The Scoping meeting is the first formal public event for this study and will be an opportunity to generate stakeholder input for project scoping.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Generate stakeholder input for project scoping
    • Identify issues to help refine the Purpose and Need
    • Generate Awareness of Study and its Objectives


    Public Participation Activities:

    Agency Scoping Meeting. The scoping meetings are an opportunity to formally announce the study and to provide agencies, local governments, specific stakeholder groups and the general public an opportunity to identify key study issues. Input from this meeting will be used to refine the Purpose and Need, identify study issues, and develop transit alternatives.

    Public Scoping Meeting/Open House. In tandem with the agency scoping meeting, the team will conduct an open house meeting for the public. The presentation at the public scoping meeting will be based on data gathered in the previous task’s preliminary stakeholder meetings. Data and comments generated by the scoping meetings will be used to define the extent of the study and to refine the study area and range of issues to be evaluated.

    Editorial Briefing. General public awareness of the study early on will generate community and stakeholder interest so decisions regarding alternative preferences may be debated in a timely and public fashion. Study sponsors consider editorial briefings at key study points, particularly as a means to raise awareness and engage the general public.

    Newsletter. The first study newsletter will precede the scoping meeting. The first newsletter will introduce the draft Purpose and Need Statement and solicit input to help generate alternatives.

  • TASK 5: Preliminary Definition of Alignment Alternatives

    In addition to the technical components of this task, it is important the technical work incorporate the issues of the community and the alternatives reflect its values. Focus groups will be conducted at this point in the study to provide an opportunity for in-depth discussions of the relative strengths and weaknesses of various alternatives.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Identify values and concerns of various constituent groups
    • Help generate and refine alternatives
    • Help determine acceptability of various alternatives with respect to various stakeholders


    Public Participation Activities:

    Focus Groups. A series of focus groups will provide an opportunity for various groups to understand issues of importance. By this point in the study, there will be specific alternatives to weigh, rather than discuss abstract concepts. By conducting sessions with various groups, the team can clarify issues, opinions, and measure reaction to various alternatives. The focus group discussions of the relative merits of various proposals will thus be an indicator of project acceptability. Focus groups participants will likely include:

    • Development and real estate professionals
    • Elderly and disabled members of the community and individuals representing their interests
    • Low-income and transit-dependent populations, including youth and individuals representing their interests
    • Employers located in the LPA corridor or other corridors representing strong potential for high-capacity transit

    Stakeholder Meetings. Less formal and structured than focus groups, stakeholder meetings will gather input from more loosely-affiliated stakeholders, such as the members of civic organizations who may wish to learn about and comment on Transport 2020. These two-way conversations have the benefit of being relatively intimate and personalized, while also allowing for the dissemination of targeted information about the study.

  • TASK 6: Detailed Definition of Alignment Alternatives

    In addition to the project’s ongoing efforts of informing the public, including Web site maintenance, newsletters, press releases, and the second project open house, public involvement activities for this work task will focus on refining specific aspects of the alternatives.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Develop the best possible alternatives
    • Continue public engagement


    Public Participation Activities:

    Workshops. Further workshops and focus groups will be held to address issues that arise as the detailed definition of alternatives is developed.

    Walking Audits. Walking audits will aid the team in defining desirable characteristics of station area design. They provide an effective means for identifying pedestrian issues during the planning process because they rely on collaborative input from the most inclusive possible range of stakeholders. The walking audits will synthesize a range of viewpoints and concerns, and lay the groundwork for joint problem-solving and consensus-building on priority issues concerning walkability, access, safety and connectivity.

    Open House. This is the second major event of the study for the general public, and the primary venue for multiple stakeholders to come together to review and help shape alternatives. This open house will make extensive use of a variety of tools to engage and inform attendees. The public will be able to directly engage planners, engineers, staff and officials in a dialogue concerning the Transport 2020 PE/DEIS process and results to this point. Data and comments gathered at the open houses will directly affect the following phase of the study — the evaluation of alternatives.

    Cable Television Broadcasts. Continuing broadcast of ITF meetings (coordinated by City staff) may supplement the team’s dissemination of primary information about the Transport 2020 PE/DEIS study.

  • TASK 7: Evaluation of Alignment Alternatives

    Public involvement activities for this work task will focus on informing the public on the overall costs, benefits and impacts of the project, helping to eliminate surprises in later tasks.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Inform public of benefits, costs, and impacts
    • Effectively incorporate data gathered in public involvement activities in the evaluation of alternatives
    • Minimize surprises in Task 8


    Public Participation Activities:

    Stakeholder Meetings. During this technical phase of the PE/DEIS, the team will continue small-group meetings present updates on and details about the Transport 2020 project to neighborhood, civic, business and government groups. This tool will be utilized through the remainder of the project.

    Open House. The open house meeting at this stage will have substantive information to present to the public, and will be an opportunity for citizens to understand the costs, benefits and impacts and provide detailed comments.

    Focus Groups. The project team will continue its Focus Group contact with a second round of meetings with neighborhood and other groups will help to inform the public of benefits, costs and impacts of the alternatives. These meetings are an important way for the project to bring information to various constituencies and to garner reactions.

  • TASK 8: Draft Environmental Impact Statement

    Upon issuing the DEIS, the public hearing(s) will provide a formal opportunity for the public to comment on the project.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Satisfy NEPA requirements
    • Document agency coordination, as appropriate
    • Provide formal opportunity for public comment
    • Document public participation activities


    Public Participation Activities:

    Public Hearing. The team will conduct one public hearing at two times on the DEIS results. The team will hold and staff an open house prior to the start of the official public hearing to give attendees time to review the project. This task includes preparation for the hearing, including proper notification, display advertising, press releases, preparation of exhibits and making arrangements for the location. This task also assumes making arrangements for court reporters and signing personnel, if requested. Key team members will attend public hearings and review all written comments. The official transcript and written material received on the project will be prepared for publication in the Final EIS.

  • TASK 9: LPA and New Starts Report

    As the study gets closer to a LPA, increased community interest will be evident. During this phase of study, we will proactively seek opportunities to participate in community events to further disperse information about the study.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Attain informed consent


    Public Participation Activities:

    Project Video. The team may develop a short video for use throughout the study area. The team will seek and attend opportunities to participate in up to 10 community events to further disseminate project information to the community.

    Stakeholder Meetings. Again, the small-group meetings are an important element of the overall public participation plan and it is expected that these efforts will be used to help finalize the LPA.

    Editorial Briefing. Editorial briefings are proposed at key study milestones, including this task so that the media may reach out to the greater community as important study decisions are being undertaken.

  • TASK 10: Refine LPA/FEIS

    Tools used successfully throughout the study will also be used to report findings to the public. Expected public participation tools to be used include an editorial briefing.

    Public Participation Objectives:

    • Report findings to the public


    Public Participation Activities:

    Editorial Briefing. An editorial briefing will be prepared so the media can further disperse key decisions to the public.