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Bridgeport Way Reconstruction

Project Abstract

The purpose of this project was to address the safety concerns due to the high number of crashes over the past years. At the same time it was viewed essential to the vision statement of the City Council that aimed in improving the quality of life in the community by creating a town center. The goal of the project is to develop Bridgeport Way as a corridor that will improve traffic safety, increase the mobility and cohesiveness of the community, enhance the appearance of the corridor, and control traffic growth.



Bridgeport Way Reconstruction: The goal of the project is to develop Bridgeport Way as a corridor that will improve traffic safety, increase the mobility and cohesiveness of the community, enhance the appearance of the corridor, and control traffic growth.
The goal of the project is to develop Bridgeport Way as a corridor that will improve traffic safety, increase the mobility and cohesiveness of the community, enhance the appearance of the corridor, and control traffic growth.

This is one of 33 case studies included in National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 642 entitled Quantifying the Benefits of Context Sensitive Solutions, published in November 2009.  According to the authors, “The objective of this project is to develop a guide for transportation officials and professionals that identifies a comprehensive set of performance measures of CSS principles and quantifies the resulting benefits through all phases of project development”. The report documents a wide range of case studies in which the principles of CSS were applied. Each of these case studies was evaluated to determine the benefits of applying CSS. NCHRP Report 642 is available here.

Location: University Place, WA 

Lead Agency: Washington DOT and City of University Place

Phase Completed: Construction

Source: Stamatiadis, Nikiforos, et. al. Context Sensitive Solutions: Quantification of the Benefits in Transportation. National Cooperative Highway 2009. Research Program – Report 642.

CSS Qualities

Project Team (make up)
A team comprised of members from transportation, planning, and funding agencies were involved including the Washington DOT, FHWA, Puget Sound Regional Council, and Washington State Public Works Board.

Stakeholders (make up, utilization, interaction)

The Chamber of Commerce was a stakeholder involved in the entire process.   Tacoma Power, the local electric utility company, was also involved and participated in the project by funding 50 percent of the cost for placing the power lines underground. The City of University Place Council was also involved extensively in the entire process.

Public Involvement (types, documentation) 
An extensive public involvement process was initiated to solicit input on how the street should be redesigned.  The process utilized design charrettes, public meetings, open houses, meetings with neighborhood groups, and one-to-one meetings.  A design charrette was completed with citizen participation to develop potential design alternatives for Bridgeport Way.  There were two sessions, one for adults and a second for high school students. To notify the public regarding the meetings, newspaper notices were printed, fliers to all property owners in University Place were delivered, and posters were placed in City Hall, supermarkets, banks, library, fast food locations, and other places.  Overhang signs were placed along Bridgeport Way as additional means of increasing public awareness.   A representative of the City government visited each property owner along Bridgeport Way.   

Design Solution (process, modes and alternatives examined) 
The use of flared intersections to accommodate U-turns for long vehicles at signalized intersections due to the use of the divided median to improve access management and reduce traffic crashes.  The final design included landscaped median with specially designed streetlights; planter strips along the entire corridor with streetlights matching the median lights; and bike lanes along the entire corridor.  Mid-block pedestrian crossings with in- pavement flashing lights at two mid-block crosswalks were also used.  Because of reduced driver compliance over time and five vehicle-pedestrian collisions, the in-pavement lights are being replaced in Summer 2002 with pedestrian traffic signals.  The utility wires were placed underground to enhance aesthetic appearance of the roadway.  The use of a single corridor for all modes of transportation, i.e. passenger cars, public transportation, bicyclists, and pedestrians was achieved.

CSS Concepts by Project Phase 
The development of a town center and a main street that would promote a walkable community was the main objective of the council.  Most of the council members were behind the idea of redeveloping Bidgeport Way n such a manner that would enhance the quality of life of the community.  The continuous solicitation of ideas and comments from the public was considered essential in the development of a design that would be accepted by the community.   The City Council was committed to involve the public and the business community throughout the process and they spent several nights and meetings discussing the various alternatives. 

Lessons
Learned
A major emphasis of the project was public involvement and solicitation of comments from all stakeholders throughout the entire process.  The strong commitment by the City Council to develop a town center and sense of community played an important role in completing this project.  The flexibility and open mindedness of the Council to develop a demonstration project for roundabouts indicated to the public and the stakeholders that their opinion is valued and is seriously considered. This level of trust between the government and the public has helped the more efficient completion and acceptance of other transportation related projects.  The involvement of the area business owners from the outset of the project has been beneficial. 

CSS Principles 

A fundamental aspect of the NCHRP 642 research effort was the identification of CSS principles. The principles below were developed by a multidisciplinary team and were based on previous work by FHWA and AASHTO participants in the 1998 “Thinking Beyond the Pavement” conference, and others.

For this case study, web-based surveys were developed to solicit the expert opinions of the project team on the level of satisfaction from the application of the CSS principles on the project. The analysis of the scores noted in the survey, and presented in the following table, is based on a 4.0 scale, where 4.0 is Strongly Agree, 3.0 is Agree, 2.0 is Disagree, and 1.0 is Strongly Disagree. Additional information on the data analysis, a summary of the scores for each case study, and general findings (from all case studies) is presented in the NCHRP Report 642, available here.

CSS Principle

Project Team

Use of interdisciplinary teams

3.8

Involve stakeholders

4.0

Seek broad-based public involvement

4.0

Use full range of communication methods

3.5

Achieve consensus on purpose and need

3.5

Utilize full range of design choices

3.3

Address alternatives and all modes

3.8

Maintain environmental harmony

3.5

Address community & social issues

3.5

Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements

3.8

Consider a safe facility for users & community

3.8

Document project decisions

3.8

Track and meet all commitments

3.5

Create a lasting value for the community

3.8

Use all resources effectively (time & budget)

3.5

Discussion on CSS principles

There were four respondents that were considered as team members, including the responses of the person identified as the team leader. The project team indicated that in general all principles were present, since all had a score of 3.0 or greater (i.e. agreed that at least the principle was there). The principle with the lowest score was “Utilize full range of design choices” (3.3).

The project included an interdisciplinary team that covered all anticipated (required) areas and it seemed to have worked well. The responses received came from team members who identified themselves as transportation planners, design engineers, community planners, construction engineers, and traffic engineers. All were involved in the planning and design phases of the project and two were involved in the construction phase as well. Almost all respondents had a long CSS experience (over 6 years). Finally, all team members had more than 10 years of relevant experience.

As noted above, there was one principle that had a score lower than 3.5 indicating that the principle was applied but at a lower agreement level among the respondents. A further review of the comments provided by the team members that scored this principle with the low score did not provide any additional information to clarify the reasons for their low score. On the contrary, the meeting minutes show that several attempts were made to evaluate alternative designs and the council constructed a demonstration project (roundabout) at another location to demonstrate the value of the alternative.

On the positive side, there are two principles that the team was in agreement that were highly met. These include the “Involve stakeholders” (4.0) and “Seek broad-based public involvement” (4.0). This strong agreement was also highlighted in several of the comments provided. In particular, the involvement of the stakeholders was discussed by several members and was noted as a significant lesson-learned from the process followed. The development of a multistep public involvement process that engaged property owners, community members, and city council representatives was also noted as a strong influence and lesson learned by the process.

CSS Benefits

Surveys were also utilized to ask the project team, as well as external stakeholders in the process, about their perceptions of the benefits derived from a CSS process. As with the surveys regarding CSS Principles, the Benefits were scored on a 4.0 scale, where 4.0 is Strongly Agree, 3.0 is Agree, 2.0 is Disagree, and 1.0 is Strongly Disagree.

CSS Benefit

Measured

Stakeh.

Team

Improved stakeholder/public feedback

NA

3.3

Increased stakeholder/public participation compared to other projects

NA

3.3

Increased stakeholder/public participation

--

3.0

Increased stakeholder/public ownership

--

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public trust

--

3.5

Decreased costs for overall project delivery

NA

3.0

Decreased time for overall project delivery

NA

3.0

Improved predictability of project delivery

--

3.3

Improved project scoping

NA

4.0

Improved project budgeting

NA

3.0

Increased opportunities for partnering or shared funding or in-kind resources

--

3.5

Improved opportunities for joint use and development

--

3.5

Improved sustainable decisions and investments

NA

3.3

Improved environmental stewardship

NA

3.3

Minimized overall impact to human environment

--

3.5

Minimized overall impact to natural environment

--

3.5

Improved mobility for all users

--

4.0

Improved walkability

--

3.8

Improved bikeability

--

3.8

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

--

3.8

Improved multi-modal options

--

3.8

Improved community satisfaction

--

3.5

Improved quality of life for community

--

3.8

Fit with local government land use plan

--

3.5

Improved speed management

--

3.3

Design features appropriate to context

--

3.5

Optimized maintenance and operations

NA

3.7

Minimized disruption

--

3.5

Increased risk management and liability protection

NA

3.5

Discussion on Benefit Values

Semi-Quantitative Benefits
The survey was completed only by team members who indicated that all benefits materialized as a result of the process followed. All benefits have a score greater than 3.0 indicating that the survey participants at least agree that the benefit was achieved. Benefits that had high scores (equal or greater than 3.7, indicating that most of the participants strongly agree) include “Improved project scoping”, “Improved mobility for all users”,  “Improved walkability and bikeability”, “Improved safety”, “Improved quality of life for the community”, and “Optimized maintenance operations”. These benefits indicate that the project resulted in a better environment for the community.

Overall, this was a positive view of the benefits materialized and the project was considered as generating benefits due to the process followed. It should be noted here that even though there is a great agreement among the four team members that completed the survey, the results should be viewed cautiously and any comparisons could be conducted with care.


Quantitative Benefits 
In addition to the semi-quantitative scores obtained above, the following quantitative metrics were obtained for some of the benefits. 

 

CSS Benefit

Metrics

Increased stakeholder/public participation

Stakeholder meeting in planning; a 100-person charette to identify possible design options; a forum to discuss charett choices; and four neighborhood meetings to finalize design

Decreased costs for overall project delivery

Price approximately the same

Decreased time for overall project delivery

Project completed within allotted time

Improved predictability of project delivery

 

Improved project scoping

 

Improved project budgeting

 

Increased opportunities for partnering or shared funding or in-kind resources

Cost-share with Tacoma Power splitting 50/50 cost for underground power lines

Improved environmental stewardship

 

Minimized overall impact to human environment

 

Minimized overall impact to natural environment

 

Improved mobility for all users

1 mile of bike lanes and sidewalks in both directions of traffic

Improved walkability

1 mile of 10-foot sidewalk both directions; added midblock crossing with pedestrian signal

Improved bikeability

1 mile of 7-foot bike lanes  on both directions of traffic

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

Driveway crashes reduced from 19 per year to 8 a year after project was completed

Improved multi-modal options

 

Improved speed management

Operating speed reduced by 1.9 mph

Optimized maintenance and operations

 

Minimized disruption

 

Increased risk management and liability protection

 

The data supports the semi-quantitative results noted in the previous table and indicates that the high scores for the various improvements noted are indeed true. However, the available data reputes the perception for those benefits that had the lower scores (3.0). There were no change orders and scope changes submitted for the project indicating that the budgeting and scoping of the project was appropriate. Moreover, the time for the completion of the project remained on target thus not increasing the delivery time. 

Arnstein Comparison

The surveys conducted for this case study included a set of questions that could be used to evaluate potential differences in the level of satisfaction between project team members and stakeholders. These differences in satisfaction are known as the Arnstein gap, which is a heuristic metric by which the existing quality deficit of public involvement can be measured. Arnstein developed an eight-step scale (Arnstein’s Ladder) characterizing levels of public involvement in planning, ranging from “Manipulation” of the public (non-participation) to “Citizen Control” of the process. The NCHRP 642 authors adapted this approach to assess the perceptions of stakeholders and the project team.

Arnstein Questions Part 1

Stakeh.

Team

I  am satisfied with the relationship we had with project team

--

NA

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the stakeholders

NA

3.5

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the interested public

NA

3.5

I am satisfied with the procedures and methods that allowed input to project decisions

--

3.5

Note: The project team and stakeholder scores are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: strongly agree; 3: agree; 2: disagree; and 1: strongly disagree).

Arnstein Questions Part 2

Stakeh.

Team

My relationship with the project team was best described as

--

NA

My relationship with the stakeholders was best described as

NA

2.8

My relationship with the interested public was best described as

NA

2.8

Note: The project team and stakeholder rankings are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: They allowed us to provide direction; 3: We established a partnership; 2: We established a consultation relationship; and 1: We established an informational relationship). 

This section evaluates the relative view and perceptions between the stakeholders and the team to determine whether both have the same experience and level of satisfaction. However, in this case this was not possible due to the lack of stakeholder responses. The team showed high levels of satisfaction working with both stakeholders and public. The question on the level of relationship between team and stakeholders showed that team members viewed that relationship as letting stakeholders to provide direction.

Overall Level of Success
This is a successful use of CSS processes. The commitment of the local government to use innovative designs and communication techniques paid off in delivering a very successful project.



The goal of the project is to develop Bridgeport Way as a corridor that will improve traffic safety, increase the mobility and cohesiveness of the community, enhance the appearance of the corridor, and control traffic growth.     
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