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New Reconstruction of Cemetery Road (KY 234)

Project Abstract

The need existed to provide improved and additional access into the Bowling Green Central Business District from a new interchange on I-65. The project was also intended to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety on Cemetery Road by constructing a 4-lane facility and to accommodate future growth in the community by providing additional capacity sufficient to handle projected traffic volumes.



New Reconstruction of Cemetery Road : The need existed to provide improved and additional access into the Bowling Green Central Business District from a new interchange on I-65.
The need existed to provide improved and additional access into the Bowling Green Central Business District from a new interchange on I-65.

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: Bowling Green, Kentucky

Lead Agency: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Contact Person: Jeff Moore (KYTC)

Phase Completed Maintenance and Operations

Source: Stamatiadis, Nikiforos, et. al. GUIDELINES FOR QUANTIFYING THE BENEFITS OF CONTEXT SENSITIVE SOLUTIONS. NCHRP 15-32. April 2009.

CSS Qualities



Project Team (make up)
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet project multidisciplinary team included personnel from planning, design, environmental, and construction. The team also included consultants involved with planning, design and landscape architecture.

Stakeholders (make up, utilization, interaction) 
Project stakeholders included: Local Governments-City of Bowling Green, Warren County Judge-Executive’s Office; Resource Agencies/MPOs-Kentucky Heritage Council, City-County Planning Commission (Bowling Green-Warren County); Local Interest Groups-The Greenways Commission, Operation P.R.I.D.E. Citizens for Improving Cemetery Road; Others-Neighborhood Associations, Western Kentucky University, Warren County 4H Extension Board and the Bowling Green Tree Board; Individuals-Primarily adjacent landowners and businesses. The local governments incorporated MOUs for future maintenance along the right of ways. Resource agencies provided input on project features/enhancements. Significant stakeholder involvement related to providing zoning acceptable to businesses and the public.

Public involvement (types, documentation)
Public involvement was solicited through a variety of methods including: public meetings (project and zoning) and press releases to mass media.

Design solution (process, modes and alternatives examined)
The revised Cemetery Road incorporated expansion of the existing roadway to four lanes along with a new intersection with I 65. Extensive use was made of green spaces along the roadway that incorporated berms to mask the road from adjacent houses. Newly created intersections were signalized using long mast light poles. An additional contract was incorporated into the project for tree/shrubbery plantings along the route.

CSS concepts by project phase
The project incorporated significant interaction with the public and stakeholders to identify opportunities for enhancing the community by providing amenities in the planning and design phases. Controlled access was used in conjunction with local zoning restrictions to prevent undesirable commercialization and housing growth along the project. Further opportunities for community enhancement were identified in the construction phase and incorporated in the completed project. Cooperation with stakeholders resulted with the enactment of zoning regulations and limited access to many portions of the road promoting public support. MOUs with local governments facilitated upkeep of the significant green spaces along the project.

Lessons learned
The extensive use of public involvement resulted in modifications to the initial design that provided a project pleasing to the community. Close agency cooperation with the local MPO greatly facilitated the public’s acceptance of the road. Additional CSS features were incorporated as the project developed, even into the maintenance/ operations phase. The project team believed that the slow pace of initial project planning led to a smooth transition into design and construction as many community issues/options were fully explored and decisions made early on. The project team believed that it is best to resolve long-term maintenance responsibilities prior to construction when communities request enhancements such as plantings that require long-term upkeep.

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

4.0

Involve stakeholders

3.3

Seek broad-based public involvement

3.7

Use full range of communication methods

3.3

Achieve consensus on purpose and need

3.7

Utilize full range of design choices

3.0

Address alternatives and all modes

3.3

Maintain environmental harmony

3.3

Address community & social issues

4.0

Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements

3.7

Consider a safe facility for users & community

3.7

Document project decisions

3.3

Track and meet all commitments

3.0

Create a lasting value for the community

4.0

Use all resources effectively (time & budget)

3.0

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).

Discussion on CSS principles


Project team’s perspective

The project included an interdisciplinary team (including consultants) that effectively planned and designed the project. The project team respondents were three officials from the KYTC district office including one identified as the project team leader. Project team responses were obtained from KYTC district personnel that were planning, design and construction engineers. They all had 4 to 6 years experience in CSS and over 10 years of experience in developing transportation projects.

The project team agreed that all principles were present since all had an average score of 3.0 or greater. The principles with the lowest scores were “Track and meet all commitments” and “Use all resources effectively (time & budget)”. The project commitments were properly addressed, though some improvement could have been gained by obtaining commitments for maintaining plantings from outside agencies. It took KYTC significant time to fully develop the project due to the many decisions/actions required from local governments and planning agencies. Some of those were going to affect follow-on projects further complicating the situation. Also, the attendant landscaping for the project was expensive and time-consuming which may have impacted the Project Team’s ratings for the effective use of time and resources.

The project team responses indicated strong agreement that “Use of interdisciplinary teams”, “Address community & social issues” and “Create lasting value for the community” were met give those principles average ratings of 4.0.

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

4.0

2.7

Increased stakeholder/public ownership

4.0

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public trust

4.0

3.0

Decreased costs for overall project delivery

NA

2.0

Decreased time for overall project delivery

NA

2.3

Improved predictability of project delivery

3.0

3.3

Improved project scoping

NA

3.0

Improved project budgeting

NA

2.7

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

4.0

3.0

Improved opportunities for joint use and development

3.0

3.3

Improved sustainable decisions and investments

NA

3.0

Improved environmental stewardship

NA

3.3

Minimized overall impact to human environment

4.0

3.7

Minimized overall impact to natural environment

4.0

3.0

Improved mobility for all users

4.0

4.0

Improved walkability

4.0

4.0

Improved bikeability

4.0

4.0

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

4.0

4.0

Improved multi-modal options

3.0

3.3

Improved community satisfaction

4.0

3.7

Improved quality of life for community

4.0

3.7

Fit with local government land use plan

4.0

3.7

Improved speed management

4.0

3.0

Design features appropriate to context

4.0

3.7

Optimized maintenance and operations

NA

2.7

Minimized disruption

3.0

3.3

Increased risk management and liability protection

NA

3.0


Discussion on Benefit Values


Semi-Quantitative Benefits
The semi-quantitative benefits analysis is negatively impacted by the few survey respondents (stakeholders-1; project team-3) obtained. In part, this is due to a lapse in time between completion of the project and survey solicitation. Many of the principals, both stakeholders and project team members, had retired or changed jobs and few could be contacted about the project. The lone stakeholder indicated that the project provided many benefits agreeing or strongly agreeing on 18 CSS benefits. The overall project team responses were also positive about CSS benefits except for “Increased stakeholder participation”, “Decreased costs for project delivery”, “Decreased time for project delivery”, “Improved budgeting” and “Optimized maintenance and operations”. The district and local governments/planning agencies have had a history close cooperation that predates this project. While this project had some new CSS elements, stakeholder involvement may not have been exceptional for this project. Decreased cost and time for project delivery and improved budget responses are related to the significant effort and cost needed to address stakeholder/public concerns and provide necessary beautification to the project. Maintenance and operations ratings were impacted by the lack of working agreements to maintain plantings once the project was completed.

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

 

Decreased costs for overall project delivery

 

Decreased time for overall project delivery

 

Improved predictability of project delivery

 

Improved project scoping

 

Improved project budgeting

 

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

The Cabinet provided electric service for 4 long mast signal poles provided and serviced by the city of Bowling Green.

Improved environmental stewardship

 

Minimized overall impact to human environment

There were only 6 residential and 1 business relocation (less than the other alternatives). $0.5 million was spent on plantings to

Minimized overall impact to natural environment

 

Improved mobility for all users

 

Improved walkability

A two-mile long multi-use path was incorporated in the project.

Improved bikeability

A two-mile long multi-use path was incorporated in the project.

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

In the 4 years before project completion there were 206 crashes with 56 injuries and 2 fatalities. After the project there were 124 crashes with 33 injuries and no fatalities.

Improved multi-modal options

 

Improved speed management

 

Optimized maintenance and operations

 

Minimized disruption

 

Increased risk management and liability protection

 


Other benefits
Local government /agencies will have opportunities to utilize excess project land for parks/multi-use paths. A local zoning plan was developed to provide orderly development along KY 234. The plan was enacted in conjunction with limited access provided by KYTC. The multi-use path was extended to provide a tie-in with a future path along an adjacent road (to be reconstructed by KYTC). A local university has placed numerous banners and a gateway along the road. Local civic groups and municipalities have assumed vegetation upkeep along the route including mowing and maintenance of flower/foliage plantings in the raised medians.

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

4.0

NA

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the stakeholders

NA

4.0

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

NA

3.3

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

4.0

3.3

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

3.0

NA

My relationship with the stakeholders was best described as

NA

3.3

My relationship with the interested public was best described as

NA

2.0

Note: The project team and stakeholder rankings are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: Stakeholders provided direction; 3: Stakeholders partnered with DOT; 2: DOT consulted with stakeholders; and 1: DOT informed stakeholders).

Overall level of success
This project was a successful use of CSS. Without close cooperation of local stakeholder agencies (who provided significant interfacing with the public), this project would have faced strong opposition. Previous attempts to use conventional project development to reconstruct KY 234 had stalled due to local opposition.



The need existed to provide improved and additional access into the Bowling Green Central Business District from a new interchange on I-65.     
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