PARK(ing) Day is this Friday, September 16th and KTU+A is excited to announce that we will be participating for our 5th consecutive year in support of this wonderful event. Park(ing) Day is a global event where a variety of designers and advocates collaborate to temporarily transform parking spaces into public places to demonstrate the benefits that parks bring to the urban fabric. See photos from KTU+A’s parklets last year which showcased two separate themes; one of a passive parklet with embedded facts about the benefits of parks and the other of an active carnival with games and prizes for visitors.
This year KTU+A will be teaming up with Industrial Grind Coffee and the parklet will be temporary installed this Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM in front of Industrial Grind’s Hillcrest location at 1433 University Ave. San Diego, CA 92103 and there will be fresh coffee for visitors. The community is invited to come enjoy this temporary park this Friday. See you there!
KTU+A has been gathering community input by hosting several days of workshops for the Santa Ana Complete Streets project. They’ve completed their first round, but the next workshop will be on June 18th, 10-12pm at the Southwest Senior Center where they will present back the results of the four-day workshop. To see all the fun you’ve missed, click here, and for more information about the upcoming workshop you can visit the project website.
As professional planners, engineers and elected officials, we’re always trying to find ways to engage the public through workshops. While some topics will inherently draw large (sometimes angry) crowds for discussions such as increasing density or removing parking, many active transportation projects don’t have that kind of following just yet.
For most of the city or region-wide active transportation projects I’ve worked on, people either don’t know what they are about, don’t walk, bike or use transit or just don’t care. If it doesn’t directly affect their daily lives, then it’s not worth participating. It’s even more difficult in disadvantaged communities to engage residents. Whether it’s a language barrier, other cultural factors, no interest, or maybe even “planning fatigue,” it’s still very important to reach out as best you can. In fact, it’s these disadvantaged communities that benefit the most from active transportation projects like protected bike lanes, enhanced street crossings, sidewalks and traffic calming. Let’s face it, for many, it’s their only mode of transportation.
How many times have we been to traditional workshops or open houses where there’s a presentation, followed by break-outs to view maps and illustrations, then Q&A or collaboration with team members making their rounds? Sometimes it works great, sometimes it doesn’t. The real battle is getting people there in the first place.
In the past few years, we’ve worked more and more in disadvantaged communities, and it’s been a lot of fun. But the challenge of public engagement always looms. Does social media work here? How have workshops been conducted in the past? What’s the turnout like? Who should we target? What do we need to do to get people to attend?
The real question should be, “How do we reach the residents?”
It’s fairly simple; go to where you know they’ll be. Health fairs, Easter egg hunts, farmers markets, firework shows, music events, neighborhood block parties, etc. For corridor studies, pop a tent along the study area during peak times.
Depending on the project, venue and expected participation, cost and time will vary, but preparations can be much less involved than for a traditional workshop. Space, meaning your booth, is usually provided, your audience will be there, no presentations are needed, but a succinct project description spiel is always welcome. Displays can be simplified to quickly get the point across and other pertinent material can be readily available for when participants really get engaged.
The following are simple strategies to attract participants to your booth.
- Provide freebies -Utilize project branded items such as bike bells, water bottles, recyclable shopping bags, cups, frisbees, snacks, etc. Many cities already have these promotional materials they wouldn’t mind using for these events
- Provide quick services- For bike and pedestrian related projects, provide a bike pump to fill tires, bike tools, water, snacks, etc.
- Attractive (and bright colored) informative graphics and branding - To separate yourself from the sometimes endless tents that line these events, provide bright colored infographics, banners and catchy themes. For example, instead of a banner stating, “City Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, or City General Plan,” try “We Need Your Input!,” “Do You Like Biking or Walking in Your City?”, “Make Walking and Biking Better In Your City,!” or “Make Walking and Biking Better For Your Kids”
- Kid-friendly- As much as possible, make your booth kid-friendly. Provide treats, coloring materials, Legos, building blocks, board games, etc. You’re likely to get more out of participants with kids if they know their children can be momentarily pre-occupied and enjoying themselves. Who doesn’t like Legos?
- Provide ways for participants to give input at and away from the booth - Have postcards, flyers or business-size cards with project and survey information to take home if they don’t have time at the event. Have surveys ready on-hand for those that want to participate, then give out a treat or freebie for filling it out. Incentives always work.
- Keep input brief and interactive - Knowing that people are at these events to enjoy themselves, keep the input methods short and sweet. Those that are passionate about the project will get engaged and start discussions. Many are willing to provide input, especially if it takes less than a minute. Provide white boards, stickers, chalkboards, etc. that participants can just place a sticker, or quickly comment on. Reading other comments may even spark additional conversations and ideas.
- Market the next workshop or event – Plan the events ahead of time so you can advertise the next event with “Save the Date” cards or posters they can photograph. QR Tags are another option.
- Provide translation - Know the community you’re working in. Have all your materials in the languages needed and staff available for translation.
- Provide a “Passport” if applicable to the event - This is a great ways to “force” participants to attend your booth. These are cards that either get stamped or signed at the various booths and when completed, are entered in a raffle for prizes. Prizes can range from gift cards to bicycles. Some events include these passports to maximize sponsor exposure and to encourage civic engagement.
- Tactical Urbanism - Depending on the location and type of event, time frame, audience and available space, installing a demonstration is an effective tool to show facilities such as a cycle track, storm water retention basins and even pocket parks. Tactical urbanism is an emerging trend to demonstrate the scale and general design of uncommon urban design and transportation elements that may not exist in the community.
- Most of all, smile and have fun! It’s that simple.
Civic engagement doesn’t always have to be challenging. Be creative, know your audience and utilize all your resources. Many times, it’s the most rewarding part of a project.
Every two years, the California Bicycle Coalition’s Summit brings together planners, engineers, advocates and political officials to share ideas for making California better for bicycling. This year, the Cal Bike Summit came to America’s Finest City and we jumped at the chance to sponsor and participate in our home town. This year’s theme was Equity in Motion and included sessions on a wide range of topics, all of which considered whether the bicycle improvements we create are reaching the communities that need them the most, and how we can do better. With many of our past and current projects occurring in disadvantaged communities, we had a lot to share at the Bike Summit. In addition, demonstrating new bicycle infrastructure within these communities was a hot topic. With KTU+A’s tactical urbanism experience, this was another topic to which we knew we could contribute.
Joe Punsalan participated in the “Building Bikeway Networks in Diverse Communities” panel and focused on the outreach efforts for Santa Ana’s Downtown Complete Streets Plan and Desert Hot Springs’ Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. While probably overdressed for event, Joe presented on how a three-day charrette can be fun, informative and – by empowering residents to improve their own downtown – a serious vehicle for change. The Desert Hot Springs presentation highlighted a grassroots outreach approach, where residents were trained to lead the table exercises. This empowered residents to make decisions about bicycle and pedestrian improvements and helped to build trust between attendees and project staff.
Building on the momentum from her recent presentation at the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professional’s Professional Development Seminar (APBP PDS) in St. Louis, Alison Moss contributed to the “Pop-Up Demonstrations of Better Infrastructure” session. Jointing this session afforded Alison the chance to collaborate with Dave Campbell of Bike East Bay and Monique Lopez of Placemaking Collaborative, to offer a vibrant and entertaining look at pop-up demonstrations. KTU+A’s cycle track demonstration on University Avenue during the 2014 CicloSDias event was the focus of Alison’s talk. In her discussion of how the team planned, programmed and executed the design, she focused on lessons learned and tools of the trade.
What would a Bike Summit be without a bike ride? KTU+A volunteered to lead a ride through Coronado under the leadership of the City’s Active Transportation Coordinator Mariah VanZerr. KTU+A’s John Holloway co-led the ride while Jacob Leon and Tim Henderson provided bicycling and organizational support. The vertigo induced and tattoo laced backlash the City recently faced inspired this ride. But instead of adding fuel to the fire, this ride was designed to showcase the City’s existing infrastructure and the steps it’s taking to ensure that the City remains a world class bicycling destination. Where else do 70 percent of a city’s children bike or walk to school? Plus, it’s flat, there’s a ferry ride, ocean views and (for 2015 Cal Bike attendees) free bike rentals. Thanks to our partners at DecoBike for providing the bikes!
We came away from the Summit more inspired than ever. Seeing and hearing about the changes that our colleagues in the field are making was great. According to the League of American Bicyclists’ (LAB) Bicycle Friendly State Program, California ranks eighth, moving up one spot from last year. With local and state officials steadily making changes to improve our streets for everyone, California has a bright future ahead and a number one ranking in sight.
KTUAers fled their desks into the parking lot where they selected the best canvas to transform an orange gourd into something spectacular. They once again tested their carving, painting, and light carpentry skills as they participated in the second annual team pumpkin decorating contest.
Once completed, the masterpieces were on display for judging and ‘office mom’ Sharon Singleton revived fatigued carvers with homemade chili, cornbread and salad.Judges, partial to actual carving vs. decorating, awarded first prize to Drew Wilson and Brooke Whalen for their innovation with a desk fan. A tie for second included Cheri Blatner and Juan Bonilla with their tasty looking giant hamburger and Jacon Leon and Amy Hoffman for their ethereal owl. All around, the results were incredible proving that the creativity, or maybe just good Pinterest research, is not lacking in this office.
PARK(ing) Day is a global event in which a variety of artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform parking and non-programmed open spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places or parklets. KTU+A has been participating in this event for the past 4-5 years, and while we typically work together for this event, the company’s growth and ideas can’t be contained to just one design. So this year, KTU+A’s Planning and Landscape Architecture departments will go head-to-head in a design competition for year-long bragging rights (aka fun trash talking).
We encourage everyone to come out and experience the two parklets and vote on your favorite one. You decide on who has the best and most fun design. So please come out and have some fun. We hope to see you there!
When: Friday, September 18, 2015, 9am-1pm
Where: Normal Street, between Harvey Milk Way and University Avenue, in front of the KTU+A office
Alas another year has passed and the ESRI User Conference has passed by again. This year we had another great showing of KTUA talent in the San Diego and ESRI showcases and ESRI Mapbook. We had a total of five maps submitted from the office this year to the San Diego Showcase and/or the ESRI Map Gallery. The authors include Kristin Bleile, Jacob Leon, Alison Moss, Diana Smith, Beth Chamberlin, and Matthew Wilkins. The map themes ranged from bike boulevard methodology to regression analysis, complete streets, and even included our local Balboa Park and San Diego breweries. Kristin received the Grand Showcase award in the San Diego Showcase for her “Looking Back at Balboa” map.
The ESRI Mapbook is a compiled printed book of selected maps from the previous year’s conference. This year’s edition featured three maps from KTUA staff. They include Kristin Bleile’s Mobility Analytics map, Tasha Davis’ San Diego Commute to Work map, and Mike Limburg’s Line of Sight Analysis for Range Development.
Ecological restoration and habitat creation are benefiting tremendously from the variety of software available to help analyze, design, visualize and construct complex systems and subtle topographies. While landscape architecture is embracing 3D drafting and illustrative modeling, habitat restoration can especially benefit from the use of many of these software options. In Denver, Mark, Dave, and Allegra presented an overview of a variety of software that are used in this facet of landscape architecture.
Read the rest at the link below!