This was a unique bicycle and pedestrian planning effort because the City of Goleta already had an extensive bicycle network and sidewalks on most streets, but wanted to define potential locations for improvements. Project tasks were therefore designed to determine where there were network gaps and other potential existing facility needs. Because most improvements would be at specific locations, knowledgeable citizen input helped determine which locations to address. Having the community help pinpoint issues and gaps was crucial, making robust community outreach very important to the project success.
To ensure community participation, KTUA worked with the city to develop resources including regular email press releases through the city’s Monarch Press online newsletter, online and paper surveys, an online comment map and “pop-up” workshops instead of conventional public meetings. “Pop-up” workshops were conducted as part of the annual Goleta Lemon Festival and at a farmers’ market. This format allowed the team to introduce the project to the public in a casual setting and quickly get input from many people. In addition, the team distributed postcards directing people to the online survey and comment map, and urged them to watch the Monarch Press for upcoming project announcements. The team’s diverse outreach toolkit was instrumental in addressing the city’s concern with thorough community outreach. The City of Goleta’s regular updating and close cooperation with the team’s outreach efforts resulted in an unprecedented response. Over 1,600 people completed the online survey and contributed to the online comment map.
Using the GIS-based comment map’s geo-referenced citizen input, KTUA developed a “heat map” highlighting the locations that received the most comments. The top 30 locations were further analyzed and compiled into a list of locations with specific recommended improvements. With such a robust response rate, the city can use the comment analysis and resulting recommended project list to prioritize improvements for future grant applications.