Objectives for Involvement
Five primary objectives shape the public and stakeholder involvement process for this study.
Make sure that the people who have a stake in this corridor now or in the future—property and business owners, residents, customers and users—can contribute to the decisions and direction that will guide development and investment in the Main Street/Central Expressway Corridor.
Provide opportunities for any interested person to find out about the study and its work products, and to provide comments to the study team.
Implement a process that makes effective use of participants’ time and offers choices about when, where, in what format and at what length a participant is involved.
Structure the involvement process so the input received is timely and relevant to the study’s analytical work and recommendations.
Build support for any future action in this corridor to be considered by the City of Richardson.
Involvement Tools and Techniques
The involvement process uses a set of tools to give the community a variety of options for communicating throughout the study. This ‘ongoing involvement’ takes advantage of the internet, electronic communications and social media. In addition, scheduled events and activities will take place during the study. They bring people together for interaction, discussion and feedback on study work products. These tools are described below, along with a description of the specific ways they will be used.
A set of webpages provides a convenient location for all information about the study that should be communicated with anyone in the public—local residents, potential investors, organizations interested in future activities and facilities, property owners and business operators. This information is available to anyone who has access to the internet, at any time of day.
The City of Richardson is hosting a set of webpages for this project within its website. The study team provides content for these pages at key points during the process, such as after a scheduled event. The City then updates the site with this information. Links to YouTube may be used to provide video on the web, such as presentations about the project, reports of meetings, explanations of the artist’s renderings and so forth.
The webpage includes an email address to which anyone can address questions about the study and comments or recommendations for this corridor— firstname.lastname@example.org. This dedicated email address gives an individual a way to make a specific comment and send it directly to the City staff and study team.
Questionnaires allow people to give quick feedback on the project’s overall direction. They give someone a way to engage even if they can’t attend the Open House or Charrette. The initial questionnaire will be posted shortly after the Open House. It will ask broad questions about the respondent’s experience with the corridor as it exists and will solicit ideas for the corridor’s successful future. The questions will reference the topics that are the focus of the Open House stations. After the Charrette, the questionnaire will focus on the alternatives developed there and being evaluated. The responses that are received will be collected through an online database. Respondents will have the option of providing their name and contact information.
Online polling allows for much more specific input on potential goals, actions steps that are being considered, images that reflect design concepts and other items. Online polling questions will be similar to the electronic keypad polling used during the Open House and Charrette. The questions will be made available online after those events and will remain available for approximately 3 to 4 weeks after they are posted. As with the open-ended questionnaire, the respondents will have the option of providing name and contact information.
A Facebook account and page will be established so people can follow the project on Facebook, provide comments to the study team and chat with other interested residents. Facebook provides some of the same value as the website and online input tools. By adding this tool, the study team can connect with people for whom Facebook is the primary electronic communications tool. Facebook will also be the key social media tool for announcing events and spreading the word about the project and the ways in which people can participate. In addition, Facebook gives people a way to communicate with one another about the study.
The Open House will be held on July 10, 2012. This event is open to anyone who would like to come. It will introduce the community to the planning team and process and provide an opportunity for interested citizens to start providing feedback about the project. It will provide participants an opportunity to discuss and prioritize issues for this corridor, imagine their own preferred future for the area, and participate in the identification of action items.
The Open House will be conducted in a workshop format, with the use of interactive tools (such as electronic keypad polling) as well as hands-on activities (including stations where participants describe their own ideas for action in the corridor). This format does not require that everyone stay for the entire time; instead, participants can come whenever they want and stay as long as they choose. Open House participants will register for the event online, via email at email@example.com or by phone at 972-744-4243.
A set of presentations will occur midway through the time for the open house. These presentations will introduce the project and provide information about the background analysis and research completed so far, as well as discussion of the overall process and expected results.
Invitations will be mailed to property owners and businesses within the study area and to representatives of identified stakeholder organizations and companies. Announcements about the Open House will be made through the City’s ‘Week in Review’ email newsletter, on the City’s website and through other means.
Interviews and meetings are intended to provide a format for detailed discussion with individuals or organizations that have knowledge about particular aspects of the corridor or have themselves made specific investments in the corridor. The study team will set up to 10 meetings with individual stakeholders (including individual property owners and business owners) or stakeholder groups (including homeowner associations, civic groups or potential investors) within the corridor as identified by the City of Richardson. These meetings will give the team a way to have more detailed discussions with these stakeholders.
A Community Charrette will be held on the evening of September 19, 2012. It will provide an opportunity for community stakeholders and interested individuals to review the analysis and preliminary recommendations resulting from the study team’s work. The same mailing lists will be used to invite participation in the Charrette; anyone who attended the Open House will receive an invitation. Charrette participants will register online, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 972-744-4243.
Unlike the Open House, the Charrette does assume that participants will be able to attend the entire session. Participants will prepare in advance by reviewing material to be posted online. The structure will be a more focused working session seeking discussion and feedback from the individual participants and from the interaction among participants from different backgrounds. Participants may be assigned in advance to specific teams for part of the Charrette.
The Charrette will use graphic displays, presentations and summary handouts to share the findings and recommendations with the community. A workshop-style setting will engage all participants in direct review and dialogue with one another about these preliminary results. Hands-on refinement of graphics, electronic keypad polling and structured discussion questions will be combined so participants learn about the analysis and results; provide feedback and suggest refinements; and interact with one another to begin building agreement to support the Framework Plan’s implementation. The Charrette will include some attention to the overall corridor; it will also include exercises and activities directed specifically to particular focus areas and/or individual catalyst sites.
Final Community Involvement Session
This Session will be held on the evening of November 8, 2012. The Team will present the Final Framework Plan, Focus Area Plans, and Catalyst Site Plans in a public meeting for final public comment. Comment sheets, sticky notes for changes to graphics, and keypad polling are among the techniques that will be used to obtain comments on these plans. Though the specific agenda will depend on the final direction of these plans, the session will generally involve presentation to participants and discussion to obtain comments from individuals. Participants in the Final Community Involvement Session will be asked to register for the event online, via email at email@example.com or by phone at 972-744-4243.
City Plan Commission and City Council
The City Plan Commission and City Council will receive updates on the project throughout the study as part of their regularly-scheduled meetings. At the conclusion of the effort, both bodies will receive a final presentation of findings, recommendations and implementation techniques so that the next step in the overall corridor enhancement/redevelopment process can be determined.