Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Resources for becoming a learned participant in the DC master transportation planning process

One of my big criticisms of planning more generally is how it is set up for civic engagement and learning.  For a variety of reasons, planning is set up to be contentious, mostly because residents for the most part focus on their self interest and warding off change, and because planners by definition have to be concerned with the future and accommodating change, not to mention achieving citywide objectives not just neighborhood objectives.

Placemaking diagram, Project for Public SpacesThere are many opportunities to participate in various planning processes in DC but in my opinion, people generally don't get "better" and "more knowledgeable" with their participation in each iteration.

Part of it is because we don't do much in the way of best practice education and "workshops" like the Project for Public Places "How to Turn a Place Around Workshop," book, and their Place Game tool (image left).

I joke that I might not be a good planner, but I am good at gap analysis, and the various gaps in DC's planning processes and plans have educated me quite thoroughly.

Capture-0Presentation: Mississauga City Forum: “A Way Forward” “Be Connected With Transit”So as a way to fill those identified gaps, the other way I've learned about planning is by reading plans from other places, and comparing those plans to various places and other experiences.

Right: from the transportation presentation in Mississauga, Ontario, 2006.

So it would be great if people would read some transportation-related plans from other places to get some insight into better practice, and agitate to get some of those better practices incorporated into DC's master transportation plan.

No one person would want to review all of the resources listed below, and I've not read every word in all of these documents either, but I have to say that even if you only read one of the plans, you'd end up being much more knowledgeable about at least one aspect of transportation planning, and you'd be better prepared to  push the city further along than they might otherwise will be willing to attain in terms of innovation.

This isn't an absolute, comprehensive list, just a list of particularly good resources that I've likely to have referenced over the years.

General mobility planning resources

Seattle Urban Mobility Plan Briefing Book
best practices, case studies, and other resources for various aspects of transportation planning
Arlington County Master Transportation Plan
a step forward in how it's broken down into sub-elements.  What I like best about the plan is how the Goals element defines the key overall goals and objectives and then how each element is both internally consistent within itself, but is also defined by the goals and so the plan recommendations are consistent with the Goals Element.  The Parking and Curbside Management Element is particularly important but also could be stronger.
- Translink Vancouver Transportation 2040 Plan
This document is comparable to the Goals element of the ArCo plan.  But it's both visionary and succinct, albeit focused on transit.
Smart Transportation Guidebook
it already needs to be updated, but it is an important step forward in how it defines roadway characteristics, roadside characteristics, and desired operating speeds in terms of specific land use context (along the lines of the New Urbanism Land Use Transect).  However, the bikeway recommendations are out-of-date and urban desired traffic speeds can still be too high.
North Carolina Department of Transportation Bike and Pedestrian Policies Master Webpage
The key policies for each functional area of the department are accessible from this page.  This model should be extended across a Department of Transportation as a whole.
- Victoria Transport Policy Institute
many many resources
Street Design Manual, New York City
- San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency website
covers all modes
- Transport for London website
covers all modes
- Transportation Planning Resource Guide: A Guide to Preparing the Transportation Element for a Local Comprehensive Plan, State of Wisconsin
- GO OHIO! Transportation Futures Plan
- Guide for Reviewing Public Road Design and Bicycling Accommodations for Virginia Bicycling Advocates, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
While this guidebook is ostensibly about bicycling specifically, it's more broadly applicable in terms of how it "teaches" people to organize how they interact and talk with planners, especially in terms of organizing your arguments.

Pedestrian

Toronto Walking Strategy
criticized as an area that is not actually prioritized by the city, but it reads very well
- Feet First, Seattle
advocacy group focused on promoting walking, develops lots of different kinds of maps
- WalkBoston, one of the nation's leading pedestrian advocacy organizations
- Minneapolis Safe Routes to School Vision Plan
Not a nitty gritty plan but a good model for what all school districts should be doing
- PEDSAFE: Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System
- School Walk and Bike Routes: A Guide for Planning and Improving Walk and Bike to School Options for Students, State of Washington
Superb document.
- 20 mph is plenty for us, UK advocacy campaign
- Starkville in Motion, Mississippi advocacy organization

Wayfinding
Toronto Wayfinding Strategy
really really great (as are the wayfinding strategies for London, England, New York City, and Alexandria, Virginia).  They tend to be focused on walking but should also include transit and motor vehicle wayfinding coordination also.

Bicycling

- Minneapolis Bicycle Master Plan
One of the best, although I prefer the previous version
- From Fun to Functional: Cycling –A Mode of Transportation in its Own Right, Vision document, Province of Quebec
- Federal Republic of Germany, National Cycling Plan 2002-2012: Ride your bike! Measures to Promote Cycling in Germany
- London Cycling Design Standards
I'm big on metrics.  While the "Matrix of Cycle Solutions" framework on page 62 needs some updating, it's a great basis for making objective choices between particular types of bikeway infrastructure.  I used this as the basis for the creation of a similar matrix for Baltimore County.
Cycling for Everyone - A Regional Cycling Strategy for Metro Vancouver
Translink Vancouver.  This plan is rare in that it sets high numerical goals for the number of bicycle trips for transportational purposes.
- Additional cycling resources, Translink Vancouver
Their studies on bike parking and other support facilities are probably the best of any such study in North America.
- BIKESAFE: Bicycle Countermeasure Selection System
- American Trails resource website
- Shared Use Path Level of Service Calculator
- London (UK) Cycling Campaign
one of the great things this organization does is organize and support ward-based advocacy and programming efforts
- Pennsylvania Trail Towns Initiative
DC as a mostly urbanified place, isn't a hotbed of bike tourism, but I do believe that the city could be a focal point for regional bike tourism.  The Pennsylvania initiative is more focused on rural localities but still relevant.
Sidewalks and Shared-Use Paths: Safety, Security, and Maintenance, University of Delaware Institute for Public Administration.

Transit

- WMATA Momentum Strategic Plan (draft)
- Mississauga City Forum: “A Way Forward” “Be Connected With Transit”, Mary Raulerson, February 28, 2006
Frequent Transit Network, Translink Vancouver transit management
Managing the Transit Network, Translink Vancouver transit management
- Human Transit blog (and book)
King County Metro Service Guidelines
One of my big criticisms of DC proper is that it makes decisions about creating and funding transit service (like the various Circulator services) without transit metrics.  With objective criteria, you can make sound decisions.  This is one of the best documents I've seen on the subject.
- From Here to There: A creative guide to making public transport the way to go, EMBARQ: The World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport
Marketing.
- Moving Transit Forward planning process, Metro Transit System, St. Louis
Frankly, I think this is the model that WMATA should have engaged in starting in 2009/2010.
- Challenges and Choices: A Budget Discussion Guide, Tri-Met, Portland
- Transit for Livable Communities, Minneapolis-St. Paul advocacy group

Railroads
- Amtrak Washington Union Station Master Plan Executive Summary
- MARC Growth and Investment Program
- Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
- Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority
This program by the State of Maine, along with Amtrak Cascades, Amtrak California, and efforts by the State of Virginia, are the best state-level initiatives promoting rail service (other than what NJ Transit already does, although it is more commuter oriented)
- Virginia Railway Express
- Chicago Union Station Master Plan
- Amtrak Cascades
- Amtrak California
- Metrolink, Southern California
- CalTrain, SF Bay area

Transit Oriented Development 
although TOD is also intertwined with placemaking and urban design

Trans-Formation: Recreating Transit-Oriented Neighborhood Centers in DC: Design Handbook
This DC Office of Planning report is out of print, but it is an excellent overview of the principles.
- Center for Transit Oriented Development
many many many great resources
- Ten Principles for Successful Development Around Transit, Urban Land Institute

Equity

- Transportation Equity Network
Puget Sound Regional Equity Network: Principles of Equitable Development
- "Transportation Equity in the 21st Century," Dr. Robert Bullard
- Transportation, Equity, and Communities at Risk: Refugee Population and Transportation Accessibility in Vermont, University of Vermont Transportation Research Center
The conclusions are broadly applicable to other populations.

Transportation Demand Management

- Travel Smart Victoria, Australia
Maybe the world's first systematic transportation demand management program, which was influenced in part by the work of David Engwicht.  Great resources.
- Smart Trips website, Whatcom County, Washington
One of the best implementations of transportation demand management planning in the US.
- Sustrans, UK
Many great resources, including on what they call creating "travel plans."

Placemaking/Urban Design

- Living Places: Cleaner, Safer, Greener (UK, out-of-print)
This was one of the first planning documents I read on quality of life and design-related activities.  (Back then under the Labour Party, the UK Government was producing a lot of great material related to revitalization.)
- World Class Places: The Government's strategy for improving quality of place (UK)
- Sustainable Mobility and Climate Action Strategy presentation, San Francisco
Encompasses the city's Livable Streets program
- Project for Public Spaces
- PPS Transportation program
- Placemaking Chicago
Close Encounters with Buildings, Jan Gehl (also his book, Cities for People, Island Press)
- Urban Design Compendium
- Creating a Vibrant City Center, Cy Paumier, Urban Land Institute
- Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design, New York City
- Main Street ... when a highway runs through it: A Handbook for Oregon Communities, Oregon DOT

Financing

- Oregon Mass Transit District Payroll/Excise Tax
- Bridging the Gap, City of Seattle
- Value Capture Financing in Washington ]State] (draft), Puget Sound Regional Council
- Center for Transportation Excellence
- Value Capture Resources, Reconnecting America

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