MARTA - Clayton County High Capacity Transit Initiative
In 2014, the voters of Clayton County approved a one-cent sales tax for the expansion of MARTA services to the county. The tax provides for the implementation of commuter rail and/or high capacity transit services that will require an environmental/engineering study to determine the best mode of transit.
Contente Consulting manages the branding, marketing and public involvement process as outlined by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In addition, this 18-month coordinated effort includes extensive outreach to key stakeholders, business interests, environmental justice communities, and federal, state and local agencies.
MARTA has launched the Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative to develop transit options connecting the Lindbergh Center area in Atlanta with Emory University, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Veteran Affairs (VA) Hospital, Decatur, and other points in west-central DeKalb County. The Clifton Corridor encompasses north-central Atlanta and westcentral DeKalb County. The study involved the completion of an Alternatives Analysis in which the project team will work with the community to identify an alignment and appropriate technology(ies) to best serve the Corridor.
MARTA initiated the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for the Clifton Corridor in 2015 that included an expanded public involvement program to increase project visibility to the business community, adjacent neighborhood groups and regional stakeholders.
Contente Consulting's innovative approach to a grass root outreach extends beyond the typical public meetings, but introduced rail alignment tours, lunch and learns, project kiosks at regional events, and door to door canvassing to over 300 businesses along the corridor.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT REPRESENTATIVE PROJECTS
The City of Atlanta is updating the Connect Atlanta Plan, its first comprehensive transportation plan adopted in 2008. Atlanta’s Transportation Plan will support the long-term vision of the Atlanta City Design effort and provide policy and project recommendations for a future population of 1.3 million people and 1.2 million jobs. To move everyone safely, the plan will include strategies to reduce congestion and travel stress for everyone, whether they’re traveling by car, bicycle, pedestrian, or transit infrastructure.
Contente Consulting gathered input from residents, businesses, city leaders and organizations, and regional commuters through this 8-month process to identify the transportation needs of the community. By utilizing a philosophy of ‘meeting them where they are’, the public engagement program incorporated both traditional and non-traditional engagement techniques to capture input throughout this eight-month planning process
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) is managing the Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard Complete Streets project on behalf of the City of Atlanta’s Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond program. The project will design and construct street modifications from Cascade Avenue to Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The project will improve the safety of the corridor for all users, by providing non-motorized connections between the neighborhoods, the activity center at Cascade Avenue, the West Lake MARTA station, and the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail.
In cohort with Volkert, Inc. and the ABI team, Contente Consulting is pleased to provide support for the community engagement component of this project.
Beltline Ralph David Abernathy Complete Streets Design Build
Beltline Transit Supportive Land Use Implementation Plan
The Beltline Transit Supportive Land Use Implementation Plan (TSLUIP) will evaluate existing land use and economic development conditions, plans, regulations, and policies against the Land Use and Economic Development criteria of the FTA New Starts and/or Small Starts programs. This evaluation, along with best practice recommendations, will inform the development of a prioritized list or action plan of necessary transit supportive regulations, policies, tools, or activities to better position the Beltline 22- mile transit, trail and greenway system for federal funding and to further incentivize and encourage transit oriented development (TOD) implementation and affordable housing creation or preservation within the Project Area.
Phase 2 of this project focuses on the Implementation of Priority Actions outlined in the TSLUIP, and begins the external Community Engagement process that will be led by Contente Consulting, Inc. The engagement will be community focused and driven by the actions or activity determined by the TSLUIP in Phase 1.
The City of Clarkston, GA has experienced a resurgence due several recent planning and infrastructure initiatives over the last 2-3 years. Contente Terry has works with the city leadership and community to manage and maintain consistent communication and engagement throughout all initiatives. Currently the city is in the design phase of a Streetscape & Pedestrian Enhancement Project which will result in significant improvements for the town center and also in the process of updating its 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
Contente Consulting's commitment to public outreach included an innovative approach to engage the citizens, businesses, stakeholders and the non-English speaking community through these processes. In addition, the city’s recently completed LCI incorporated a community festival to review the draft plan concepts (with translators available), and incorporated tactical urbanism and youth visioning projects, youth activities, vendors, music and food in a festive and family oriented environment.
2015 Georgia Planning Association - Outstanding Planning Document - Small Community for Clarkston LCI Update
Contente Consulting is leading the public engagement for the Turner Field Stadium Neighborhood LCI that encompasses all or portions of the Summerhill, Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh, and Grant Park neighborhoods in addition to the stadium and surrounding outparcels. Since the LCI kicked off last fall, more than 1,600 community residents and stakeholders have participated in the extensive planning process guided by a Project Management Team and Core Team comprised of vested stakeholders representing residents, businesses, service organizations and agency interests.
A series of visioning workshops, focus groups, neighborhood specific public meetings, draft recommendation presentation and a survey conducted by Atlanta Public Schools students have helped frame three development concepts that increase density, incorporate openspaces, preserve the heritage of the communities, provide improved pedestrian and vehicular connections and protects the single family neighborhoods.
Recent revitalization and development in and around the Lake City downtown area has increased the focus on developing a City center. During a (4) month planning process, the consultant team led by TSW outlined a plan to create an active and inclusive Downtown by cultivating history, the arts, and the people of Lake City. The Lake City Downtown Master Plan introduces both design and policy goals to reach a community-led vision for the future.
The project involved an extensive public outreach effort led by Contente Consulting, that included an online and paper survey, focus groups, and a 3-day charrette to capture community input.
Contente Consulting along with the design team led by TSW developed and implemented various activities and communication tools to capture input from the stakeholders regarding safety, cosmetic, pedestrian and convenience enhancements for the Five Points and Garnett MARTA Stations. Utilizing a Livable Communities Initiative (LCI) grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (CAP/ADID) worked with consultants to research, evaluate, design, document and execute creative placemaking and ‘tactical urbanism’ projects to enhance the experience of existing MARTA riders and possibly attract new riders.
Due to feedback from focus groups during the fact finding phase of the project, a marketing strategy around the pride-building concept of “I Choose MARTA” was developed. This theme was reflected during the station intercepts at the Five Points and Garnett MARTA stations, Georgia State University and Woodruff Park to gain community input and was consistent throughout all marketing and communications tools. The efforts were advertised using post cards, e-blasts, signage in the MARTA stations, project t-shirts, a project website with detailed project information and access to the survey, and an active Facebook page that provided frequent updates about the progress of the project.
The community engagement strategies and results included:
Marketing strategy around the pride-building concept of “I Choose MARTA”
The efforts were advertised using post cards, e-blasts, signage in the MARTA stations, project t-shirts, a project website with detailed project information and access to the survey, and an active Facebook page that provided frequent updates about the progress of the project.
4 station area intercepts located at Five Points Station, Garnett Station, Georgia State University, and Woodruff Park;
1,300 survey responses via online and distribution at the intercept locations;
1,909 tosses for the Ball / Basket “I Choose MARTA” activity;
1,107 dots placed on the Visual Preference Survey (VPS) posters;
200 volunteers for the MARTA Makeover installation in Spring 2015.
2015 Georgia Planning Association - Outstanding Process for South Downtown Transit Station Enhancement Plan
Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program
The Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program targets a district extending 4.5 miles from downtown Augusta to Rocky Creek as the priority Development District along 15th Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Dean Bridge Road for smart growth and sustainable development. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.
Contente Consulting leads an outreach, communications and consensus building procss allowing stakeholders to voice their concerns and ideas for the furure. Utilizing tools such as stakeholder interviews; interactive website and media; canvassing, postcards, calling posts and yard signs; and oversight committees and public meetings, the team has engaged over 500 community stakeholders actively contributing to the development of sustainable implementation initiatives.
2013 Georgia Planning Association - Outstanding Planning Document for Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program
The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) received a $250,000 Choice Neighborhoods (CN) planning grant from HUD to develop a Transformation Plan to improve access to quality housing, schools, transportation, and services in the communities surrounding the AHA former University Homes site.
Unlike other CN communities, University CN is the first to have colleges and universities within its boundary. It was integral to develop partnerships early on with the Atlanta University Center (AUC) to leverage resources and encourage institutional outreach throughout the surrounding neighborhoods and K-12 schools in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and health wellness. The cooperation of the AUC in addition to various nonprofit organizations, institutions and agencies, individuals, AHA and the City of Atlanta will ensure that University CN achieves its transformation and sustainability vision.
Contente Consulting managed the 12-month resident transformation and sustainability strategy that includes a needs assessment of the 400+ former University Homes residents and development of program goals, desired and measurable outcomes in the categories of health and wellness, employment, safety, and education. To date, this process has engaged over 250 participants through focus group discussions, community workshops, community asset mapping surveys and numerous one-on-one stakeholder interviews with community partners, business owners, College and University leaders, students, community leaders and elected officials. Diverse engagement tools were utilized throughout this process to capture the issues, needs and visions of the community including various mapping exercises, an electronic survey tool, video biographies and community cafés.
Fort Mac LRA is responsible for ensuring quality reuse and redevelopment of 145 acres on the former Army post. In partnership with Master Developer McCauley Enterprises, the Fort Mac LRA envisions a walkable, mixed-use retail development, a vibrant historic village, office space, affordable and market rate multifamily housing developments, community facilities, open spaces and trails. In addition, Fort Mac LRA is working closely with community partners and surrounding communities to redevelop the site in a way that catalyzes economic development, revitalizes the area and empowers its community. Contente Consulting is spearheading the public engagement component.
The objective of the Chosewood Park TOD Framework is to analyze the best methods for accommodating future growth with sustainable Transit-Oriented Development. This project works in tandem with the redevelopment of Atlanta Housing Authority Englewood property and the update to the BeltLine Subarea 3 Master Plan process.
Through a series of Study Group meetings, the planning team consisting of David Evens and Associates, Noell Consulting, HDR and Content Consulting, the Chosewood Park residents and stakeholders provide input on their vision for the redevelopment of the site. Contente Consulting manages and assists with facilitating these working sessions focusing on development density and impacts on the surrounding single family residential area in Chosewood Park.