Increase Public Outreach Success with an Online Survey

jabrennan blog

SurveyMonkey is an easy to use tool that helped our project reach a lot of interested people. While the public meetings had 30-50 attendees, the online poll gathered over 1,000 responses in just 6 weeks!

jim-presenting-plan-on-boards
Jim Brennan discussing Wayne Golf Course vision as part of public outreach

J.A. Brennan and our colleagues at MAKERS and Tetra Tech recently had the opportunity to work on a fantastic project with the City of Bothell. The Wayne Golf Course Open Space stretches across 86 acres and has been called “one of the last large, private undeveloped acreages anywhere in the central Puget Sound metropolitan area.” The property features over half a mile of Sammamish River frontage, a historic apple orchard, and acres of woods in close proximity to Blyth Park and the Burke Gilman and Tolt River trails.

Our office helped the City of Bothell and partners King County, OneBothell, Forterra, and the State of Washington conduct a community visioning process for the Wayne Golf Course from April through June, 2016. Public outreach was a key component to the visioning process as we met with stakeholders, neighbors, and the greater community to ask, “What is your vision for this place?”

Setting up for Success

In addition to in-person public meetings, we collected feedback through a short online survey using SurveyMonkey.com. The five-question poll asked the public for feedback on potential program activities and services that could be developed at the Wayne Golf Course property. When the survey closed after 6 weeks, there were 1,067 responses. Links to the survey were promoted through OneBothell’s Facebook page, Forterra’s newsletter, the City of Bothell’s Facebook page, and the City’s Bothell Bridge newsletter mailed to every resident of Bothell each month. A graphic summary of the number of responses received each day shows spikes of activity that correspond with the online postings in May and the newsletter mailing in June.

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Responses by Day on SurveyMonkey.com

Analyzing Results

The survey introduction provided background information about the property ownership and funding strategy. The public was reminded that acquisition of the Wayne Golf Course is a unique opportunity for Bothell and the region for potential salmon recovery, open space preservation, site restoration, trails, and recreation. As you can see in the summary graphics, most survey respondents spend time in parks on a weekly basis.  While there, the most popular activities include: enjoying nature, spending time with family/friends, and simple relaxation.

Lessons Learned

You can check out the vision plan on the City’s website and consider utilizing an online survey with your next open space planning and design project. The survey was an easy way to expand the exposure of the project and solicit more diverse community input. We were able to create the survey in 5 hours including a draft and final survey. We shared the survey results in the public meeting to help voice some concerns that were not present at the public meeting. The depth of response is expected to help with grant proposal success.

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Facilities and Parks Spotlight Award

Don Morse Park_20130726_Phase 1 Post Construction_0136

The Washington Recreation & Park Association (WRPA) recently awarded Don Morse Park in Chelan a Facilities and Parks Spotlight Award.

“Spotlight Awards highlight excellence and achievements in the field of parks and recreation by honoring the amazing efforts of public agencies.  Facilities & Parks Awards recognize the highest standards in design, development and renovation of park and recreation areas.” – WRPA

J.A. Brennan congratulates the City of Chelan and Parks and Recreation Director Charles Sablan.  We are proud to have helped Chelan restore its premier waterfront park and swimming beach.

J.A. Brennan served as prime consultant.  The design team included Reid Middleton, Coast & Harbor Engineering, The Watershed Company, SWCA, Budinger & Associates, Shannon & Wilson, Cascade Interpretive Design, Sparling, Erlandsen Inc., and Nelson Geotechnical Consultants.

For more information: http://bit.ly/1prObAV

Happy New Year!

Here’s a look back at some of the projects we completed in 2013. Thank you to all our clients, prime consultants, and subconsultants.

Old Town Dock in Tacoma reopened to the public.
Old Town Dock in Tacoma reopened to the public.
Don Morse Park in Chelan celebrated its grand opening in time for July 4th.
Don Morse Park in Chelan celebrated its grand opening in time for July 4th.
The flood walls at Three Friends Fishing Hole Park in Kent
The flood walls at Three Friends Fishing Hole Park in Kent
J.A. Brennan completed schematic design for 19th and Madison Park, now known as Cayton Corner Park
J.A. Brennan completed schematic design for 19th and Madison Park, now known as Cayton Corner Park!
Western Washington University completed construction of the new Fairhaven College entry.
Western Washington University completed construction of the new Fairhaven College entry.
Whatcom Community College completed construction of the  Auxiliary Service Building (ASB).
Whatcom Community College completed construction of the Auxiliary Service Building (ASB).
J.A. Brennan completed schematic design for Swan Creek Park Phase 1.
J.A. Brennan completed schematic design for Swan Creek Park Phase 1.

We are looking forward to 2014!

Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas, Final Rule

by Dan Shaw

The ABA Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas final rule went into effect on November 25. Anyone involved in outdoor accessibility issues in a federal setting will likely be affected by the final rule.

Changes in materials need careful consideration, (Juanita Beach Park, Kirkland, WA)
Changes in materials need careful consideration, (Juanita Beach Park, Kirkland, WA)

Several of us at the office recently participated in a webinar on these updates. The ABA Accessibility Guidelines provide technical requirements to ensure projects on federal lands (or built by federal agencies) are accessible to people with disabilities. In our day-to-day work we often choose to follow ABA standards (even on non-federal projects) because they provide effective, reasonable, and specific design guidelines for accessible outdoor facilities including trails, beach access, camping sites, etc.

ADA accessibility works with crushed surfaces but has its challenges. (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)
ADA accessibility works with crushed surfaces but has its challenges. (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)

ABA guidelines may also serve as the basis for ADA updates, potentially going into effect as early as Spring of 2014 depending on how negotiations go with rule-makers. We anticipate that even more municipalities will start to adopt ABA guidelines on a project-by-project basis.

An accessible viewpoint and bench (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)
An accessible viewpoint and bench (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)

The webinar format made it easy for us to learn about these updates- we simply gathered in our conference room and listened in, which made it possible for us to discuss what we were learning with each other and how these guidelines will shape future projects. 

A serpentine path often reduces the gradient, improving accessibility (Don Morse Park, Chelan)
A serpentine path often reduces the gradient, improving accessibility (Don Morse Park, Chelan, WA)

The new guidelines are a great way to enhance accessibility for all.

The full report is available at this link.  The ABA PowerPoint show may be found here.

Things are happening at Entiat Park!

Entiat ConstructionConstruction is underway for the Entiat Park Revitalization project.  Here’s how it looked last week.

Here’s a zoom-in look at the future!Entiat_zoom parking boat launch

Here’s the whole plan…

Entiat_Illustrative Base_60 scale

J.A. Brennan is currently providing construction support services for the 30-acre waterfront (5,600 linear feet) park remodel.  Our multi-disciplinary team (AJEM, Pacific Engineering, Z Engineers, HV Engineers, Nelson Geotechnical) developed the design and construction contract documents for Chelan County Public Utility District. The $6 million revitalized park will offer visitors new campsites, a group camping area, RV sites with amenities, improved water access, a new boat launch, a hand-carry boat launch, comfort stations, swimming areas, multi-use trails, and day-use areas.

A Focus on Improving the Camping Experience
The upgraded camping facilities include new walk-in sites laid out to consider privacy, views, and access.  Fully-equipped RV sites will accommodate a larger variety of vehicle lengths and provide RV camping accessory configurations.  The RV sites and access road will be rebuilt further away from the shoreline, leaving the shoreline environment for pedestrian and bicyclist enjoyment, and enabling native plant revegetation along the water.  This dry, often hot eastern Washington site will consist of irrigated areas of lawn and shade trees for park use, as well as extensive areas of invasive species eradication, native shrub steppe-restoration, and riparian revegetation.

Creating a New Identity

Here are some images of the new signage and park architecture.

Entiat Park Sign Concept

AJEM Restroom 2011.03

For more information and a few demolition pictures, please check out the PUD’s website.

Riverview Park Ecosystem Restoration Update

J.A. Brennan is part of a consultant team working with the City of Kent and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create a habitat enhancement channel on the Green River at Riverview Park.  In this photo, the 25’-deep side channel excavation is nearly complete.

The contractor, Performance Systems, Inc., is busily working to complete the excavation and shore protection.  Excavators, rollers and dump trucks criss-cross the site moving and grading soil and fill materials.

Looking up-channel, a crane installs coffer dam piles.  In the foreground, soil lifts – soil wrapped in geotextile fabric – are installed.  The lifts will be planted with both container plants and live stakes.  Tetra Tech, Inc., the prime consultant and project engineer, is providing a variety of bio-engineering solutions to create a naturalistic and protected channel bank.

The foundation of the channel inlet constructed log jam structure is in place.  This sturdy bio-engineering solution by Tetra Tech, Inc. is the first line of defense  against potentially high-velocity, high-volume storm flows surging down the Green River.  Live stake plants will provide further erosion control, and help naturalize the constructed log jam.

The approximately 125’ long pedestrian bridge is in place.  Riverview Park visitors will gain an exceptional view of the new side channel, and access to the island (on the right) between the channel and the Green River.  A loop path around the island will meander through meadow and a mature Cottonwood canopy.  Native plant restoration along the Green River banks will enhance the existing native riparian corridor.

Looking at the channel outlet, you can see the coffer dam.  An excavator-operator continues to dig out this area to reach channel bottom grades.  PSI continuously dewaters the area behind the coffer dam to keep working conditions nice and dry.

For more information see the Seattle District US Army Corps of Engineers’ webpage.

Evaluating the Performance of Bio-Swale Plant Material

by Drew Coombs

July 2012

Background

In 2008-2009 J.A. Brennan provided design services for a bio-filtration drainage system at Marra-Desimone Park.  We collaborated with Davido Consulting Group to improve roadway drainage in this South Park neighborhood for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).   For more background info see here.

We return to the site two to three times a year to evaluate the performance of the plants and to see how the system as a whole is functioning.  The focus of this article will be about plant selection and the success of certain species.  I’ve kept the discussion to a select few plants as there is a diverse plant palette and I could get carried away…

Performance

With the early onset of summer I visited the site with my co-worker Meghan to see how the system was faring.  Given that the local weather personalities had recently described the season as Junuary due to unseasonably wet and cool weather in our region I was anticipating the plants to only be performing at an O.K. level.  To my pleasant surprise the majority of the plants looked robust, vigorous, lush, beautiful and healthy.  (How many words can you use to describe a good looking plant!?) 

Post Construction, September 2009

Plant Selection

During design we carefully selected emergent marsh species appropriate for the wet and dry conditions of the bio-filtration system.  The upland plants reflect the context and character of the Marra Farm community garden and urban farm environment.  A selection of native plants and fruiting ornamental plants were used to attract wildlife and suggest the farm quality of the site.

During construction, 2009

Seeds versus Plugs?

Plants were an expensive part of the project.  During design, to meet the project’s budget, we made a decision to use a combination of seed and plugs in the bottom of the bio filtration swale.  The combination of seed and plugs of emergent species reduced the quantity of emergent plugs required and provided some savings during construction.   (Emergent plugs are more expensive than seeds).

I have to say after four years, it’s not possible to distinguish the areas that were seeded from the areas that were planted with plugs.  The system as a whole appears to be performing well.

Performance

The emergent plants species doing particularly well are the Carex sp (sedge) and the Scirpus microcarpus (small fruited bulrush).  Both are content and performing as planned.

Of the shrub species, Cornus sericea ‘Kelseyi’ (Kelsey dogwood) and Salix purpurea (Arctic willow) look wonderful.

We used a select few groundcover species.  The one plant that is struggling and has had a high rate of loss is Mahonia nervosa (Low Oregon grape).  The site may have been too exposed for this particular plant.

Overall the plants are performing quite well and the system as whole is performing as designed.  There is little evidence of invasive plants like blackberry or reed canary grass.

The performance of the plants is a combination of the selection but also a measure of the ongoing maintenance by the owner, in this case SPU and Seattle Parks.  It is my understating that SPU staff continues to maintain the swale.

In conclusion, with proper maintenance and irrigation, it is apparent, given the right conditions during the early establishment period, that the application of seed in combination with plugs appears to be a successful approach within this bio-filtration system.