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project with specific characteristics, resource requirements vary among methods. Resources consist of the persons involved at each stage of planning, organizing, outreach, and staging of the discussion forum, and include such things as stationery, models, vehicles, equipment, and procurement of the venue. Table 8-2. Requirements for community participation strategies Communication method Time Expense Organization Resources Focus group Low Low Medium Low Fish bowl Medium Low Low Low-Medium Charrette High Medium Low High Nominal group workshop High Medium-High Medium Low-Medium Source: Barnard and Lall 1998. SELECTING AN APPROPRIATE METHOD OF ANALYSIS It is not always easy to accurately assess the current level of community cohesion in an area that would be affected by a proposed transportation project, and it is even more difficult to predict the project's likely effect on cohesion. Described below are seven basic indicators that a project could adversely affect community cohesion. The predictive power of each indicator is dependent on the characteristics of the impact area, the intensity of community cohesion, and the nature of the transportation project. In general, the greater the number of predictors present, the greater the likelihood that the project will impact the community. The magnitude of each of these predictors will also determine the level of impact. Creation of a physical barrier. Any project that divides the community constitutes a physical barrier and will be offensive to members. However, the extent of the disruption caused by the barrier is very important and may be gauged by examining the level of interdependence between members of what will be the two "newly created" neighborhoods. For example, if the project separates many residents from popular meeting places, cohesion will be negatively affected. In addition, a project may constitute a physical barrier if it makes travel in the neighborhood more stressful, especially for the elderly and disabled, thereby discouraging movement between residents' homes and to and from regular congregational centers. For example, a significant change in the gradient of a sidewalk could cause such a barrier. Change in travel time. This is best understood by comparing the difference in time it takes to go between several points in the neighborhood. First, the planner should take timed journeys on foot, covering routes that are routinely traveled and varying the pace of travel so as to have some appreciation of travel time for both the young and elderly. Then, with the knowledge of where spatial changes to the neighborhood environment are intended, simulate the journeys between the same origins and destinations using a computer software program, such as TransCAD (see Chapter 7). 205
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Disruption of access to neighborhood/community child care facility. Access to various parts of a neighborhood is often important for reasons other than recreation. Low-income and minority households tend to rely on each other for support in areas such as transportation, preparation of meals, and child supervision and care. Child care facilities, particularly private homes of residents, are especially important in communities where there is a large proportion of women of child-bearing age and several extended family units exist. Thus, any disruption of access, whether temporary or permanent, can result in significant stress on affected households. Gathering accurate information on how many households would be affected and the extent to which they are dependent on such a service is necessary. Households that are strongly dependent may be classified as those that rely on this service more than 4 days per week; moderately dependent if used 3 to 4 days per week; and weakly dependent if less than 3 days per week. Increased risk of physical injury. Increased risk of injury leads to frustration, particularly for the elderly and for small children, along with their guardians or caregivers, because of the challenges involved in moving around the district. Projects that significantly change the gradient of streetscapes, widen roads, alter the elevation of the road relative to buildings, and create steep drop-offs from the roadway to the existing terrain, all increase the risk of injury. Knowing the design of the proposed project and the changes that will be made to the existing topography, particularly to the streetscape, children's play areas, entrances and exits, is essential to understanding the magnitude of the risk of injury the project will generate. This knowledge is most useful when combined with data about the number of elderly and children living in or frequenting the spatially altered area. Generally, most of the risk may be removed by careful adjustments to the design of the project. Decreased accessibility to usual congregational centers. Decreased accessibility may reduce the frequency with which neighbors attend gatherings and thus strike at the heart of community involvement and cohesion. Furthermore, if a group leader's access to the regular meeting-place is curtailed by the project, the functioning of the entire group may be significantly hampered, possibly leading to its dissolution. Having a clear idea as to how the project design affects access to usual congregational centers is therefore important. Accessibility may be diminished by a physical barrier, by an increase in travel time to and from the center, or by an increased risk of injury, all of which are dealt with above. Altered spatial arrangement discourages participation, which is important to community cohesion. As a consequence, project design factors that inhibit participation in any form must be of concern. Steps, as outlined above, can be taken to measure such impacts. Increased noise level. Any transportation project that increases the number of vehicles on a roadway through or adjacent to a neighborhood or increases the average speed of those vehicles will raise the level of noise in the area. A new railway line presents a similar challenge. A sudden rise in traffic noise means that members of the affected community must exert more effort to communicate by speaking more loudly. It also means that radios, television sets, and other commonly used audio devices have to be played at higher volumes for persons to derive the same level of satisfaction and understanding that they previously enjoyed. Not only is communication made more difficult, but also it is a natural response to try to avoid the additional exertion required to communicate. At the same time, the combined increase in noise from the 206