GCI Newsletter-Summer 2015 Edition

GCI Helps Arizona Transportation Industry Outline Vision for the Future

This spring, GCI helped determine priorities for Arizona’s future among members of the transportation industry. GCI, Michael Baker and MetroQuest jointly developed an interactive online survey to gather input from transportation professionals, which was launched in conjunction with the 64th Annual Roads and Streets Conference in Tucson.  A total of 375 people representing local and state government agencies, consulting firms, construction contractors, and others weighed in.

Here’s what we heard:

  • Arizona Priorities: Not surprisingly, roadways are the top priority, followed by jobs and primary education. Most believe transportation is critical to job growth in our state.
  • Funding Priorities: Industry professionals say new transportation funding should be spent on roadway improvements, maintenance, and new roads.
  • Priority Corridors: The corridors the industry would most like to see improved are: I-10 (Tucson to Phoenix). US 93 (Phoenix to Las Vegas) and I-17 (Phoenix to Flagstaff).
  • Funding MethodsA fuel sales tax, vehicle miles traveled fee, and state sales tax are the most supported methods to fund new transportation improvements.

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See the full survey results here.

Roads and Streets - GCI Booth

A survey kiosk at GCI’s exhibit booth at the Roads and Streets Conference allowed attendees to provide their input on Arizona’s transportation needs.

At the conference opening plenary session, GCI President Theresa Gunn facilitated a panel discussion “Envisioning Arizona’s Transportation Future,” with former Arizona State Transportation Board (STB) members.  During the discussion, panelists were invited to outline their vision of the future and actions needed to prepare Arizona for the future.  The audience used the web-based Poll Everywhere application on their smart phones to submit questions and comments, which scrolled on a projected screen.

Theresa, Ken Mobley with Michael Baker, and Dave Biggs with MetroQuest kicked off the discussion by providing an overview of the principles of good public participation (P2), online engagement tips, and preliminary results of the transportation industry survey.

 

Greenway Bridge Reconstruction Project Earns National Awards

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Councilmember Bill Gates (center) with City of Phoenix, Hunter Contracting, and GCI staff from the Greenway Bridge Reconstruction team.

The City of Phoenix Greenway Bridge Reconstruction Project has received two prestigious national construction industry awards: the Associated General Contractors of America Alliant Build America Award and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation Globe Award.  The City of Phoenix selected Hunter Contracting Co. as the Construction Manager at Risk for the project.  GCI led the community outreach and public information for the project.

“Because of the dedication and passion of my staff, the Hunter team and Gunn Communications, this project not only met but exceeded the City’s and the community’s expectations,” said Ray Dovalina, City of Phoenix Street Transportation Director.

The team created an innovative approach to the project by proposing a six-month closure of Greenway Parkway – a major commuting route in North Phoenix – which expedited construction by three months and saved taxpayers more than $1 million.

“Our office had prepared for a deluge of resident complaints and concerns starting the first day of construction,” said Phoenix City Councilmember Bill Gates. “Due to the pre-planning and extensive community outreach, those complaints never came.”

The $6.4 million project was completed three weeks ahead of schedule and under budget, with minimal complaints from the surrounding community, schools and businesses. The bridge is located approximately one half mile east of 19th Avenue and Greenway Parkway at Cave Creek Wash.

 

GCI Announces Promotion to Support Firm’s Expansion

GCI is pleased to announce the following staff promotion to lead our construction outreach division:

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Debora “Jaye” Jackson, Vice PresidentConstruction Phase Services

 

GCI Recognized by ADOT as Master DBE

GCI was one of three firms recently honored by ADOT as a Master Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) for completing the highest level of requirements for the agency’s new DBE business development program.

Theresa ADOT DBE Award

Theresa Gunn accepts the ADOT Master DBE certificate.

 

Projects in the News – METRO Central Mesa Extension

Albert at CME Train Testing Celebration Event

Albert Granillo, GCI Bilingual Public Involvement Specialist who supports the METRO Central Mesa extension, celebrates the arrival of the first light rail trains in downtown Mesa.

Valley Metro hosted a community event June 3 to welcome the arrival of light rail trains to downtown Mesa and commemorate a major milestone for the Central Mesa Extension to downtown Mesa.  At the event, officials announced the exciting news that the 3.1-mile light rail extension will open on Aug. 22 – months ahead of schedule.  GCI provides public outreach for the project as part of the Valley Transit Constructors team.

 

Tweeting Potholes Get Results!

Pothole

Yes – now even potholes can tweet.  Last year in Panama City, Panama, a local TV news station and an international PR agency teamed to install sensors in potholes throughout the city. Every time a vehicle ran over the device a complaint tweet was sent to the city’s public works department Twitter account. Tweets were also shared during the nightly newscast. Shortly after the tweets began from El Hueco Twittero (“The Tweeting Hole”), the city started to take action.  So far in 2015, the city has repaired more than 36,000 potholes.  It’s a great example of how technology can be used to help improve cities.

 

Messages that Move Public to Support Transportation

The Plan Bubble

In May, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program published a report which reviewed 27 transportation funding campaigns between 2010 and 2014 to help determine which messages were most effective at the polls. Although the research did not find any magic “silver bullet” message that worked every time, it did identify some common themes.

  • People are more likely to support transportation investment if messages are personalized, localized and relevant.
  • The report suggests campaigns should focus on livability, accountability, mobility and convenience. The messages should also be specific about funding dedicated to the projects in the plan.
  • Campaigns focused on maintenance, funding shortfalls, safety and poor existing infrastructure were typically not successful.

Researchers found just by talking to people about transportation issues in focus groups, it changed their opinions. Rather than waiting for a campaign consultant to promote a transportation initiative, the report recommends beginning a comprehensive outreach program early on to engage people in conversations about local transportation issues, hear their ideas, and understand their attitudes and opinions.

GCI embraces this philosophy and we have seen amazing results from conducting community dialogues to allow people to voice their ideas, hear other people’s perspectives and learn about new ideas.  One example is the 23-day community dialogue GCI conducted for the Town of Youngtown. In just over three weeks, more than 1,000 residents attended local events, talked in the coffee shop, or responded to a survey to discuss the town’s future.

 


 

GCI’s mission is to assist decisionmakers in creating and implementing effective solutions and
help people influence decisions that affect them and their communities.

 

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