PPS has developed customized courses on Context-Sensitive Solutions that range from one to five days in length. Starting in 2005, PPS will provide CSS training to New Hampshire DOT and other agency staff over a three-year period, in partnership with Tom Warne and Associates. In 2002, PPS ran a five-day course for the New Jersey Department of Transportation that trained more than 600 of the agency’s employees and “customers.” PPS ran shorter CSS courses for NYDOT, Wisconsin DOT, and the National Training Institute. PPS offers an approach that looks well “beyond the pavement” to the role that streets and roads can play in enhancing communities and natural environments, and encouraging transportation professionals to collaborate with communities, especially from a placemaking perspective – i.e., with the goal being to leave a better place behind.
New Jersey DOT. PPS heads a teaching team that includes the Rutgers Transportation Policy Institute and national experts in highway design, traffic calming, public outreach and involvement, and conflict resolution. Under PPS’ leadership and coordination, the team developed a training program for New Jersey highway engineers, New Jersey Transit staff, transportation consultants, local officials and community organizations. The program consisted of a series of five one-day training sessions that were run several times to accommodate all of the various participants. The sessions included an introductory awareness conference entitled “What Is Context Sensitive Design?” and four smaller, hands-on classes entitled “Placemaking: Tools for Getting Started,” “Respectful Communication, Consensus Building and Public Involvement,” “Flexible Design,” and “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.” Over 650 employees and “customers” of the New Jersey Department of Transportation were trained in 2001-2002. In 2003, this same course was replicated to 150 new participants under the direction of the National Transit Institute.
New York DOT. In the fall of 2002, PPS taught its Placemaking course for the New York State DOT’s Design Division as the introductory module of the Division’s new Context Sensitive Solutions training program. The one-day course was offered seven times in both Poughkeepsie and Syracuse, with a case study and site visit prepared for each city. The module was tailored to that audience, which consisted mostly of design professionals from within the department. However, several representatives of the State’s Quality Communities program, which is administered by the Department of State, also took the course at the invitation of the DOT. As a result, Placemaking will be offered again under the sponsorship of the Department of State for a mixed audience that will include state employees from several departments and community people as well.
Wisconsin DOT. In 2002-2003, PPS helped develop a Placemaking session for a three-day training program for Wisconsin DOT. This course, which was offered to almost 500 state DOT employees in 2003, included an introductory PowerPoint show developed and presented at four sessions by PPS as well as an adaptation of PPS’ Principles for Creating Great Streets offered as one of the concluding sessions of the course.
How to Turn a Place Around. This two-day course is offered twice a year in New York to train participants in PPS’ unique approach to creating public spaces, including streets. Topics covered include what makes a place great, economic and social benefits of public spaces, good and bad practices, tools, methods and techniques for analysis, how to involve the community, and creating designs that work. Participants evaluate specific spaces that form the focus of the training.