With the technical studies brought to a close, and with a package of worthwhile projects in hand, the Collaborative was ready to "set a new course" by taking the sixteen strategies and a promotional plan to begin the process of implementation. For many members, this is what they have been waiting for the fifteen months of hard core analysis, coordination and outreach was simply a means to an end -- for them, the real (and exciting) challenges lie ahead.
But it was clear that to meet these new challenges, the "old" Collaborative organizational structure had to change -- this was recognized early on in the Collaboratives consensus-building process when an organizational structure was first conceived (see Organization Chart click here). Realizing that implementation was a "tough fit" within its study-oriented framework, members simply decided to make implementation a Collaborative responsibility when the time came (denoted by the dashed lines tying the Collaborative box to the Implementation box). Now came the time.
Collaborative members also realized that to successfully implement their strategies, there would need to be a "profiling" of the strategies to help expedite implementation processes of various agencies and organizations.
And finally, the Collaborative wanted to develop a well thought-out marketing and educational campaign, to get people "smart" on what we were doing and to gain their support. Accordingly, through a last bit of (non-technical) consultant effort, a promotional plan was assembled; the last piece in the puzzle.
As luck would have it, there was an opportunity to "kick-start" the implementation process through the NJDOTs Route 1 (Section 7L) CMS project. By the agreement reached between the NJDOT and Collaborative (known as the three-step process discussed earlier in this report), a set of required complementary strategies to the (7L) project would be drawn from the pool of sixteen Collaborative strategies. In all, fourteen of the sixteen strategies were included (in part or in whole) as part of the (7L) project, and efforts are now underway towards implementing those strategies (a short discussion of the complementary strategy selection and agreement process is provided in the next section). Timing is everything!
NOTE: Though the NJDOT, and others, believe that the spirit and intent of the three step process has been met, some Collaborative Member Organizations --Tri - State Transportation Campaign; Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic and the Environmental Defense Fund -- argue that step 2 of the three step process remains unfulfilled. this issue was raised at a recent Collaborative Meeting and after much discussion, an agreement was reached to resolve this issue by providing both sides of the argument within the appendix of the full report.
These next steps -- the restructuring of the Collaborative; creating strategy profiles; and developing a promotional plan are summarized below.The Restructuring of the Collaborative
In June of 1997 the Collaborative met to resolve several outstanding issues, among which was how to efficiently restructure the group to begin the implementation process. After much discussion and consideration, members decided that: 1) for now, the Collaborative body would stay intact the way it is; 2) there would need to be a revamping (or replacement) of the Steering Committee to take on an administrative/coordination function; and, 3) that there would no longer be a need for the subcommittees.
Specific to point 2 above, it was decided that a new entity would do the administration/coordination functions for the Collaborative, hold it together (be the "glue") and would act as a "nudger" to keep strategy implementation moving forward. Keep Middlesex Moving (KMM) felt comfortable with that role, but would need to discuss funding (for administrative costs) with the NJDOT and determine level of effort (staffing requirements), then propose to their Board. KMM agreed to put together a work plan, and the NJDOT agreed to see if he could piece together the necessary funds.
If that failed, then the Collaborative would use "sweat equity" - that is, everyone would carry the load, or another (but least desirable) option was that the NJDOT would do a lower level "glue" role (i.e.; some coordination and administration but not champion the effort).
Since that time, KMM has accepted the "glue" role (with NJDOT funding), and through the same task order agreement, is also actively managing the development of a cashing-out of parking pilot program.
The next step in bringing the strategies closer to implementation was to develop Strategy Profiles. Written in "Plain English" and structured in an easy-to-understand format, these profiles, similar to the NJDOTs Problem Statements, contain various information to allow for implementing agencies to bring potential projects into their respective "pipeline processes" (that is, moving a project along towards construction) and to match (and prioritize) the strategies with various funding sources.
The Promotional Plan
With all the pieces nearly in place, the Collaborative worked with the consultant team and constructed a promotional plan to target and involve the right stakeholders, politicians and people for building unified support for strategies implementation. The promotional plan connects proposed actions to specific municipalities, and identifies methods for selling the recommended strategies to the public and political leadership. This plan includes both a marketing and educational components for developing a broad base of support for implementing the plans recommendations and winning acceptance by the general public of their role and responsibilities in support of the strategies put forth in the plan. Presented below, then are synopses of the marketing and educational components of the promotional plan that the Collaborative will be following towards "getting things done".
Members of the Route 1 Corridor Collaborative may convene a series of "one-on-one" meetings with the mayors of the corridor communities, and their key staff to present the study findings and proposals.
Each meeting will focus on the specific community and its relationship to the Route 1 Study Corridor. The basis for these discussions will be the strategy profiles applicable to each affected community.
KMM, working through the Collaborative, will meet on a regular basis with the lead agency for each strategy, or group of strategies, to identify a designated contact person, confirm and prioritize the strategies initiatives, and set a preliminary schedule for follow-up activities. The goal will be to develop a schedule of meetings, funding research, public activities, and marketing support to aid in the advancement of the strategy recommendations.
Focus groups were successfully used during the technical studies to gain insight from area employers and the general public about proposed strategies. During the implementation phase, the emphasis would be shifted to designated and potential implementing and support agencies to obtain additional information about perceived barriers to implementation and suggestions for overcoming potential obstacles. Due to the regional impact of the issues involved, the Collaborative will not be limited to the original corridor communities.
Participants in the groups could include representatives from the Collaborative members, local officials and other participants involved in approving proposed changes in transportation and land use philosophy and approach. A potential organizer for the focus groups is the Eagleton Center for Politics at Rutgers University, which has conducted similar activities for other recent planning studies.
A number of public information materials can be used to increase awareness among decision-makers and the public. Print materials could include brochures, flyers, press kits, news releases, posters, and mailings.
Public Involvement Activities and Media Outlets
TV, newspaper and radio coverage can be used to generate interest and support from areas outside of the immediate Route 1 corridor. Local newspapers, radios stations, TV, and cable-TV stations could receive press releases, promotional information, and newsletters relating to various strategies as they are implemented. Local businesses, shopping centers and special interest groups will be encouraged to share their mailing lists with the Collaborative so that newsletters to stakeholders can be disseminated.