prioritizing the issues

11 02 2010

There were many issues identified at the Design Jam but, the four listed below were the common themes throughout the evening’s discussion–the threads that tied the issues together.  If the recommendations I propose address these four threads, they have the potential to tackle the other problems we’ve identified…

  1. Communication – of policies, safety and security concerns/tips, between responsible departments,
  2. Accessibility – to services (i.e. storage), onto campus (gates and pathways), access to information
  3. Safety – Safe storage, safe streets, safe riding
  4. Respect – for ALL alternative transit modes; the lack of respect on all fronts brings forth more animosity between administration, students, pedestrians, cyclists, skateborders etc…

The four key areas in need of improvement are:

  1. “All modes” policy – policies that address the various alternative modes of transit onto campus
  2. Information accessibility – web and print based info, signage, maps, etc
  3. Physical infrastructure – storage, security cameras, lighting, signage, etc
  4. Administrative continuity – responsible departments, follow-through, organization and clarification

design jam notes are (finally) posted

2 02 2010

I have finally posted the notes from the Design Jam, held Nov. 12, 2009.  There are many reasons it took so long to get these notes transcribed and uploaded and I fear that the time it took to present the information, people may have lost interest.  I sincerely hope not.  I know that I lost a lot of motivation towards the end of the fall semester – I felt very lost with the project.  Not knowing what direction to take it in and the best way to move forward.  I think I’ve regained my footing and I hope to be working much more closely with the office of Student Affairs.

To reflect, the Design Jam was created to bring all stakeholder groups together to discuss the ways in which we (as a whole) could improve the campus community and address the issues surrounding cycling and alternative transit modes in and around campus.  The purpose was to gather feedback on the best was to affect change on campus and figure out what (as a group) can be done to facilitate change?  What do people see are the possibilities for improving the bike infrastructure, programming and policies on the Pratt campus?

It has been my observations, in the short while I have been at Pratt, that too often decisions are made and changes to campus policies are put into place without a clear indication as to how and why those policies were created.  There may in fact be clear, valid reasons for creating such policies however, when the directly impacts the community’s (students, staff, faculty, neighbors) relationship to the campus, I believe those reasons should at least be presented and accessible.  An example of this would be the skateboard policy, which is someone controversial (no skateboards or Rollerblades on campus).  Another example is gate closures (though this was addressed by a committee as many community members spoke up about the issues).  The design jam was designed to challenge this method of addressing campus issues behind closed doors and to present a new platform for addressing the concerns.  By opening the dialog, a more productive conversation can take place and people become thoughtfully engaged in bettering their community.

The goals of the Jam were threefold: to understand the opportunities and constraints are so we are able to explore the potential solutions for addressing bikes on the Pratt campus, to gather creative and collaborative input and integrate the needs of all stakeholder groups and, to establish clear lines of communication for better, more effective collaboration.

The outcome would be a set of ideas that will help inform the recommendations to Pratt’s senior administration.

For a quick link to the notes, click here.

Please leave comments as your feedback (particularly those who participated in the event) is needed to help create the most effective set of recommendations.

now that i’m on wordpress

27 01 2010

I’m beginning to feel like this project is really coming together.  Though this site is not directly attached to Pratt’s web system, I think it holds a lot of useful information.  It looks good, has page tabs, and has the potential to be an excellent resource that students can contribute to.

I will be continuing to update the “project documents” tab.  This tab will really contain all the PDF files that I’ve made for meetings and communications to faculty, advisors and even participants.  Eventually, I hope to have links (or direct PDFs) of “Pratt’s policies” regarding bikes on campus, safety, security, abandoned bikes etc.  This might be the hardest thing to do though I think this website might help to convince the administration.

I now have to complete the Design Jam notes (i know–still late).  I will then be sending out emails to all the Jam participants to get their feedback on the notes–to see if I missed anything–and then I will finish drafting formal recommendations to the campus facilities/securities director.

Look for much more frequent project updates as I begin moving this project ahead.  I have a lot to do this semester!

Stay tuned…

in need of more

26 01 2010

I know. I know. This blog is desperately in need of a formal update. After taking the winter break off from this project completely – I’m now back in the saddle, ready to move this project forward.

Two big accomplishments: The video below, completed by BC and A(last name initial unknown). Very exciting. BC is also looking to put together a video of the Design Jam. I am working on getting still images to post on the blog of the event. The other great feat was getting a direct link to Campus Area Biking’s CSDS website. Click on the bike logo (designed by DJ) and it will take you to the CAB site. The goal is to build up with website to include links to resources, maps, student projects and more–that will be requiring most of my time this spring.

Right now, I am formatting the notes from the Jam (late, I know)and a draft of the formal recommendations will soon follow. Those will be posted (and emailed) for review and comments. After the comment period, I will submit to the main heads on campus, including the President (why not, right?). This semester is all about reaching out with this project. It can no longer remain insular. I will be engaging heavily with the office of Student Affairs, NYPIRG reps and students/faculty directly. Many people have mentioned getting the community board’s transportation rep involved. I like the idea–but not sure yet how best to approach this. It has also been suggested that I narrow my focus on the accomplish-able things. I also agree with this and will spend this week narrowing my focus on what the Spring semester holds for CAB.

Until then, please be patient–updates on the Jam and Draft recommendations are to follow asap. Oh yeah—and…what do you think about a time laps video of the Higgins Hall racks? Hmmm……


19 11 2009

I’m in recovery from the Design Jam. Currently, I am transcribing the notes from the evening and putting them into a format that can be uploaded to the blog.

I have also realized the importance of a website and I have been sketching up some ideas that could but potential layouts for information sharing, resources, policies, etc.  I came away from he Design Jam feeling a great sense of accomplishment.  Those who participated had a lot of thoughtful insight and didn’t hold back on their questions or with their suggestions. Though we were missing key reputation from security and facilities (WS and RS both had the flu), I think there was a substantial amount of representation from other administrators which was extremely valuable.

In the coming days, I will be uploading the information gathered from the Jam, my personal “take-aways”, lessons learned, and next steps. It is an ambitions goal, but it is my plan to have a completed set of formal recommendations out to the campus administration before the end of the fall semester. That means receiving public feedback via the website and this blog as soon as possible. To accomplish this, I must have a draft prepared and completed after the Thanksgiving holiday break and then up for comment for a week–maybe two. I will then submit formal recommendations after that point. Hopefully, I will be able to arrange a formal meeting with (at least) EC and hopefully ER to present my findings and my recommendations. Right now for me, motivation is key…

design jam. today

12 11 2009

I’ve been planning this thing out like crazy. Which is why my posts have been limited (read: non existent) in the past couple of weeks. I will have so much more to say, including all of my planning documents, feedback from the Jam and more thoughts on my next steps after tonight. Wish me luck!

breaking through

27 10 2009

I am working on the Better Biking Roundtable/Design Jam and there are always going to be kinks. It was my hope to have EC attend the Jam though I have received notification that he will not be attending at this time. It was a blow to my process however, I believe I can still represent all stakeholders by conducting interviews with those who may not be able to attend. I will be preparing for those to happen this week to arrange for the following week. This is all dependent on a few preliminary conversations that I hope to have today/tomorrow.

DJ said it best; “It is critical that we see the issue[s] from every possible direction in order to have a robust view of the situation and that all of the stakeholders have a way to share their views, concerns and the realities of getting their job done – security, safety, maintenance, etc.” If EC and other facilities/security representatives cannot be present, I must find ways to represent them as best as I can.

The Jam/Roundtable is NOT about creating a place to vent or coming up with one solution; It is about collaborative thinking. As of now, my confirmations are DrA, RS, WS, CJ, EH, JS(?), DMcL, LT, CW, AgK from NYPIRG. I need to send out additional invitations to members of my Peds and Bikes course as well as a few additional faculty members. This needs to happen today.