Planned Neighborhood: COTA Transit Audit

Our group, Planned Neighborhood, was scheduled to start our journey at the bus stop on 11th Avenue and High Street at 3:55pm. As most of us walked down High Street, a COTA bus passed us going southbound. Most of the group arrived at the stop around 3:53, and there was no bus to be found. We soon realized that the #2 line was running nearly 4 minutes early and that we had barely missed the 3:55 bus that we intended on taking. The stop was decently kept with benches, a shelter to protect from the elements, trashcans, disabled user seating, and schedules to update riders. The stop felt safe in the afternoon, however, would have minimal lighting for the evening time.


IMG_20151116_225434[1] IMG_20151116_225428[1]

The next bus that arrived showed up at 4:09 pm.  This was six minutes later than was posted. At this point our trip has lasted for around 14 minutes and we had just gotten onto the bus. As we entered, the driver greeted us and was very polite. The bus was very crowded with barely any standing room in either the front or the back.  There were passengers riding that were from many walks of life, varying in age, race, and perceived socioeconomic status. The sounds of the bus were those of private conversations, which gave an overall muffling sound. A lightboard at the front of the bus gave the date, time of day, and the name of the upcoming stop, which was accompanied by an automated audio recording. This feature made it very simple to recognize where we were along the route. The bus was crowded and loud, but well lit. The smell was moderately stale with the fragrance of sweat, food, or colognes and the seats had fabric coverings. Most riders looked tired as we descended downtown, probably due to long day of work. We rode the #2 line for a few stops, enjoying the city scenes and the company of its residents. The only time the bus remained at a scheduled stop for an unreasonable amount of time was when a disabled elderly woman with a walker took time to board the bus and pay fees, and then was unable to settle in the designated disability spot on the bus due to crowding. We exited the bus on the intersection of Broad and High St.

IMG_20151116_225351[1]The stop was well kept, much nicer than the original stop. There were plenty of covered benches to sit, trashcans, route schedules, and it was very well lit. We all felt very safe and were aware of our surroundings. The connecting #7 line came immediately after we stepped off of the #2 line bus. The #7 was much less crowded than the previous bus. This model of bus was slightly older but was kept very nice over time. The smell was not as stale as the other bus, probably because there were a few windows cracked. The driver was polite as we entered the front doors, asking us how our day had been and making casual conversation. The bus was moderately lit, which could make some passengers feel uneasy, as one side was irregularly dark during transit. Although there were fewer riders on this line, the vehicle was much louder due to the nature of the younger kids riding. We continued on our journey as we approached the outskirts of the German Village. We arrived at our destination within minutes; the Post Office near Whittier and Parsons Ave. Our Arrival time was approximately 4:52, indicating that the first leg of our trip took nearly 40-45 minutes.



It was time to head home. We decided that the easiest route to take home would be to ride the #7 line all the way back to campus. The next bus would come at 5:03. The stop that connected us to the returning line was poor in quality. The stop was marked by a sign. It was a chilly evening and with the wind blowing we stood in the cold, as there was no covered shelter to sit under. Next to the stop, there was a brunch delicatessen with an awning in front of the front door, where members of our group took shelter from the wind, not boding well for the business’ appearance. IMG_20151116_225344[1]IMG_20151116_225333[1]At night this stop would be a little unsettling, especially for someone who wasn’t familiar with the area. Finally, the #7 line returning to campus arrived. It pulled in 4 minutes late leaving us with a departure time of 5:07. This bus was calm. Only a few  additional riders were on the bus back. These riders were reading, listening to music, or just sitting quietly alone. The bus was one of the older models but, again, well kept. It didn’t have an overwhelming smell or sound, just the hum of the bus wheels turning. The driver greeted us politely as we entered, but you could tell that he was getting tired. We continued on our path back to campus. Passing stops here and there. We eventually arrived back at the Ohio Union around 5:35pm. Nearly two hours had elapsed from when we departed, to when we finished.  Overall, we were happy to see how easy it was to make it to our destination; we were unimpressed however by how long the routes took. The COTA is a great resource for Columbus residents. One who plans on using the transportation should always be early to ensure that they will make their bus, as schedules can be somewhat unreliable. Likewise, the COTA transit system is not an option for someone on a time crunch; had we been riders who depended on public transportation, we would have arrived significantly late to any event we had scheduled at the intended return time of 5:15pm. There was also a notable problem of crowding on the #2 line at the beginning of our journey, which made it difficult to board/find seating/get off the bus, especially for elderly or disabled riders. Overall, the COTA system is taking strides in city transportation but could use tweaking to make it more equitable and timely.

Explore Nation: COTA Transit Audit

Our plan was to take the #7 bus at 3:34 PM and then transfer to the #5 bus at 3:54 PM. We waited at the bus stop outside of Knowlton Hall to catch the #7. Here, we sat on a bench with a shelter 101579181while we waited. It was a frigid day, so this somewhat helped to keep the cold wind out. The sidewalk was also clean and wide; there was a lot of room for people to stand waiting all while people could pass. The #7 arrived a few minutes late. Once we got on, the driver greeted us kindly. The bus appeared to be in a suitable condition with some signs of use. The overall environment was acceptable. The lights were dimmed, the bus was clean, and the other passengers kept to themselves. The stops were regularly announced over a loudspeaker, and the time, date, and next stop were also announced and shown on an LED screen at the front of the bus.

68947718Once we got off of the #7, we had to cross residential roads (Neil Avenue) in order to get to our transfer stop. There was no cross walk and the roads were fairly busy. At this bus stop, we had no place to sit. There was only a sign stating that the #5 stopped there. Here, we waited until the bus arrived at 3:54 PM. This bus was slightly cleaner than the #7, but the driver didn’t greet us as nicely as the first; it was also much smaller and busier. The bus was quiet and became less and less busy as we went on. We rode this for awhile until the driver told us that we would have to get off so that she could go into First Community Village to pick up passengers; we weren’t allowed in because this area was not open for the public.

At this stop, there was no sidewalk and no bench. The stop going back the other way was initially hard to spot, and was on the private drive to the retirement village. We all had to stand in the cold for 15 to 20 minutes. The same bus came out of the assisted living home and picked us up again.

By this time, we realized that we had planned to get on the wrong bus. Instead of

The interior of a typical COTA bus.

The interior of a typical COTA bus.

going to our required destination, we had only gone about four miles. We tossed around the idea of getting off of this bus and finding the right one to get on, but we eventually decided that we wouldn’t make in there and back in time. We chalked this mistake up to the fact that the COTA system was difficult to understand. The website itself warns potential passengers that its information may not be correct, and that they should check Google maps for updated information. The lettering system of the buses also doesn’t make sense unless you know exactly which bus goes where.

563526254We then stopped again near where we stopped for our transfer to the #5 bus. We had a bench to sit on, but it was very close to the road with no curb. The sidewalk was also narrow. There were two buses that came to this stop; the #7 and the #18. We understood that both went back to campus, so we simply waited for the first one that came, which ended up being the #18. Like the #7, this bus was in acceptable condition with some signs of regular use.

Overall, our trip on the bus wasn’t bad, but required much planning and forethought. You had to look up the timetables online because there are none that we found at bus stops, the Student Union, or any place a university connected to a city bus system would typically have them. In addition, COTA’s website mislead and confused us as we accidentally planned a trip to the incorrect Giant Eagle Market District. However, we did eventually realize that we had taken the wrong route because of the regular announcements of each stop’s location. The other passengers acted similarly throughout the evening, mostly keeping to themselves, and the drivers all greeted us, but to different degrees. Additionally, the equipment throughout our transfers all appeared to be in good condition with acceptable signs of use. These aspects allowed us to feel as though we were in a safe environment, allowing for a pleasant trip that took exactly 1 hour and 16 minutes on the bus overlooking the trouble we had with finding the correct route.

711321557 (1)

5 Beers & A Coke: COTA Transit Audit

Following the guest presentation by Elliot Doza and Alex Beim on the organization of the COTA bus system, it was our job to experience first hand how effective bus travel was in getting to one’s destination. Many people rely heavily on the COTA bus system to get to school, work, and home; therefore our audit of the COTA bus system was very practical.


Our team met on the corner of Woodruff and High at 3:55pm on Thursday afternoon. Our goal was to get from campus to Graeter’s in Bexley and back again in one class period. Because our destination was only 6.6 miles away we believed this was an attainable goal. We began by walking to stop #3957 on N High & 18th Ave. The stop was conveniently situated on the right side of High Street and easily visible. Although there was no shelter, there were some benches for those waiting. On that day a shelter would have been highly appreciated, as it was very cold and windy for the many people waiting at the stop. There were also two big streetlights on either side of the stop that gave off a safe feeling for those waiting.


Our plan was to catch The 18 to High & Broad, get off and catch The 2 the rest of the way into Bexley. Our first road block occurred when the scheduled 3:57pm bus was around 10 minutes late. This initially delayed our travel time. Once on the bus our group easily all found seats, as the bus was just around half way full. Overall the ride was fairly pleasant. The ride was warm, smooth, and relatively quiet. The bus smelled clean and there was not any visible trash from where we were sitting. As we surveyed others riding the bus we saw many had headphones in or were relaxing, as many of them looked to be ending a workday and going home. As previously stated the bus wasn’t full at the time of our ride, but as people began to get on, others were more than willing to make room for available seating. Due to the timing of our ride, it began to get dark outside, however there was sufficient lighting on board without it being too bright. Due to the technology on the bus, riders could request a stop at anytime along the route. While we did agree this was convenient for riders, it also proved to be significantly time consuming as the bus made many stops along our journey, especially through the Short North neighborhood.


Because of this we were delayed in getting to our transfer location on S High St & Capitol Square. Once we made it to our transfer location, we boarded The 2 fairly quickly. Although it was dark outside, the bus stop (#7341) was very pleasant. The shelter was atheistically pleasing and blended in nicely with the surrounding area. The shelter was also lit on both sides, and trashcans were easily located to decrease litter in the area. The 2 was more full than The 18 at this point, however we all managed to find seats. Looking around, we gathered the main demographic of those riding the bus was an older crowd however; two young boys did board the bus with their father at one point. Because most of our group has been in Columbus for quiet sometime, and are familiar with some suburbs we knew for the most part where we where. The 2 was also quiet, however on two different occasions the bus driver began to get very angry at someone because she could hear their music. Although the music was barely heard by any of us, it proved to be a great annoyance and hazard to the driver. When the music was not immediately turned off the driver angrily said she would not continue driving until it was turned off. The passenger complied, and we continued on our way. Eventually around 5pm we got to our destination in Bexley.



Graeter’s In Bexley: Breanna Geiser, Nolan, Alex Stickenmaker, Caroline Hughes, Paul Dravillas, Kevin Cannon

After a little under an hour of travel time, we concluded as a group we would not be able to take the bus home. Many of us had class at 5:30 or other obligations that the bus would not get us back in time for. Alternatively, we decided to Uber and got back to campus in 20 minutes instead of an hour. Although this was not the ideal situation, it was necessary given the bus’ travel time. Overall, we concluded taking the bus for short trips would be very effective and easy, however when interested in going further, the length of time and unreliability of the system outweigh the benefits.

The Chaire of Pierre : COTA Transit Audit


          The Chaire of Pierre started its COTA adventure on 18th and Woodruff heading North on the number 2 bus. The end goal was to arrive to Micro Center off bethel road within the same amount of time as one class period. We used the COTA trip planner app to decide on our route, ensure that the distance was over 5 miles (5.2), as well as confirm that we were completing our transfer with the correct bus routes. The app suggested that we take the number two bus north to Morse Rd, where we would then change to the number 95 bus to arrive to the final destination. It seemed simple enough.


Our group gathered at the northbound stop on High and Woodruff. This is a very crowded stop, as there was not enough space to hold the capacity of people waiting on their bus around this time. Despite the smaller size, it ultimately didn’t seem to matter considering the number 2 has so many buses on route, and generally speaking arrives very frequently, so that the large mass of people were not staying there too long. After arriving at our northbound stop, we decided not to get on the 3:55 bus so that we could observe the bus stops’ functionality. After watching two number 2 buses go by, it was time to board.

The number 2 bus line goes up and down high street all day long. The closer it is to campus and downtown, the more crowded the bus seemed to be. When we first got on, not all of us had a place to sit. However, as the bus proceeded towards Clintonville, much of the bus passengers were departing. By the time we got off there were only a handful of people left. From this, we came to the conclusion that during peak hours the buses that were traveling in more “prime” locations, such as High St. and the campus area, tend to be over-crowded which can cause a more un-enjoyable experience for COTA’s riders.



As we left our number 2 bus to prepare for our transfer to the 95 bus, we waited at a bus stop on Morse Rd. Unlike the stop that we waited at on High St., this bus had a shelter with a bench, which gave us a place to sit down while we waited for the bus arrival, as well as provided a structure to help protect us from the wind. The wait for our transfer bus was minimal, roughly 10-15 minutes. The time that the bus arrived matched with the sign at the physical bus stop, but was about 4-5 minutes later than what the app suggested. Although the app was slightly incorrect, it is important to remember that these are the peak times of rush-hour, and a slight delay in the timing is to be inevitable. The 95 bus was significantly less crowded as we only shared the bus with one person, who got off shortly after we arrived, leaving our group on the bus by ourselves.


Despite the large crowd that we were initially   the bus with, safety did not seem to be a concern for us. Considering the time of day and the fact that most people were riding to their homes after class/work, most riders seemed to be quiet, listening to music, or just simply keeping to themselves, which did allot for a better experience for all riders on board. On top of feeling safe in regards to the other passengers on board, the staff we encountered on both busses was very friendly and helpful. In respect to the equipment on the bus, there were noises that could be heard, but nothing that seemed to be too overbearing to diminish our experience on the bus.

Charlie Thompson, Heidi Cron, Adam Trimmer, Hannah Sargel, Jake Byerly, Rachel Petrosino

Charlie Thompson, Heidi Cron, Adam Trimmer, Hannah Sargel, Jake Byerly, Rachel Petrosino 

Overall, we came to the conclusion that the COTA is an efficient system, but still has room for improvements. Throughout the trip, we always had a least one group member familiar with where we were considering several of our members are from Columbus, as well as another member currently living in the Clintonville area. As we stated previously, the busses did arrive around the same time that the stops anticipated, but it would be nice to have a transit system that could have faster bus routes. One way that this could become a reality is through incorporating more express bus lines. These express bus lines would give community members a more direct route to their location, which would limit the amount of planning that riders must do to get to their final location on time.IMG_6302

Urban Avengers: COTA Transit Audit

DSC00511The Urban Avengers’ trek began at the COTA bus stop on High Street (heading south) near 18th Avenue. While this stop was certainly not chock-full of amenities, it did provide two large, sturdy trash cans.




What was lacking at this highly utilized stop was a shelter, it was windy and people were very chilly. We arrived a few minutes early for our #2 bus, which had a scheduled arrival time of 3:59, however the bus actually arrived at 4:05, which threw us off schedule for the next bus (an eastbound #10 at Broad & High), which we hoped to catch at the scheduled time of 4:20pm, but did not make it in time.




The southbound drive down High Street was long and painful – the bus was completely over a comfortable capacity, with practically as many passengers standing as were seated (this was likely due to the high number of students from our class that were on it – the “regulars” seemed shocked that it was so crowded).

Our bus driver was very friendly and helpful, especially with assisting an elderly handicapped woman onto the bus and into a seat. This bus, while very crowded, did not seem overly noisy.







Our next leg of the trip, was supposed to consist of our group catching the eastbound #10 at 4:20 pm, but our group arrived late due to the lateness of the #2. DSC00522So we waited in a *COTA shelter at the southeast corner of Broad and High for the next #10, scheduled for 4:31 (actual arrival 4:33).


The general vibe of the passengers on this bus seemed tired, quiet, and perhaps just ready to get home and relax. While the original plan was to take this bus to our chosen destination, The Franklin Park Conservatory – we had to abandon our experiment at 4:45 as we knew we would not be able to get back to the point of origin by class end-time of 5:15 pm. We had one group member leave the bus at 4:40 in order to hopefully get to back to campus for his next class by its start time of 5:30. DSC00531The rest of us were prepared to attempt the entire trip, but when our bus was continually slowed by several red lights and another handicapped passenger situation, we knew we were looking at a 5:00 pm arrival at our destination (at best), and therefore abandoned the Conservatory destination.




DSC00533 Rhoda Du, Evan Hertzog, Daniel Cirino, Nathan Vale and Gina Scarver



We exited the #10 at Broad and Washington (Columbus Museum of Art), crossed Broad Street and walked 3 blocks west before ½ of our group (the women) waited on a westbound #10 bus, which we could see in the distance. The remainder of the group (the two men left) decided to walk to Broad and High and see if they would “beat the bus.”


While the girls technically “won” by arriving at Broad and High ahead of the walkers, the walkers then caught up with us while walking to the next stop (High and Long). On this final leg of the trip, 4 of us caught the next #2 heading north on High, and one group member caught the #4 which would route up Indianola Avenue to campus. This final bus stop at High and Long is extremely busy and extremely dirty. The smell of either rotten food or vomit (or both) was overwhelming and hard to escape. DSC00540Our feet were literally sticking to the sidewalks in and around the several shelters. There were several shelters, which we did not enter as they were crowded. We did, however, enjoy the slanted horizontal “resting/leaning pads” which are fastened to the front of the shelters, this helped with standing. This stop, overall, was very disappointing and made for an uncomfortable wait, largely due to the smell and dirty conditions.




The final bus, which was dimly lit and very quiet, arrived at Long and High at approximately 5:12pm and we arrived at Woodruff and High Street at 5:33 pm. DSC00537It is our belief that had we continued to the Conservatory as originally planned, we would not have arrived back at Woodruff & High until possibly well after 6:00 pm; so while we did not want to abandon the destination, we felt it was the correct choice based on timing.

Overall, all of the buses were clean, drivers were friendly, and we never felt that safety was an issue…with the possible exception of a pretty rambunctious Doberman guide dog-in-training that alarmed two members. The only notable equipment issue was what seemed like very sensitive brakes on the final bus, as the stops were very jerky. It was fairly easy to know where we were at all times on all buses, especially since the automatic verbal announcements communicate the stops, which we found very helpful.

The overall trip was long, and waiting was uncomfortable due to the cold, but the buses were for the most part reliable – the destination was not able to be reached largely due to the lateness of the first bus, and then followed with issues from traffic, red lights and the time it took for large volumes of people getting on and off the bus.


*The shelter at Broad and High seemed fairly new, was nice in appearance, clean, no offensive odors, was partially encased with clean glass windows, contained several long benches and ceiling heaters (however they were not in use), and had no visible damage or graffiti. The chief complaint here was that, while the roof covering would certainly be appreciated if it had been raining or snowing, it did not offer blockage from the wind, as there are large openings at the top and bottom all the way around. It may have actually even been colder inside the shelter as it seemed to act as a wind tunnel.

The Diamond Developers: “MAPS Mini” Blog #7

When The Diamond Developers went through and scored the intersection of Tuttle Park Place and Norwich Avenue, the segment of Norwich Avenue up to High Street, and then the intersection of Norwich avenue and High Street, a total of 7/21 (33%) points were given. The main concern was the intersections, since neither provided any means of safely crossing. Both lacked a signal, a crosswalk, or any signage to alert drivers of the possibility of pedestrians. The segment on Norwich Avenue, however, was relatively safe to travel for pedestrians, but a lack of transit stops and bike path would prove to be an inconvenience for some people.

The intersection of Tuttle Park Place and Norwich Avenue.

The intersection of Norwich avenue and High Street.

The intersection of Norwich avenue and High Street.

What was missing from the MAPS mini? What did you keep wanting to report, but didn’t find on the survey tool?

The MAPS mini useful in evaluating the sidewalks and the street crossings, but the group felt that a longer evaluation would do a better job in assessing the area. The group would have liked to see more questions on the walkability of not just the segment, but leading up to the segment. Specifically, parts of Tuttle Park Place is walking in the alley with no sidewalk, which the group wanted to report. Additionally, the group felt that some of the responses were too vague, and left too much room for ambiguity. For example, the responses for well maintained buildings had two options, 0-99%, and 100%. There was not a lot of room for a gray area.

Did you find public realm mattered more or less to you than private realm? Why?

The Diamond Developers feels that the public realm mattered more than the private realm in this survey. Most of the questions dealt with how the street and sidewalks are, with only one focusing on the buildings. The questions were focused on walkability rather than the aesthetics of the private property. This is good, since people walking and biking by would likely be more concerned with their safety than with how a certain house looks. A planner, in return, should focus more on the upkeep of the sidewalks and the safety in crossing streets.

What issues do you think would be more important to community members as opposed to planners?

The Diamond developers feel that community members would be more concerned with how the sidewalk is lit, how it is kept, and how they can cross a street. For people traveling, the group feels that they would be interested in how easy it is to get from point A to point B, more so than how the surrounding private property is. However, a planner may be more concerned with how the sidewalks interact with the private property, while keeping safety as a top priority.

5 Beers and 1 Coke Maps Mini Post #7

What’s missing from MAPS-Mini? What did you keep wanting to report but didn’t find on the survey tool?

The maps mini was helpful because it included many practical questions concerning the beatification of the street through tree coverage, bike lanes, lack of graffiti, and cross walks. These are all good questions to build a solid infrastructure that community life can be built around.

The maps mini was lacking in questions that rate whether or not the infrastructure has been successful in creating the desired community life. The guide’s questions all related to the physical layout of the street itself, but what about questions if people are actually walking around and enjoying the area? Are we so pragmatically minded that we cannot stop to see if the bike lanes are actually being used by bikers? If there are people walking around to even use the cross walks? Does the street show signs of life like murals or people hanging out outside? You can build new crosswalks and clean up, but if these characteristics are present (or at least being developed) the efforts are vain. The question guide could be improved by questions about people’s activity. For example “About how many people did you see outside enjoying the neighborhood when walking down the street? 0-5? 6-10? 11-15?



As you can see from the photo above, there was very little activity on Norwich. Beside our groups trekking around, I saw virtually no one on Norwich, and very few people around the Norwich and High intersection. I wanted to report and discuss this in the maps mini, but was unable. Picture this scenario to illustrate this shortcoming of the maps mini: Imagine if the street and intersection scored perfect across the board. There were crosswalks. There was tree coverage. There was no graffiti. But what if even with all this, there were still no people? On paper, the community would look great! But In reality it would be dead. This is why the paper should seek to capture the life of the community more than just infrastructure improvements.



Did you find public realm mattered more or less to you than private realm? Why?

Based on some of the poor upkeep of the public area I would say that the private area is valued more by the developers of this community. The houses seemed decent for the most part, but there were sidewalks that were very broken up, and not many trees. The public are did not seem like there was much funding or thought put into it. There were no parks close by, and there was no cross walk as you can see in the picture above.

5 Beers + 1 Coke personally values the development of the public are above private development. If you develop the public are to be a nice and attractive space, private businesses and people that really care about the community will move in. If the public area is attractive, the private will come. Money must be invested to jump start that process. But the private part will not initiate this process. Why would private firms take an unnecessary step of faith like that? It only makes sense that they would go to a part of the community that really focuses on development in the private sector.

What issues do you think would be more important to community members as opposed to planners?

Community members often value private free choice over plans. Issues about amount of land they have per parcel is more important to community members in rural areas. In the outskirts of central Ohio there are regulations for how big the parcels are in certain districts. Some of the people live on family land that has been there for generations. To these people, the regulations on the land are viewed as unconstitutional breaking of privacy. But to the planner, these regulations are for the good of the overall community development.  This example can be taken outside of the size regulation of parcels in certain districts. Another example could be people that want to paint their house a crazy pink color. The neighborhood may once again have regulations against that. The planner views these regulations as good because they help property values and keep a nice feel for the community. But some individual members may once again view this at breaching their private free choice.

high and norwich norwich Sidewalk (1)

Urban Avengers: MAPS-Mini

In the opinion of the Urban Avengers, the MAPS-Mini Survey had many weaknesses and only partially fulfilled its purpose. One of the most important shortcomings was that the survey did not ask about traffic pattern — which has a huge effect on the way a street should be utilized. DSC00444The survey also did not ask about what kind of commercial and residential uses the segment included. The use of the street can influence what should be in place there, and if it serves a purpose. The difference between the two should have an effect on how they are scored. The walkability to things such as parks and/or transit stops should be incorporated into the survey. While the need for a transit stop or park on every segment of street is not necessarily needed, the distance from one to the next should be considered. While the survey asked many questions, for several of the questions, a concise answer could not be given. DSC00447Throughout the segment the streetscape changes and the answers aren’t always clear-cut yes or no answers, but frequently could be both.

Throughout the walk the group wanted to report of the quality of buildings. The question of “Are the buildings well maintained?” does not address quality. The group also wanted to include the presence (or lack of) gardens into consideration. The environmental backdrop of the street is also important; a street in a college town should look different than a downtown street. Another item the group wanted to report, but the survey did not ask, was whether the road had parking, and whether it was a one-way or two-way traffic pattern.

We found that the public and private realms mattered about the same. If either of the realms are in poor condition it brings down the other.DSC00448

The realms should be created equal because they coexist in the same area. If you have a beautiful park next to a rundown home, it makes the park look worse and brings down the appeal of the environment. But the public realm means more physically to the pedestrian, when the private means more to the psyche.

The idea of planners having a different mindset than the community members should not be the case. The purpose of this survey is to help the street for the community, to think like a community member. But we feel that graffiti is highly important to community members, graffiti gives a bad image for the community. Also the lighting of the streets shows importance on safety, which is of major importance in a community. Lastly, we feel that community members are likely to be more focused on safety and image of the streetscape, rather than things like buffers or tree coverage.

Planned Neighborhood: “MAPS Mini” Blog #7

What’s missing from MAPS-Mini? What did you keep wanting to report but didn’t find on the survey tool?


We felt that the MAPS mini was useful in general, but was lacking questions about the safety of the street as a whole. By implementing more questions from the perspective of a pedestrian, we could plan the landscape in order to enhance the pedestrian experience through aesthetic and safety appeals. In addition, we believe that the survey did not focus enough on the safety of bicyclists, despite Scott Ulrich’s (Healthy Places Coordinator) constant emphasis on the importance of biking, especially within our university’s campus.

For our group, we thought that this picture effectively portrays the lack of awareness for pedestrians as well as cyclists along W Norwich.

For our group, we thought that this picture effectively portrays the lack of awareness for pedestrians as well as cyclists along W Norwich.


Did you find public realm mattered more or less to you than private realm? Why?

Planned Neighborhood believes that the public realm takes precedent over the private realm. If a planner turns most of their focus towards the public realm, then community members will be more inclined to the take care of their private realm. Because most people take pride in where they live, their community’s safety and appeal will be maintained, which subsequently pushes the community members to upkeep the private realm. Ultimately, the effort to maintain both the public and private realm contributes to creating a safer and cleaner community.


What issues do you think would be more important to community members as opposed to planners?


Essentially, a planner holds the responsibility of being the voice of the people that he or she serves. Because of this, it is hard to distinguish whose concern (the community members or the planners) is more important. A talented planner will listen to the concerns and opinions of the community and consequently implement those concerns into the landscape of the community.

A symbiotic relationship between a planner and the community members is essential in designing a safe and effective community.

A symbiotic relationship between a planner and the community members is essential in designing a safe and effective community.


The Chaire of Pierre : MAPS Mini Assignment

Question 1

What’s missing from MAPS-Mini? What did you keep wanting to report but didn’t find on the survey tool?

The MAPS-Mini is obviously an abbreviated version of the survey but it was lacking a lot of important questions about safety and parking. We feel that the parking situation determines a lot about the visibility of pedestrians and the general feel of the street. This also impacts the safety of pedestrians because it provides a barrier from traffic. Parking is an important factor especially for people who live on the immediate street and should be addressed.


Question 2

Did you find public realm mattered more or less to you than private realm? Why?

 The public realm mattered more to us because there is a lot less that city planners can do about existing private structures. We like to focus on public things that are actually able to be changed. The things in the public realm such as the beat and broken sidewalks and lack of pedestrian cross walks at both intersections were the things we were worried about most. These can be fixed with a little government intervention.


Question 3

What issues do you think would be more important to community members as opposed to planners?

Community members would be more interested in the aesthetic qualities of sidewalks, the buffer zone, and the general look of the street. Community members would also care more about safety, parks, and places to sit. Planners probably care more about traffic patterns, building setbacks, buffer zones and sidewalk size, along with all of the legality of their decisions in the planning of a busy down town street. It would be nice to see city planners also take into account the things that community members want in their area like Norman Krumholz from Cleveland advocated.