Community meetings about possible projects to improve traffic — or if there’s any need for a project — in the area of the 710 gap kicked off this week. For that reason, the project is being called “710 Conversations. ”
One thing not prominently mentioned in news coverage of the meetings is the considerable effort to bring meetings and information to area residents via the Internet and social media tools. Those efforts include interactive webcasts of meetings.
Here’s the news release, issued by Metro on Wednesday:
In efforts to redefine civic engagement through digital and social media platforms, The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be utilizing a range of interactive social media tools in concert with planned “SR-710 Conversations” local community meetings beginning in February.
The “SR-710 Conversations” digital program, encompassing Metro’s web site, webcasts, interactive virtual meetings, Facebook and Twitter, is designed to provide the broadest possible channels for community involvement and dialogue, ensuring the public gets the most out of the new SR-710 education and future scoping process. A series of 18 public meetings are planned between now and spring 2011 to engage the public on what, if any, improvements may help relieve congestion in the SR-710 corridor.
Metro’s approach expands upon traditional community outreach methods by government agencies and promises to set a new standard for community outreach by providing access online to people in the surrounding region who cannot attend meetings in person. Online participation can occur before, during and after local community meetings. Facebook (facebook.com/sr710conversations) and Twitter (@sr710convos), for example, will be used to enable people to engage in the conversations and follow the scoping process.
Metro will use its social media tools to encourage the public to send photos and videos to express what they appreciate about their communities and how they relate to the “SR-710 Conversations” discussion.
Metro also will be providing a window into each community meeting that enables online viewers to see photos and other multimedia reports of comments received in the dialogue sessions in real-time. Through this real-time reporting, the public can witness the dialogue occurring in each of the meeting locations now planned in San Gabriel, Alhambra, Pasadena, South Pasadena, El Sereno and Glendale.
To further facilitate online participation in the process, Metro’s web site, (metro.net/sr710conversations) will enable anyone to participate in webcasts to view live video and interact in dialogue sessions via online chat. The first series of webcasts are currently scheduled for February 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and February 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A second series of webcasts are scheduled for March 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and March 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Metro also will be hosting its first live “Online Open House” on March 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This virtual meeting will also be available on demand through April 14. Online participants will be able to instantly download meeting materials, view displays and chat with Metro staff online at their convenience.
The public will have the opportunity to go “on record” online by submitting comments via Metro’s online comment form and via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments will be considered for the official record as part of the formal scoping process when the online participant includes their name and physical mailing address. An Online Open House registration link will be posted online soon.
Members of the public interested in participating in the SR-710 Conversations process online can access any of the links from the “Participate from Home” tab on Metro’s project web site and/or Facebook and Twitter.
For additional information on upcoming “SR-710 Conversations” meetings, visit Metro’s project web site at metro.net/sr710conversations.