[WEC] What is the problem?
LarryReed at jrhweb.com
Fri Jan 25 12:34:38 PST 2008
See my response below in CAPS.
From: wec at westeugenecollaborative.org
[mailto:wec at westeugenecollaborative.org] On Behalf Of Rob Zako
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 11:23 AM
To: West Eugene Collaborative
Subject: [WEC] What is the problem?
Dear WEC friends,
Whether or not we decide to hire someone like Sam Seskin to help us in
our work, I very much appreciated having someone of his caliber and
experience donate his time to us, if only briefly. (WHAT WAS YESTERDAYS
WEC DECISION CONCERNING THIS ISSUE?)
As I mentioned towards the end of our meeting on Thursday, I thought he
told us a few helpful things:
* The process and steps it makes sense to follow depends on what
kind of product we are trying to produce.
* What kind of product we are capable of producing depends on the
time and money we have available to us. With less time and money, we
might have to set our expectations lower.
* Skipping steps can get you into trouble. In particular, it is
important to agree on values and evaluation measures before getting too
deep into developing solutions.
But I forgot to mention one other thing he said that struck me as
useful. He asked if we had developed a problem statement. I told him we
had developed a "problem sentence," which caused him to sort of chuckle:
(WHAT DO YOU THINK HIS CHUCKLE MEANT; CAN YOU BE MORE EXPLICIT?)
"The perception is that the current transportation infrastructure does
not meet needs for local and through traffic and that if we don't do
something now, the transportation problems will get worse."
Sam indicated that it is critical to develop a detailed problem
statement, perhaps several paragraphs long or even a page or two long,
that spells out in detail the concerns we have and grounds this in
objective or subjective data.
Thinking about Sam's suggestions, I am concerned that we don't
collectively understand the problem (or even necessarily agree there is
a problem). Our original intention was to start with the sentence above
as a working problem statement, but to refine this with more information
to have a much more specific understanding of the problem (or problems)
we are actually aiming to solve, hence what might be reasonable
solutions to the problem. I THINK AS GROUP WE ARE BEGINNING TO
UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM. AS OF YESTERDAY I THINK WE ARE BTTER ABLE TO
UNDERSTAND THE 'REALITY' ON THE GROUND, HISTORY, SOILS, LOCATION OF
WETLANDS, LAND USE, AND LIMITIONS OF CURRENT STREET SYSTEM, ETC, ALL THE
MAPS STUFF. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PROBLEM WE ARE STILL MISSING IS THE
RESULTS OF THE TRAFFIC STUDY (TIA) AND IS WHY YESTERDAY I ASKED ABOUT
GETTING THE TIA 'RIGHT' AND THE TIA'S PROJECTED TRAFFIC GROWTH. I'M
NOT INTERESTED IN BUILDING TRANSPORTATIONS FACILITIES THAT ARE NOT
NEEDED OR THAT ARE OVER BUILT. I TOO WANT W 11TH TO BE A GREAT URBAN
STREET, MIXED USES CENTERS, PLACES THAT PUTS LIVING UNITS IN CLOSE
PROXIMITY OF PEOPLES JOBS, THEIR BUSINESS, DAY TO DAY SHOPPING,
PARKS-NATURE, WETLANDS, ETC. HOWEVER, IN THE FUTURE IF W 11TH STREET
MUST CARRY TRAFFIC BEYOND its CAPACITY (INCLUDING IF WE FAIL) THE
COMMUNITY MAY MISS THE OPPORUNITY FOR THIS STREET AND WHOLE AREA TO BE
I think we already know from our work on the LTD purpose & need
statement how critical it is to clearly identify the problem. Some of us
were long critical of work on the West Eugene Parkway because we
believed that ODOT had identified the wrong problem in their purpose and
need, or at least had failed to capture elements of the problem having
to do with making West 11th a place one would want to be.
As we move forward, I think it is critical for us to heed Sam's advice
and to ask ourselves "What is the problem?" and agree to a more detailed
answer before getting too far down the road trying to agree to a
solution. WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR NEXT MEETING AS WE DO THE DESIGN
STORMING WORK I THINK IT WOULD BE FAIR TO CONTINUE TO ASK WHEN SOLUTIONS
ARE OFFERED "WHAT IS THE PROBLEM" WE ARE TRYING TO ADDRESS BY THE IDEA.
I TOO I'M CONCERNED, I JUST DON'T THINK WE NEED TO OVERLY STRUCTURE OR
PROCESS OUR MEETINGS TO DO DESIGN STORMING AND COME TO A MEANINGFUL
RANGE OF RECOMMENDATIONS.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the wec