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What Makes for a Good Walking Audit?
the answer depends a little on the type of workshop being organized:
dealing with a single site requires a little different preparation
than a general "awareness raising" workshop that also includes a walk.
However, the instructors identified a number of critical tasks for
the MPO staff that would help ensure the success of most of the workshops.
(Lagerwey stressed that of the eight workshops to be held in each
of the six MPOs one or two might be a bust, "and that's OK.")
An audit underway in Los Altos, focused on improving school
a) find a good local organizer in each community who knows the area,
the players, and the real issues
b) pick an accessible location, preferably one that does not require
any additional transportation for participants to do the walk.
c) ensure the venue can comfortably accommodate about 50 people
and can be darkened (all the way) for slide presentations
d) ensure all the audio visual equipment is working and has back
ups (bulbs, extension cord etc)
e) be flexible about the format. The local organizer and the folks
they invite may change their minds about the focus of the meeting,
and that's OK.
f) work with the local organizer to identify key participants (e.g.
the Mayor, head of traffic, local council member etc) and bona fide
local residents! Members of the public don't have to worry about
(or even be aware of) offending their boss (the mayor or head of
traffic) or treading on politically sensitive issues. This openness
can help move meetings along.
g) the local presenter should provide useful background information
about the community or specific site without droning on about meaningless
committee meeting debates or presenting loads of pointless statistics
about the region.
h) stress that the audit is primarily designed to identify problems
and issues rather than finding the perfect solution. The audits
are great at raising overall awareness and showing people a range
of potential solutions, but aren't usually the appropriate place
to come up with a detailed solution.