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American Street Interview with Karen Jehanian

KMJ Consulting, Inc. Newsletter
January 2018

 

An Interview with Karen Jehanian, President

 
KMJ Consulting, Inc. had the privilege of working with Gilmore & Associates, Inc., JMT and others on the transformative American Street Improvement Project. Please read the interview with Karen Jehanian below.

Interviewer (I): Tell us about the project

Karen Jehanian (KJ): The City of Philadelphia received federal funding to make improvements along American Street between Girard and Indiana Avenues. This fast-tracked TIGER project is situated along a nearly two mile section of American Street that traverses several communities, two councilmanic districts and is home to numerous businesses. Improvements to the pedestrian environment are achieved through reduced street crossing distances.  One lane of traffic in each direction will be provided along with bike lanes and parking lanes. Median treatments along American Street will vary but will include Green Stormwater Infrastructure (through a bio-swale or landscaped median) or a striped median where needed to facilitate access to properties. Updates will also be made to the pavement striping, signage, and lighting along the corridor.

I: What is different about the project?

KJ: The maintenance and protection of traffic aspect of the project required coordination with both the City of Philadelphia and PennDOT.   All work must be completed while maintaining all modes of travel along the corridor as well as access to all businesses.

I: What was KMJ Consulting’s role?

KJ: KMJ was responsible for all aspects of Stakeholder and Public Engagement, development of construction sequencing, preparation of maintenance and protection of traffic plans as well as design of ADA ramps at select intersections along the corridor.

We were delighted to work with our Prime, Gilmore & Associates, Inc, as well as Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT) on this exciting project. The project sponsors, City of Philadelphia Department of Streets, the Philadelphia Water Department and Commerce Department worked together in an integrated fashion, putting the project needs first.

I: Is stakeholder engagement a new practice area for KMJ?

KJ: KMJ senior staff have been performing stakeholder engagement as part of major and sometimes controversial transportation projects for the past 25 years. Recently, we have had the opportunity to focus more attention on this practice area and prioritize stakeholder engagement as a service area for KMJ. Having the lead role on the American Street stakeholder engagement process enabled us to apply our “secret sauce” recipe, which of course I will not divulge here. That said, we worked hand-in-hand with the entire consulting and agency project team to develop and execute a public engagement program that met the project needs.

I: What made the stakeholder engagement successful?

KJ: The project was the priority! All team members worked as one project-focused team. Here are some key aspects:

  • Demonstrated that their (the public) concerns were heard
  • Provided a safe place for comments
  • Created a community-like atmosphere
  • Accommodated needs of the attendees

I: Do you have any final thoughts?

KJ: I wish every project had the same high level of teamwork, technical expertise and client involvement and support.

 

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