CSS Process Benefits
Traditionally, project development has been the process to move a project from the planning stage through the construction phase. An evolution of practices with CSS has resulted in a process that includes an enhancement of public involvement throughout the stages, with emphasis on the NEPA process, beginning in the planning stages. The benefits of this proactive posture include timely decisions, partnerships rather than opponents, public trust, and improved project delivery schedules. (Pigman et al, 2005)
South Lake Shore Drive – Chicago, IL
The benefits of a well thought out CSS process were evident in the successful reconstruction of South Lake Shore Drive (SLSD). In the wake of strong community opposition to modernization in the 1970s, SLSD received only minor improvements over the following decades, but by the late 1990s community sentiment focused attention on the poor condition of the roadway. Concerns about community opposition to planning efforts led IDOT, the consultant team, CDOT, and the Chicago Park District to develop a highly-transparent CSS process that enabled robust public involvement. An Advisory Group was established, intended to represent all portions of the community, involving over 30 organizations and government agencies, including neighborhood groups, advocacy groups, local establishments, educational and cultural institutions, elected officials, and police and fire departments. This Advocacy Group was actively consulted throughout all phases of planning, design, and construction, and feedback from the general public was solicited by SLSD team members at community and aldermanic ward meetings in the area. This highly-interdisciplinary CSS approach resulted in a comprehensive, nuanced process that enjoyed considerable public support and yielded outstanding results, with the completed reconstruction effort winning number awards, including the Federal Highway Administration's Award of Excellence in Urban Highways.