With 240,000+ daily vehicles, U.S. 101 deck at San Francisco’s Alemany Circle is one of the Bay Area’s most heavily used corridors. It is also a key connector between the economic centers of Silicon Valley and downtown San Francisco. In 2019, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) plans were underway to completely remove and replace the 800-foot deck, with construction scheduled to start in July 2020. Early headlines predicted “carmaggeddon” from the traffic build-up during construction.
Our team at Civic Edge, with partner Tracy Keough, built a regional stakeholder and media engagement strategy to get the word out early about the project and encouraged people to seek alternate routes during construction. Partnerships for this outreach included San Francisco and Bay Area transportation agencies and business leaders to raise awareness with their employees. Our team also led hyper-local engagement, supporting multiple community open houses within neighborhoods expected to be impacted most by construction for Caltrans project staff to answer questions and hear concerns in one-on-one conversations.
In March 2020, when the Bay Area introduced its first stay-at-home efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, our team was there with a quick pivot in communications and messaging as Caltrans responded to the reduced traffic and advanced the construction schedule to April instead of July. While our strategy remained sharing communications early and often, our team’s approach switched toward digital. Alongside a speedy launch and staffing for an in-language project hotline, our team connected twice a day with the Caltrans communications and construction staff to support daily project updates for the public. In recognition of the close coordination with the construction team to lead proactive communications and inform Bay Area residents about construction progress, the project went on to win the Public Outreach Category at the 2021 CTF Transportation Awards.