California Department of Transportation

Module 1: Policy and Process
Lesson 6: Team Project Introduction

Slide 78

Team Project Introduction

The sixth lesson introduces the team project—a fictitious project on the California coast involving a highway that connects two coastal communities. This project is used as a way to understand the complexities of the FHWA VIA process. It is a good learning tool and on-line students are encouraged to use the exercises associated with it to develop a more thorough understanding of the FHWA VIA process.


Slide 79

Team Project Introduction

To introduce the project, we will examine a map of the project study area and a narrative describing the project and its setting.  Photos of the area will also be introduced.


Slide 80

Team Project Map

Look at the map of the study area. What sort of information can be gleaned from it? 

A copy of the Team Project Map is available to print.  It can be printed out either as an 8½ x 11 or 11 x 17 sheet.

Notice the two communities, the City of Oceanview and the Town of Golden, are separated by the Big and Little Purple Mountains.  A description of each community and the landscape setting is in the narrative.  Four alternatives for improving the connection between the towns are being studied by Caltrans.  The potential for visual impacts appears to escalate between Alternative 1 and Alternative 4 but the decision makers want to know what and who is being impacted visually before they decide on a particular route.  Your job is to develop a defensible assessment of visual impacts using the FHWA VIA methodology. 


Slide 81

Team Project Narrative

Read over the Team Project Narrative while referring to the project map and the associated photolog. The narrative gives you insight into not only the landscape but the values people have for it in the two communities.


Slide 82

Team Project Photolog

Next we will view a series of images in the Team Project Photolog.  The photolog is a set of images corresponding to places on the map, completing the information that you have on the proposed project and its setting. 


Slide 83

Photographs of Project Area - Downtown Oceanview

This is an image of downtown Oceanview which has seen better days.  Much of the commercial activity has moved to the new shopping center on the east side of town.


Slide 84

Photographs of Project Area - Oceanview Shopping Center

Ironically the new shopping center, actually a “life-style center,” tries to replicate the feeling of a small town’s downtown commercial district.


Slide 85

Photographs of Project Area - Oceanview Shopping Center

Easy access and mobility, pleasant surroundings, the ability to see store fronts and entrances from the street and parking lot are important.


Slide 86

Photographs of Project Area - Oceanview Golf Course

The new golf course and the associated residential community with its bucolic landscape on the east side of town are pulling residential development east and south.


Slide 87

Photographs of Project Area - Purple Canyon Road

US 101 through Purple Canyon (known locally as Purple Canyon Road) has very scenic views as it twists through the pass between Big and Little Purple Mountains. Due to the rugged terrain, it is only a two-lane highway.  Notice there is no development along the route.


Slide 88

Photographs of Project Area - Rock Outcroppings

Near the peak of the pass, winter snows sometimes occur at the highest elevations where rocks hug the sides of the road.


Slide 89

Photographs of Project Area - Golden Historic Two Lane Bridge

In the Town of Golden, US 101 crosses Golden Creek on a two-lane historic slab-span bridge.  Notice the bridge’s reflection in the water.


Slide 90

Photographs of Project Area - Golden Historic District

Through Golden, the narrow road barely allows for two lanes of traffic plus two lanes for parking.  (The image is deceiving but there really is room in cross-section for four lanes between the existing curbs.)


Slide 91

Photographs of Project Area - Golden Historic District

Downtown Golden has been designated an historic district with impressive Victorian building facades from the Gold Rush.  Many of these buildings have now been converted into artist boutiques.


Slide 92

Photographs of Project Area - Golden Historic Mill

The still functioning Golden Mill is not only historic, it is a civic icon.


Slide 93

Photographs of Project Area - Spring Hill Orchards

Between Little Purple Mountain and the coast are the famous Spring Hill Orchards specializing in Heritage Fruit.


Slide 94

Photographs of Project Area - Spring Hill Orchards

In the spring when the trees blossom and again in the fall when the fruit is harvested, Spring Hill Orchards attract thousands of people, many stopping off from a trip on the neighboring coastal scenic highway.


Slide 95

Photographs of Project Area - Downtown Oceanview

The bridge over Golden Creek on the coastal scenic highway is a pleasant stop for many motoring vacationers or bicyclists.  Notice the people sunning themselves on rock outcroppings both sides of the creek.  The creek runs in a small gorge here with views upstream to the historic Town of Golden with its old bridge, dam, and mill that are memorable.


Slide 96

Photographs of Project Area - Scenic Highway 1 Coastline

Of course there are magnificent views of the rugged shoreline of the Pacific Ocean from coastal scenic highway.


Slide 97

Questions and Discussion

Examine the pictures, the map, and the narrative to form an understanding of the project and the project area, including an initial understanding of natural and cultural landscapes. Be ready to dissect the landscape for its component attributes. Note particularly the terrain, the vegetative cover, and the hydrology that compose the natural landscape.  Note the differences in community and architectural character expressed in the cultural landscapes. 

Remember that this is a fictitious exercise—if you want to create new “facts” to plug perceived “holes” in the information you have received, you may—but remain consistent throughout the remainder of the exercise.  If you decide, for example, that knowing the pavement type is important for your assessment and you choose a specific pavement type, stay true to that decision for all of the exercises to follow.


Module 1 Summary