CSS Process Overview

WHAT IS CONTEXT SENSITIVE SOLUTIONS (CSS)?

Context sensitive solutions (CSS) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all key stakeholders in the planning and design of a transportation facility that fulfills its purpose while complementing and enhancing its setting. It is an approach that leads to preserving and enhancing scenic, aesthetic, cultural, historic, community and environmental resources, while maintaining or improving mobility, capacity and safety.

CSS involves all stakeholders, including community members, interest groups, elected officials, and affected local, state and federal agencies. It puts project needs and both agency and community values on a level playing field and considers all trade-offs in the decision-making process.

The I-49 Lafayette Connector CSS process has been designed so that the 21 commitments in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Record of Decision (ROD) are fully addressed. These commitments identify key project-related features where mitigation and other measures to minimize impact are required to implement the Selected Alternative, as presented in the I-49 Lafayette Connector FEIS. Furthermore, the Summary of Decision included within the ROD indicates that the LCG Corridor Preservation and Management Action Plan will be the guiding document for the I-49 Lafayette Connector design and construction integration. This document also supports a CSS-based approach to achieve the overriding stakeholder goals of enhancing “community connectedness” and building a “signature place,” versus a “signature structure,” through project implementation.

The I-49 Lafayette Connector CSS Program will strive to:

  • Reach a common vision for the I-49 Lafayette Connector with the community and key stakeholders through a collaborative process that addresses a variety of levels of community context:
    • Study Area Level I (I-49 Lafayette Connector right-of-way)
    • Study Area Level II (immediate 500-foot influence area)
    • Study Area Level III (immediately impacted adjacent neighborhoods)
  • Prepare CSS Design Standards for the final design and construction of the I-49 Lafayette Connector that provides regional mobility, excellent community access and a variety of features that complement downtown and adjacent neighborhoods:
    • Transportation Facility and related features within the designated right-of-way (Area Level I)
    • Enhancement of community cohesion and neighborhood connectivity on both sides of the facility within the immediate 500-foot influence area (Area Level II)
    • Stimulation of a comprehensive revitalization program for all immediately impacted adjacent neighborhoods (Area Level III)
  • Frame the detailed planning and design process so that the final project stays within the parameters of the FEIS and ROD, or can be approved by the FHWA through a minor amendment agreement; and
  • Structure the CSS process to facilitate informed project implementation phasing and rapid progression into final design and project construction

The I-49 Lafayette Connector CSS Program will be carried out through a three-tiered decision-making work group/committee structure. The DOTD has established three work group/committees that are scheduled to meet once a month over a 15-month period in order to discuss and provide input and direction on design elements for the I-49 Lafayette Connector project. The design decisions made through this process will be compiled into the CSS Design Standards Manual.

work group chart-01
  • Community Work Group: 
    To provide community input and recommendations on the 13 Design Feature Areas and 55 Design Elements of the I‑49 Lafayette Connector
  • Technical Advisory Committee: 
    To provide technical review, comment and recommendations on the 13 Design Feature Areas and 55 Design Elements of the I‑49 Lafayette Connector
  • Executive Committee: 
    To review all recommendations from the Community Work Group and Technical Advisory Committee and make final decisions on the 13 Design Feature Areas and 55 Design Elements of the I‑49 Lafayette Connector to be included in the CSS Design Standards Manual

The CSS Design Standards Manual will document the planning and design parameters for the 13 Design Feature Areas (including the 55 Design Elements) considered by the work group/committee process described above, and approved by the Executive Committee. This CSS Design Standards Manual will directly inform the final design of the I-49 Lafayette Connector project and related improvements related to corridor aesthetic consistency, community integration and compliance with all stakeholder and community input. The 13 Design Feature Areas and 55 Design Elements of the overall I-49 Lafayette Connector were identified by the community, staff and public officials in the prior CSS process (April 2007) as key form-giving project elements that fulfill the project’s mobility objectives and have the ability to make the project a “signature place” of significant benefit to its surroundings; establish community connectedness between the neighborhoods and various districts along the corridor; and provide a sense of community integration and cohesion through thoughtful references to the region’s history and culture.

Concurrent with the ongoing CSS Work Program for the I-49 Connector Design Feature Areas and Design Elements, the project team will (in conjunction with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette [ULL]) conduct a series of semester-long Community Design Workshops (CDW) during the 18-month course of Phase 1 project activities to address the I-49 Connector facility planning and design issues within Study Area Level I, and Community Cohesion and Neighborhood Connectivity issues within Study Area Levels II and III.

Using the information from the CDW, preliminary urban design proposals for the Study Area Levels II and III will be prepared and evaluated. The CSS Design Standards Manual, which includes recommended guidance for the 13 Design Feature Areas and 55 Design Elements, will also be utilized to inform the broader community planning and urban design proposals under consideration. The community planning and urban design recommendations will then be assembled into an Urban Design Framework Master Plan for Study Area Levels II and III, and will be published in a reader-friendly format for public distribution. This effort will be coordinated with the Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) TIGER Grant Work.

Designed to fulfill 21 commitments established by the ROD, the CSS process will address the key project-related features where mitigation and other measures to minimize impact need to be considered. The goal is to achieve a project design that’s affordable, acceptable to all key stakeholders and has the potential to become a valued community asset.

The 13 Design Feature Areas and 55 Design Elements:

  • Interstate Super Structure
    • Bridge Beams
    • Mainline Sign Structures
    • Traffic Barriers
  • Bridge Bent Columns
    • Bridge Bent Columns Types
    • Bridget Bents Design Treatments
  • Walls
    • Retaining Walls
    • Abutment Walls
    • Free Standing Walls
  • Coatings and Textures
    • Surface Paints
    • Formline Finishes
  • Land Use
    • Land Use Configuration
    • Gateways
  • Pedestrian Facilities
    • Rest Stops
    • Parking
    • Trailheads
    • Trail Surfacing
    • Enhanced Paving
  • Plazas
    • Overlooks
    • Events/Festivals
    • Farmers’ Market
    • Community Crossroads
  • Lighting
    • Roadway Lighting
    • Under Structure Lighting
    • Frontage Road Lighting
    • Pedestrian Lighting
    • Gateways Lighting
    • Architectural Lighting
  • Site Furnishings
    • Benches
    • Signage
    • Bike Racks
    • Trash Receptacles
    • Drinking Fountains
    • Flag Poles
  • Community Art
    • Cultural Map
    • Wall Murals
    • Panels/Platforms
  • Landscape Elements
    • Trees
    • Shrubs
    • Groundcovers
    • Aquatic Plants
    • Design Patterns
  • Water Features
    • Detention
    • Retention
    • Fountains/Pools
  • Sterling Grove Historic District
    • Landscaping
    • Masonry Walls
    • Special Lighting
    • Long Span Bridges
    • Use of Space Under Bridges
    • Hardscape
    • Fencing
    • Green Space
    • Parking
    • Plazas
    • Fountains
    • Frontage Road Lighting
    • Pedestrian Lighting
    • Gateways Lighting
    • Architectural Lighting

CSS Documents