But it’s Community Vision that Determines What Happens Next
Some communities have a fine-tuned process when considering proposed developments. Some communities, enamored with new development, ask few questions. Most communities fall somewhere between.
Reputable developers seek a win-win. If their development is inconsistent with local plans, if their development is not buffered from adjacent land use, if their development raises local concerns, they know it’s not a good fit.
And traffic seems to be a common concern for every new development: “What are you going to do about all that traffic?”
There are methods to not only predict traffic but to quantify impacts and recommend improvements to address concerns.
If a new development is difficult to access or creates traffic problems, it’s unlikely the development will enjoy long term success. In these cases, astute reviewing agencies often recognize this during the review process and the careful study of their traffic analyses.
Most developments, seek a collaborative relationship and take into account several traffic-related factors. The following items are evaluated well in advance to ensure compatibility and acceptability with local goals and values:
- Is the development compatible with adjacent land use? Is buffering required?
- How much traffic will the proposed development generate when completed?
- How will the extra traffic be distributed to the proposed driveway(s) and nearby intersections?
- Will proposed driveways need right turn lanes? Left turn lanes? Signals?
- Will nearby intersections need turn lanes, signals, or roundabouts?
- What about pedestrian and bike access? Are connections with local trail plans or crosswalks required?
- What traffic calming features might be appropriate to manage speed and enhance pedestrian safety?
And before moving any dirt, we model future traffic conditions based on historical data from thousands of similar developments throughout the nation. These “future” trips are distributed to the proposed driveways to determine where turn lanes or other improvements are needed. Trips are further distributed to adjacent streets and nearby intersections to see if off-site improvements are required to maintain traffic flow for the development and existing traffic in the area.
Thriving communities have a vision for the location and type of development they desire. They know immediately if a proposed development is consistent with the long term goals of their community — intentional development, consistent with community vision, pays dividends for generations.
Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience — online ideas available at TrafficEngineering.com/Services.