National Academies Press: OpenBook

Incorporating Roadway Access Management into Local Ordinances (2020)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Page 6
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Incorporating Roadway Access Management into Local Ordinances. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25750.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Incorporating Roadway Access Management into Local Ordinances. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25750.
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Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Incorporating Roadway Access Management into Local Ordinances. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25750.
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Page 8
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Incorporating Roadway Access Management into Local Ordinances. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25750.
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Page 9

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6 Access management plays an essential role in multimodal safety and operations. Managing access connections to roadways reduces crash frequency and improves the operational perfor- mance of roadways for all users. Access management is also a foundational element of thorough- fare and street network planning and design. A roadway’s functional purpose, typology, existing and planned land use context, and modal priority are all integral to determining appropriate standards for access location, spacing, and design. Tools used by state transportation agencies to manage roadway access include roadway design features, such as turn lanes and nontraversable medians, and permitting to manage the loca- tion, spacing, and design of driveway and street intersections. Transportation impact studies are used in the review of access proposals and allow agencies to require access changes and other improvements to mitigate impacts on modal operations and safety. These same tools are used by local agencies, which also have far-reaching authority to manage the use and subdivision of land, as well as the development of local street networks. Local government land use and street network decisions are integral to the effective access management of major thoroughfares. Many local agencies are ramping up their access manage- ment processes to preserve the safety and operation of arterial roadways, increase accessibility of land for economic development, and advance vision zero and complete streets objectives. At the same time, state transportation agencies are recognizing the need to better coordinate access management planning and roadway design with local jurisdictions as they seek to improve the system for all modes of transportation. Background As stated in the TRB Access Management Manual (Williams et al., 2014, p. 3): Access management is the coordinated planning, regulation, and design of access between roadways and land development. It encompasses a range of methods that promote the efficient and safe movement of people and goods by reducing conflicts on the roadway system and at its interface with other modes of travel. These methods include improvements to benefit transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as different treatments for urban, suburban, and rural settings. Intergovernmental coordination is essential to access management given the separation of authority between state and local governments over site access issues. State agencies have little or no authority over the land development process that leads to access requests, and local gov- ernments typically have little or no authority over access permitting decisions on state high- ways. Where state and local agencies act independently, the typical result has been inconsistent decision making and enforcement problems (Marshall and Williams, 1998). C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

Introduction 7 Unlike state transportation agencies, local governments have broad authority to accomplish access management from both a land use and transportation perspective. Local governments can engage in access management through land use planning, transportation planning, public works projects, zoning, subdivision regulation, development review, impact assessment, exactions, and permitting. Because of their many functions, local governments are well positioned to develop a comprehensive and effective access management process. Nonetheless, many local agencies have yet to adopt a robust process for access management. Those agencies that have adopted access management processes have often struggled to imple- ment them. Common impediments to implementing access management, as identified by state transportation agencies, include political barriers, inadequate staffing or resources, lack of edu- cation and training, resistance by the development community, lack of coordination with and among local governments, legal constraints and issues, and lack of a clear vision for the state transportation system (Gluck and Lorenz, 2010). Given their separate authority over the access management process, state and local agencies can achieve far more through mutual cooperation than either agency could achieve alone. Special studies, training and technical assistance, intergovernmental agreements, public out- reach, and coordination in planning and permitting are a few of the ways states work with local agencies to advance access management objectives. This synthesis explores these and other methods used by states and local governments in the access management process. Synthesis Objectives The objective of the synthesis is twofold. The synthesis documents regulatory tools and prac- tices used by local governments to support access management, and it provides strategies to facilitate state and local coordination on issues related to access management. Information doc- umented in the synthesis relates to two key areas of inquiry: 1. Local access management ordinances: examples of local regulatory plans; access manage- ment policies; roadway functional classification policies; zoning requirements that relate to access, land division, and subdivision regulations; site plan review requirements; and other relevant regulatory strategies. 2. State/local collaborative initiatives: examples of collaborative initiatives that promote state and local coordination in arterial access management, such as memoranda of understand- ing (MOUs), cooperative agreements, corridor plans, access classification schemes, training, outreach, funding, and technical assistance. Scope and Approach The following methods were used to develop the synthesis: 1. A scanning survey was sent to each state transportation agency soliciting information on local agencies involved in access management and successful state and local government collabora- tive initiatives; 2. An announcement requesting examples of local access management ordinances and strate- gies was circulated through the ITE Community Member Forum, American Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and National Association of Regional Councils; 3. A review of the literature and agency guidance documents; internet resources; and adopted regulatory plans, cooperative agreements, and ordinances; and 4. Development of case examples of selected local practices and state/local collaborative initia- tives through in-depth review of documents and discussions with staff.

8 Incorporating Roadway Access Management into Local Ordinances Copies of local access management documents (e.g., policies, regulations, ordinances, agree- ments, and regulatory plans) were obtained from the agency website, municode.com, or from local agency contacts provided in the survey. Numerous examples were identified to obtain insight into the current state of the practice. A matrix was prepared to ensure that examples of access management policies, regulations, and collaborative initiatives/coordination strategies were synthesized from a diversity of jurisdictions, representing different geographic regions, sizes, and planning contexts (see Appendix D). Terminology Some terminology used in the synthesis may not be commonly understood, including the types of policies and regulatory documents discussed in the report. This section provides a list of terms and definitions to guide the reader in this regard. • Access management: the coordinated planning, regulation, and design of access between roadways and land development to preserve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system. • Access classification (access category): a ranking system for roadways used to determine the appropriate degree of access management. Factors considered include the functional clas- sification, the appropriate local government’s adopted plan for the roadway, the subdivision of abutting properties, and the existing level of access control. • Easement: a grant of one or more property rights by a property owner to or for use by the public, or another person or entity. • Exaction: contributions or payments required as an authorized precondition for receiving a development permit. • Flag lot: a large lot that does not meet minimum frontage requirements and where access to the public road is by a narrow, private right-of-way or driveway. • Floor area ratio (zoning): the ratio of total floor area of a building to the size of the parcel on which it is built. • Form-based code: a land development regulation that organizes land uses on the basis of the physical form of the built environment rather than on the separation of uses, as in conventional zoning. This type of code uses visual and written standards to convey desired relationships of mass and scale in the built environment. • Intergovernmental agreement (IGA): a binding contract that creates legal rights and obli- gations between parties. The agreement is the consent and mutual obligation to unite in a common purpose and is the ultimate means of intergovernmental coordination in access management, being both legally binding and specific in its terms. • Memorandum of understanding (MOU): a document that establishes the desire of involved parties to engage in a particular course of action. It can serve as the basis for developing a formal contract between the parties. • Overlay (zoning): a zoning district used to apply additional regulatory standards over those of underlying established zoning districts. Overlay zones can be used to add special access management standards to those of the underlying zoning district(s), such as adding special interparcel cross access requirements to a developing commercial corridor. • Outparcel: a parcel of land abutting and external to the larger, main parcel that is under sepa- rate ownership and has roadway frontage. • Planned unit development: a means of land regulation that promotes unified access and circulation to large-scale development. Ordinances establish an area of minimum contigu- ous size that is to be planned, developed, operated, and maintained as a single entity and that contains one or more land use clusters in specified ranges or ratios of residential to nonresidential use.

Introduction 9 • Plat: an exact and detailed map of the subdivision of land. • Resolution: the formal expression of an opinion or the will of a governing body on a given policy matter at a point in time. A resolution in support of access management may serve as an initial step toward a more formal and legally binding coordination mechanism. • Stub out (stub street): a portion of a street or cross access drive used as an extension to an abutting property that may be developed in the future. • Through lot (also called double frontage lot): a lot that fronts upon two parallel streets or that fronts upon two streets that do not intersect at the boundaries of the lot. • Variance: permission to deviate from a regulatory standard when the conditions at a location are such that compliance with the standard requirement is impractical, will result in an unsafe situation, or creates a unique (not self-created) hardship for the applicant. • Waiver (sometimes used interchangeably with variance): permission not to comply with a specific regulatory requirement under certain conditions. For example, an agency might waive a cross access connection requirement if it finds that the two properties under review are incompatible uses (e.g., a day care center and a gas station). • Warrant: the criteria by which the need for a safety treatment or roadway improvement can be determined. Report Organization The synthesis begins with a review of the literature on access management and trends in con- temporary practice in Chapter 2. The TRB Access Management Manual (Williams et al., 2014) is a key source of information on the state of the practice. Other sources reviewed include a series of synthesis and research reports by the NCHRP, along with published literature, model regulations, state transportation agency studies, and guidance documents on the topic of local government access management. Chapter 3 proceeds with a summary of findings from a scanning survey on state and local coordination, as well as selected case examples of state and local collaborative initiatives. Chap- ter 4 synthesizes salient features of numerous access management ordinances identified through the scanning survey, a review of the literature, and internet resources; it is supplemented by Appendix D. Chapter 5 presents six case examples of state and local access management prac- tices and intergovernmental collaboration in managing access to state highways. The synthesis concludes with observations on key findings, gaps in knowledge, and suggestions for additional research. Appendices include the scanning survey and responses, an intergovernmental agree- ment, a matrix of additional local examples, a mitigation methodology, an example cross access agreement, detailed cross access regulations, a site plan review checklist, and a corridor access management plan ordinance.

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Managing access connections to roadways is vital to safety and operational performance of roadways for all users. Given the separation of authority between state and local governments over land development and access, intergovernmental coordination is integral to effective access management.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 549: Incorporating Roadway Access Management into Local Ordinances documents regulatory tools and practices used by local governments to implement access management, as well as provides examples of how state transportation agencies are coordinating with local governments to advance access management objectives.

The review of local ordinances and state and local government coordination practices indicates that access management is being actively implemented throughout the United States. Typical features of local ordinances reviewed included access classification schemes and corresponding spacing standards, interparcel cross access requirements, intersection functional area or corner clearance standards, limits on driveways per site, unified access and circulation requirements for outparcels, allowances for deviations from standards, and access permitting and development (site plan) review procedures and criteria.

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