September 2, 2014

Council considers code for driveway access to city streets

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Traffic congestion and delays suffer when access to public streets is poorly planned, David Greene, public works director, told city council members during a work session April 9.
Council members will be asked to approve a proposed access management code at a meeting in May. They heard details of the proposal on Monday night.
The goal of an access management code is to “balance the right of reasonable access to private property with the right of citizens to safe and efficient travel,” Greene said.
The proposal provides design criteria that classifies streets. It addresses spacing of driveways and traffic signals on thoroughfares, the installation of medians, and the application of code to redevelopment projects.
“It codifies guidelines so everyone knows the rules,” Greene said.
The meat of the plan was drafted in 2009 in conjunction with a traffic study, and city planners have been using it as a guideline since then. However, the proposal hasn’t been adopted into city codes.
The access management code is how access to streets would be laid out in a perfect world.
“Existing conditions and physical constraints require you to alter things somewhat, but this (proposal) is a starting off point,” Greene explained.
The access existing properties have to roadways and thoroughfares would essentially be grandfathered until or if the properties are redeveloped.
In new residential developments, the goal would be to discourage non-local traffic in subdivisions.
For shopping centers and retail developments, the goal would be to have them developed in such a way that access to the property is through collector streets rather than through major arterials.
He listed U.S. 56 Highway, or Main Street, Center Street and 167th Street as examples of arterials. White Drive and Poplar Streets, Greene listed examples of collectors.
Greene said the proposal would benefit businesses in the future.
“If you can get to your business more easily, you will have more business,” he said.
Under the proposal, the city engineer could make small exceptions to the rules and the plan formalizes an appeals process.
Greene called the proposal “state-of-the-art, practical, reasonable, effective standards.”
City council members will likely be asked to approve the access management code during the May 7 council meeting.
In other business, council members:
Heard a presentation on the 2012-2017 Capital Improvement Plan

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