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ARCA Statement on Traffic Impact Analysis Before the Planning Commission, July 5

[ 0 ] July 7, 2017 |


                                                     In re: Century Center, SP #442
July 5, 2017


Chairman Gutshall, Commission Members, I am Arthur Fox speaking on behalf of the Arlington Ridge Civic Association.

First, I would like to say that we found this site plan generally not just to be acceptable, but actually to be quite attractive. And we support its approval.

The only serious objection we had was not to the Applicant’s proposal or its compliance with the 4.1 requirements, but rather with the adequacy of one of those requirements, namely the Traffic Impact Analysis. And so I stand before you tonight in order to ask each of you a question I hope you will consider thoughtfully. That question is:

Whether the Traffic Impact Analyses, the TIAs that developers are required to perform as part of the 4.1 Site Plan Review process, adequately inform the County of the prospective impact new, high-rise, high-density buildings will have on potential traffic congestion on the roadways in urban development and adjacent residential areas of the County in years to come.

 In case you are not familiar with the County’s TIA process, basically a developer is required to retain an independent contractor to measure the existing traffic flow at intersections a block or two from the prospective building site at various times of day. And the contractor then prognosticates how that traffic will likely increase as a result of vehicles coming and going, to and from the site once that one new building has been built and occupied. The analysis does not, however, project the collective impact of all new buildings yet to be built in accordance with PDSPs or Sector Plans, of which any particular building will be just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Nor do TIAs look at existing or projected traffic choke points, whether just beyond the radius of the TIA, or a greater distance but one where the traffic generated by the new building will likely (or necessarily) have to pass through.

This problem is particularly acute in 22202 given that it is, for all intents and purposes, a geographic fortress with essentially only five portals through which all traffic must flow. For your information, the three 22202 civic associations, of which ARCA is one, have been begging County staff now for many years to revise the TIA process required of developers to yield more meaningful information. Suffice it to say, we have been stonewalled. We did so again during the site plan review of this Century Center project. As in the past, we again received empty promises from staff.

Accordingly, we respectfully submit that the time has finally come to elevate this issue for consideration and possible action by the County Board and ask that you help us do so in your submission to the Board in connection with this site plan.


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