Transportation and Land Use Planning Connectivity

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1 Chapter 3 Transportation and Land Use Planning Connectivity

2 CHAPTER 3 Transportation and Land Use Planning Connectivity INTRODUCTION Transportation systems and services are provided in the context of both the built environment and the natural environment. Transportation affects and is affected by patterns of economic development, housing and other infrastructure investment such as water supply, sewers and waste disposal, as well as affecting and being affected by natural features such as slopes, soils and streams. Fundamentally, the relationship between land use and transportation is reciprocal. Development patterns shape travel patterns. An automobile is necessary where subdivision design makes transit and walking a challenge and the separation of land uses in low density developments makes driving a necessity. Transportation policy and projects influencing land development patterns is evidenced by commercial development stretching out along highway corridors; new subdivisions built soon after new freeway capacity opens; and high-volume franchises, gas stations and malls amassing at or near interchanges. An increase in the intensity of land use within a community typically increases the demand for transportation, and transportation facilities and services are catalysts for land development. This increased demand for adequate public facilities and services increases the demand for timely capital budgeting and construction, both in individual communities and also cumulatively in the region for planning transportation improvements. These trends and relationships have been known over the years but metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country did not always address them in planning documents. A new era in federal transportation investment began with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) which mandated that MPOs maintain a continuing, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planning process, and that 16 planning factors, including land use, be considered during transportation planning. In addition, since the early 1990s, OKI s regional transportation plans have consistently estimated a shortfall of over $3 billion to meet the region s transportation needs over 30 year planning periods. The region s yardsticks of vehicle miles traveled and land consumption are also both projected to outpace population growth. These imbalances are tied to the region s land development trends. Land use decisions are made locally and they vary considerably among cities and counties. As a result, OKI, which is responsible for long range transportation planning at the regional level, often has to react to these trends instead of planning and funding transportation solutions that would come on line concurrent with the impacts of land development. Developing the Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP) While acknowledging that OKI has no authority and seeks no authority over local land use decisions, OKI s board decided to study the complex connection between 3-

3 transportation and how we use land for homes, businesses, parks and factories. The board agreed to work as a land use commission to bring about better coordination between local land use planning and regional transportation planning, and to develop a regional policy plan focused on a regional vision and the region s critical challenges or fundamental policy concerns. OKI s intent was to create a land use commission that represented the region geographically. It was also clear that the commission s efforts would involve many jurisdictions and organizations, and would require gathering information from the region s 190 local governments and 138 planning authorities. Since broad representation is the foundation of OKI s board, board members elected to work as the Land Use Commission. The board added other experts from throughout the region to the commission and the commission then apportioned its members among working committees dealing with land use planning and policy, environment and infrastructure, economic development and funding, and later, publicity and outreach committees. Early on, the commission adopted this mission: Through open dialogue and communication with decision makers and the public, the OKI Commission on Land Use shall develop a strategic regional plan which encourages land use patterns that promote multimodal travel and the efficient use of land, natural resources, and public facilities and services. The commission then methodically created the Strategic Regional Policy Plan by preparing detailed inventories and analyses; establishing a regional vision; identifying strategic regional issues; developing goals, objectives, and policies for the strategic issues; and seeking extensive public input. Sustained participation in the work of the Land Use Commission came from many individuals, institutions, local governments, and public and private organizations. For example, over two-thirds of OKI s board was actively involved in creating the plan. This was an unprecedented level of involvement for a multi-year effort. Several means of public participation were offered during the creation of the SRPP. Public participation was encouraged through media coverage, recruiting outreach teams with dozens of volunteers for each county, public meetings, surveys and grassroots efforts to distribute information throughout organizations and stakeholder groups in the region. Eight public forums were held during the visioning process, which were attended by 335 people who participated in extensive small group discussions and provided over 1,000 written comments. As the plan neared adoption, public meetings were held in each county to get feedback on draft policies and an electronic survey about the draft policies was made available at the meetings and through OKI s Web site. Over 400 people took advantage of these opportunities to provide input and made over 500 comments about the draft policies. Several concerns and themes recurred in the comments made through the public meetings and the survey responses. These included concerns about heavy traffic congestion, the need for a public transit system to serve the entire region, interest in large-scale transit projects like light rail and the need to address the impacts of freight on the transportation system, especially truck traffic on the interstates. Other recurring themes included the need to preserve greenspace, concerns over the future adequacy 3-2

4 of water supplies, the idea that redevelopment would solve a lot of transportation cost problems and the need to plan before growth occurs. The creation of the SRPP yielded over 200 transportation-related issues. Through the processes of visioning and public input, OKI s Land Use Commission decided that the region s expensive land use and infrastructure trends should be altered. Otherwise, if current land use trends continue, the region will need to develop an additional 214 square miles which is an area equivalent in size to that of Boone County. To alter this trend, the commission focused on the region s most critical challenges for achieving consistency between regional transportation and local land use planning so that that limited tax dollars could be stretched for maximum benefit. Twenty-eight strategic regional issues were identified as the region s critical challenges or fundamental policy concerns. For each strategic issue, an analysis of trends and conditions was conducted. Then, the board created sets of goals, objectives and policies. The final draft of the SRPP incorporates all the phases of the Land Use Commission s work, including its mission and vision. Its strategic regional issues; trends and conditions statements; goals, objectives and policies were assembled into six general categories: transportation, public facilities and services, natural systems, housing, economic development and land use. Transportation in Context The Strategic Regional Policy Plan addresses transportation or a relationship to transportation demand and needs in all six of its topical areas. The SRPP encourages land use patterns that promote multimodal travel and the efficient use of land, natural resources and public facilities and services. Land development and most economic development projects depend on the availability and adequacy of different types of public facilities and service. Transportation improvements, water capacity improveents, sewer capacity improvements, storm water management, greenspaces and school capacities all have an impact on a community s ability to accommodate land use changes. The timing, location and cost of water, sewer and road facilities can have a significant impact on land use patterns; and the density and intensity of land development is influenced by the availability and adequacy of these public facilities and services. Land use changes, in turn, create a greater or lesser need for roads and public transit. The long-term viability of the OKI region is tied to the quality of our interdependent natural resources and open spaces. New buildings, public utilities and roads have an impact on individual resources and broader natural systems. Natural systems contribute significant value to the region, including enhanced quality of life, economic vitality, physical attractiveness, and higher property values. The quality and quantity of natural systems such as streams and plentiful, clean groundwater supplies can encourage development, creating additional transportation demand. Community decisions about development locations or densities can also be based on the desire to maintain sensitive natural features and greenspace. Housing availability and affordability has a direct relationship to quality of life and helps to drive commuting patterns and travel choices. The location and density of housing affects not only transportation systems but also other infrastructure such as sewer 3-3

5 and water lines and public services such as emergency response and school systems. Conversely, the availability and affordability of housing is affected by public facilities and services such as school systems, police and fire protection, economic development and the transportation system. Transportation investments influence economic growth. Successful economic development such as business retention and recruitment can generate demand for capital investments in new or upgraded public facilities and services; economic development efforts are more fruitful when businesses know that adequate public facilities and services are in place when they need them. Economic development helps to shape areas that may become centers of employment, which in turn helps to determine commuting patterns. Underlying all these issues, and especially transportation, is land use. Land use is the relationship of the built environment to mobility and travel demand. Transportation is one factor that influences land use, but it is an essential part of local and regional infrastructure. In turn, transportation system efficiency can be improved using techniques such as multimodal options and access management coupled with compact, efficient development patterns. OKI s regional transportation plan has promoted the expansion of public transit service for years and the SRPP promotes multiple modes of transit service and transit-friendly development. The 2005 federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) recognizes these interrelationships by adding several requirements to the process of regional transportation planning. SAFETEA- LU requirements include: consultation with state and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation in developing regional transportation plans; promoting consistency between transportation improvements and state and local planned growth and economic development patterns; a process that provides for effective management of congestion; and, considering potential mitigation activities to reduce impacts to the environment associated with the implementation of a regional transportation plan. Many of the new themes addressed in SAFETEA-LU were already being addressed in the SRPP and will be further addressed as the SRPP and this regional transportation plan are implemented. The main goal of the SRPP, bringing about consistency between regional transportation planning and local land use planning and decision making, is very similar to SAFETEA-LU requirements. A variety of stakeholders were consulted during the creation of the SRPP. The results of consultations undertaken as the SRPP was developed and as it is being implemented are hereby incorporated into this regional transportation plan. Implementing the STRATEGIC REGIONAL Policy Plan The SRPP is being implemented through voluntary cooperation among local governments, OKI and many other organizations, and will consequently come to fruition in phases ranging from the near term to the very long term. OKI s board agreed to implement the SRPP in three phases; a near-term phase of 3-4

6 approximately three years following plan adoption, a mid-term phase of three to five years following plan adoption and a long-term phase of five to 10 years following plan adoption. The near-term phase of plan adoption focuses on those policies that continue or extend existing activity, that help build momentum, and for which some level of communication and interaction was already occurring among potential implementers. In addition, policies from each of the SRPP s six topic categories are involved to demonstrate commitment to the strategic plan as a whole. Consultations OKI will pursue the SRPP s policies for transportation, but implementation of many others is up to the affected jurisdictions and other organizations on a voluntary basis. For that reason, OKI is continuing to build relationships and consultation that were key to developing the SRPP and that will be essential for implementing it. The types of groups that are or will be consulted include state and federal regulatory agencies; state and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection and conservation agencies; local planning and major economic development agencies; and, local agencies that promote transit and alternatives to the single-occupant automobile. For example, in developing the SRPP s transportation section, OKI consulted with transportation professionals from state agencies and transit authorities in addition to OKI s own staff. This consultation will continue as both long and short-term transportation planning occurs. In developing the SRPP s public facilities and services section, OKI consulted with peer reviewers from large and small water and wastewater utilities. Consultation with these utilities continues through OKI s Groundwater Committee, interaction with wastewater providers on planning issues under Section 208 of the Clean Water Act and tracking the growth of water and sewer systems to help identify where new development may increase the need for transportation system improvements. In developing the SRPP s natural systems section, OKI consulted peer reviewers from academia, watershed groups and local government environmental compliance staff. This consultation continues as OKI conducts transportation corridor studies and provides technical assistance for source water protection and watershed groups. In developing the SRPP s housing section, OKI consulted peer reviewers from the Home Builders Association, a major developer, an organization serving the homeless, a county board of education and a city planning commission. Additional consultation will occur as OKI surveys local governments and school districts to determine their degree of interaction on planning, development, neighborhood and public safety issues. In developing the SRPP s economic development section, OKI consulted peer reviewers from county and metropolitan chambers of commerce, commercial banking and a state development agency. Additional consultation will occur with both local and regional level economic development organizations about the ways in which local governments can support efforts to grow businesses and provide adequate public facilities. In developing the SRPP s land use section, OKI conferred with peer reviewers from planning agencies at both the county and city levels, and this consultation is ongoing as OKI develops planning tools and practical technical assistance. 3-5

7 Consistency One way the SRPP and this regional transportation plan strive to improve consistency with planned growth and development patterns is to encourage better comprehensive planning at the local level. When local governments base their future land use and transportation needs on sound data and analyses and better understand the implications of alternative development patterns, OKI is able to be more proactive when planning for transportation improvements on the regional scale. In an effort to stay informed about local planned growth and development patterns, OKI will also update the composite existing land use and existing zoning maps that were created as part of the SRPP, as well as keep track of local government comprehensive plans throughout the region. Perhaps most significantly, OKI has revisited the prioritization process for regional transportation investments. A total of 100 points maximum can be awarded when transportation projects are evaluated and scored. Of these 100 points, 40 points are related to criteria specific to either roadway or transit projects that help to indicate the regional need, efficiency, safety and access associated with the project. An additional 60 points of the total 100 are related to criteria that apply to all projects. The criteria that apply to all projects include: environmental justice, economic vitality, air quality/energy, multimodal/intermodal considerations, status in a corridor study or comprehensive plan, relative priority to affected communities and relative benefit/cost ratio. For all transportation projects, up to five points can be awarded for positive impacts on environmental justice communities. Up to five points can also be awarded for projects that serve to support existing, expanding or new non-retail employment centers. Up to 10 points can be awarded for projects that have positive impacts on air quality and energy use. Up to 10 points can be awarded for projects that include or enhance more than one mode of transportation or specifically address freight needs. Up to 10 points can be awarded for projects that have been identified as high priority through a formal corridor study or comprehensive planning process. Up to 10 points can be awarded for projects because of their relative priority with affected communities. Up to 10 points can be awarded for projects depending on their relative cost/benefit. OKI will continue to encourage local planners to engage in proactive planning processes and to make the transportation elements of their local comprehensive plans consistent with the regional transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). Public Costs and Fiscal Impacts Another aspect of promoting consistency between planned transportation improvements and local growth patterns is to look at the likely public costs and fiscal impacts of proposed economic development on public infrastructure and public services. Decisions on land development, redevelopment and improvements to public facilities and services should be made with a clear understanding of their fiscal impacts to individual communities and the region. It is most economical to provide adequate public facilities and services concurrent with the impacts of development. Retrofitting adequate public facilities and services in response to growth is typically more expensive than directing or managing growth with 3-6

8 public investments. The tri-state s trend is that limited transportation resources are spread ever more thinly across the region. In response, the SRPP addresses the need for communities to have a full understanding of the public costs and benefits associated with development proposals. In the first phase of SRPP implementation, OKI is evaluating models for calculating the public costs and benefits associated with new development for potential use at the regional and local level. A fiscal impact analysis model that can be adapted to the tristate region and made widely available is being investigated. A fiscal impact analysis estimates the impact of a development project or alternative land use scenarios on a local government budget by comparing the difference between revenues and expenditures generated by the proposed or hypothetical development. Communities can use this tool as part of their local land use planning and development decision making processes. Congestion Management Implementing the SRPP is also helping OKI to address the SAFETEA-LU requirement for a process that provides for effective management of congestion. OKI s Congestion Management Process includes evaluating and promoting travel demand management strategies such as parking management, trip reduction programs and growth management. OKI has worked with peer reviewers and local planning agencies in every county to create and disseminate several related planning tools as part of SRPP implementation. These tools and techniques promote reduction in vehicle miles traveled, reduction in single-occupant vehicle trips and travel demand management through such measures as; encouraging street and parking networks designed for pedestrians, the disabled, bicyclists, transit and automobiles; supporting compact, pedestrian, bicycle and transitfriendly land uses, where appropriate; encouraging local comprehensive plans to support a mix of land uses, higher density development, infill development and nonmotorized connections, where appropriate; and, promoting the use of local strategies for connectivity and access management. Environmental Mitigation Another SRPP policy initiative is to identify greenspace stakeholders and successful strategies for maintaining greenspace in the tri-state region. This is a process which involves a comprehensive look at natural systems and how they are valued by local communities. This policy initiative should also be helpful to the SAFETEA-LU task of considering environmental mitigation activities to avoid or reduce any impacts associated with implementing the regional transportation plan. OKI s key constituents are local governments, therefore many of the policy initiatives from the SRPP involve determining how local land use and transportation planning efforts can achieve goals of economic development and redevelopment, maintaining or improving environmental quality and managing limited public facility and service budgets. Adapting to Change As the SRPP is implemented, OKI s consultation with many constituencies and organizations in the tri-state region should result in more informed transportation planning. The policy plan itself is intended to be a dynamic document. It should evolve 3-

9 as the tri-state continues to grow, and it will be regularly evaluated and updated at the same times that updates to the regional transportation plan occur. As the SRPP is implemented, it should achieve the following effects; moving the region toward realizing a common vision, especially as the vision relates to linking land use and transportation planning; encouraging land use patterns that promote multimodal travel and the efficient uses of land, natural resources and public facilities and services; focusing on high priority, strategic issues facing the region over a 20-year horizon; bringing about consistency between the regional transportation plan and local land use policies; providing a framework to link the planning and implementation activities of various entities; providing a framework to tie planning to capital budgeting; providing a basis for OKI s decisions regarding transportation projects; emphasizing consensus and coordination between local governments, regional entities, state and federal agencies and the public; and, serving as a key resource for community education efforts on issues related to growth and development, transportation and a host of other interrelated topics. Planning and Implementation The classic first-level planning tool is the local comprehensive plan, which should address all aspects of land development, including traffic circulation, bicycle and pedestrian access, economic development, public facilities, housing, natural resources, recreation, intergovernmental coordination and capital budgeting. Comprehensive plans are treated differently by state laws in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Ohio law mandates a comprehensive plan as a prerequisite to zoning and subdivision regulation but provides no requirements or guidance as to content or updates. Kentucky law requires a regularly updated comprehensive plan as a prerequisite to zoning and subdivision regulation, and includes detailed guidelines for comprehensive plan preparation. Indiana law permits comprehensive planning and provides a list of what may be included in the plan. Comprehensive plans should be implemented through local regulations and incentives, such as zoning and subdivision regulations, that are consistent with such comprehensive plans. In the OKI region, however, local governments commonly evaluate and accommodate growth only through zoning and subdivision regulations, which are narrowly focused on individual parcels, rather than on comprehensive plans, which address the timing, location and cost of land development. Many local governments in the region have adopted effective planning and capital budgeting principles; however, those efforts are so fragmented that they do not effectively implement regional long range transportation recommendations. Local land use and transportation techniques, implemented concurrently and focusing on moving people, moving fewer people fewer miles and improving travel quality can benefit the region s transportation system. Three objectives for managing travel demand are to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicle trips, to reduce trip lengths and to increase modal choice. There are many land use planning and development strategies that can be applied locally to achieve these objectives. Diversity and Destinations Focusing economic development in areas where residential growth is occurring can help 3-8

10 create land use diversity and provide more options for people to work close to where they live. Mixed use developments at the corridor level can reduce commute times by shortening the distance that people have to drive to get to the store or work. Providing non-motorized connections with a mix of land uses and higher density development can reduce single-occupant vehicle trips. More people may choose to walk or ride a bike these shorter distances; however, facilities that accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists must be in place. Compact nodes of mixed use can also generate centers of development that can be linked by convenient transit service. Mixed use centers of integrated office, retail, residential, and civic uses of a scale appropriate to their surroundings can concentrate uses in a manner that supports walking, biking, public transit and automobiles. Density Newer residential development in the region is generally characterized by one-half to one acre lots in cul-de-sac type subdivisions. This is the case in all parts of the region where relatively large tracts of vacant land have been available. New business development in the region also has a tendency to occur on vacant land on the fringe of the urbanized areas. Higher densities in growing and infill areas can make transit more feasible by creating destinations and concentrated populations that may choose to use transit as an alternative to single-occupant automobile trips. Transit development plans can facilitate the design of a system that incorporates multiple modes of transit service, links stations/ stops and adjacent land uses, and integrates station/stops into neighborhoods. The recommendations of transit development plans typically focus on the desired outcomes of transit-friendly development, including accessibility, walkability, and interconnectivity and high levels of ridership. Design Suburban businesses throughout the region are typically automobile oriented and have large parking areas in front of the building. They are designed for the automobile, not the pedestrian. Communities that are attractive to pedestrians and bicyclists and functional for transit use can influence travel behavior. Design elements that facilitate walking and biking can reduce single-occupant vehicle trips and increase modal choice. The placement of buildings, parking, landscaping, lighting, architecture details, and bicycle, pedestrian and transit facilities can reduce the visual scale of larger buildings, provide interest at the pedestrian level, and create an atmosphere that encourages multimodal transportation. Distance People make travel route decisions based on three factors: distance, time and personal preference. Generally speaking, people will choose the shortest route in terms of distance; however, if the shortest route has a low speed limit, multiple traffic signals and curb cuts, people will take a longer route because it will save them time. In the OKI region, many people have a tendency to use the interstates for short trips because it saves them time. Providing efficient alternate routes can influence travel behavior. 3-9

11 The curvilinear cul-de-sac street pattern typical of recent subdivision design in the OKI region usually has very long blocks and many dead end streets. This pattern offers few route options since all traffic is typically funneled out onto a small number of arterial roads which can cause congestion. Connectivity involves a system of streets providing multiple routes and connections to the same origins and destinations. Improving street connectivity by providing parallel routes and cross connections, and a small number of closed end streets can reduce traffic on arterial streets and reduce travel time. Neighborhoods should be linked by a network of interconnected streets and walkways as part of a larger system that provides safe motorized and non-motorized access to homes, businesses, schools, recreation facilities and services, and other destinations. These networks, designed to keep local traffic off major arterials and high-speed, through-traffic off local streets, can reduce congestion and travel time. Interconnected streets incorporating traffic calming techniques, streetscape elements and other pedestrian oriented design can also create safe and more direct routes for travel by walking and biking and reduce single-occupant vehicle trips. These relationships are seen throughout the Strategic Regional Policy Plan and will be incorporated into this regional transportation plan as well. Due to the inseparable connection between transportation and land use, the role of the OKI board in developing the SRPP and federal requirements; previous versions of OKI s regional transportation plan included several references and recommendations that anticipated the adoption of the SRPP. Specifically, one objective in a previous transportation plan was to incorporate the recommendations of OKI s Land Use Commission into the transportation planning process. Accordingly, this regional transportation plan hereby incorporates, by reference, the Strategic Regional Policy Plan as adopted in (A full copy of the Strategic Regional Policy Plan is available at OKI offices or at SUMMARY Land development and most economic development projects depend on the availability and adequacy of transportation and other public facilities and services. Transportation improvements, water capacity improvements, sewer capacity improvements, storm water management, greenspaces, and school capacities all have an impact on a community s ability to accommodate land use changes. The timing, location and cost of water, sewer and road facilities can have a significant impact on land use patterns; and the density and intensity of land development is influenced by the availability and adequacy of these public facilities and services. Land use changes, in turn, create a greater or lesser need for roads and public transit. OKI s Strategic Regional Policy Plan encourages land use patterns that promote multimodal travel and the efficient use of land, natural resources, and public facilities and services. 3-10

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