Develop an access management program
The State should develop an access management policy. The spread of commercial development in shallow strips along state highways is made possible when direct access to the highway is not actively managed. A lack of access planning creates a number of problems. By facilitating strip commercial development in unincorporated areas, a lack of access planning can undermine municipal efforts to revive downtown shopping districts. In town centers or dense urban core areas, excessive driveways can both reduce vehicle capacity and create less pedestrian-friendly sidewalk environments.
Many departments of transportation believe they only have an indirect role in managing access to state highways, and usually deny access permits only based on traffic safety and facility operation standards. However, when a state transportation department grants access to owners of commercial parcels, it creates the perception of vested development rights and increases the pressure on local governments to approve development proposals. Therefore, it is important that programs to manage access to the state highways be cooperatively developed between state transportation departments and local governments.
In order to be successful, state highway access management programs should be:
- developed collaboratively with local planning and public works departments;
- applied consistently and uniformly throughout the state;
- based on a detailed functional classification of roadways reflecting the role of each corridor in the overall network of roads and streets;
- supported by a continuous ongoing training and information program to ensure that local government staff, land owners, and developers understand the program; and
- designed to support implementation of local comprehensive plans, corridor plans, and urban containment policies.
The State's access management policy should include different spacing standards for access to freeways and arterials. On freeways, the critical element of an access management policy is to have large spacing(i.e., more than five miles) between interchanges to encourage clustered development in the corridor. On arterials, the standards for spacing are more complicated. The State may want to limit driveway permits for individual businesses, but encourage multiple access points into residential neighborhoods (see Action #5, Encourage Connected Street Networks, in this section).
It is important to note, however, that if access management is overdone, it can have the unintended consequence of causing rather than alleviating congestion by putting too many vehicles through too few access points. In Oregon, Portland Metro has documented that arterial networks should have intersections every 330 to 500 feet to make transportation networks work most efficiently. The point may be to limit the number of driveways, but not necessarily limit the number of intersections.
- Florida's Access Management Program
Chapter 335 of the 2007 Florida Statutes establishes an access management program, which provides comprehensive statewide standards for driveways that connect to highways. Property owners or developers must apply to the district where their property is located. Districts should consider the logistics and specifics of the pertinent connecting highway (how many accidents have taken place, operational speed and characteristics, geographic location, etc.) when making decisions about permit issuances.
— Chapter 335 of the Florida Statutes
— Florida's Access Management Program