With a lack of a formal zoning ordinance within the City of Houston, one of the largest City of Houston requirements to impact a development is Off-Street Parking.
Site Access Considerations in Austin, TX & Beyond
Determining access locations and the necessary configuration of each driveway (i.e., full-access or right-in-right-out, etc.), and assessing whether a right- or left-turn lane may be warranted & feasible must be done early as part of a new projects Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA). Having these critical items nailed down will eliminate the need for unnecessary downstream updates to the TIA that could result in added time and cost to the permitting process.
Read on for some tips for making informed decisions about access as we look at the topic through the lens of adherence to code, safety, and feasibility.
Adherence to Code
Every jurisdiction has unique requirements for minimum driveway spacing and the number of access points that will be permitted along a site’s frontage. It is vitally important to first identify the maintaining agency of the roadway onto which you are taking access.
For example, in the City of Austin, Texas, and Travis County ETJ, the maximum number of allowable site access points is dependent upon the length of the property street frontage. Minimum spacing to other driveways or intersections is dependent on the type of street (or Street Level) and whether it is a Minor or Major driveway.
In unincorporated Travis County, per Code of Ordinances 482.302.g.3.D: “…multiple driveways for single lots should be spaced no closer than 100’ center-to-center on shoulder section roadways and no closer than 50’ center-to-center on curb and gutter section roadways.” Throughout Texas, the driveway spacing requirements are different, and having this knowledge before breaking ground will allow for more convenience.
These minimums are typically flanked by a series of other restrictions and criteria, like when a site plan may provide direct access from a major roadway and when an additional emergency access point is required.
WGI will utilize its intimate familiarity with the nuances of the permitting process to help you make early decisions about the viability of the site and your project. WGI’s experts have a deep understanding of the irregularities between jurisdictions, and this knowledge can help maximize your chances of approval.
Safety & Feasibility
Proper access management minimizes conflicts and makes the roadway safer for all users—including the eventual users of your development project.
The following basic questions provide a good starting point as they commonly come to light during TIA analysis and review. A proactive approach to answering these questions will result in a more thoughtful, streamlined design:
- What is the topography of the roadway from which I am taking access? Is it flat or rolling?
- Are there opportunities for driveway consolidation with other proposed driveways or with existing driveways (through a joint-use access easement or unified development agreement)?
Reach out to WGI for a more detailed checklist to have handy when assessing access and determining the need for turn lanes!
Site constraints such as limited frontage, drainage features, etc., can restrict driveway placement. Fear not—your project isn’t doomed if site constraints prevent driveway requirements from being met. However, it is important to understand these constraints early so that you can make any driveway location changes if other compliant options exist, or you can sufficiently defend your design if they do not.
Are you working on a development project in Texas or beyond and want to learn more about how you can provide code-driven, safe, and feasible access for your site? Our mobility experts can help! Contact us today!
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