MnDOT’s website describes their access/driveway policies relating to their highways. They recently added Traffic Impact Study Guidance to their access policies. The outlined process, if followed, requires five meetings/consultations with MnDOT staff in order to get through a traffic study.
My first experience working under this policy started about a year ago. In January 2007 I started a traffic study for the 2,300 acre Elk Run development in Pine Island, MN (the total study area is about 5,200 acres). MnDOT requested I work under the guidelines, which were a draft at the time. The developer agreed because they are committed to making sure we comprehensively plan for when this large development is built out. This is a great development that has the potential of creating 1,000s of new bio-science related jobs in the state. Unfortunately, MnDOT’s new process added nine months to the development timeline without resolving the major issues.
MnDOT has a large responsibility in providing a sound transportation system for the state. I hope we can work through the new guidelines and cut down on the amount of time it takes to get through the process. Otherwise, we could end up inadvertently killing some good developments. Transportation systems are a means to an end, not the end in itself. We can’t lose sight of our transportation system’s primary purpose – to facilitate commerce.