Thursday, May 21, 2009

Draft Code: Pedestrain Connections and Subdivision Layout

During last month's Planning Commission meeting one of the main areas of discussion was improving pedestrian connectivity within subdivisions; essentially by changing the focus of subdivision layout from an automobile oriented street network, to a block and street pattern that is focused on pedestrian movement.

The following draft Code is the result of the work to integrate the comments and concepts discussed during the meeting and includes:

  • requirements for pedestrian walkways which provide more direct access throughout neighborhoods;
  • reduced block lengths to reduce walking distances;
  • design standards for pedestrian walkway safety; and,
  • landscape and fencing standards for walkway aesthetics.

Because these issues are also closely related to lot configurations and street patterns, the draft Code has also integrated appropriate standards for their design characteristics, for example restricting the use of cul-de-sacs.

The Planning Commission will be reviewing the draft Code language below during the regularly scheduled May meeting on the 26th.

Chapter 21.40
Sections: General Statement Relationship to adjoining street system and development Relationship to street system extensions Street layout - grid. Intersection Spacing Dead-end Streets Blocks - Lot Configuration Blocks - Size Pedestrian Connections Pedestrian Connections - required improvements Pedestrian Connections - alley access Pedestrian Connections - design Pedestrian Connections - design - safety Pedestrian Connections - Maintenance Lots—Dimensions. Access requirements Property Corners at intersections Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - general statement Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - Lot orientation Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - Lot arrangement Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - Property corners at intersections General Statement
The following design criteria address the street, block and lot layout of subdivisions and are intended to provide an attractive and safe network for both pedestrians and vehicles within Oak Harbor. The criteria promote walkable neighborhoods which contribute to the efficient and comfortable movement of pedestrians within Oak Harbor. Relationship to adjoining street system and development
(1) Linkages, including streets, sidewalks, pedestrian or bike paths, shall be provided within and between neighborhoods when they can create a continuous and interconnected network of roads and pathways;
(2) Ensure continuity of adjoining streets and arterials by extending connections to the boundary of the development.
(3) The location of all principal, collector and minor arterials must conform to the Transportation Element of the Oak Harbor Comprehensive Plan;
(4) All streets dedicated shall be full-width except along the boundary lines of the plat. Half-width streets may be permitted along the boundaries of a development upon approval of a final plat. Relationship to street system extensions
(1) At a minimum, stub streets with sidewalks shall be required within subdivisions to allow for future connectivity;
(2) Such accesses shall be extended to each of the boundaries of the project, unless an exceptional circumstance of topography, critical areas or existing development prohibits such a connection. Provided, however, that if an adjacent property has a reasonable likelihood of redeveloping in the future, the Director may require a street stub.
(3) Implementation of this requirement shall comply with the Comprehensive Plan Transportation Element. Street layout - grid.
(1) The street pattern utilized for subdivisions shall be predominantly a grid or modified grid pattern with intersections designed at right angles or T intersections.
(2) Exceptions:
(a) The grid pattern may be adjusted to a “modified grid” by reducing the number of linkages or the alignment between roads, where the following factors are present on site:
(i.) Infeasible due to topographical constraints or presence of critical areas designated in the Comprehensive Plan; and/or
(ii) Substantial improvements exist on adjacent properties which inhibit a connection.
(b) Alley Access: Alley access is an acceptable street pattern.
(3) Alleys shall be a minimum of 20 feet wide. Alleys may be required in residential areas and to service all properties fronting on arterials. Intersection Spacing
(1) Intersection spacing of less than one hundred twenty five feet (125') is not allowed. Dead-end Streets
Dead-end streets may only be permitted by the Director where due to demonstrable physical constraints no future connection to a larger street pattern is physically possible.
(1) Dead-end streets shall only be allowed where:
(a) An exceptional circumstance such as steep topography, a critical area identified in the Comprehensive Plan, or existing development which prohibits a connection;
(b) The street length for the dead-end as measured from the intersection to the terminus is no longer than 400 feet;
(c) The design of the dead end turn-around has been approved by the City Engineer and the Fire Department. Oak Harbor encourages alternative dead-end designs which reduce stormwater impacts and use less space. For acceptable turn-around designs, please see the Design Brief; and,
(d) A pedestrian connection has been provided for connectivity or future connectivity as per OHMC; Provided, however, if a another pedestrian connection exists or is planned going to the same destination which offers a non-circuitous route for pedestrians, two pedestrian connections to the same destination shall not be required.
(e) A temporary dead-end may be approved when connections to adjacent properties cannot be extended at the time of development, but will be provided in the future and such turn-around is required for emergency vehicles. Blocks - Lot Configuration
(1) Blocks shall be deep enough to allow two (2) tiers of lots, except where:
(a) There is an abutting principal or minor arterial defined in the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan;
(b) The location and extent of environmental constraints prevents a two-tiered lot arrangement including size and shape of the parcel and,
(c) Prior to approval of single-tier lot configuration based on exceptions
(i) and (ii), the proponent has demonstrated to the City that a different layout or provision of an alley system is not feasible. Blocks - Size
(1) Blocks shall be 600 to 800 feet in length;
(2) Blocks may be up to a maximum of 1000 feet in length provided:
(a) The applicant has exhibited, through written materials, drawings, and illustrations, submitted as part of the plat application, that an exceptional circumstance such as topography or a critical area identified in the Comprehensive Plan makes this impractical and,
(b) An alternative block pattern is proposed which achieves the goals and intent of this chapter; and,
(c) Mid-block pedestrian connections conforming to OHMC are provided for all blocks over 800 feet in length. Pedestrian Connections
Pedestrian connections shall be integrated in to the design of subdivisions to enhance the connectivity throughout the plat as per the following criteria:
(1) All pedestrian facilities required by this code must be publicly accessible either by easement or dedication provided:
(a) the City may choose not to accept dedication of pedestrian ways not identified in the Comprehensive Plan; and
(b) all dedicated pedestrian ways must be designed to City standards identified in OHMC 19.XX.XXX; and
(2) Be located mid-block, aligned with street ends, lane ways, other pedestrian walkways, mid-block connections destinations or trails to provide continuous connections. Pedestrian Connections - required improvements
The applicant shall install pedestrian walkways in any of the following circumstances:
(1) When a pedestrian connection, walkway, or trail is shown on the Comprehensive Plan;
(2) If the pedestrian connection is necessary to provide non-circuitous pedestrian access to a park, open space, or activity center or feature within or adjacent to the subdivision;
(3) Mid-block pedestrian connections for blocks that are over 800 feet long;
(4) Pedestrian connections shall be provided to all adjacent uses at no greater than 800-foot intervals. The location of these connections must be coordinated between property owners. Specific connections to adjacent uses may be waived if:
(a) The applicant has exhibited through written materials, drawings, and illustrations, submitted as part of the plat application, that this is impractical or unsafe due to:
(i) an exceptional circumstance such as topography, or the presence of critical area identified in the Comprehensive Plan; or
(ii) the characteristics of the adjacent use or potential use as determined by the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designation
(b) an alternative connection to a higher-order street bordering the subdivision or PRD can provide a non-circuitous route to the adjacent use;
(c) an easement or dedication for future connection is provided as may be determined by the Director. Pedestrian Connections - alley access
(1) The city may require pedestrian connections in the form of alleys or easements for pedestrian access having a total width of 20 feet along rear or side lot lines. Pedestrian Connections - design
(1) Pedestrian connections shall be built to the following standards:
(a) constructed of either concrete or asphalt and be a minimum of 10 feet wide;
(b) hard-packed gravel may be used for walkway surface in areas adjacent to natural or protected features delineated in the Comprehensive Plan;
(c) be constructed within an easement 20 feet wide;
(d) a landscape strip of 5 feet shall be provided on either side with100 percent turf grass cover and deciduous trees planted at 30 foot intervals with no less than two trees on each side of the pedestrian way. Bark mulch and wood chips are not allowed in landscaped areas adjacent to the pedestrian connection;
(2) Fencing is required along the edge of all adjacent residential lots provided:
(a) it is limited to 6 feet in height;
(b) is no closer to the street than the front setback;
(c) is not constructed of chain link or plastic or vinyl strips.
(3) Lots are strongly encouraged to front on the pedestrian walkway to provide “eyes” on the walkway, and promote usability and safety of these facilities. The sides of lots may be located along pedestrian walkways, however, this is a less preferable option, since fencing is required to separate the pedestrian walkway from areas on private lots such as side and rear yards.
(4) Mid-block connections which cross more than one residential block and intersect streets, must meet pedestrian safety requirement before they will be approved. Pedestrian safety must include the following elements:
(a) Adequate site distance for vehicles to see pedestrians and stop, if necessary.
(b) Signage warning motorists that a pedestrian crossing is near. Signage must be provided to motorists approaching from both directions.
(c) At a minimum, painted striping must be provided to delineate the crosswalk. Applicants are encouraged to use crossing designs which include different materials, such as pavers or pavement patterns, or rumble strips to warn motorists of the crossing. Raised crosswalks may also be provided.
(d) Staggered bollards at all intersections of mid-block crossings and the public right-of-way.
If safety measures cannot be provided to ensure adequate pedestrian safety , the mid-block crossing may be required at a different location or not be required to extend across the adjacent street at a proposed location.
(5) Pedestrian connections which meet the design standards above, can be counted as passive open space in PRDs. Pedestrian Connections - design - safety
(1) Walkway safety shall be supported by ensuring that the alignment, landscaping and fencing shall be such that:
(a) users have clear vision from one end to the other; and,
(b) that plantings provide clear visibility from the ground up to 30” above grade;
(2) In natural areas with existing vegetation, sight lines for pedestrian safety may vary if either of the following is demonstrated by the applicant:
(a) the protection required of the natural area by other OHMC or other applicable regulations prohibits the walkway design to meet this requirement
(3) The entire length of the walkway must be reasonably well lit for its intended hours of use. Lighting must be directed downward on to the walkway and may not overflow onto adjacent residential lots.
(4) Bollard lighting is required at pedestrian connection entrances;
(5) Pedestrian-oriented signage directing users to the walkway and appropriate use is required at all entrances;
(6) The intersections of walkways with public right-of-way must have a minimum-ten (10) foot outside radius to promote clear vision into the walkway from passersby. As a substitute for this requirement, fencing along the walkway may terminate ten feet before the intersection with the public right-of-way. Pedestrian Connections - Maintenance
(1) Pedestrian connections and trails shall be maintained by an association of home owners.
(2) The following language shall be placed on the face of the plat relating to the maintenance of pedestrian connections: Lots—Dimensions.
(1) The size, shape, and orientation of lots shall meet the minimum area and width requirements of the applicable zoning classification and shall be appropriate for the type of development and use contemplated.
(2) Lots must be of a shape so that reasonable use and development may be made of the lot.
(3) Generally, the depth of the lot should not be more than three times the width of the lot.
(4) Every lot shall have a minimum width of 60 feet at the building line. All lots which do not have a width of 60 feet at the setback line as referenced under the applicable zoning ordinance shall indicate on the face of the final plat the location of said building line. Lot frontage shall be a minimum of 30 feet.
(5) Insofar as practical, side lot lines shall be at right angles to street lines or radial to curved street lines, and no more than 20 degrees from perpendicular to the front property line with which it intersects.
(6) Side and rear lot lines shall be straight, or composed of straight line elements. Access requirements
Each lot must have access to a public street or road. Alternatively, access may be by private access easement per the requirements of OHMC and XX.XX.XXX. Property Corners at intersections
All lot corners at intersections of dedicated public rights-of-way, except alleys, shall have a minimum radius of fifteen feet (15'). Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - general statement
The division of land for industrial and commercial purposes shall conform to the requirements and minimum standards of residential design except as provided in this Section. Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - Lot orientation
The size, shape and orientation of lots shall meet the minimum area and width requirements of the applicable zoning classification and shall be appropriate for the type of development and use contemplated. Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - Lot arrangement
Insofar as practical, side lot lines shall be at right angles to street lines or radial to curved street lines. Industrial and commercial blocks and lots - Property corners at intersections
All lot corners at intersections of dedicated public rights-of-way, except alleys, shall have minimum radius of twenty five feet (25 feet).

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