KVCOG Corridor Regional Analysis and Planning
The Corridor Management Plan (CMP) should accurately identify and address the needs of its constituency, meaning the users of the corridor. Stakeholders will include municipal officials, local businesses, and transportation service providers. These interests could be incorporated in an assortment of ways: a series of one-time public meetings, a standing corridor committee, or individual consultations with selected stakeholders.
The extent of public involvement must also anticipate the expected outcomes of the CMP. For instance, if the CMP will impact local land use regulation, local officials must be part of the decision making.
In designing the process, an early-on question must be: “whose plan is it?” Is it the plan of a corridor committee, the plan of the COG, or the DOT’s plan? The answer to this question informs the extent of involvement of each group of stakeholders. It also goes directly to the effectiveness of the plan in terms of action steps and responsible parties.
If the purpose of a CMP is to produce a detailed picture of the corridor, then a comprehensive inventory of the transportation system is required. On the other hand, if the focus is on producing recommendations to manage the corridor, then we need only include enough information to define and illustrate the issues. This is an important distinction, because the data-gathering phase can be the most expensive and time-consuming part of the plan, and prolonged discussion of facts and figures can divert energy from policy development.
As a non-MPO, KVCOG does not have the capacity to measure or model traffic
behavior, so we can only use what we get from DOT and other sources. Within
these constraints, we feel it is important to present the following items:
• The current volume and rate of growth of traffic on major corridor elements;
• The breakdown of car vs. heavy truck traffic (not always available);
• High crash locations;
• Demographic trends that will influence corridor traffic growth;
• Development factors along the corridor (vacant land, emerging strips, regulatory constraints, etc.);
• Availability/feasibility of alternative modes/routes.
For all of these elements, the analysis of trends is more important than a static view. For instance, it will be more useful to know that Town A has a growth cap than to detail all of the current land uses along the highway. Overall economic trends, such as growth in ecotourism or decline in timbering, might be more important than current VMT.
Some corridors will have unique characteristics, such as being a scenic byway or a toll highway. The particular information profile in these cases will need to be skewed, and might not fit a predetermined model. Specific groups involved in the planning process (such as major employers or public transit providers) may also demand a special slant to the analysis.
Any CMP should present a range of strategies derived from goals and policies iterated in earlier planning documents. The flavor of these strategies goes back to the question of whose plan this is. Strategies must be carried out by individuals or organizations, and we cannot expect buy-in from those parties who do not “own” the plan. DOT does not have the authority, for example, to implement local zoning regulations; if that is to be an outcome of the plan, we must do more than just meet with local officials two or three times.
KVCOG would like to see plans that address three objectives: mobility, good land use, and economic growth. These tend to be competing objectives, so we must seek a balance. Each of these objectives has a different prime mover (DOT, municipalities, private sector), making it difficult. We must be entirely clear at the outset of the process, how much authority and responsibility each party to the plan is willing to exercise. An effective plan will result in all of the participants leaving the table committed to carrying through an achievable set of actions.
A set of actions for a CMP could include the following:
• Significant future investments in roadway improvements;
• Short-term improvements (e.g. intersection changes, restriping)
• Investments in alternate modes;
• New access management strategies;
• New performance standards or development rules on the local level;
• Pro-active involvement with employers, developers, and landowners;
• Strategic planning for the future of the corridor.
KVCOG’s most recent corridor management plan is available for downloading at www.kvcog.org/transportsurvey.htm (scroll to the bottom of the page for the pdf).
Kennibec Valley Council of Governments
17 Main Street
Fairfield Maine, 04937
(800) 731-5019 Ext. 25 Fax: (207) 453-4264