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Development Guidelines & Improvement Standards
11-1 Responsibilities for Traffic Studies

Traffic studies may be required by the City in order to adequately assess the impacts of a development proposal on the existing and/or planned street system. This would typically be provided in the traffic circulation section of an EIS. The primary responsibility for assessing the traffic impacts associated with a proposed development will rest with the developer, with the City serving in a review capacity and, upon approval, accepting the assessments made as its own.

Unless waived by the City, a written study meeting the City criteria will be required for a development proposal when trip generation during any peak hour is expected to exceed 50 vehicles or the criteria provided in Appendix 1.

Developments within 10% of these criteria may, at the discretion of the Public Works Department, be required to provide a traffic study. If they are more than 10% below the criteria, a traffic study should not be required unless there are special extenuating circumstances such as safety concerns over access, neighborhood opposition to the project or existing levels of service on area roads are at "D", "E", or "F." Levels of service are defined in Subsection 11-2.06.

An applicant must submit a traffic study as part of any environmental review process, as part of any application as listed below, or obtain a determination from the City that a traffic study will not be required. Such a study may be required prior to deeming a project complete for processing.

This study will be the responsibility of the applicant and must be prepared by a registered professional traffic or civil engineer with adequate experience in transportation engineering.

Upon submittal of a draft traffic study, the Public Works Department and the Planning and Economic Development Department will review the study data sources, methods, and findings.

Comments will be provided in a written form to the Planning and Economic Development Department. The developer and the private engineer will then have an opportunity to incorporate necessary revisions prior to submitting a final report.

Due to the time lines involved in processing an application, a report may be required prior to deeming a project submitted as complete. Generally, draft reports should be completed for review and comment within 40 calendar days after notice to proceed.

Final reports should be completed and submitted within 14 days after Staff comments on the draft are returned to the consultant.

The findings of all approved traffic studies will be summarized and forwarded to the Planning and Economic Development Department by the Public Works Department.

The following applications will require traffic studies prepared in the format required by the Public Works Department as part of the submittal materials for a development project submitted to be deemed complete unless waived by the City:

1. Any application for which the proposed development exceeds the criteria for requiring traffic studies provided in Appendix 1.

2. Additional access off a state highway or a city road to an existing project which exceeds the criteria in Appendix 1.

3. A change of use affecting access from a state highway or a city road for a project exceeding the criteria in Appendix 1.

4. Any application, which is located in an area where existing levels of service on area roads, are "D", "E" or "F."

The applicant will be required to submit a new traffic study if, after submitting an original traffic study for any of the above applications, the land use intensity is increased or the land use is changed so that trip generation is increased and existing levels of service on area roads are at "D", "E", or "F."

All previous traffic studies relating to the development that are more than 2 years old will have to be updated unless the Planning and Economic Development Department and Public Works Department determines that conditions have not changed significantly.

Where access points are not defined at the time the traffic study is prepared, additional traffic work may be required when the access points are defined.

Transportation consultants are required to discuss projects with the Engineering Division of the Public Works Department and the Division of Environmental Review of the Planning and Economic Development Department prior to starting the study.

As a minimum, topics for possible discussion will include trip generation, directional distribution of traffic, trip assignment, definition of the study area, intersections requiring critical lane analysis, and methods of projecting build-out volume of cumulative projects. This will provide a firm base of cooperation and communication between the City, the owner or developer, and the project's consultants in forecasting future traffic characteristics, which realistically define traffic movement associated with the proposed development.

Specific requirements will vary depending on the site location.

No traffic study will be accepted unless the traffic study requirements form provided in Appendix 4 is filled out by the consultant and approved by the Public Works Department, prior to the consultant preparing the traffic study.

All completed traffic studies that have been reviewed and approved by the Public Works Department will become the joint property of the project and the City of Bellingham.
Revised: 01/01/1990

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