DDOT Calls Hine Traffic Analysis “Incorrect and Fundamentally Flawed” – Developer Must Resubmit before Zoning Change
by Larry Janezich
Yesterday, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) issued its analysis of Stanton Eastbanc’s submitted Traffic Impact Study (TIS), conducted by Symmetra Design, and concluded that the “analysis provided by the Applicant [Stanton Eastbanc] is incorrect and fundamentally flawed.” The developer must either make changes to the Impact Study or the design and intended uses for the development in order to obtain approval from DDOT.
DDOT said they believe the mistakes in the TIS yields an analysis which is “not reliable” – i.e., that the TIS forwarded to DDOT as part of Stanton-Eastbanc’s zoning application which found the development would have no adverse transportation effects requiring mitigation cannot be used by the Zoning Commission in its deliberation. DDOT goes on to say that the assumptions upon which the report was based were either poorly documented or biased in the direction of understating the effect of the development.
Perhaps most significant, the plan for unloading 55 foot trucks on 7th Street was found unacceptable. This effectively means that an underground loading dock for 55 foot trucks will have to be incorporated into the development, or the planned grocery component of the site will not happen.
The report also takes issue with the parking, saying the amount of parking is twice the amount of the potential available demand, and points to issues regarding parking for the residents of the North Building. These residents are potentially eligible for Resident Parking Plan (RPP) parking, but, the report notes, the privatization of C Street will make it ineligible for the program.
At this point, SEB may resolve some of DDOT’s concerns by eliminating parking spaces. Even if they choose to do so, however, this move will not address or resolve all of the concerns DDOT raised regarding the TIS’s systematic low-balling of trips to and from the site.
When properly computed, DDOT states that the developer will have to suggest mitigation for traffic effects on the surrounding neighborhood. At this point, it is likely that a Zoning Commission hearing will move forward, but without a proper Transportation Impact Study, the Commission will not be able to make a final decision. Moreover, because the ANC is now placed in the position of approving a Memorandum of Agreement without knowing the full scale of adverse traffic effects, the Zoning Commission may direct the developer back to ANC negotiations if it finds that the more complete study furnished to them requires mitigation.