Windermere Crossing is a 103-lot residential subdivision proposed for 36 acres “on the north side of Cannon Road approximately 400’ west of Roddy Road. On Wednesday Ascension’s Planning Commission will consider it, essentially for the second time. The subject acreage is the same as the property upon which another subdivision was denied on December 12, 2018.
Amalfi Cove proposed 105 lots on the same property. It was denied by a 4-3 vote, the majority focused on Cannon Road’s inability to handle current traffic. Two of the commissioners in that majority, Anthony Christy and Wade Schexnaydre, no longer serve; one commissioner in favor of approval, Morrie Bishop, did not seek reappointment.
Other than a two-lot reduction in the current developer, Dantin Bruce Development’s application, what has changed?
Cannon Road is still substandard though the parish’s MoveAscension program envisions widening of Roddy Road.
From the parish Engineering Review Agent’s (ERA) narrative:
The existing northbound and eastbound pm trips in 4-way analysis at Roddy/Black Bayou are less (both overall and at some turn movements) than the existing volumes from the previous 2018 Traffic study. The narrative of this study states that 2018 counts were used with growth factor. Recheck both existing and future condition analysis that are built from the existing volumes. Recheck all other volumes. The consultant provided an acceptable response for response for some numbers being different than 2018 totals.
The ERA commented, “The proposed solution of restricting left-outs to offset the drop in LOS at Roddy/Black Bayou is not acceptable to ERA and Staff…”
Dantin Bruce’s traffic engineer responded: “Neither the Traffic Policy nor the Land Development Code prohibit restricted accesses. The only movement that will be restricted is the left out. Restricted access is an important factor in access management which is a recognized strategy for increasing safety and mobility and decreasing delay along roadways. The traffic policy does say that a possible mitigation is ‘Rerouting of traffic and proposed access points serving the proposed project.’”
According to the ERA, ” This option directs more generated traffic trips to Cannon Road that is too narrow to accommodate a development entrance.” The traffic engineer opined:
“Cannon Road can physically accommodate a development entrance; however, Section 17-4032 of the Land Development Code prohibits any major or minor subdivisions to be developed on any street which is less than 18’ in pavement width. It does not prohibit traffic from a proposed development to use any such street. The number of trips turning right from Roddy to Cannon increases by 15 in the AM peak and 9 in the PM peak in the restricted access option versus full access. The Cannon Road level of service was calculated to be LOS A both with and without these new trips.”
The ERA pointed out that, “Subdivision guidelines states that subdivisions should have more than one entrance. This subdivision has only 1 entrance option due to Cannon Road being too narrow. A restricted left turn does not provide a full access for the only remaining entrance.”
To which the traffic engineer responded:
“For informational purposes, 19 vehicles in the AM and 22 vehicles in the PM peak are projected to turn left out of the development with the full access driveway. These are the only trips that will be restricted with the right-in/right-out/left-in access. During the November 18, 2020 Planning Commission meeting, the Planning Commission removed the additional entrances from the presented subdivision plan for Windsor Park, leaving a single entrance. The remaining entrance had a similar restriction where traffic exiting the subdivision cannot make a left-out movement. The commission has set a clear precedence that a single entrance is acceptable to them and that access can be restricted.”
Note: The ERA does not agree that the Windsor Park was in a similar situation as this project. Windsor Park’s only driveway on LA-42 was designed to accommodate restricted turning movements with use of j-turns, multiple lanes, and raised medians. Roddy Road does not have any of these features that can effectively accommodate turnarounds or prohibit turns with use of a median.
Since Amalfi Cove’s denial, three new commissioners (out of seven) have been seated. We suspect their respective development philosophies will have more to do with Windermere Crossing’s outcome than any other factor.