by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers
February 02, 2009 Traffic and growth are two top concerns in Milton, and the city held a kickoff Jan. 22 for its transportation master plan by bringing in a noted expert on both.
Randall Arendt, an author, planner and site designer, has written a number of books on modern modes of city building. His 1994 work "Rural By Design: Maintaining Small Town Character" has become a Bible of sorts for Milton's planners.
In the first of six "stakeholder" workshops Arendt spoke about ways Milton can maintain the rural character it cherishes while planning for the very real needs of the future. The stakeholders are the seven-member volunteer group tasked with guiding Milton's staff through crafting a transportation blueprint to be used in concert with the comprehensive land use plan.
High on Arendt's list are what are called conservation subdivisions, which provide both a place to live and a more natural, agrarian environment. Imagine a normal subdivision, only with about half the houses, no hard curbs and a whole lot more woods and greenery.
"All these things people want usually get cut up by standard subdivisions," he said. "It's a win for the community, a win for the developer, who doesn't have to put all those pipes in the ground and move that dirt, and a win for the residents."
Arendt said Hanover County, Va., saved 5,000 acres in 10 years by following conservation design principles. It could be the same for Milton, he said
"It's a way to avoid the utter fragmentation of all these rural resources that make Milton special," he said.
Dan Drake is Milton's head of Public Works Department. He said Milton's staff brought Arendt in to help set the tone for the transportation planning meetings, and his viewpoint is one they've certainly seen is popular in Milton.
A whole lot of citizens need to get involved and have their viewpoints known so the city can move forward confidently, he said.
"There is a clear link between development and transportation," said Drake. "[With these meetings] it's important we set up a process to achieve the community's [transportation] goals and how they relate to economic development and the quality of life."Milton's transportation plan will be what his department "makes all of our decisions on," said Drake.
Aiding in that plan is Faye DiMassimo, a consultant with Kimley-Horn and Associates, a national design firm hired by Milton to bring their expertise to the transportation plan."We're here to help develop a plan that best serves the mobility needs of Milton," she said.
As part of that work, Kimley-Horn has set out a number of goals, chief among them improving road safety, protecting the environment, creating a sense of place through Milton's roads and intersections and maintaining the character of Milton while addressing any and all transportation issues.That means looking at alternative modes of transportation, bike and pedestrian pathways and road improvements citizens approve of."Ultimately we'll roll all that up into regular transportation plans that reflect Milton's specific needs," she said.The next transportation planning is set for spring, said Drake. The city will announce more plans as they become available.