Midtown News Center

Using Existing Zoning Developments to Reduce Vehicle Traffic

Streamlined zoning process will improve how people get around Midtown.

Published: 01/06/22
Colony Square's bike room includes a storage rack, bike pump and fix-it station. Photo Credit: Colony Square

Have you heard this story lately in Midtown Atlanta? 

Developer proposes large building. Construction begins. Anchor tenant announcements hit the news, bringing more jobs to the district. Residential units numbering in the hundreds hit the marketplace. The doors open with fanfare. Excitement builds. And then, some public doubt creeps in about how one of Midtown’s greatest assets - its street grid - will support all the additional car traffic in and around the new building. 

Sound familiar? Several partner organizations have been hard at work to create a new tool that brings transportation and land use closer together in the planning and design process. And that carries the potential to improve the way people get around Midtown as the district continues to grow.

Midtown Alliance recently worked with the City of Atlanta, Central Atlanta Progress and Livable Buckhead to update the Transportation Management Plan requirement in the City’s zoning code. The resulting Transportation Management Plan (TMP) Guide is intended to assist the development community in reducing the miles of vehicle travel generated by new development projects.

 

What’s Included in the Plan

TMP has been part of the zoning process for years. But the concept hasn’t always been implemented successfully. This new streamlined guide helps formalize the process with a checklist of items developers must follow, including:

  • designate a transportation coordinator to serve as a point of contact
  • distribute up-to-date info on transit, bicycling, carpooling and other commute options to tenants
  • work with their Transportation Management Association (in Midtown, this is Midtown Transportation, a program of Midtown Alliance that has operated for 20+ years) to help tenant employee commuters make the switch from driving alone to work
  • participate in annual reporting on the practice that quantifies reduced vehicle miles traveled, pollution and CO2 emissions
  • build commuter facilities such as lockers and showers for tenants to use who choose active commuting options like bicycling to work
  • designate a carpool/vanpool lane

 

Emphasis on Alternatives to Driving Alone

The TMP does not limit the number of parking spaces that can be built by a developer, beyond the limits already in place in the zoning code. It instead focuses on encouraging other modes of travel beyond single-occupant motor vehicles. By working with developers early in the building process, when their projects are initially being submitted to the district’s Development Review Committee, it ensures that the developer is thinking about how people will arrive at the building once it is completed. It is much easier to include wayfinding signage, bike storage facilities and other alternative transportation amenities in original designs than trying to add them after the building is completed.

 

Want to Learn More?

If you have any questions about Transportation Management Plans in Midtown, reach out to our Midtown Transportation team.