Planning Board approves Transportation mitigation ‘menu’ plan

After more than a year of discussion about Transportation Demand Management (TDM) within the City’s development process, and several months of presentations to the Planning Board, the Board approved a recommendation to adopt a TDM plan – sending the matter now to the City Council for potential passage.
The TDM was proposed and discussed in early 2020, and even before, as development in Everett began to ratchet up and both the City and the development community looked for predictability in regards to parking, traffic and transportation.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria has endorsed the plan that his Administration has proposed via Transportation Director Jay Monty – something that is central to his philosophy of pushing public transit so there could be more density in the buildout along Everett’s main corridors.
“The whole premise here is we want the Site Plan Review process to take a holistic look at the transportation impacts,” said Monty. “Zoning in most communities use parking and traffic as a proxy for transportation impacts. The two are kind of conflicting. The more parking, then the more traffic. It becomes a vicious spiral where there’s more parking, more traffic and then more impacts. That’s what the mayor has been saying the last several years now.”
The TDM plan works where it gives developers and the City more choice.
Monty compares it to a menu in a restaurant. The developer still has some choice as to what they will choose to mitigate the transportation impacts of their project, but the City sets the menu and what is offered. In that way, there are no surprises and the plan set forth by the developer must be approved at Site Plan Review by the Planning Board.
The items in the plan would be different for every development, depending on the impacts, the size of the development and the location of the development, he said.
“Every project is different,” he said. “The 600 on Broadway for example has lots of amenities, good transit and bike and bus lanes that can be used to mitigate. The needs of that will be different from 1090 Parkway, or the Stop & Shop site, where the transit isn’t that great…This allows the developer to say what’s best for them and their project. Then we work with them for the best plan.”
The TDM proposal takes parking and transportation out of the hands of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), and puts it within the Site Plan Review process. That allows zoning to focus on zoning, he said, and the Planning Board to work on transportation and predictable impacts and mitigation.
“We really designed this so the Zoning Board had skin in the game,” he said. “It gives them more discretion and more power to shape a project…This allows the Planning Board to look at it in a much greater level and produces a project that has mitigated all concerns.”
The matter will have to go through the City Council process, but the Planning Board has recommended passage. If it does pass, Monty said he will be very interested in seeing how the first few applicants use the process and shape it.
An accompanying piece about codifying residential parking stickers – which have been not allowed for many new developments – is still being reviewed in the Planning Board.

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