Taos TND Transportation Analysis
Charlier Associates, along with Terry Brown, P.E., recently completed an innovative transportation analysis for the proposed Chamisa Verde TND in Taos, NM. The project’s concept plan, the first adopted under the Town’s new SmartCode, calls for a mixed use development pattern that incorporates TND and SmartCode principles.
The concept plan was prepared by PlaceMakers, LLC. As an infill project, Chamisa Verde encourages sustainable development with a focus on affordable housing anchored by the Taos Youth and Family Center and adjacent to two schools.
CAI and Terry Brown conducted an innovative transportation mobility analysis that extended beyond conventional roadway level of service to consider the project’s ability to capture trips on-site and to shift vehicle trips to walking, biking, and transit use. The effort also analyzed connectivity and route directness to paint a more complete picture of the relationships between development design and personal mobility and the potential vehicle traffic-reduction benefits of TND/SmartCode-based developments. At its November 19th, 2008 meeting, the Taos Planning Commission approved the amendment to its code that adds the TND District zone and the Chamisa Verde zone change using the results of the transportation analysis. The Town intends to use this effort as a template for future traffic impact assessments for proposed SmartCodep-based projects. Leading the Town’s efforts to grow responsibility and to preserve its special character is Matt Foster, Town Planner.
The efforts of Taos to implement a TND district zone were built in part on an EPA “Smart Growth Implementation Assistance” (SGIA) project completed by an EPA team of consultants (including Charlier Associates) through a site visit in December 2005. The town of Taos requested EPA assistance to help make development along New Mexico State Highway 68, the Paseo del Pueblo Sur commercial corridor, stronger economically and more attractive. Through meetings with residents, town staff and officials, property owners, and others, a vision for the corridor emerged. Residents were particularly concerned with preserving Taos' unique character and making it easier to get around town.
Based on the community's goals, the EPA team developed a number of steps the town could take to transform both the feel and the function of the corridor, including:
- Better managing traffic through a combination of strategies, including alternate routes in a connected street network, access management, transportation demand management, better pedestrian and bicycle facilities, better public transit, and more efficient parking management;
- Establishing a distinct character for sections of the Paseo through street design, which also makes the road safer and more pleasant for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists; and
- Making the Paseo a community center by creating nodes of activity, mixing land uses along the corridor, and using building and site design that reinforces Taos' unique sense of place.
As a result of the EPA assistance the town announced plans to use the EPA team's report to work with the New Mexico Department of Transportation on its scheduled redesign of part of the Paseo, to formalize neighborhood associations, to develop a green infrastructure plan, and to complete its Land Use Master Plan. In the meantime, the town has been using the report to educate the community about growth and development issues.
A copy of the final report in PDF format is provided below. The appendices are available upon request.
Town of Taos: www.taosgov.com
PlaceMakers, LLC: www.placemakers.com
Terry O. Brown, P.E.: (505) 883-8807, firstname.lastname@example.org
EPA Taos SGIA project: http://www.epa.gov/dced/sgia_communities.htm#nm