Oconee County Council has engaged Alta Planning + Design to look in to creating a corridor plan for Highway 123 between the City of Seneca and the Oconee County border with Pickens County. Council has recognized the need for long-range planning for one of our busiest corridors that also serves as the main entryway into Oconee County. The corridor plan will involve the following:
Task 1: Project Initiation and Strategy
Alta will engage the County through on-site meetings, email correspondence, and the charrette process. The County will collaboratively work with the Alta to vet proposals and initiatives and will assist in the consensus building and stakeholder buy-in for the preferred development plan.
Task 2: Project Kick-Off Meeting
Alta will host a project kick-off meeting with the County to confirm study area boundaries along Highway 123 (up to five miles in length), refine project objectives, and define expectations for key deliverables and the final product. To achieve this focus, we will prepare a data needs memo prior to the meeting. We will review existing vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian movement on the corridor, research crash histories, and review information provided by Oconee County, City of Seneca, and SCDOT, such as the traffic impact analysis, crash data, etc. This will allow our team to create a base map from existing data. We will review this base map and discuss missing data or resources at the kick-off meeting. This map will also support a discussion of existing opportunities and constraints along the corridor. After discussing the project objectives, goals, and reviewing the map, we will embark on a walking/biking/driving audit of the corridor. This will allow Alta and the Project Team to experience the corridor, observe existing behavior, and discuss challenges and opportunities on site.
Task 3: Planning and Design Charrette
Alta will conduct a three-day charrette to develop and test alternative concepts with community and agency stakeholders involved in the planning process. During this engagement, Alta will develop design concepts, test and refine those concepts, and gain stakeholder consensus on the preferred complete street design.
The charrette will kick off with a hands-on work session to introduce the project and have attendees articulate the issues and opportunities associated with the project area, and to graphically depict their preferred vision for the corridor. Alta will work to further develop these concepts and test and refine them throughout the charrette, while meeting with stakeholder agencies and individuals with interest in the corridor, including business- and property owners. At the conclusion of the first day, Alta will have an open public meeting presenting the scope of the project and the initial data collection and findings. On the evening of the second day, Alta will have an open "pin-up" session where the public can come in and view and critique the day's work toward the development of a preferred concept. Schematic plan illustrations will be augmented by illustrative renderings of specific locations and initiatives within the corridor. Alta will refine and modify the alternatives and continue to test them with regard to multimodal operations. Complete Streets principles will be utilized to ensure that the concepts are not geared entirely toward motorized vehicles, but that all modes of travel are equally balanced and considered. On the evening on the third day, a presentation will be convened to unveil the preferred plan resulting from the charrette, including the assessment of economic impacts, incorporation of walkability, and economic and funding considerations.
Specific issues to be addressed during the charrette will include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
- Vehicular movement within the corridor;
- Pedestrian and bicycle connections to adjacent and regional community amenities such as parks, schools, libraries, churches, trails, and other cultural and natural resources;
- Pedestrian-friendliness of the corridor, including sidewalks, street furniture, lighting, crosswalks, and other pedestrian amenities;
- Short- and long-term strategies to enhance access between adjacent parcels, which may include initiatives such as cross-access easements and side street accesses;
- Implementation and funding strategies with partnerships to enable the vision to be realized.
Specific materials to be produced at the charrette may include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Typical cross sections, showing pedestrian, parking, and cycling elements as well as travel and turn lanes;
- Plan illustrations of revised and new proposed intersection configurations;
- Illustrative visualization of up to four (4) key areas or intersections and sections of the corridor;
- Preliminary streetscape concept plan, including adjacent land uses;
- Opinion of probable cost, including design, engineering, etc.
Task 4: Draft and Final Plan
At the conclusion of the charrette, Alta will add additional graphics and information to the plan exhibits refine as necessary to incorporate stakeholder input, and provide planning level cost estimates to be used for funding opportunities, marketing, and economic development.
The culmination of the effort will be the preparation of a digital master plan exhibit (24"x36") and one (1) supporting digital informational exhibit that will include information, graphics, and photo-simulations prepared as part of Task 2. Supporting information will include a PowerPoint presentation as well as cost estimates and schematics for bike lanes, sidewalks, resurfacing, and other improvements as recommended in the final plan.