James Burroughs

The days of a single family having only one or two vehicles is a thing of the past. It seems these days a traditional family tries to accommodate not only mom and dad’s cars, but also the kid’s cars, along with any other recreational vehicles such as motor homes, campers, boats and motorcycles.

People often build additional structures on their property to store these items which are big investments and not easy to come by, so of course, they want to protect these items as much as possible. In order to gain entry to these structures, people often request an additional driveway access from the City of Beatrice. This request is made at the Building Inspection office by filling out an encroachment permit. An additional driveway access is reviewed based on the following criteria:

• A driveway is defined as: “A permanently surfaced area providing vehicular access between a street and an off-street parking or loading area.”

• Single-family detached residential units are required to have two parking spaces per dwelling unit.

• “Adequate access to each off-street parking facility shall be provided by means of clearly-defined and limited driveways or access points. Such driveways shall be designed to direct non-residential traffic away from residential areas.”

• “Off-street parking facilities shall be designed to provide visibility of and between pedestrians and vehicles when circulating within or entering or leaving the facility: and shall not create blind, hidden, or hazardous areas. Circulation patterns shall be designed in accord with accepted standards of traffic engineering and safety.”

• Structural components include a concrete depth of not less than 6-inches, a width not over 40-feet.

• Location of the access being requested.

For the most part, the city of Beatrice allows this request as long as the driveway is built to acceptable standards, but there are a few instances where we have had to deny this request. Recent denials have been based on roadway classification where the street has been classified as an “arterial” roadway.

In an urban setting, this type of classifications consists of two categories, including municipal extensions of rural roadways with the same designation of “other arterials” and arterial movements specific to a community, which functions as an interconnection for major activities. Examples of this classification here in Beatrice are Lincoln Street, Dorsey Street and 19th Street, to name a few.

Regulating access is called “access control.” It is achieved through the regulation of public access right to and from properties abutting the roadway system. Regulated limitation of access is needed on arterials to enhance their primary function of mobility and to preserve or improve the level of service and safety.

Providing access control on a street is the management of conflicts with through traffic. This interference is created by vehicles or pedestrians entering, leaving, and crossing the roadway.

Where access to a roadway is regulated, entrances and exits are located at points best suited to fit traffic needs and are designed to enable vehicles to enter and leave safely, with minimum interfaces from through traffic. Vehicles are prevented from entering or leaving elsewhere so that, regardless of the type and intensity of development, a high quality of service is preserved and crash potentials are lessened.

Please keep in mind, although private property does have a right of access to the general system of public roadways, this is not an unlimited right. The right of access must be balanced to lessen the potential harm to the general public using the roadway system.

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