It is important to remember the Comprehensive Plan is a visionary document. It points to the community’s goals for our collective future. Following the public process of updating the Comprehensive Plans and its visions, the work then begins on the regulatory framework that would put the visions into action. This includes the county transportation plan, the zoning ordinance and all town center master plans.
Traffic studies completed by the state of Maryland are used in the comprehensive plan process, including a Prince Frederick area study conducted in 2011 and updated in 2013. The Board of County Commissioners also directed staff to update the county’s existing transportation plan that dates to 1997. An updated transportation plan will be done before the updated zoning regulations, which will dictate future density, are adopted. The transportation plan will cover near and long-term transportation statistics and goals countywide. By contrast, traffic studies are generally limited to smaller scales – a single intersection or a town center. The updated transportation plan will be used to determine if individual traffic studies are necessary during the future updating of all seven town center master plans.
Updating the county transportation plan prior to conducting new traffic studies follows the same logic of updating the comprehensive plan (countywide goals and vision) prior to developing zoning ordinances (specific implementation actions).