This Article will begin by examining how the concept of a right of access to an abutting roadway developed and how courts treated early efforts to regulate roadway access for public welfare and safety. Next, we will see how public authorities began to comprehend the differences between mobility and land access and to perceive the conflict between traffic volume, traffic speed, and frequent driveways and intersections. This new knowledge led to the adoption of statewide permit-based programs to manage access to roadways using criteria calibrated to match each road’s function in the continuum between access and mobility. We will identify some of the important common features of those programs. Turning to the modern law of access, this Article will highlight the significant distinctions between access to land, accessibility within the network of roadways, and access to traffic volume and suggest how the reasonableness of access can be evaluated. We will then analyze what implications these distinctions have for access management programs. Finally, we will consider the “access” concept as an assertion of private rights in the commons of the roadway and what that means for the balancing of public and private interests. The Article will conclude by recommending that the adequacy of access should be evaluated in physical terms only, because economic constructs such as the “convenience” of access amount to an unwarranted claim to perpetuate a preferred location within the road network.
Michael L. Stokes,
Access Management: Balancing Public and Private Rights in the Modern "Commons" of the Roadway,
60 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol60/iss3/5