Monday, October 19, 2009

Streetscape Workshop: Traffic

One of the obvious issues a lot of people were ignoring was the “diversion” of HWY 101 traffic onto Vulcan. Vulcan is mostly residential, with a school. North Vulcan is at least as dangerous as HWY 101 for bikes. I avoid walking my kids to Little Oaks Park because walking north Vulcan between Hillcrest and the park is sketchy.

At workshop four, Mike Murphy recognized that the 101 wasn’t situated in a vacuum and asked what would be done for “traffic calming” along Vulcan and Hermes. Later the consultants acknowledged that the impacts would have to be mitigated (That sounds like an EIR will be required).

I spent most of my “break-out” time with the traffic engineer (it was pretty lonely over there). The engineer made the point that the diversion traffic shouldn’t be considered a big deal because Vulcan will be far from capacity. His point was that Vulcan can handle a lot more traffic. After questioning him, he said HWY 101 was also far from capacity and we agreed that decisions about HWY 101 weren’t being made based on roadway capacity, but apparently that would be the case for Vulcan. Are we throwing Vulcan under the… traffic?

Under the different alternatives it is going to take longer to drive across Leucadia on the 101. As we know from our experiences with the I5, longer drive times motivate cut through traffic. The objectives of the streetscape are directly related to a reduction in drive time, so nobody should be surprised that we will be inducing cut-around traffic unless all the diverted cars go onto the I5 (BTW: If you’d like to help keep the I5 flowing send me an email. Keeping the I5 flowing is important for Leucadia and too few people pay close attention to what Caltrans and SANDAG are doing).

There are people who will disagree with my point. Mr. Eubank(?) made a statement during the workshop that could be a rallying cry for the mob that is going to chase me down. It was something like, “We can drive out cut-through traffic and send traffic back to I5!”


The engineer’s model projects the following impacts for Alt 4a:

4000 ADTs divert to the I5
2000 ADTs to Vulcan

Under alternative 5:

1000 ADTs divert to I5.
? ADTs to Vulcan

It is totally counter intuitive to me that twice as many drivers will drive the I5 instead of going down Vulcan, which turns into a straight shot down to San Elijo through Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

The engineer made a couple interesting points that should make people chill out before they tie me to a stake. Here are a couple issues:

1) The traffic projections for this model are built off Austin-Foust’s model. A couple years ago I successfully organized a review of Austin-Foust’s work and successfully managed a campaign to keep the work from being approved by the city council (It was clear that the council only ducked the approval because we did the analysis and presented it to the public in a clear and compelling manner).

It seems that we are relying on the Austin-Foust work for the L101 reports.

Funny thing is, I asked the engineer about the quality of the model. He did not say the model needed to be made more specific to fit the project, instead he agreed that the Austin-Foust model was lacking and needed corrections. It was not clear if all the needed corrections were included in the HWY 101 study.

2) The traffic model that produced all the projections was based on optimizing all of the movements through the intersections. Optimizing through flow would likely result in very different numbers, but that becomes an issue of what are the objectives.

3) He was not compelling to me when explaining how the model decides if a driver turns down Vulcan or HWY 101. If its faster to go down Vulcan wouldn't you expect most drivers to eventually decide to make a habit of turning down Vulcan? And, it didn't sound like the model deals with habit and herding behavior.

Then there was a guy name Steven that spoke during the workshop. He said that the models were based (parametrized?) on traffic data collected on Tuesdays through Thursday traffic. He thought that summer weekends are the most impacted. I don’t know, but it seems like there is some seasonality to our traffic. We have seen plenty of times that we can’t count on staff to ensure that data are collected at reasonable times and A LOT of people involved in the streetscape project know it.

People on HWY 101 know what it is like to be ignored. Drive North Vulcan early on a Sunday morning or walk it at 5 in the afternoon. We should be advocating and planning for Vulcan’s future too. Indeed, the city may not have the choice.

35 comments:

  1. Vulcan improvements have been overdue for years. For a road with so much housing, a park, a school and commercial business Vulcan's infrastructure is near third world.

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  2. Good Points Kevin.

    A few points to add. Many have been asking to address this issue in a holistic way which is very simple for this stretch of roadway. A clearly defined traffic area is from Neptune to I5.

    Traffic Engineering and models are far from a perfect science. They hide behind a black box model that they can not explain. Kevin you’re a statistician, go ask them to explain the model and formulas they use. They can’t….in the end they always say that there are so many factors that all go into it and through multiple computer model generations it pops out the right answer. The bottom line if you like the way LA and Orange County were developed for traffic, you should like Austin Foutes and the current model used for the last 60 years. Its entirely focused on cars and doesn’t produce good results. Austin Foutes home office is in Santa Anna…..How did that City turn out? Maybe we should be looking for a model that works. Maybe look at what Europe or Australia is doing for modeling traffic? It can’t be worse.

    Kevin – one important point to make is look at your slide about 2030 projections. The do nothing alternative (meaning leave it as is). Is worse than both 4a and 5. Remember they are projecting traffic ahead another 15 years with all kinds of population growth and cars traffic growth planned for north county. The important thing to point out is both streetscapes would handle cars more efficiently than the existing and therefore would be better than existing conditions for effectively handing traffic and pushing traffic on to the adjacent neighborhood streets.

    Vulcan needs to be looked and with a few stop signs at key intersection along with traffic calming near the elementary school would more than mitigate any potential impacts.

    As to the neighborhood to the east (hermes, hygiea, Hymettus, eolus, hillcrest, etc….) A few tightened intersections or other traffic calming measures or maybe a few stop signs and again any potential for negative impacts are addressed.

    Neptune is a City linear park. Tons of people use that street or excersize on a daily basis. The folks on Neptune have been looking for traffic calming on that street for years. This is the perfect time to address the issues. Again, if you do anything to Neptune to calm traffic you will more than mitigate 100 cars per day or the equivalent of 10 homes.

    Again, 4 is the best and mitigate future traffic pressure better than all others including the existing condition. In fact, I think implementing 4a will draw more people from the neighborhood. Many people avoid the existing road at all costs. Its dangerous and a nasty experience. After its completed it will be a nicer driving experience and will keep people like me from cutting through all the other neighborhood streets. I would gladly walk down a mainsteet with Alternative 4.

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  3. I would gladly drive down a main street like alternative 4 and would cease to continue my neighborhood cut through practices.

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  4. Kevin, thanks for posting more slides from the 4th workshop. But I differ on some things you said. First of all, Hwy 101 and L-101 are two completely different things. The former is a highway, the latter is an acronym for Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association - a business group on that highway. Please don't rename the hwy.

    I look at the figures from the workshop and see that alt. 4a increases the capacity of flowing traffic through town, whereas alt 5 inhibits as much flow. Being such, 4a shines as the most efficient alternative, creating the least amount of cut-through traffic whereas alt 5 would create the most possible cut through traffic (next to doing nothing at all). Likewise, no matter how off estimations may be, doing nothing at all, or picking alt #5 stand to pour more traffic on Vulcan than 4a. A previous poster (who happened to be against the streetscape) claimed the widening of 5 also decreases cut-through traffic on the coast. He was right. But that was no good reason to not make improvements here.

    I wonder what the science is behind the thinking that 4000 cars will be diverted back to the fwy, when 101's efficiency will improve? If I disagree with anything at the workshops it would be that. But whatever the number of diverted cars would be, the more you impede flow on 101, the more traffic that will seek an alternate route. But doing nothing, or doing alt #5 would make for the worst case scenarios for cut through traffic.

    Lastly, we agree Vulcan Ave is a nightmare for pedestrians and bikes, even at 35 mph. You have to have eyes in the back or your head to walk to and from most places there. But again, doing nothing or doing Alt #5 stand to exacerbate that problem more than doing Alt 4a. Strange that "doing nothing" would be the worst thing for Vulcan Ave, yet that "alternative" would not require an EIR.

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  5. Fred,

    you got it. I thought that usage was common. I'll not use L101 to mean HWY 101.

    I'm not sure we understand each other. What I'd say is that we shouldn't base our choice on the results presented at the workshop unless the models and data are vetted.

    I'm probably not going to do that, because for most people the traffic impacts do not matter (unless they can use the number in their favor).

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  6. Kevin at what point do we do this streetscape or not?? You can vet all you want, and I can vet your vetting and you can vet my vetting your vetting etc,etc,etc.

    At some point someone has to say enough is enough and do it or not. You clearly are not the person to make this decision, as you are a govt employee and earn your living sucking off the tit of the taxpayer.

    Indecision is your life's blood.

    So you can muddy the water of the streetscape all day and night, at some point it has to go forward or not. It's time to make the decision. So what will it be, YES or NO??

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  7. got kinda quiet.

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  8. Kevin- Please consider revising your posting to acknowledge that the traffic study shows that Alternative No. 4 will actually improve the traffic flow and reduce the cut through traffic on Neptune and Vulcan from the existing conditions.

    Thanks for your consideration.

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  9. Enough is enough.
    Do it 4 Leucadia.

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  10. 2:59
    Thanks for paraphrasing what I could not. Do you have classes on how to do that?

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  11. It all comes down to the fact that roundabouts suck. Always have and always will. Just because there are a few mentally challenged renters/transplants and Diane Langager who are hell bent on them is no excuse to ruin our city. Put in the streetscape but ditch the roundabouts. No new lights, no new stop signs but police enforcement of lowered speed limits. If you really love them that much move to Bird Rock. I'm sure you will fit in well with all the rest of the weirdos there.

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  12. Fred I tried to fix the text.

    Prop 4a Anon Guy,
    I did laugh at, "Vulcan needs to be looked and with a few stop signs at key intersections..."

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  13. 753, "It all comes down to the fact that roundabouts suck." It depends on your objectives. I'll have a roundabout post up in the next couple days for you to load with comments.

    anon,
    "Please consider revising your posting " Your comment suffices. Is anyone advocating doing nothing. One of the points of my post was that Leucadia should know better than to rely on the results of a city traffic study without reviewing it. Would people care if traffic study showed major impacts to Vulcan or Neptune? I heard Leucadia leaders at the workshop basically say they didn't care. It reminded me of the Hall property.

    anon, "You can vet all you want"
    I don't know that anyone reviewed it, so that comment sounds a little premature.

    "at what point do we do this streetscape or not??" It depends on if it matters if the traffic study is solid or not. Seems like people don't care, so it would be a waste of time to work on it.

    The streetscape and the specific plan is going to define Leucadia for the next 100 years. If there are elements that should be analyzed to inform decisions… that should occur.

    "At some point someone has to say enough is enough and do it or not." Easy to agree with that, and why has it taken so long? It is not analysis paralysis.

    Months ago I started looking into what was happening with the streetscape project and why no progress seemed to be happening. I was looking for a project timeline and looking to see if milestones had been laid out. I wanted to know if the project was being strung out or if the work was coming in late. Norby gave me the line about the process being a marathon and told me that Downtown took a long time to plan. Neither response helped me to know if there were unnecessary delays.

    I pulled off the streetscape issue when other orphaned issues came up on the council agendas. Lots of people are working on the streetscape.

    I was invited to participate in the streetscape by many people. I remain ambivalent about the different alternatives and strongly behind a safe and tree lined HWY 101.

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  14. One of the reasons it it taking so long is required rules and regulations. Another is incompetence by staff. What do they care? Their position is safe, there is no consequences for failures. If they use a traffic study that is flawed (how would they know) and its pointed out, they just order another. If they get flak from too many anti roundabout residents, just delay for another month or two or three. When the anti crowd is worn down then proceed on as if the whole town is on board. Staff is on the side of roundabouts in this case. I've been to four meetings and a few have been hostile. The pro crowd is not nice and neither is some staff.

    I also want a tree lined 1o1 but do not see roundabouts making it safer. Two traffic lanes merging into one before each roundabout is puzzling. What happens when accidents skyrocket? Another fix by these same Einsteins? Where is the bike lanes in the roundabouts?

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  15. What slowed the process was Andreen and the C of C adding credence to the petition fear folks. This caused the city to fund the alt. 5 design. About $80k. With that came an alternative that does not address the issues as well as alternative 4a. Not as efficient, less safe, less trees, less sidewalks, less bike lanes,less parking, more side street traffic, faster traffic, less Eco friendly, etc, etc.
    Kevin, if you know that, how could you be ambivilent? I would think that you would want the best design for our future. 5 is a less effective compromise for no logical reason.

    Fred. Well said.

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  16. Kevin- your response to my posting about vetting etc, is pure nonsense. A simple yes or no will suffice. I understand why you work for govt, no one in the private sector will hire someone that cannot make a decision. Again I say, indecision is you life blood. It allows you to speak without saying anything. You wouldn't last 2 weeks in the private sector. Enjoy this blog while you can, I can't see JP allowing you to kill it much longer. Certainly he will have to begin reviewing your posting prior to you posting them. They are utter nonsense. It's gotten to the point that I see who posted the post prior to reading it, if it has your name I might as well skip it altogether.

    What a time waster you are.

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  17. To personally attack someone and sign anonymously is showing you are a pretty low form of life.

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  18. Kevin, you state:
    “I was invited to participate in the streetscape by many people.”
    ( EVERYBODY was invited by the city to participate. Those who cared, got informed and involved.

    “…because for most people the traffic impacts do not matter (unless they can use the number in their favor).”
    “Would people care if traffic study showed major impacts to Vulcan or Neptune? I heard Leucadia leaders at the workshop basically say they didn't care.
    “Seems like people don't care, so it would be a waste of time to work on it.”

    I do not believe these statements are true. Who are these ‘leaders’ that you say, “…didn’t care”? Who are the “most people” who don’t think the “traffic impacts do not matter”?
    That is not what I have heard or experienced. How can you say that? They do matter. And the traffic studies show Alt. 4a address this issue most effectively. What information do you have, outside of personal unfounded speculation, to indicate the traffic study is flawed?
    In previous posts you accommodate Andreen to get his message out with no mention of his trying to kill the streetscape by “muddying” the process, spreading untruths and unfounded doubts, to stall and confuse the process.
    You sound like Andreen, who is not a friend to Leucadia and you are using his tactics.

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  19. Attacking Kevin for being an undecisive taxpayer tick is weak. How dare Kevin craft a blog post about the streetscape?!? How dare he not fall into line with the rabid 4A crowd?!? How dare he ask questions?!?

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  20. Here is a question for the 4A roundabout cult members, what is the point of these magical traffic flowing roundabouts if they simply lead to 4 traffic lights in downtown Encinitas?

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  21. I think what 7:20 adressed is Kevin's statement that un named Leucadia leaders and others don't care about traffic on neighboring streets. Challenging those statement seems fair. I don't think that is true, either.

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  22. 7:20 -- It is a fact that "leaders" don't care about traffic impacts to adjoining streets. Having been through the Scripps expansion process, which will dump an estimated (and grossly underestimated in my opinion) an extra 1,500 cars per day on Devonshire - a residential street, the City Council, except for Barth, approved the plan because, drumroll, our residential streets are classified as local roads and according the general plan can handle 6,000 car trips per day. Our general plan does not exclude residential streets from ADT analysis, while the City of San Diego and the County's plans do. Therefore, cut-through traffic is built into the system and the fearless leaders don't give a damn.

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  23. The Leucadia 'leaders', who are being accused of not caring about traffic on neighboring streets had nothing to do with the Scripps expansion.
    I do agree that the Santa Fe area is a big problem with Scripps and the Sports Park.

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  24. Chill out bro- Fuck off!!
    PS- GET A JOB!!

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  25. My point is the ultimate "leaders" are the council who will decide. As far as the proposed streetscape, the Leucadia "leaders" are evaluating the impacts based upon the General Plan, which itself is flawed. I am not saying the Leucadia leaders are misleading people. They have to rely upon the traffic engineers who will opine there is no traffic impact upon neighboring streets because it will be less than 6,000 cars a day. Imagine 6,000 cars a day on Neptune, that is a car every 14.4 seconds all day and all night. To protect our residential streets, the General Plan needs to be revised.

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  26. Not great debate technique.

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  27. "what is the point of these magical traffic flowing roundabouts if they simply lead to 4 traffic lights in downtown Encinitas?"

    As if the only reason for the Streetscape is for you to get through downtowwn Encinitas? Are you a cut-through commuter from Carlsbad or something?
    101 goes much more than one way, providing access and egress to thousands of destinations between La Costa Ave.; Leucadia Blvd.; and Encinitas Blvd, INCLUDING those three main arteries to all destinations east. 4a provides the best flow and least cut through traffic. THAT'S the magic behind these roundabouts.

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  28. "Imagine 6,000 cars a day on Neptune, that is a car every 14.4 seconds all day and all night. To protect our residential streets, the General Plan needs to be revised."

    This has been the problem since day one. Exaggeration. Neptune's overflow at worst will be 100 cars per day (1 car every 20 minutes), and I disagree with even that, because of traffic flow IMPROVEMENTS on the hwy and the expansion of Fwy 5.
    But it's kinda cute to stir the pot like you do even suggesting 6000 extra car trips on Neptune.
    Crimoney. Agreed though about Devonshire. Driving it the other day I couldn't believe how narrow parts of it are. Nary room for a stroller, like deadman's curve on that blind oceanview curve just south of 7-11 on Manchester.

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  29. the lack of impact is what has been exaggerated. the fantasy that people will get out their cars has been exaggerated. the idea that it will be faster without lights is charlatan

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  30. I think the Satan followers of Alternative 5 realize cooler more intelligent heads will provide and Leucadia will become a more safe, beautifully funky, and peaceful town and will adopt Alternative 4.

    An how can you blame them, do you think the Satin followers want a more safe, beautifully funky, and peaceful town?

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  31. bonddi-get a job and leave the real thinking to those that can.

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  32. I have a hard time believing that dropping a north bound lane will cause big problems. I've been driving north to Oceanside and back on 101 with no problem no backups granted it's not the dead of summer. When leaving Oceanside 101 drops to 1 lane and then again after a30 mph zone in Carlsbad I've run into little traffic. I just pop a favorite cd in the player when traffic gets slow and chill but the slow life on the coast is what I moved here for 3.5 decades ago for.

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  33. Hail velvet and corduroy too!

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  34. Hemp is not bad either.

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