Last week, The City released its Traffic Impact Report for the Alameda Point project. And it’s a pretty good report. Honest, conservative (meaning likely overstating traffic), and presenting the information in a way that give readers (non-technical readers) the ability to understand the overall concepts and results.
Over at The Island, Michele has already pointed out that the report basically says SunCal initiative or not, Alameda Point will generate lots of new traffic. But had the report stopped at “X # of car trips per day” the numbers it would have been pretty meaningless. But the report doesn’t stop there. It looks at the bridges/tubes and key intersections and asks “what will happen if the initiative passes?” and compares the results to what the traffic model shows Alameda’s existing General Plan generates. So in the end, one can see what the ultimate result of allowing for a larger development at Alameda Point will be (since that’s really what it’s all about).
The SunCal initiative sets aside money for traffic mitigations (TDM), but doesn’t specifically lock in what those mitigations are (a good thing, though to be sure it leaves things up to interpretation). The City hired hired Nelson/Nygaard, one of the foremost leaders on Transit Oriented Development and Transportation Mitigations, to come up with a conservative mitigation plan, based loosely on SunCal;s Alameda Point Transportation Plan. What this means is that they didn’t assume as much mitigation as SunCal has proposed, giving readers a sense of a slightly worse case scenario, they also present a “no mitigation” scenario which would be a worstest case scenario, but extremely unlikely.
The report’s assumptions about the traffic mitigations is that it would reduce traffic by about 30%. The FTA recently completed a study of existing Transit Oriented Developments (TODs), including some in the Bay Area, that found that TOD’s on average reduce traffic by about 44%, so these numbers are conservative (again, a good thing in a report).
At the Gateways (tubes/bridges), At the tubes, Alameda Point (with mitigations) would generate 145 more cars an hour than the current General Plan would resulting in an additional 4 minutes of delay in traveling from Alameda Point onto I-880. Driving to the East End bridges would take about 3 minutes longer. Not insignificant, but not catastrophic either.
What the report attempts to do is focus on the effect of the development, the delays, etc. and that’s what should be discussed. It’s easy to pick out large scary numbers and present them in a vacuum, but without addressing the effect of the information, they don’t really mean a lot.