Santa Monica : Traffic Study Method OKd

The City Council this week voted to change its methodology for determining traffic levels in the city. The move could affect the ability of developers--strapped by rules on the amount of traffic a project can generate--to get projects approved.

In a unanimous vote, the council decided to use the relatively new Highway Capacity Manual method that has been lauded for using the most complete traffic data along with computer analysis.

The city previously used the so-called Critical Movement Analysis, which some experts decried for its use of hypothetical data and for what some people said were misleading conclusions that could rate a busy intersection as one with light traffic.

Officials estimate that the new method will increase costs of traffic studies by 30% to 50% because of the data collection required.

At the staff's request, the council also extended for an additional three months a one-year commercial moratorium enacted to allow the city to study the effects of mushrooming development. The extension will allow staff the extra time needed to conduct traffic studies under the new method.

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