WHAT’S BEHIND IT:
Downtown traffic has been like the weather: everyone talked about
it, but no one did anything about it. Until now.
Three separate traffic studies are underway or in the pipeline.
City officials have commissioned Hartzog and Crabill to study ways
to improve the traffic flow Downtown on weekend peaks. The company
will work on altering the timing of the signals, suggest some
solutions, implement the solution selected and fine tune it. The
study will include the intersections of North and South Coast Highway
with Aster Street, Broadway, Ocean Avenue, Forest Avenue, Laguna
Avenue and Legion Street.
The company, which will be paid up to $10,000, won’t guarantee the
performance or the effectiveness of the project because of the amount
of traffic on the highway between Aster and Legion streets. However,
city staff expects improvement in traffic flow.
Cooperation will be needed from Caltrans engineering staff, which
was supportive of the project. Caltrans engineers expressed
confidence in Harzog and Crabill, based on prior experiences and
projects, according to city staff.
City officials approved the contract July 16.
The city also will pay
the Mobility Group $7,000
to count vehicles at
every intersection Downtown and the available parking spaces.
And on June 25 the City Council approved a $110,000 allocation for
a comprehensive parking management study, to be funded by parking
meter increases. Assistant Director of Community Development John
Montgomery prepared a draft request-for-proposals from engineering
The draft has been submitted to the Parking, Traffic and
Circulation Committee, which began reviewing it Thursday. The
Planning Commission also wants a look at it.
“We want to get bids from top engineering firms to come up with
solutions that would reduce traffic without spoiling the village
character,” said Chamber of Commerce board member Tom Ahern, owner of
Latitude 33 bookshop on Ocean Avenue. “Traffic is terrible right now,
It’s all anecdotal, but a lot of people have said it is worse that it
ever has been. What’s surprising is the amount of traffic on 3rd
The Harzog and Crabill project should be completed within six
weeks of the contract approval. Fine-tuning will begin immediately
following the implementation and will span three weekends. The PTC
will forward recommendations for the proposed RFPs for the
comprehensive study to the City Council. No deadline is set.