Traffic Mitigation and Improvements

TRAFFIC IMPLICATIONS AND MITIGATIONS

As the traffic within the City has increased in recent years, the City is not recommending moving forward with the Downtown Lane Reduction Program without creating a plan to support reducing the traffic delay for residents traveling north-south and attempting to mitigate traffic impacts on the surrounding streets. The 2015 Pilot Project provided key data to support both short-term and long-term traffic mitigation strategies. Short-term strategies will take place prior to the lane reduction program occurring, mid-term are anticipated to occur within the next 3-5 years, and long-term will be further out. These strategies are outlined below:

Short Term Strategy 1 - Butterfield Corridor Improvementstraffic mitigation

The primary short-term strategy will be to improve the Butterfield Corridor by increasing its efficiency through traffic signal upgrades allowing synchronization of the entire corridor, signal prioritization for drivers using Butterfield at the Cochrane and Monterey Road intersection, and physical improvements to specific intersections. Upgrades to the roadway are estimated to cost approximately $106,000 and it is anticipated the improvements would increase the traffic flow on the roadway by a very significant percentage. While this improvement will improve north-south traffic delays considerably, it will cause longer wait times for all drivers using the cross streets to cross or access Butterfield Boulevard during peak hours.

Short Term Strategy 2 – Improved Directional Signage and Communications

To support the increased use of Butterfield over Monterey Road, a communications plan will be implemented to support drivers use of the improved and more efficient Butterfield Boulevard. While communication to residents will occur via City media channels and through press releases to the local media, signage will be used to encourage drivers to use the preferred Butterfield Route. This will include the use of 3-4 electronic message board signs and permanent roadway signage along Monterey Road. The electronic message board signs will be placed in single locations initially and can be relocated to support increased notification to drivers.

Short Term Strategy 3 – Safety Improvements and Enforcement

The 2015 Pilot Project demonstrated that Butterfield Boulevard became the primary route for alternate traffic by the end of the Pilot. It is anticipated that with the improved efficiency on Butterfield, this will again be the case. However, we understand that cut-through traffic on the west side of the City will remain when the lane reduction occurs. The City has just completed safety improvements and roadway reconfiguration on Wright Avenue to support increased safety and slower driving. Wright Avenue was the primary street on the west side that saw the largest increase in traffic during the 2015 Pilot Project.

Mid Term Strategy 1 - Hale Avenue Extension and Corridor Improvements

Within 3 years, the Hale Avenue Extension Project from Main Avenue to Dewitt/Spring Avenues will be complete and will minimize cut-through traffic on the west side residential streets.   It will also further support reducing traffic on Monterey Road through the Downtown.

Mid Term Strategy 2 – Traffic Planning Studies and Implementation

In FY 2022-23, the City intends to develop an overall Transportation Master Plan and conduct a Traffic Signal Optimization Study to further support reducing traffic congestion, multi-modal transportation improvements, and bicyclist and pedestrian safety for the community. The results of this planning work will be projects and policies that can further support transportation improvements for the City as a whole, but also the Downtown.

Long Term Strategy 1 - Full Synchronization of Traffic Signals across the City

This option would be implemented following the update of the Citywide Planning Studies and could result in new and innovative means to support traffic congestion reduction.

CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

There are several public projects that could impact traffic in Downtown in the coming years. A few key projects that will be actively under construction include:

  1. The Fifth Street Sewer Project – This Project will connect a sewer line via Fifth Street from Monterey Road and a small section of Depot Street.  It is anticipated to be under construction in the coming months and completed in Spring of 2022. It will include minor traffic impacts on Monterey and larger impacts on Depot Street and Fifth Street.
  2. The Lumber Yard Development Project and Depot Street Realignment – This Project is anticipated to commence in early 2022 and will cause major disruption on Depot Street for up to a year. It will ultimately result in improved traffic flow efficiency once Depot Street is realigned with Church Street.
  3. Valley Water Flood Control Project – The project will heavily impact City roadways at various times over the next 3 years. The intersection of Main and Hale Avenues prior to the completion of the Hale Avenue Extension Project will be impacted. Del Monte Avenue will be heavily impacted, including the intersection of Dunne for a period of several months. This project will also include significant truck traffic as they off-haul dirt from the project.