The City wants to release developers from the current requirement to
maintain a "level of service" at certain intersections. Why?
The City says that these intersections are developed to their maximum
level of service for autos already, and that further efforts will just
destroy the ability of the intersections to serve transit riders, bus
Instead, the City wants to obligate developers
to improve the "level of service" for alternative forms of
transit. So the money might be spent on trees, lighting and more pedestrian-friendly
streetscapes, more bike lanes and so on.
Could this be a give-away to developers? Likely. The proposal would
have developers contribute $2000 per "peak time trip," which
for a 100-unit complex would amount to around $200,000. City staff say
the $2000 figure is derived from what developers typically pay for traffic
improvements in San Jose. The $2000 figure is almost certainly lower
than what developers would have to pay to try to maintain LOS at the
proposed exempt intersections.
Under the current system, developers hit monetary roadblocks as they
grow an area over the capacity of its infrastructure. That's because
they need to try to improve streets if they tip the traffic situation
over the acceptable level of service. Under the proposal, developers
will no longer hit these roadblocks - they can increase the traffic
at an exempted intersection, even though the traffic may be at an unacceptable
level of service already. The developer would just pay the "peak
time trip" fee.
THE GOOD PARTS
The good parts of the proposal are: giving the city and neighborhoods
flexibility in handling funds, rather than limiting them to spend it
in a vain chase after levels of service we probably will never see again
anyway; diverting funds from cars to alternative transit (especially
bike and pedestrian) modes; acknowledging that the city's declining
level of service is increasing the need for traffic calming in neighborhoods.
Direct your questions and comments to
Manuel Pineda of the Department of Transportation at 408-277-3839.