By Tim Hunt
Traffic report if Costco locates in PleasantonUploaded: Feb 11, 2016
Sitting down with Pleasanton’s traffic engineer, Mike Tassano, is truly a learning experience.
I thought I knew a bit about how traffic volumes and other measurements were calculated. Right…
I met with Mike to discuss the impacts if Costco locates one of its warehouse stores with a 24-pump gas station on Johnson Drive where Clorox formerly had a research facility. That facility has been leveled with piles of ground-up concrete waiting to be recycled into a new structure.
In addition to Costco, there’s also a proposal for one or two hotels on the parcel across Johnson Drive from the FedEx facility. Demand for hotel rooms has climbed so much that it is difficult to find a room in the Tri-Valley Monday through Thursday nights.
Mike explained that, with major improvements to the local roads and an approval from CalTrans on the northbound ramp to I-680, a Costco would make traffic only marginally worse at peak hours.
That takes some translation. Traffic volumes, across jurisdictions, are calculated based upon the delay at signals for lanes travelling in all directions. So, if the eastbound lanes of Stoneridge are jammed and the westbound lanes are free flowing with little traffic, it’s the average that counts.
So you can be backed up and waiting through two or more cycle of lights and the intersection may still be considered acceptable in terms of congestion at peak hours. Stoneridge Drive, for instance, is already jammed at afternoon rush hour-with an additional lane, it will be jammed by only a car or two more in the queue, according to the models.
To maintain the level D with Costco and a potential hotel or two, that means widening Johnson Drive southbound so it takes up the entire current roadway with turn lanes and then building a new northbound road east of the existing roadway. Stoneridge Drive also is widened and a third left turn lane is added going to Johnson Drive from Stoneridge.
Mike believes the modeling that shows the improvements, if built, will maintain roughly the same levels of congestion at peak hours.
Of course, that congestion, particularly during non-peak hours, will severely affect Black Tie Transportation which has its vehicles coming in and out of its Johnson Drive facility at all hours of the day. Waiting through an additional light cycle may be no big deal for a single motorist, but, for a company with lots of drivers on the clock, time is really money.
If the council decides to move ahead with the project, the impacts on Black Tie will be significant and cannot be mitigated.