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By Tim Hunt

Proposed IKEA's traffic impact will dwarf Costco

Uploaded: Mar 22, 2016

Dublin has been known for its big box stores for decades. Prior to the opening of Stoneridge Mall in 1981, it was the retail shopping hub of the valley.
Big box stores located along Interstate 580 came later to Pleasanton and Livermore and neither community has shied away from the retailers. Both have WalMarts, while Livermore also has its Costco and a Target (of course, Dublin has two Target stores).
The new big boxes now are poised to add lots of traffic and revenue to both Dublin and Pleasanton.
Costco has an agreement signed for a site in Pleasanton on Johnson Drive that will feature both a large store and the biggest gas station in the valley.
And last week it was announced that IKEA wants to locate its third Bay Area store in Dublin on Hacienda Boulevard next to I-580.
Both will have traffic impacts, but there’s no comparison. The better comparison is the traffic impact of what’s now dubbed the San Francisco Premium Outlets (originally, named Livermore) and IKEA. Given the tourists traveling from San Francisco hotels to the Livermore outlets, that’s clearly a regional draw.
The same will go for IKEA. It is a shopper’s magnet and not one that will not be well served by public transportation (it is, after all, furniture and other home furnishings). The only other Bay Area locations for IKEA are in Emeryville and East Palo Alto and the Dublin store is proposed at nearly 340,000 square feet. That more than twice the size of the average Costco store, which is the largest versions are about 200,000 square feet.
It will be interesting to see what the traffic analysis shows for those intersections in Dublin and Pleasanton and the impact on an already over-burdened I-580 on weekends. When I have been on I-580 on weekends and even mid-day during the week, I have been struck by the major back-ups approaching the I-680 interchange that easily stretch back to the Hacienda interchange. Just how an IKEA will fit in that mix will be daunting—particularly since there is no money and no plans to build the flyway from westbound 580 to southbound 680. And, IKEA, unlike the outlet mall, will generate traffic on most weekends, not just peak shopping periods.
For Pleasanton, the IKEA will have a major effect on the Hacienda intersection. Adding in the Costco at Stoneridge Drive and I-680 also will have an impact, but it is mitigated significantly because there are two other Costcos in the market (Danville/San Ramon and Livermore). It will be a relatively local group of shoppers, although some people may find a Pleasanton store easier from the Mission San Jose district of Fremont than going to the Costco in Newark.
Pleasanton’s traffic engineer, Mike Tassano, predicts that with upgrades to streets and infrastructure, the I-680/Stoneridge/Johnson intersection will remain as bad as it is today (that’s my translation—he said it would be similar). More on the anti-Costco petition drive Thursday.
The Costco in Pleasanton will affect the immediate neighborhoods around it as well as the commute traffic, but is not a regional impact. IKEA and the Livermore outlets are both huge regional impacts. Livermore had the wonderful gift of putting the huge sales tax generator in the northwest corner of the city where it has no impact on Livermore neighborhoods—not so for Pleasanton or Dublin with these current proposals.
IKEA will impact I-580 just as the outlets have and also likely will send nearby Dublin residents looking for alternative routes if they want to get on I-580.