As the Tri-Valley prepares for another holiday shopping season, Livermore officials are addressing a recurring issue that impacts safety and generates frustration among motorists, shoppers and pedestrians: traffic congestion.
To help mitigate traffic issues near the San Francisco Premium Outlets, the Livermore City Council passed a resolution to renew its contract with TPR Traffic Solutions at its Nov. 8 regular meeting, which was set to expire last month.
"The number of customers visiting the San Francisco Premium Outlets continued to increase before the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend (Black Friday), approximately 115,000 vehicles entered the outlet property and in 2019 approximately 119,000 vehicles entered," city staff said in its agenda report.
The city staff report noted that although the number of vehicles significantly decreased to about 34,000 in the same weekend last year, vehicle traffic for this year and beyond is projected to increase to pre-pandemic numbers.
Under the new agreement, TPR Traffic Solutions will provide traffic control services in the vicinity of the outlets and other sites as needed throughout the city for a four year period from Nov. 1, 2021 through Oct. 31, 2025.
Some of those services include providing temporary signage, striping, arrow boards, electronic changeable message boards and on-site traffic controllers, also known as flaggers.
The projected increase of traffic flow also applies to the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as other holiday weekends throughout the year like Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to city staff.
The report highlighted that the four surrounding retail developments, including Republic Square, The Shops at Livermore, Pacific Pearl and Fallon Gateway, also experience heavier traffic during holidays and are impacted by the traffic that flows in and out of the outlets.
"The increased business activity in the vicinity of the outlets, coupled with the new Republic Square restaurants and hotels have created a regional draw to the area creating a necessity for increased traffic and pedestrian management," officials said.
The contract with TPR Traffic Solutions, which was approved for an amount not-to-exceed $850,000, is meant to provide services on an on-call basis and allow flexibility to meet the needs of other locations if necessary within the city.
"We currently have the capability of staffing up to three intersections which will accommodate the increasing traffic and pedestrian activity in the area," officials said.
Funding for the first two years of the contract will come from the current approved police department budget and the additional years will be included in the next police department budget cycle. The city's contract with the outlets also provides for an annual contribution of $216,480 for public safety services, which also includes a 2% increase per year.