Bob Fuchs | Newcrest Point, Carmel Valley
Traffic has been called the “Elephant in the Room” when discussing Kilroy’s One Paseo/Main Street proposed development. It’s a problem that everyone sees, but the developer acts like it’s not there. Kilroy’s representatives insist that the likely traffic impacts from its request for a massive increase in entitlement can’t be discussed until the City of San Diego staff approves its Draft Environmental Impact Report, but they imply that the DEIR will answer all questions and concerns. Nevertheless, there is no hesitation soliciting public support with fancy artist renderings and a series of misleading half-truths.
One such misleading half-truth is the representation that in connection with their proposed project they might install at their expense an adaptive traffic control system such as QuikTrac, which was recently installed along San Marcos Blvd. “Data was collected across the Boulevard’s four peak travel times [before and after the system was installed], yielding dramatic results up to 46.0% less delay, 39.1% fewer stops, 7.8% less fuel consumption……” That sounded too good to be true. Why wouldn’t every city in the country use this system on traffic-impacted streets?
Further investigation shows it’s not quite the whole story. Although a limited-scope study did reflect a 46.0% reduction in delay times in the eastbound direction of San Marcos Blvd during the sampled peak PM periods, Kilroy’s representative failed to mention that there was an increase in delay times of 31.6% in the westbound direction in the same period, or a 46.9% increase in delay times in the westbound peak AM period.
San Marcos traffic engineers’ overall conclusion was that the adaptive signal system was reasonably effective during non-peak periods, but made relatively little difference when traffic approached road capacity. Their biggest problem, just like it would be on Del Mar Heights Rd., was that freeway ramp metering is timed to keep traffic moving on the freeway--not to accommodate traffic backing up on arterial roads intersecting the freeway.
So, the half-truth sound bite, while technically not untrue, is carefully designed to misleadingly create hope that the possible traffic mitigation will solve the traffic problems attributable to the proposed development. However, if the traffic from currently vacant office space, from currently entitled, but un-built, development and from the additional entitlements proposed by the developer increase traffic on Del Mar Heights Rd. by around 40% or more from its 2010 level, improvements in traffic synchronization will scarcely make a dent in peak-hour commuter traffic.
For more illustrations of misleading half-truths used by the developer, go to Truth in Advertising page on the www.WhatPriceMainStreet.com website. One has to wonder why, if the project is so great, the developer has to rely on misleading statements.