Residents challenge county over Carmel Valley Road traffic counting.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Only in Carmel Valley could traffic analysis become a topic hotter than Clint Eastwood’s latest movie project.
At issue is a new metric for assessing traffic on Carmel Valley Road under the county’s recently approved General Plan (GPU 2010). The old model, “average daily traffic,” looks at the total number of vehicles on the road on a typical day. The new one, “peak hour traffic” (or “percent time spent following”), focuses more on congestion during rush hour.
Sounds simple enough, but members of the Carmel Valley Association view it as a calculated move to raise the acceptable level of traffic, paving the way for more subdivision development without mitigation or public input.
“If we change how we count the traffic and make it less impactful, then we can build more,” says CVA President Christine Williams. “Our fear is that this is going to change the valley so dramatically.”
But Alana Knaster, deputy director of the county Resource Management Agency, suggests it’s the residents who are being dramatic. “I think the level of scrutiny of Carmel Valley projects will be high whether there is a [peak hour traffic metric] or not,” she says. “The level of community involvement is so high.”
Knaster expects the county to eventually apply the new metric to other busy roads, such as Highway 68. “There’s no question in my mind – we will be using peak hour traffic in various areas of the county,” she says.
CVA has sued the county over the traffic issue. Both sides are now in court-ordered settlement negotiations.
CVA hosts the traffic forum “Fighting Traffic Congestion – What Can We Do?” Thursday, Feb. 24, 7-8:30pm, Carmel Middle School gym, 4380 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. Free. 659-1307.