Tuesday night, the city of Santa Clara city council will consider a proposed lane reduction / road diet project for Tasman Drive between Lick Mill Boulevard and Old Ironsides Drive. The proposed project will reduce Tasman from the current six lanes down to four general purpose lanes, replacing the outside lanes with buffered bike lanes.
The photo below shows the typical heavy traffic on Tasman at Lick Mill. Due to heavy complaints from the public after the Pruneridge road diet, some council members have expressed reluctance about approving a similar project for Tasman.
The city of Santa Clara paid a consulting firm $56,000 to officially state what city traffic engineers already knew and what I told you in 2013, which is that this portion of Tasman is ludicrously overbuilt. This six lane street has a capacity for 46,000 vehicles per day. The normal traffic volume is under 20,000 vehicles per day, which a four lane road can handle. The engineering study also looked at anticipated future demand and determined a four lane road is plenty for short-term and long-term build-out per the city of Santa Clara’s general plan.
The Santa Clara Public Works Department proposes reducing Tasman from six lanes down to four. Because Tasman is designated as a bike route in both the city and county bike plan, this lane reduction makes room for wide, buffered lanes. It will also make room available for VTA light rail track safety improvements, create opportunities for pedestrian safety improvements, and even improve traffic flow at Convention Center and at Centennial.
Because this portion of Tasman is already closed for major events at Levi’s Stadium, the lane reduction will have no impact on event-related traffic.
There is literally no downside for this project no matter which mode of transportation you use, so what’s the problem?
In 2012, the city of Santa Clara reconfigured Pruneridge Avenue from Pomeroy Avenue to neat the Cupertino City Limit, removing lanes and adding buffered bike lanes. Although a before-and-after traffic study showed virtually no change in motorized traffic volume or the all-important motor vehicle Level-Of-Service (even while weekday bike traffic quadrupled), citizen complaints about perceived delays poured into City Hall.
Once bitten, Council members can understandably be twice shy and take what they perceive to be the easy way out.
If you live or work in the city of Santa Clara, please write a quick note to the Santa Clara City Council on this issue. Council discussion and vote is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, April 21, 2015 beginning at 7 PM. This item is early on the agenda so show up on time if you plan to speak on the Tasman road diet discussion.
Thank you to Pete for the heads up on this. Tasman street profile created with Streetmix. I realize the right-side train is travelling the wrong direction; oops. I go into a little more detail about Tasman traffic in Santa Clara here.
I’d say that the downside is that there will be potential conflicts at each intersection between turning motorists and straight-through cyclists.
Here is also the link to make an on-line comment on the specific agenda item. I’m not sure which is best, the mayerandcouncil email, or this link, or both.
They’ll likely stripe dashed bike lanes to the left of the existing right turn lanes.
Don’t shoot me; I was just the messenger. I’m out of town this week so couldn’t make it but I hear the resolution passed unanimously. Funding for this was already allocated, and it would have been lost if this did not pass, by the way. In reality, some BPAC members were disappointed that more priority wasn’t put on areas near certain schools where we’ve been asking for improvements for years, but the funding amount would not have covered those projects, let alone speculations about the will of city councilors in light of the aforementioned complaints about previous road diets. Note that the police department has shown a tangible reduction in traffic citations in the affected Pruneridge area since the diet, and anecdotal evidence of decreased speeds and collisions.