El Camino Real (ECR) through Santa Clara County is a six lane divided arterial for much of its length. With 40,000 to 60,000 vehicles per day travelling across most intersections from Sunnyvale to Palo Alto, this road operates at a traffic Level of Service (LOS) D or E.
LOS D describes a road where traffic doesn’t flow freely, but isn’t completely stop and go either. LOS E is a road operating at capacity. Traffic still moves, but everybody is constrained by the surrounding traffic. The next and final step is LOS F, which is permanent gridlock, and where ECR is headed if capacity is not improved.
The knee jerk reaction is to add more lanes, either on ECR itself or on parallel freeways and expressways such as Highway 101 or Central Expressway. (more…)