Traffic Improvement? One of the supporting reasons for including the Seneca Street extension in the Master Plan for Nyberg Rivers is that Seneca Street is necessary to improve traffic to and from Martinazzi Street as well as improving pedestrian safety. Traffic modeling has been conducted by both Kittelson & Associates, Inc. (KAI) and DKS Associates (DKS). It should be noted that a “right-in-right-out” entrance will be added on Boones Ferry Road and is (temporarily) named “A” Street.
Traffic modeling by KAI has been conducted on behalf of CenterCal properties. Traffic modeling and rebuttal by DKS has been conducted on behalf of the City of Tualatin. The analyses of the two firms do not agree on whether the current Library entrance street (aka city driveway or Library driveway) off Martinazzi Avenue is adequate to handle future traffic associated with the Nyberg Rivers Development.
Traffic Modeling by KAI
The KAI Addendum to the Traffic Impact Analysis from June 21, 2013 states:
• “The City driveway currently meets the City of Tualatin’s Level of Service standard and will continue to meet the standard with the added traffic from Nyberg Rivers.”
• The report also states: “None of the above conclusions suggest that the City hall driveway “must” be closed as a result of the Nyberg Rivers development as this conclusion is not supported by the traffic engineering evidence.”
In a submittal to the Ctiy of Tualatin dated November 22, 2013, KAI acknowledges that past modeling was conducting without taking into account the effect of “A” street. The following is an excerpt from that recent report:
“Kittelson & Associates, Inc. (KAI) has developed a traffic volume estimate and prepared an operations assessment of the SW Martinazzi Avenue/City Library driveway intersection assuming the Nyberg Rivers Street “A” connection is made to SW Boones Ferry Road… We felt it was important to provide the City with this additional information because the addition of Street “A” will significantly reduce both existing and Nyberg Rivers redevelopment traffic at the SW Martinazzi Avenue/City Library driveway.”
Is this the Best Traffic Improvement to Make?
While KAI identified that the Library driveway would continue to meet level of service (LOS) with Nyberg Rivers in operation, they identified two other intersections that fail LOS (Martinazzi/Sagert and 65th Avenue/Sagert). This is not in dispute by DKS. A survey was taken by several of the CIOs in which citizens were asked, “Do you believe there are other traffic problems that need improvement more than those on Martinazzi between Nyberg Street and Boones Ferry?” Not surprisingly, one of the most common responses was the intersection of Sagert and Martinazzi. So the question remains whether the Seneca Street extension is necessary when there are other unimproved intersections and streets that fail current LOS and are identified by the citizens.
The Case for Waiting on Seneca
There is clear evidence in the public record that KAI and DKS do not agree on methodology and conclusions about the necessity of the Seneca Street extension. At the same time, there are more pressing intersections that all agree are failing LOS. The construction of Seneca will also obligate the city to build a very expensive new Council Building, exceeding $4 million. The citizens of Tualatin that responded to the public participation process, which was developed and encouraged by the City staff and Council, overwhelmingly expressed that Seneca Street should either not be built at all or should wait until actual traffic patterns develop and the positive impact of “A” street is known. Traffic modeling can be conducted and re-conducted, but actual traffic counts after Nyberg Rivers opens will allow a more accurate assessment as well as providing much needed time for evaluating and planning a new Council Building, if such a project is needed.