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I’m writing in response to your New Year’s day editorial, “Goofy gavel.”
The purpose of our presentation was simple. It was to show the Board of Supervisors and the public how the staff has been hiding the ball on traffic issues, culminating with the publication of the Travel Demand Model (TDM) final documentation on Oct. 14, 2013 by consultant Kimley-Horn. While the consultants insist that the “model volumes and actual counts are good predictors of each other” and met “industry standards,” we discovered that predicted model volumes were wildly inconsistent with the actual counts. We did not claim to be “traffic specialist(s).” We simply presented the actual numbers from the Kimley-Horn TDM report for the board and public to see, in a form that was clear and easy to understand. To say that the board was taken aback by the numbers, when they had been repeatedly told by staff that the Traffic Model results were just fine, would be an understatement.
We also presented actual road counts from the TDM report, which show that virtually all roads in the county except for Highway 50 have capacity to accommodate the next 20 years’ growth. These are actual numbers, not modeled, and they call into question staff’s continued advocacy for a massive road Capital Improvement Program, which results in job killing Traffic Impact Fees throughout the county.
We did this ourselves, because staff hasn’t. Staff reliance on and defense of a wildly inaccurate traffic model is inexplicable. Staff’s refusal to accept Caltrans’ determination that Highway 50 is currently at Level of Service F, and that even with all planned improvements Highway 50 traffic will only get worse over the next 20 years, is equally inexplicable. It does the board, and the public, no favors, when staff is not presenting the truth in a clear and unvarnished fashion.
So we have asked the board to hold a hearing on this seminal planning issue, which it has agreed to do. We have encouraged the board to ask for a wide variety of independent input, including Caltrans and the El Dorado County Transportation Commission, and of course staff, consultants and the public.
We are pleased that the board, particularly under Chairman Briggs’ leadership, is actually striving to understand the facts around traffic and growth. We wish that staff would help them. But if staff doesn’t, we will.