VMT Impacts of the Davidon project remain significant & unavoidable.
No one likes to be stuck in traffic. How often are you waiting in a long line of cars just to get through a stoplight? If this project is approved, traffic will get worse. You don't have to take our word for it. By their own admission, the project developers state in the FEIR that the increase in traffic is significant and unavoidable.
The Planning Commission will be reviewing these project plans on Tuesday, July 12. Email your comments to them in advance (details below); speak out at the meeting; let your appointed officials know how you feel.
Read on for traffic increase details.
Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is a metric that accounts for the number of vehicle trips generated and the length or distance of those trips. For instance, if a person drives to multiple places a day — work, store, soccer practice, etc. — all of those miles are counted up. Since the Scott Ranch proposed development and park is not close to public transit (Smart Train, buses) or services (retail, office, medical, etc.), the Vehicle Miles Traveled generated by this proposed development is above the thresholds set by our City Council.
Thus, this project generates more driving, greenhouse gas emissions, and transportation impacts. In addition, the Scott Ranch development includes a parking lot on D Street with 37 parking spaces and a parking lot on Windsor Drive for an additional 10 cars.
The research shows that increased VMT adversely affects human welfare, safety, air quality, climate change, energy consumption, and housing affordability.
What is the VMT measurement of the Davidon / Scott Ranch development?
According to the FEIR (p. 5.0-8), development of the proposed project and the regional park trail would generate VMT per capita greater than the project threshold under cumulative conditions.
"No feasible mitigation measures were identified.
The VMT for this project is Significant and Unavoidable."
EIR Analysis of Mitigation
Davidon, who proposes to build on the rural edge of Petaluma, has been trying to find any kind of mitigation to get its houses built. Unfortunately for Petaluma, no conceivable mitigation can change this designation--increased VMT is significant and unavoidable.
Below are the attempts made by the developer to remedy VMT. These are quotes from the FEIR on suggested VMT mitigation strategies. This is not difficult reading and is only 15 pages of text.
Adding Accessory Dwelling Units (granny units) – no quantifiable VMT reductions. p. 3
Putting in affordable housing - would not help the project achieve quantifiable VMT reductions. p. 3
Adding a traffic circle and new sidewalks along D Street and Windsor - would improve pedestrian and bicycle access along D Street and support a reduction in VMT. p 4-5. VMT reduction methods have not been developed or they are not supported by the current research. p. 7
Construct or Improve bike facility - would result in a negligible VMT reduction. p. 5
Extend transit network coverage or hours - this strategy would be infeasible for reducing the project’s on-site VMT. p. 5
Electric bikeshare - this measure is considered infeasible for mitigating VMT impacts as part of the Scott Ranch project. p. 10-11
Increase transit service frequency - the impact of the proposed project on VMT would remain significant as the feasibility of implementing these transit improvements is currently unknown. p. 11-12
Discounted transit program - this measure is considered infeasible for mitigating VMT impacts as part of the Scott Ranch project. p. 12
Conclusion of FEIR on Davidon / Scott Ranch VMT (p. 12-13)
Therefore, impacts of the proposed project would remain
significant and unavoidable since there is no feasible mitigation.
Your letter to the city officials
Future residents of Scott Ranch and travelers to Helen Putnam Park do not have to pay the costs of the added congestion they impose on others when they drive. Are these significant and unavoidable traffic impacts an acceptable permanent trade-off for this project? Do you feel strongly about traffic congestion, the environment, and the health of our community? Rather, Petalumans can choose to support the community vision of healthy, equitable, sustainable, and a resilient Petaluma by writing to your Planning Commissioners (see below).
None of the VMT strategies proposed by the Davidon development are feasible. If city officials knowingly approve the Davidon project with the knowledge that our traffic will get worse, health inequities will continue, air quality will deteriorate, and our environment will worsen, what does this say about our decision makers?