The key findings we present here are:
- The developer's reports state that 53% of the site traffic will use Kewanee drive. This is wrong. 80% of the site generated traffic will use Kewanee road to the west. The developer's report errs by assuming residents will choose 55th street to go north. We show that it is far more likely that Kewanee drive to the west is the choice most people will make.
- The report fails to describe the changes to local driving patterns that will occur due to the new road network. The Greenbelt Meadows neighborhood to the south will generate (conservatively) an additional 400 car trips through Kewanee.
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In our Traffic Presentation we present a number of key questions:
- Does the traffic report accurately describe the impacts to the surrounding neighborhood?
- How many car trips will the new development generate?
- Where will they go?
- How will the new road network affect local traffic patterns?
The map below shows the entry points into the neighborhood and the regional traffic patterns. The Manhattan and South Boulder Rd intersection is currently unsignaled but the City plans on installing a signal summer 2013.
Being in the southeast corner of the City most of the car trips are to the north and/or west. In general, the South Boulder Road and Foothills parkway corridors experience some of the heaviest traffic within Boulder. This has brought a change to the driving patterns of many of the residents. They often opt to go north along Manhattan (and even 55th) to avoid the frequent traffic jams on Foothills parkway.
The traffic and turning count data reflects the driving patterns. Most people (2 to 1) travel north out of the development.
The development is projected to generate 707 car trips per day according to the ITE estimates. This is based on 8 car trips per day for the single family homes down to 3 trips per day for the senior congregate care facility:
The trip distribution figures show 53% of site traffic using Kewanee drive to the west:
The report, while correct in its overall trip distribution figures, assumes that the residents whose destination is 55th & Baseline will drive the circuitous route along 55th street north through the East Boulder Community Center. This is a faulty assumption. As shown in the figure below there are 2 route choices to get to that destination, 55th and Kewanee to Manhattan.
|55th Street||Kewannee to Manhattan|
|Road status:||Not a through street||Through street|
|Distance:||1.2 miles||0.9 miles|
|Avg time:||3.25 minutes||2.25 minutes|
|Aggravation factor:||Very high||Low|
It is clear that, unless the trip north also involves a stop at the Recreation center, most drivers will choose the shorter, quicker, less painful route of Kewanee. We will be generous and assume that 3% of all site traffic (21 car trips) will go north through 55th. The remainder (27%) will choose Kewanee. This shows that 80% of all site traffic will use Kewanee.
We believe that these car trips will primarily choose Kewanee as their route north. This is the shortest and usually the fastest destination to Foothills and Baseline:
|No traffic (6am):|
|Distance||1.6 miles||1.4 miles (0.9+0.3+0.2)|
|North:||3 minutes||3+1 (left at light)|
|Peak hour (8am):|
|North:||6 minutes||3+1 (left at light)|
Furthermore, anecdotal evidence also points to the local driving patterns:
I especially use 55th going around the rec center whenever it is rush hour to avoid Foothills Parkway congestion. I will most often take 55th from either Baseline or Arapahoe depending on the amount of traffic on Foothills Parkway. I do this going either South or North in town. Julie Walls
In summary, Kewanee can be expected to bear the brunt of traffic generated by this development. 80% of the site traffic and at least another 400 car trips will travel that road:
It has been a long held promise by the city to the local residents that Kewanee would not be used as an access road to the Hogan/Pancost property.
This promise dates back to 1986 when the City of Boulder was developing plans for the East Boulder Community Center. A letter, written in 1986 by our neighbors Pete Barden and Chuck Downey, summarizes the promises made by the City of Boulder in regards to road access to the Hogan/Pancost site via Kewanee Drive:
Nearly three years ago, the City of Boulder announced plans for a 54-acre East Boulder Community Park, which would be located immediately east of our neighborhood. In response, virtually all of the residents on Manhattan, Kewanee and Cimmaron signed a letter dated January 27, 1985 to Mr. James Piper, our City Manager. In our letter, we supported development of the new community park, but we also alerted City officials that if access to the park were not properly planned, Manhattan, Kewanee and Cimarron would become the gateway to the Park and would be overwhelmed with traffic and noise. As you know. Manhattan already carries far more traffic than it was designed for, and any increase would have a major impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. Consequently, in our letter, we made two requests:
1. Design 55th Street as a compelling automobile access route to the new community park, and design a parking lot on 55th Street within the new park to accommodate the entire demand for user parking under normal operating conditions.
2. Establish immediately a formal residential cul-de-sac plan for the eastern end of Kewanee Drive, similar to the one recently developed on Illini Way, so that potential developers of the land east of Kewanee Drive would have to abide by the City's land use plan.
THE GOOD NEWS is that on July 28, 1986, the Parks and Recreation Board approved the attached master plan for the East Boulder Community Park. And, as you can see from the drawing, both of our requests have been granted:
1. A redesigned 55th Street (shown in red) is now planned as the principal access to the Park from both the north and the south. It passes through the eastern portion of the park, and has a connecting street along the southern boundary of the Park. The existing 55th Street (shown in orange) is a secondary access route from the north, but it is an essential access to the soccer fields (shaded area) which are planned for the western end of the Park in 1987-88. On-site parking lots (shown in yellow) are designed to accommodate the needs of Park users.
2. A formal cul-de-sac plan (shown in blue) will serve to prevent access from Kewanee and Cirnmaron to the Park and its neighboring subdivision, and thereby preclude an enormous increase In traffic on Manhattan. THE BAD NEWS is that despite final approval by various City boards, the attached document is only a plan on paper, which various political pressures may someday seek to change. Therefore, it is necessary for all of us to remain vigilant on this issue, and to stand firm in our expectations of the City to develop the streets, Park and subdivisions as shown in the attached plan.
The East Boulder Community Center master plan that was approved by the City clearly shows the planned Kewanee cul-de-sac:
This promise is reiterated in other City of Boulder memos. From a 1992 meeting summary held with the city attorney:
TO: Kate Bernhardt, Parks and Recreation FROM: Linda Macintyre, Public Works SUBJECT: Hogan-Pancost Property DATE: January 23, 1992
On January 14, several staff members met in the City Attorney's office to discuss issues related to the Hogan-Pancost property, which abuts the East Boulder Community Park property to the south. Jane Greenfield provided a list of questions, which included the following three related to transportation: ... 3) The Hogan-Pancost property owners are interested in extending Kewanee to the east. Is there a transportation or safety related reasone (as opposed to a political reason) why this connection should not go through? There is no transportation or safety reason why Kewanee should not be connected to future development on the Hogan-Pancost property. From a strictly transportation perspective, this connection is in fact desirable. However, during discussions on the future of traffic circulation in the area (related to the development of the park), staff and Planning Board made assurances to the neighborhood on Manhattan Dr. that this connection would not be made in the future.
In 2003 then council member Spense Havlick wrote a message to the City's Hotline mailing list:
There is circulating around planning department and around town a proposal to put 139 residential units on 23.6 acres of non city land near the East Boulder Community and Rec center. It has some fine designers involved but there are serious shortfalls that should be reviewed carefully. There are wetland issues. There are flood plain issues . No traffic study has been done to show those infrastructure impacts. I remember how we agreed to close Kewanee Drive when the Rec and Community center was built. This project wants to open that street with Manhattan Middle School right nearby.
This has also been brought up in two previous meetings that the city planning staff has had with the Hogan/Pancost developer:
PRE-APPLICATION MEETING SUMMARY Date: October 9, 2002 ... Secondary, emergency only access can be provided by using Kewanee Drive to the northwest.