Traffic study forecasts 'significant' problems with build-out and third gate

Published Sunday, September 2, 2001

The build-out development proposed for Rancho Murieta would aggravate existing traffic issues around the community, and the addition of a new gate on Stonehouse Road -- the answer to some traffic problems -- would make other problems worse.

Those are some of the findings of a traffic study funded by the Community Services District and Rancho Murieta Association. The study suggests steps to address the problems.

"This just identifies where we suspected the problems were," said Jim Lensch, president of the Community Services District board. "It's going to take the RMA, the developer, the CSD and input from the community (to address the problems). ... We're not at the end by any means."

"It identifies the issues and hot buttons up front," said Ed Crouse, the CSD's general manager.

The study was done by KD Anderson Transportation Engineers of Roseville. The findings are projected from traffic measurements done at 18 locations around the community in April and May by Anderson and by Fehr & Peers Associates.

The bulk of the development proposed for build-out would occur in the North, and traffic impact is most profound there. The study projected 1,142 new homes in the North and 460 in the South, as well as the construction of an elementary school on Escuela Drive at Stonehouse Road.

There are plans to push Escuela through to Stonehouse and to add a third community gate there.

The study says the addition of a third gate on Escuela would change the community's traffic patterns. "Specifically," it says, "those residences in the western side of northern Rancho Murieta will be inclined to use this gate as opposed to the main gate."

The traffic change would be dramatic on some streets.

The study's numbers say one stretch of Guadalupe would handle more traffic in a day than would be passing in either direction at the North Gate. A small connecting stretch of Pera would get hit even harder.

That 150 feet of Pera, between Escuela and Guadalupe, would have to handle more than 4,700 additional trips a day with full development and a third gate. At a daily total of nearly 6,300 trips, it would become one of the busiest streets in the community, trailing only the first mile of Murieta Parkway inside the North Gate.

Guadalupe between Puerto and Pera would have to handle more than 4,200 additional trips. Puerto would get almost an additional 2,500.

"The added traffic will be significant to the neighborhood," the study says, "and the installation of traffic calming features should be considered to maintain slower traffic."

If the third gate isn't added, the study says build-out development might bring traffic to a breaking point at the present North Gate, at least during the rush hours. The Murieta Holdings developers, who have proposed completing development of Rancho Murieta, have said the community's roads could handle build-out without a third gate.

While residents might think the traffic changes substantial, the study points out that in the scenario of full build-out and a third gate, no street in the community would exceed its traffic-engineering thresholds.

And only a few will exceed the more-stringent Sacramento County "quality of life on residential streets" standard of 2,500 trips a day. Those are the stretches already mentioned -- Puerto, Guadalupe and Pera near the Stonehouse gate.

The study does not consider Murieta Parkway in the North a residential street and therefore exempts it from the "quality of life" standard. It points out that Murieta South Parkway between Celebrar and Reynosa, designed as a residential street, will function as a collector street as Murieta South is built out, and it will exceed the county "quality of life" standard.

The study has a number of suggestions to address traffic issues.

They range from traffic-calming measures like circles on affected streets, which the study says should slow traffic and perhaps force some of it back down Murieta Parkway, to redrawing proposed entrances for the Calero development. If there is no third gate, the study says the present North Gate may require a second resident entrance lane as well as a second turn lane exiting onto Jackson Road.

The study does not explain whether a golf cart trip counts as a trip in its findings and projections.

Traffic map

The traffic study says development and the creation of a third gate could create problems for streets in the northwest part of Rancho Murieta North.

Traffic study key points

  • Build-out development of Rancho Murieta plus construction of a third gate on Escuela at Stonehouse Road would alter traffic patterns, solving some problems but creating new ones.
  • Hard-hit by a likely new traffic flow would be streets in the northwest part of the community -- Pera, Guadalupe and Puerto.
  • Although these streets would fail the county's "quality of life" traffic standard, no street in the community would exceed its traffic-engineered capacity if a third gate is built. But without a third gate, Murieta Parkway at the North Gate would fail.
  • Efforts to address the problems should range from "traffic calming" measures to redrawing planned development entrances.
  • A stretch of Murieta South Parkway would fail the "quality of life" standard.
  • The construction of an elementary school at Escuela and Stonehouse would require special attention for traffic impact at "drop-off" and "pick-up" times.
  • Full study is here.

Essential numbers from the study

The study charts present traffic volumes at 18 locations and then projects their growth with full development but no third gate and with full development plus a third gate:

Full development, NO third gate
Full development AND third gate
Murieta Parkway Inside Main Gate (Inbound)
7,394 (+84%)
5,112 (+27%)
Murieta Parkway Inside Main Gate (Outbound)
7,115 (+90%)
4,827 (+29%)
Lago West of Murieta Parkway
2,593 (+7%)
2,244 (-7%)
Murieta Parkway Between the two Lagos
11,942 (+123%)
7,721 (+45%)
Alameda South of Murieta Parkway
1,810 (+42%)
1,810 (+42%)
Murieta Parkway Between Guadalupe and De La Cruz
9,286 (+139%)
6,623 (+70%)
Guadalupe Between Murieta Parkway and Pera
2,304 (+84%)
709 (-57%)
Murieta Parkway Between Guadalupe and Camino Del Lago
3,560 (+286%)
3,560 (+286%)
Guadalupe Between Rio Oso and Murieta Parkway
3,332 (+78%)
706 (-62%)
Rio Oso Between Rio Blanco and Camino Del Lago
627 (+27%)
627 (+27%)
Rio Blanco Between Rio Oso and Puerto
1,352 (+59%)
742 (-13%)
Camino Del Lago Between Puerto and Rio Oso
905 (+165%)
905 (+165%)
Puerto North of Guadalupe
1,943 (+93%)
3,493 (+246%)
Guadalupe Between Puerto and Pera
2,280 (+83%)
5,456 (+339%)
Pera Between Escuela and Guadalupe
2,104 (+37%)
6,272 (+309%)
Murieta South Pkwy Inside Main Gate (Inbound)
2,763 (+101%)
2,763 (+101%)
Murieta South Pkwy Inside Main Gate (Outbound)
2,663 (+108%)
2,663 (+108%)
Murieta South Pkwy Between Celebrar and Reynosa
3,800 (+263%)
3,800 (+263%)
Reynosa North of Murieta South Parkway
1,570 (+124%)
1,570 (+124%)
Reynosa East of Celebrar
1,420 (+7%)
1,420 (+7%)
Full development, NO third gate
Full development AND third gate
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