What’s in store for your Loop 1604 commute?

People mill about at a meeting for Loop 1604

People mill about at a meeting earlier tonight for Loop 1604

Here’s the gist of what’s¬†being laid out, in a series of public meetings wrapping up tonight,¬†for Loop 1604’s future.

The problem, officials say, is that traffic demand in 25 years will be twice as much as what can fit on the highway today. The lanes can currently handle about 80,000 vehicles a day, but demand is 110,000 now and will surge to 155,000 by 2035.

An environmental study is sizing up impacts of three basic strategies:

Buses and passenger rail. At best, this can meet 15 percent of demand when you consider that top-notch transit cities such as San Francisco, Washington and Boston snare about that much of the trips in those cities.  

Managing and improving traffic flows. This is done with engineering, like the super street idea, and behavior incentives that range from carpooling to staggered work hours and telecommuting. California enacted laws requiring large employers to use such commuting strategies but cut traffic just 3 percent.

Adding four lanes to the highway. Since each lane can handle about 20,000 vehicles a day, that would do the trick.

So you can see where the math leads. 

However, a dozen various community criteria will also drive decisions, and that produces a little more mix into the approaches.

That brings us to the proposed options:

ONE: Add lanes in the median. Weaving and merging would increase. Adding multi-modal solutions might require additional right of way. 

TWO: Add managed lanes to the median, which can restrict use based on things such as paying tolls, sharing rides or riding transit. Adding other multi-modal solutions could require additional right of way.

THREE: Add managed lanes between frontage roads and existing main lanes. Long stretches might need to be elevated, which is expensive. The median could later be retrofitted for use as a multi-modal corridor. 

There it is. My money’s on TWO rising to the top.

And tolls? I’d bet on that too, though the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority is open to multiple¬†sources.¬†It’s just that, as hot as toll roads are, so is raising¬†taxes.¬†

 

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