Yes, a detailed Traffic Operations Study for the project has been conducted, but it is not included in the CEQA document for the reasons explained below.
In 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 743, which added Public Resources Code Section 21099 to CEQA and changed the way that transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA. These changes were intended to better align local environmental review with statewide objectives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, encourage infill mixed-use development in designated priority development areas, reduce regional sprawl development, and reduce vehicle miles traveled in California. Senate Bill 743 states that, “VMT is a more appropriate measure than automobile delay, and that automobile delay as measured by intersection level of service is not an impact on the environment”. Consistent with SB 743, the latest CEQA Guidelines from the State Office of Planning and Research (OPR) published in December 2018 require the use of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and prohibit the use of level of service (LOS) or other congestion-based metrics in CEQA documents after July 2020. Accordingly, the CEQA Checklist/Initial Study does not include a transportation analysis that measures traffic congestion on the roadway, level of service at intersection, travel delay, queue length or any other metric based on a level of service standard for measuring the transportation effects of the Project. Rather, a comprehensive VMT analysis was prepared for the project and forms the basis for determining traffic impacts under CEQA.
Nevertheless, the City did commission a separate report, the Traffic Operations Study for the Blithedale Project (prepared by W-Trans, September 14, 2022) to address General Plan policy matters related to traffic operations. This separate Traffic Operations study presents an analysis of the potential traffic-related effects that could be anticipated with development of the project and was completed in accordance with the criteria established in the Mill Valley General Plan. The purpose of the Transportation Operations study is to provide City staff, policy makers and the public with data regarding the project’s adherence to city policies. Vehicular traffic service levels at key intersections are evaluated for consistency with General Plan policies by determining the number of new trips that the proposed project would be expected to generate, distributing these trips to the surrounding street system based on anticipated travel patterns specific to the proposed project, then analyzing the effect the new traffic would be expected to have on the study intersections and need for improvements to maintain acceptable operation. Adequacy of parking is also addressed as a policy issue.
Click here to review the Traffic Operations Study for the project.