Study looks at how planned projects will affect transportation.
With limited funds, which road projects should local governments pursue to deal with growing traffic in the LPGA area from State Road 40 south to International Speedway Boulevard?
To help set priorities, the county contracted a company, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., to predict traffic flow in the area based on projected housing and commercial developments. The study also shows the effect on traffic if certain identified road improvements are made. The county will use the study to create a five-year plan.
"When roads are widened, the increased capacity will attract more traffic. It changes the character of the road."
Melissa Winsett, traffic planner
“The goal is to identify where money should go,” said Kok Wan Mah, of VHB, who made the presentation at a public meeting Aug. 21 at Daytona Beach Police Headquarters. About a dozen residents attended the meeting, along with an equal number of county representatives.
In the study, the projects suggested by 2040 are extending Tymber Creek Road to State Road 40, widening LPGA Boulevard from I-95 to Tymber Creek Road and widening both Hand Avenue and Dunn Avenues. The study ranked the Dunn Avenue extension next, followed by extension of Hand Avenue to Tymber Creek Road.
The county already has plans to widen Williamson Boulevard north of LPGA Boulevard.
It will be up to county and city leaders to prioritize the projects.
GRANADA NEARING CAPACITY
A map at the presentation showed that Granada Boulevard will be what traffic engineers consider “overcapacity” in 2040, even if all projects are done. This is based on Granada Boulevard remaining four lanes. Not widening Granada has been the policy decision of city leaders, according to Melissa Winsett, Volusia County traffic planner, who presented the study to the City Commission this past spring.
Winsett explained that, in layman’s terms, overcapacity refers to what people call traffic congestion.
“I would describe overcapacity as being roads that handle more traffic than what government allows as a standard,” she said in an email after the meeting.
According to www.engineeringnotes.com, practical capacity is when “traffic density is not so great as to cause unreasonable delay.”
In the presentation, a rating of 1.00 or above means overcapacity, and 0.80 or above means near capacity.
In 2040, Granada Boulevard from Clyde Morris Boulevard to I-95 is expected to be rated 1.02 and from Nova Road to Clyde Morris Boulevard the rating is expected to be 0.99, even if all planned road projects are complete.
Tymber Creek Road, after being extended north to State Road 40, would have areas of overcapacity, as shown in the map, as current plans call for it to be a two-lane road.
Mah explained that the extension of Hand Avenue over the freeway to an extended Tymber Creek Road would provide an alternate route for those living west of I-95. One scenario at the meeting showed Hand Avenue being extended to Tomoka Farms Road, and another showed it extended to Tournament Drive, which would also be extended.
IF YOU BUILD IT
"When roads are widened, the increased capacity will attract more traffic:" Winsett said. "It changes the character of the road."
Mah agreed, saying, “The traffic count will not stay the same.”
Mah briefly went over new urban planning models that keep traffic on local roads and avoid the main thoroughfares.
Mah ended the presentation with a slide that had a quote by Glen Hiemstra, futurist, related to widening roads.
“Trying to cure traffic congestion with more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt.”
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Big John, local radio personality and former County Councilman, speaking from the audience, pointed out the elephant in the room, saying the county lacks funds for most of the projects listed.
Mah responded that funding was not considered in the study. The study shows what could be done if and when funding becomes available through grants or other mechanisms.
John asked how much the study cost, but Mah and county staff did not have that figure at the meeting. They told him they would get him the information.
The presentation was shown this past spring to city government leaders throughout the county, and the recent meeting was to allow the public a chance to weigh in. It will be finalized in September.