Traffic planners set basis for future
Planners are setting the groundwork now for how drivers throughout the county will drive in the future.
If a signal is needed at an intersection or a roadway needs to be widened to accommodate growth, that project must be on the list of capital improvements that is now being revised by the Nevada County Transportation Commission.
And whether the signal or the widening really is needed will be determined, in part, by traffic studies and maps that will be discussed at the commission’s special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Nevada City Council Chambers, 317 Broad St.
At the meeting, the city of Grass Valley will ask county traffic commissioners to raise the fees that the commission charges for regional traffic improvements that are needed to deal with the area’s growing population and traffic.
The fees, which are charged to builders for new construction, are similar to the development impact fees that are being revised by Grass Valley.
The city is asking the county transportation commission to update its capital improvements list – the basis for calculating impact fees – to include the cost of the roundabout being planned for the intersection of Idaho-Maryland Road, East Main Street and the Golden Center Freeway.
The intersection’s improvement had been included in an earlier capital improvements list as a signal costing $350,000. That money was spent on engineering studies that eventually led the California Department of Transportation to nix the signal plan altogether.
A roundabout, which Caltrans approved in March, now is being planned at a cost of $1.4 million.
Grass Valley wants the county commission to update its capital improvements list with the higher cost of the roundabout. It also wants the commission to charge higher regional traffic impact fees to county builders based on that higher cost.
That increase would be on an interim basis, while commissioners work to revise its entire capital improvements list for regional traffic projects and corresponding fee schedule.
That would allow the traffic commission to start raising money for the roundabout.
Although Grass Valley has proposed paying for part of the cost with its own Redevelopment Agency money, that portion – coming to $690,000 – would be paid back by the regional traffic fee collected by the transportation commission.
Grass Valley would pay the remainder of the cost with $781,000 it has collected in fees from construction projects inside the city limits.
Also, traffic commissioners will review a study looking at where county vehicles start and end their travels.
That information is being used to figure out how much county-wide money needs to be collected to pay for traffic improvements in the Grass Valley and Nevada City area.
The study, called an “origin and destination study,” attempted to measure how many vehicles from outside that core developed area make trips into the area.
Some of the traffic improvements in that core area are slated to be paid for in whole or in part by regional traffic fees, because many of those roadways are used by people throughout the county on a regular basis.
To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion or call 477-4231.
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