Cal Poly continued its ambitious student and workforce housing expansion plans this week, releasing its 2035 campus master plan environmental impact report which anticipates that the addition of hundreds of new off-campus apartments could increase traffic in the area.
First up is a planned 420-unit neighborhood along Slack Street and Grand Avenue, featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for rent, on which construction is expected to start next year and be completed in three and a half years. Priority would go to university staff and faculty “before making units available to the general market in a community where reasonably priced apartment-style housing is needed,” the impact report says.
On-site amenities would include a community playground, daycare facility, retail space that could include a coffee shop, and a possible pool and spa. It’s unclear in the master plan whether the daycare would be under the auspices of the Orfalea Family and ASI Children’s Center.
That project would be followed by a 200-unit neighborhood at the intersection of Stenner Creek Road and Mt. Bishop Road and a 400-unit development west of Highway 1 and north of the Cal Fire station.
The report found that the additional off-campus housing would have an unavoidable significant impact on traffic along Santa Rosa Street and Foothill Boulevard, as well as along northbound Marsh Street to Broad Street, northbound Broad Street to Osos Street and southbound Broad Street to the Marsh Street exits on Highway 101.
Because of the impact the 600 new apartments west of Cal Poly could have on the neighborhoods in that area, the developer would contribute a “fair share” portion to the addition of a second eastbound through lane at the intersection of Santa Rosa Street and Foothill Boulevard, according to the report.
“However, this measure may be infeasible due to right-of-way constraints; therefore, impact at this intersection is considered significant and unavoidable,” the report says.
The report also identified a Caltrans plan to add a mainline lane along Highway 101 as a way to mitigate any increase in traffic new housing could generate.
The impact report estimated that the additional neighborhoods would add more than 12,000 “net new trips” in daily traffic through those areas, based on survey information. But the report also found that the majority of commuters through San Luis Obispo reside outside city limits and the additional housing “will most likely enable more people who currently live outside the city and commute to work ... to live on campus and next to San Luis Obispo.”
The plan also calls for:
▪ Increasing academic facility space by 38 percent, as well as support and administrative facility space by 220 percent.
▪ Adding 6,800 new student beds and housing all freshmen and sophomores and a third of upperclassmen on campus.
▪ Adding 4,000 seats to Alex G. Spanos Stadium and building a new 5,500-seat arena for basketball, volleyball and other campus events.
▪ Increasing “green space” on campus, including an extension of Dexter Lawn and Centennial Meadow.
▪ Creating a “modal hierarchy” that prioritizes pedestrian traffic, then bicycles, mass transit and finally personal vehicles.
▪ Renovating and expanding the University Union, adding 100,000 square feet of space. This comes despite a 2016 Cal Poly student vote opposing an estimated $180 million University Union remodel.
Cal Poly will host a public hearing at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Chumash Auditorium in the University Union. The public has until 5 p.m. Dec. 20 to weigh in on the master plan.