Traffic study on agenda at upcoming Cal Poly forum on proposed dorm

Cal Poly will host another forum Monday to respond to neighborhood complaints about the university’s proposed five-story dorm on what is now a parking lot at the campus’ Grand Avenue entrance, near San Luis Obispo residences.

The meeting is a response to concerns expressed at a Nov. 6 public forum, in which university officials introduced the 1,400-bed residency hall as a way to help Cal Poly increase enrollment and bring more first-year students onto campus to benefit from a sense of community.

Residents, on the other hand, decried what they expect will be more noise and sanitation problems, as well as increased crime because of younger students partying in their neighborhoods. They said eliminating a parking lot with several hundred spaces would add traffic to their streets, and urged Cal Poly to build the residence hall on one of the more remote sites originally considered.

“We’ve scheduled this open forum so that we can address site selection, parking offsets and other items related to the housing project,” said Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s vice president of student affairs. “Our goal is to make sure there is plenty of opportunity for the community to ask questions and provide input.”

An environmental impact report on the project—called the First Year Student Housing South Project—was released earlier this week and is available online at Cal Poly’s Administration and Finance Page.

The report lists significant impacts, including:

• The project would exceed construction and operational thresholds for reactive organic gases and nitrogen oxides, due mainly to the application of architectural coatings.

• Closing the parking lot would redistribute traffic and have significant impacts at off-campus intersections that already are at, or approaching, unacceptable levels of service.

• The report indentified areas of controversy and concerns from the city and residents, that the project would exacerbate residential parking problems, pose potential difficulties for the fire department to access the dorms, increase traffic at Santa Rosa Street and California Boulevard, and create “nuisances associated with the student population” such as trespassing, congregating or walking through nearby neighborhoods, especially at night.

The comment period for the report closes Jan. 9. Monday’s meeting, which is open to the public, will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 220 of the University Union. Free parking will be available on the top level of the parking structure next to the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center.