Over the next few months, the city of Arroyo Grande will be making one of the most important decisions about the future of our city. Our decision on a solution for the Brisco/Halcyon traffic congestion will have a significant impact on the current and future quality of life in our community.
For the past 15-plus years, we have been developing and reviewing improvement options at Brisco Road. Of the two viable “build” options, No. 1 would close the northbound on- and offramps (on the east side of the freeway) with no replacement. That is similar to the temporary closure model that is scheduled to begin Sept. 29 and will last 10 weeks, but this build option would also include significant improvements to the overpass and U.S. 101 ramps at Grand Avenue by widening that bridge, adding an extra lane to the northbound off-ramp and left turn lane, as well as aligning the southbound ramps. At the Camino Mercado ramps, extra width and lanes would be added as well.
The second option, called No. 4-C, would relocate the existing northbound ramps at Brisco Road to Rodeo Drive. The relocated ramps would go into a large roundabout at West Branch Street and Rodeo Drive at a lower elevation than present, realigning West Branch Street away from U.S. 101 into the roundabout and result in removing some of the regional center parking and an associated building. On Highway 101, there would be an extra lane from the Grand Avenue onramp to the new Rodeo Drive exit, and the new Rodeo on-ramp would go over Brisco on a widened extension of the bridge. The intersection of Rodeo Drive and Grace Lane would also be realigned with Grace Lane becoming the through street.
The primary discussion to date has been the potential impact to the immediate neighborhood, and Caltrans’ concerns about multiple, closely spaced ramps on Highway 101. There are at least equally important considerations about expense and economic development impacts that also need to be considered.
In an effort to make the most informed decision possible, we have embarked on an extensive traffic study to determine how the closure of the northbound Brisco on- and off-ramps will affect the alternative freeway access points at Grand Avenue, Camino Mercado and Oak Park Boulevard, and the interconnecting city streets.
There are some, including The Tribune, who think that the $100,000 we are spending on this study is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Considering that we could be spending somewhere north of $20 million on one of the alternatives, we are certain the investment will pay significant dividends.
The primary expense and difference between this and a previous study is the data collection over a larger area and over a longer period of time. This will give us a more accurate picture of the traffic displacement caused by the closure, and with the additional time, give a more accurate impression how traffic patterns will ultimately adjust.
We recognize that the study will have a significant effect on some users of the interchange, although based on the closure in 2007, we may see a net improvement for most users of the interchange.
Data collection is the primary purpose of the study, but the real-time experience of the actual users is equally valuable. We are asking for feedback after you have actually experienced the closure by sending an email with your thoughts and experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask for your patience during this study and look forward to your input in helping us make this important decision.