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Pulskamp's midnight traffic study

Posted: March 20, 2008 1:02 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
During the March 11 City Council meeting our city manager, Ken Pulskamp, gave us even more insight into his methods of distorting reality to push through his vision to turn our city into his "urban center."

The new General Plan for the city ("One Valley, One Vision") will have an updated traffic study to determine growth and development potential for specific areas.

Sounds like a responsible approach, but here comes the city manager's chosen model, which is simply absurd. Our city traffic engineer told the City Council that the traffic study model would give only average
traffic flow for any given area.

That means that peak traffic flow would be averaged in with middle-of-the-night traffic. Council member TimBen Boydston remarked that he didn't care what 3 a.m. traffic looked like; he wants to know what the gridlock would be like at peak weekday morning and afternoon traffic hours.

And so do the citizens of Santa Clarita.

Unfortunately, Councilwoman Marsha McLean offered support for the traffic engineer's convoluted reasoning that the peak hours will be adequately represented in the "averaging model." The rest of the City Council was silent.

Suppose you looked at the most popular ride at Magic Mountain and told people that the wait in line during the year is only a few people.

You might be right if you averaged the size of the line for all hours of every day, including hours when nobody is there. Now imagine the size of the line on a busy day. Let's demand that our city manager specifically shows the traffic data for peak hours, when people are going to and from work.

Such a study might not be as developer-friendly, but it's the way to do responsible city planning.

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