Analysis of Holiday Isle Traffic Study

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MARINA TRAFFIC STUDY UNDER-ESTIMATES TRAFFIC IMPLICATIONS 

Analysis by William Gay

The Holiday Isle Marina developer commissioned a very limited, 2 hour, 3-page traffic study to measure traffic volumes at the existing site entrances for the $80 Million development.

Commentary

It is insulting to residents that MB CM Crawford and the MB City Commission think that residents would believe that a traffic study performed in late September for a measely 2 hours is sufficient to justify the expense, inconvenience, and untold years of traffic jams and lost hours ( and days & ultimately weeks) sitting in traffic — which we face because “They” know what is best for the city.  Really?  Read this analysis as soon as you have time… it’s quite thorough, and worth understanding why their study done is not adequate for the purpose.  

About the Study

The study involved a 3-part process.

Study Part 1

Collected actual data about traffic flows at the two intersections currently serving the site on the west side of the Tom Stuart Causeway.

  • The data were collected on Tuesday, September 28, 2015 between 4 pm and 6 pm. (2 hours)
  • Twenty-two vehicles entered and 23 vehicles exited the site at the two intersections during the 2-hour data collection period.
  • In addition, 2,108 vehicles (1,120 eastbound and 988 westbound) v transited the divided highway during the data collection period.

This constituted all of the sample traffic data collected for the study for the estimated $80M project.

Study Part 1 – Deficiency 

  • The data collected during wish 2-hour period is simply too meager to draw any valid conclusions about the traffic impact of the proposed project.
  • Further, a significant portion of the docks at the city marina were under construction at the time of the data collection. Thus, the sample, in all probability, underestimates the amount of traffic that will be entering and exiting the marina and transiting the causeway once the marina dock construction project is completed.
Study Part 2

Used ITE Trip Generation Rate Tables to estimate the number of trips the condominium, hotel and restaurant facilities would create on a daily basis and during the peak 4 pm to 6 pm evening rush hour.

  • This analysis indicated the facilities would generate an additional 3,690 daily trips.
    300 of these trips would occur during the 2-hour evening rush period. Thus, the number of evening rush hour trips would increase by 14% from the current 2,108 trips to 2,408 trips.
  • According to the consultant’s report, the additional traffic would reduce the traffic LOS (Level of Service) one grade from a LOS C to an LOS D and require a permit application with FDOT.
150th Ave, Evacuation Route for Madeira Beach and Redington Beach

150th Ave, Evacuation Route for Madeira Beach and Redington Beach

The number of trips generated by the Holiday Isle Marina development is a function of the number of residential units and the average daily number of trips for each type of residence plus traffic generated by the restaurant.

According to the traffic consultant’s data, during the course of a year the project will generate nearly 1.35 million additional vehicle trips.

  • The condo hotel and hotel will account for 55% of this additional traffic and the restaurant will contribute 36%.
  • The condo units will have a relatively small 8% impact on the increased traffic congestion.

The table below contains information about the trip frequency for each type of residence and the restaurant and shows the resulting daily, weekly and annual trip totals that the Holiday Isle Marina project will create.

Vehicle Trips That Will Be Created by the Holiday Isle

Table showing estimated additional traffic from Holiday Isle Development.

Table showing estimated additional traffic from Holiday Isle Development.

Study Part 2 – Deficiency

The consultant’s report did not estimate the manner in which the Holiday Isle Marina slips would contribute to additional traffic.

It is quite possible that the owners of the condo hotel units will periodically rent out their units to short- or long-term tenants while continuing to dock and use their boat slips at the marina, thus generating additional complex traffic.

Study Part 3 – Deficiency

Several traffic factors unique to the Tom Stuart Causeway were not considered in the traffic study.

These factors can have a material impact on traffic congestion on the causeway between Gulf Boulevard and the intersection of Duhme Road, as well as at the ingress and egress to the City Marina and the proposed development site.

Factors not considered are:

1.   A drawbridge that randomly stops traffic in both directions causing back ups as far as Duhme Road to the east of the bridge and as far as Gulf Boulevard to the west.
The study did to provide any information on the frequency of drawbridge openings.

How did the Traffic Study expert miss the draw bridge that impacts traffic flow regularly?

How did the Traffic Study expert miss the draw bridge that impacts traffic flow regularly?

2.   A fundamental school that causes traffic back ups at the intersection of 150th Avenue and Duhme Road on weekdays during the morning rush hour and in mid-afternoon when school lets out.

City officials estimate that the school generates approximately 1,200 trips twice daily.

3.   A major highway and emergency evacuation route that serves as the primary commuting and evacuation vehicle route for Madeira Beach as well as Redington Beach and the southern end of North Redington Beach.

Madeira Beach Fire Department has Mutual Aid Agreements with Seminole & other cities

Madeira Beach Fire Department has Mutual Aid Agreements with other cities & must be able to cross the Causeway Bridge for emergencies.

4.   A major route for Public Safety and Emergency Vehicles (Sheriff, Fire/EMS and Ambulance) entering and exiting Madeira Beach to provide service for the city and other cities with mutual aid agreements.

None of the above important factors were taken into consideration in the developer’s traffic report.

Furthermore, neither the city’s professional staff nor its planning consultant augmented the Holiday Isle Marina traffic study to consider the critical points above.

Study Deficiency 4

The consultant’s traffic study did not take into consideration the traffic implications of special events that draw large numbers of visitors to the city and are being encouraged by city officials.

None of the traffic- and parking-related aspects of these events were discussed in the study. Examples are:

·      Beach volleyball

·      Fishing tournaments and other public events at the marina

·      Fishing tournaments and other public events at John’s Pass

·      College softball tournaments at the new city hall ball fields

·      Babe Ruth baseball league events at the city ball fields

·      Carnivals and other events held at the city hall property

·      John Leveque Pirate days

·      Wednesday city market

·      Weekend craft fairs.

Events that impact the city and its traffic - such as this carnival held recently.

Events that impact the city and its traffic – such as this carnival held recently.

Study Deficiency 5

A final missing piece in the city’s ability to accurately forecast traffic levels created by development is the lack of a dynamic model that enables city planners to predict the traffic impact of multiple projects and of potential new projects.

  • The developer’s traffic study was a 2-hour snapshot in time and at two intersections in isolation of other large-scale projects being planned/developed in the same general area.
  • The traffic study did not take into consideration the actual dynamics of development and other activities in the city that contribute to traffic flow and congestion.
  • The city does not currently have the capability to dynamically model and analyze multiple large-scale, high-density projects.  Nor has it pursued the means to acquire this vital analytical tool.
Without the ability to project the result of multiple projects, MB is likely to end up like another Clearwater Beach.

Without the ability to project the result of multiple projects, MB is likely to end up like another Clearwater Beach.

Two examples of this shortcoming are listed below. Both will lead to further degradation of traffic flow and safety on Tom Stuart Causeway.

  • Barefoot Beach, a recently approved high-rise, high density hotel on Gulf Boulevard
  • The “Barry Loft Property”, a high-density project in the development stage on 150th Avenue and Madeira Way between the City’s 911 memorial park and Gulf Boulevard.

This development will have four eight- to ten-story high-rise buildings containing 90 condominiums and 430 hotel rooms.

                                              Conclusion

If the city approves the Holiday Isle Marina project in its current form, it will set the precedent for future high-traffic impact projects leading to substantially higher traffic volumes and LOS E levels of congestion on Tom Stuart Causeway.

In all likelihood, the construction of Holiday Isle Marina in its present form will create major traffic jams on the causeway similar to the draw bridge openings and school backups.

A safety problem will be: the need for vehicles entering the Holiday Isle Marina from the east and vehicles leaving Holiday Isle Marina to the west to cross two lanes of traffic and the median of a busy causeway.

Fire and rescue vehicles require time to perform their critical jobs.

Fire and rescue vehicles must be able to get to the scene of an emergency situation, to effectively perform their critical jobs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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