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.
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.
This constituted all of the sample traffic data collected for the study for the estimated $80M project.
|Study Part 1 – Deficiency
|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.
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 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
|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.
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.
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.
|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.
Two examples of this shortcoming are listed below. Both will lead to further degradation of traffic flow and safety on Tom Stuart Causeway.
This development will have four eight- to ten-story high-rise buildings containing 90 condominiums and 430 hotel rooms.
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.