Level of service (LOS), the measurement of travel delay at an intersection or roadway segment, has been the standard metric the City has used to evaluate proposed development projects and long-range planning documents. To maintain an adopted LOS standard, mitigation measures typically include roadway and/or intersection widening, which can be detrimental to the pedestrian and bicycle network. Per SB 743, LOS has been replaced with Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as the metric to evaluate circulation impacts. However, LOS remains a key metric for evaluating the roadway network operations and could continue to be used for engineering evaluations of future roadway improvements.

Although LOS can no longer be used to evaluate environmental impacts and is not required for General Plans, it can be useful in evaluating local access and circulation for some transportation or land use projects. The General Plan’s Circulation Element establishes the acceptable LOS at signalized and unsignalized intersections as LOS C, which is an average vehicle delay of 15.1 to 25.0 seconds at an intersection. Intersections operating at LOS D or worse would therefore be considered deficient. In 2020, Kimley-Horn assessed the LOS at 37 intersections in Hollister and found that 29 of the 37 intersections were operating at the adopted standards.

There are tradeoffs when choosing a lower or higher LOS standard. If the goal is to decrease vehicle delay to the maximum extent possible, it can lead to an auto-centric roadway network with wide roadways with higher vehicle speeds that are less conducive to walking and biking. A high LOS standard can also make it difficult to accommodate infill development as the mitigation measures to resolve the vehicle delay often do not fit within the existing roadway right-of-way. Choosing an LOS standard that accepts some congestion at intersections, can improve bicycle and pedestrian safety by decreasing vehicle speeds and maintaining more compact roadways.

Question Title

* 1. How should the Circulation Element address efficient flow of traffic? (Choose one.)