San Luis Obispo South Development Project
Due November 30, 2005
Professor Eugene Jud
Group Leader: Ashleigh Sizoo
Pledge of Work
I certify that I have attended every minute of each session connected to this lab and that I have contributed the following share of work:
Signature Percent of Work
Table of Contents
Pledge of Work i
Executive Summary 1
Results and Discussion 3
Activity Centers: The Transit Triangle 3
General Land Use 3
Bicycle and Pedestrian Network 3
Road Schematic: Access Without Division 4
Public Transportation Network 4
Special Project: Streetcar System 4
Figure 1 5
Preferred Actions 7
Appendix 1 9
Appendix 2 10
Appendix 3 10
Appendix 4 11
Appendix 5 12
The southern part of San Luis Obispo is expanding due to increases in population. Now is the time to think about how it is going to expand. The emphasis of this report is to produce a plan that makes SLO South a highly sustainable community in the future (2050). To do this, our group used the already existing plans for the airport area and the Margarita area to come up with a general plan for SLO South that focuses on the combination of wise land use planning and transportation planning.
We decided that to link all of SLO South we would need a mass transit system that would be effective, efficient, add to the character of the city, and be approved by the public. We considered Light Rail Transit (LRT) to be too expensive, and would require too much construction to provide a dedicated right of way. We also considered adding more buses to the existing bus fleet that would provide more routes and lower headways. This alternative may indeed happen in the future, but we propose something more creative. Looking to Portland, Oregon as an excellent example of sustainability, we decided that a streetcar system, like the one implemented in Portland, would be the best alternative for San Luis Obispo.
Furthermore, we also considered the fact that the plan to create a commercial center in the Dalidio area (the Dalidio Marketplace) was recently rejected by the public. We are planning to develop a transit center in the Dalidio area similar to the downtown transit center that would act as a hub for the new streetcar system. We would like to dedicate the rest of the Dalido property to park/public use by constructing a community/convention center that could be used for large events, such as conferences, lectures, and weddings. It would be surrounded by a park and public gardens, creating a pleasant area for SLO residents to further enjoy the beautiful city we call home.
We feel that our plans for San Luis Obispo in 2050 will steer the city in a healthy direction with sustainability as the primary goal.
The United States is a country that is grossly dependent upon the private automobile. The City of San Luis Obispo is no different from most automobile-dependent cities in this country. Obviously, with rapid growth occurring throughout the entire country, including San Luis Obispo County, this dependence must be reduced if there is any chance to create sustainable communities that will be able to support the inevitable growth in the future. Our goals and objectives for this project reflect the desire to shape San Luis Obispo into one such community. Below are our goals and objectives:
1. Provide a multi-modal transportation network between Broad and South Higuera Streets along the Prado Rd. extension.
These goals and objectives shaped the ideas and proposals presented in this report.
Results and Discussion
Activity Centers: The Transit Triangle
San Luis Obispo has several main activity centers (Appendix 1) that attract a large number of trips each day. It was our goal to provide more connectivity between these activity centers and residential neighborhoods. In addition, it is important to connect the activity centers themselves.
With this in mind we set out to stitch together the three main activity centers in the southern part of the city. This was done with a multi-modal approach by providing links for pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit riders, as well as cars.
This approach resulted in a transportation triangle; a rough triangle in the southern part of the city that provides many options for transit. This effectively links the activity centers with each other and provides easy access for all the residential neighborhoods along the transit triangle. Those who live in this area have many choices for local transportation, as well as links to regional transit options, providing a balance of transit options.
General Land Use
San Luis Obispo currently has very little mixed land use (Appendix 2). San Luis Obispo is segmented into large portions of single land use developments, such as the heavily commercial areas (downtown, Madonna Plaza, Marigold Center), predominantly office/business services (much of the area surrounding Broad St., areas near South Higuera St.), and solely residential areas located in fairly isolated clusters throughout the city.
Increased mixed land use is necessary for San Luis Obispo to achieve sustainability in the future. Our proposed streetcar system (discussed further in this report) will encourage mixed land use along the lines. The value of land along the streetcar lines will increase due to the mixed land use opportunities. Broad St. could be an area of mixed land use with buildings that have the first floor designated for commercial use, the second floor designated for retail use, and the third floor designated for residential use. The downtown area could potentially develop into an area of mixed land use as well.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Network
The bicycle network (Appendix 3) will consist of Class I (Bike Path) and Class II (Bike Lane) bicycle facilities. The bicycle network will service the Madonna Plaza, downtown San Luis Obispo, the Amtrak station, and the airport.
The Madonna Plaza and Broad St. will be linked with a Class I facility that will traverse the Margarita and South Hills areas, along the extension of Prado Rd.
The Class II bicycle facility around the Madonna Plaza and over Highway 101 will also be widened to increase safety and support a higher demand for bikes and pedestrians in this area. The bicycle network also links the existing Railroad Recreational Bike Trail with the southern part of San Luis Obispo.
In regards to the pedestrian network, the Madonna Plaza will be linked to downtown San Luis Obispo with a widened side walk that will cross over the Highway 101, continue to South Higuera Street, then connect with Marsh Street and the rest of downtown San Luis Obispo.
Road Schematic: Access Without Division
To facilitate east-west car travel in the southern part of San Luis Obispo, Prado Road will be extended in both directions (Appendix 4).
In the west, Prado will cross over Highway 101 without an interchange and will extend to Madonna Road with two one-way branches around the proposed transit center. The northbound ramps currently in existence on Prado Road will be removed, eliminating freeway access from Prado Road.
To the east, Prado will extend into the proposed Margarita neighborhood and then turn south to connect to Tank Farm Road and then Broad Street. This will provide an east-west link without building another interchange or dividing residential neighborhoods from the Damon Garcia sports fields.
Public Transportation Network
It is important to connect the two major activities centers (the Promenade/Airport and the Marigold Center/Dalidio Convention Center/park) in southern San Luis Obispo to the downtown area with public transportation (Appendix 5). The Margarita Specific Plan neighborhood also needs to be included in San Luis Obispo’s public transportation system.
Streetcar service will initially complement the existing bus system while linking the major regional transit options (Greyhound and Amtrak). With good planning, it could eventually replace some or all of the bus routes.
Special Project: Streetcar System
The streetcar system offers many possibilities for San Luis Obispo. The streetcar will initially connect the Madonna Plaza/Dalidio, downtown, and the Marigold Center/airport, with the possibility for future extension of the rails to Cal Poly, or even Atascadero or Arroyo Grande.
The streetcars will operate on existing roadways with automobiles by running on tracks that will be embedded in the roadway (Figure 1). The streetcar is powered by electricity provided by overhead lines, making it an environmentally sound alternative to automobile travel. Additionally, if the streetcars employ regenerative braking, which stores energy during braking, the streetcars will be an even more efficient mode of travel. Streetcars are also very quiet and will reduce noise pollution in sensitive areas such as residential areas or the downtown area.
A transit center located in the Dalidio area will serve as a hub for the streetcars, including an area where maintenance can be performed and the cars can be stored overnight.
Preferential treatment (traffic signals that automatically give the streetcars the green light/right of way for the streetcar) will help the streetcar system service more users more efficiently. In addition, preferential treatment will act as an incentive to use the streetcar as opposed to traveling by automobile.
Note that the streetcar will service Prado Rd., but will continue through to Broad St. by branching off where Prado Rd. and Santa Fe Rd. Merge (Appendix 5). The streetcar will have its own tracks along side the bicycle path along the corridor between Prado Rd. and Broad St. The tracks will be landscaped aesthetically and will not be intrusive to residents in the Margarita area or to the Damon Garcia Sports Complex.
Figure 1. Streetcar in Portland, OR
San Luis Obispo is currently growing rapidly. Therefore, the sooner a comprehensive transportation plan can be implemented, the better off the community will be. Because of this, the SLO South transportation plan outlined in this report should be implemented immediately. Since most of the required infrastructure will be in the southern part of town, it will be easiest to build it during the same time that the Margarita neighborhood is being built. Because of this, Phase 1, which encompasses everything proposed in this report, should be fully implemented by 2015. Further development of the transportation system can be added in subsequent phases, with the expansion of the streetcar, once the public has gained confidence in the technology. A good goal would be a Phase 2 streetcar line that would link the existing line to Cal Poly and would be in service by 2022. The system could be extended even further throughout the city, and even replace much of the existing bus system by 2050.
A streetcar system, if planned well, would immensely decrease the amount of vehicular traffic in San Luis Obispo. The initial (trial) route should include the soon-to-be Margarita developments, the Madonna Plaza, and the historic downtown area. It should also connect the regional transit facilities.
Prado Road should not extend fully to Broad Street because it would disturb the sports fields. It should only extend to Santa Fe Road; itt should, however, extend in the west to Madonna without an interchange with Highway 101. Given the amount of unused land here, it would be an ideal location for a multi-modal transit station.
The rest of the Dalidio property would be well used as a convention center and landscaped park, similar to the downtown mission. The present permeable surfaces would remain and Highway 101 flooding would therefore not be an issue.
The present bus system would not change except that whichever routes travel on Madonna Road would stop at the new transit station. The streetcar and busses need preferential treatment at traffic lights throughout town. This can be accomplished with GPS technology.
A Class I bike path should be installed along the north side of Prado for its full length. This bike path should be allowed through the sports fields as should the streetcar. A deviation of this path should extend to the airport as well. The nature of these Class I paths will provide additional safety for its users. A pedestrian walkway will connect the Madonna Center with Downdown via South Higuera and Madonna Road.
City of San Luis Obispo. Community Development Department. Margarita Area Specific Plan. October 2004. 12 October 2005 http://www.slocity.org/communitydevelopment/download/masp.pdf.
City of San Luis Obispo, SLO City Short Range Transit Plan 2004. http://www.slocity.org/publicworks/downloads/srtp2004.pdf .
City of San Luis Obispo, SLO City General Plan Land Use Map. http://www.slocity.org/communitydevelopment/download/lumap.pdf .
City of San Luis Obispo. Margarita Area Specific Plan—A Transit Oriented Development. http://www.slocity.org/communitydevelopment/download/adcodesdocs.asp