File #: 2015-1372   
Type: New Business
Body: Transportation Commission
On agenda: 2/25/2015
Title: Provide Feedback on Recommended Approach to Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1_Transportation Implementation Effort_Final, 2. Exhibit 2 - City of Alameda Transportation Element
Provide Feedback on Recommended Approach to Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy
Joint Transportation Commission and Planning Board Special Meeting
February 25, 2015
Item 4
Provide Feedback on Recommended Approach to Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy
On January 21, 2015, the City Council directed staff to prepare an approach to a comprehensive Citywide transportation planning and implementation effort in response to a Council referral from Councilmember Daysog (Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy).  As part of the direction provided that evening, the City Council also expressed the importance of the City Council taking the lead in directing the work effort and of engaging relevant boards and commissions like the Transportation Commission and Planning Board in preparing the approach.  The feedback provided at this evening's joint Transportation Commission and Planning Board meeting will be provided to the City Council verbally at the March 10, 2015 meeting.
Overall, the City has exceptional planning documents that provide a great framework for enhancing the City's mobility and that more attention is needed to implement capital projects and transportation demand management programs.  Of greatest importance with regard to implementation are Citywide improvements, especially transit, bicycle and pedestrian.
The potential impacts of new housing development on local traffic congestion and quality of life is arguably the single most debated issue within the City due primarily to the fact that the City is an island with limited crossings to the mainland. Significant concerns have been expressed about new housing development planned for the City adding to the delays and congestion at the crossings and undermining the Alameda community's quality of life.  These concerns about traffic and impacts to quality of life are not new.  They have been discussed and debated for decades.  The City's Transportation Element (the transportation chapter of the City's General Plan) approved in 2009 contains detailed policies about how to address traffic issues and encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation.  Housing projects and major mixed-use developments in the City over many years have studied their potential traffic impacts on the City and region by performing detailed citywide traffic analyses, and in compliance with the Transportation Element, many of these projects have also prepared transportation strategies and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plans to demonstrate how they will pay for enhanced transit services and multi-modal facilities, monitor the effectiveness of their plans, and ultimately, be accountable for reducing their traffic impacts.
Of equal importance is implementing programs and projects that will entice more existing residents and employees to use High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV), transit, bicycling and walking for their commutes, since they represent a much larger market for trip reductions than new development.
Trends in transportation and real estate development in Alameda and the region are, and will always be, dynamic.  The City will never stop needing to manage and monitor transportation issues and, on occasion, update its transportation strategies and efforts to respond to changing policy, real estate, technological, demographic and socio-economic conditions. New development offers the opportunity to financially support the latest transportation innovations and facilities, to provide the riders needed to support new and expanded transit service, and maybe just as importantly, to provide actual real-time data on what works and does not work so that the City can continue to effectively enhance and improve its efforts. New development will not stop occurring and transportation issues in the City will never be completely resolved; the City will always be in the business of managing transportation issues.
As a result, the City Council direction provided on January 21 offers an opportunity to step back and assess what has been accomplished so far, and what still needs to be done in light of the latest local and regional trends.  This staff report, along with the presentation attached to this report (Exhibit 1), provides this assessment and outlines a path forward on the proposed Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy.
City staff carefully reviewed the referral documents and existing transportation policy and planning documents to determine a recommended approach to the Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy.  Tonight's presentation addresses a number of key topics which helps provide a detailed context for making any policy decisions on next steps.  The following section summarizes the key topics being addressed as part of the presentation and a brief summary of staff's responses to those topics.  The attached presentation provides additional information, including numerous maps (Exhibit 1).
1.      Goal of the Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy
Based on the referral documents, comments made by the City Council on January 21st and staff's own experience discussing traffic issues at numerous public hearings and community meetings, staff recommends that the overarching goal of the Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy be to minimize net new single occupant vehicle (automobile) trips at the Estuary crossings during the peak hours (am northbound and pm southbound).  This would be achieved by mitigating impacts of new development, but perhaps more importantly, by shifting existing residents to more efficient forms of commuting including HOV, transit, bicycling and walking.  Put another way, the recommended focus going forward would be on managing the available capacity at the crossings by increasing the number of commuters Citywide selecting HOV, transit, bicycling or walking to cross the Estuary.  It is important that this overall goal be confirmed by the City Council at tonight's meeting so there is no misunderstanding about the ultimate purpose of the Delivery Strategy.  How exactly the goal is expressed and measured will be an important first step of the consultant contract to prepare the Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy.  The refinement of the wording and measurement of this goal is likely to require additional data and case studies that the selected transportation consultant will be best equipped to provide.  
2.      Citywide Transportation Planning
While not an exhaustive list, the presentation will highlight the significant traffic and transportation policies, studies and plans that have been prepared previously and briefly discuss the important contributions of each. In determining what other efforts need to be made, it is important to understand what has already been accomplished so that resources are expended efficiently.
3.      Summary of Transportation Element
The recently approved Transportation Element of the General Plan is comprised of the City's goals, objectives and policies related to transportation, some of which are quantitative and very specific (Exhibit 2).  These overarching transportation goals will guide and provide the policy context for this proposed effort and will be summarized in this evening's presentation.
4.      Current City Efforts to Address Traffic Issues
There is a tremendous amount of inter-departmental work being accomplished on traffic-related tasks on an almost daily basis in the City.  While staff is intimately involved in these efforts, it could do a better job clearly and comprehensively explaining these efforts to policymakers and the community. The presentation this evening is a first step in this direction and will describe in detail what is currently being done to address traffic issues in the City.  A description of these efforts will be broken down by the following four categories:
·      Requiring compliance with the Transportation Element for development projects;
·      Obtaining funding for operations and capital improvements;
·      Actively coordinating new and improved services with transit agencies; and
·      Implementing multi-modal street and facilities improvements.
5.      Underlying Concept behind Citywide Transportation Efforts
It is important not to lose sight of the "how" behind all of the City's efforts. For example, how do multi-modal streets and TDM reduce traffic? As a result, the presentation this evening will also spend time discussing how the City's current efforts are intended to minimize traffic delays and congestion related to existing and new development.
6.      Latest Transportation-Related Trends
As described above, transportation-related trends are dynamic and will influence the approach taken on any significant City transportation effort.  The presentation tonight will highlight some of the latest trends in transportation, such as demographic shifts in car usage and new technologies.
7.      Forward-Thinking Citywide Transportation Efforts
The presentation will touch upon briefly the policies and programs that the City is already implementing that are forward-thinking and innovative, especially within the Bay Area.
8.      Enhancements to Citywide Transportation Efforts
There are ways the City could enhance its planning efforts to address the potential traffic impacts from new development and the latest local and regional trends in transportation.  Based on staff's assessment, the following is a list of certain aspects of the City's plans and policies that could be enhanced:
·      The City adopted a Transportation Systems Management Ordinance that focuses on Citywide policies for reduction in vehicle trips generated by new commercial development. The City also needs Citywide policies and strategic planning related to residential uses that generate vehicle trips during the more congested northbound am and southbound pm peak hours.  
·      The City has been forward-thinking about requiring new developments to adopt TDM and monitoring plans and integrate them with other projects within a larger geographic area in the City (i.e., West End TDM program and Northern Waterfront TDM program), and to create dedicated funding mechanisms for implementing them.  That said, there may be important strategic reasons to integrate these efforts at a Citywide level and possibly centralize certain aspects of them.
·      While the City has recently approved a Pedestrian Master Plan, and is in the process of updating the Bicycle Master Plan, the City's Long-Range Transit Plan from 2000 is outdated.  An updated Transit Master Plan would allow the City to integrate the City's private TDM/transit plans being provided by individual development projects (i.e., shuttle services) with strategic and service planning efforts being implemented by public transit agencies.
9.      Recommended Approach to Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy
Based on staff's assessment summarized in this staff report and attached presentation, staff recommends that the City Council move forward with a Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy that recommends next steps to minimize net  new trips at the Estuary crossings by taking a holistic and integrative Citywide approach to:
·      TDM for both residential and commercial development projects;
·      Monitoring the effectiveness of TDM;
·      Updating public and private transit plans;
·      Developing ongoing systems for responding to the latest trends and data in mitigating traffic; and
·      Clearly informing policymakers and the Alameda community about traffic congestion at the crossings and the ongoing effectiveness of the City's traffic mitigation efforts.
The Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy would not be an update to the Transportation Element, although it may recommend specific changes to the Transportation Element to address specific issues raised by the Delivery Strategy.  It would not be a new ordinance, but, again, could recommend the creation of a Citywide TDM ordinance, and include a draft of any proposed ordinance.  The following is an overview of the major tasks involved in performing this proposed work:
1.      Project Initiation. After the consultant contract and scope of work are approved by the City Council, the consultant and staff team would hold a kick-off meeting and refine a schedule and process for executing the scope of work. (Month 1)
2.      Community and Stakeholder Outreach - Part 1.  The consultant and staff team will discuss the overall scope and intent of the Delivery Strategy at individual meetings with key stakeholders, such as transit agencies, developers, property owners, and local and regional transportation organizations, etc.  (Months 1-2)
3.      Existing Conditions Review. The consultant team would review all of the relevant City transportation documents and efforts, as well as the feedback from Task 2, and summarize their thoughts, questions, and findings in a technical memorandum. (Months 1-3)
4.      Refinement of Wording and Measurement of Delivery Strategy Goal.  Based on Tasks 1-3 and relevant data and case study analysis, the consultant will propose draft wording for, and the methods for measuring, the overall goal of the Delivery Strategy to minimize net new single occupancy vehicle trips at the crossings during the peak hours. (Month 1-4)
5.      Community and Stakeholder Outreach - Part 2. The consultant and staff team will present the results of Tasks 1-4 with a focus on the results of Task 4 to the City Council, Transportation Commission, and Planning Board, and in individual meetings with key stakeholders.  The City will also send notifications to its email lists and social media, run newspaper ads, and send press releases or community advisories, when appropriate. (Months 5-6)
6.      Preparation of Outline of Delivery Strategy. Based on Tasks 1 thru 5, the consultant team will prepare a detailed outline of the strategy, including any key graphics or tables necessary to understand the content of the outline and proposed plan. (Months 5-7)
7.      Community and Stakeholder Outreach - Part 3. The consultant and staff team will present the results of Task 6 to the City Council, Transportation Commission, and Planning Board, and at a community workshop, and in individual meetings with key stakeholders.  The City will also send notifications to its email lists and social media, run newspaper ads, and send press releases or community advisories, when appropriate. (Months 8-9)
8.      Preparation of Draft Delivery Strategy. Based on Tasks 1 through 7, the consultant team will prepare a draft of the complete strategy, including any graphics, exhibits or attachments, such as draft ordinances, implementation tools or checklists. (Months 10-11)
9.      Community and Stakeholder Outreach - Part 4.  The consultant and staff team will present the results of Task 8 to the City Council, Transportation Commission, and Planning Board, and at individual meetings with key stakeholders.  The City will also send notifications to its email lists and social media, run newspaper ads, and send press releases or community advisories, when appropriate. (Months 12-13)
10.      Preparation of Final Delivery Strategy. Based on feedback from Task 7, the consultant will revise the document and prepare a final draft of the strategy for approval by the Planning Board, Transportation Commission and City Council.  The consultant will make any final revisions to the strategic plan requested by the Planning Board, Transportation Commission and City Council after their approval and produce a final strategy for dissemination by the City (Months 14-17).
Based on feedback provided by the Transportation Commission and Planning Board this evening and the City Council on March 10th, City staff will revise its approach, and prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) that includes the recommended goal, approach and text provided in this staff report and the attached presentation.  The RFP will ask that each consultant team prepare a detailed scope of work and budget that they believe meets the intent of what the City wants to achieve and incorporates the general process outlined above.  Staff does not recommend being too specific about the exact scope of work in the RFP.  There are transportation consultants that specialize in transportation planning and TDM and have extensive knowledge about these subjects.  Staff does not want to limit their ability to provide creative and new ideas about how to achieve the City's goals.
City staff will include key stakeholders in the consultant selection process, potentially including members of the City Council, Transportation Commission, Planning Board, transit agencies, and members of local transportation groups.  Once a preferred consultant is selected, City staff will finalize the scope and budget and return to the City Council for approval of a consultant contract.  The RFP and selection process is likely to take approximately four to six months and the consultant contract is likely to take 12 to 18 months to complete.
Review and comment on the recommended approach to the citywide transportation delivery strategy.
Respectfully submitted,
Jennifer Ott, Chief Operating Officer - Alameda Point
1.      Presentation on Recommended Approach to Citywide Transportation Delivery Strategy
2.      City of Alameda Transportation Element