City rethinks road plans beside Soscol

2012-12-20T20:08:00Z 2012-12-20T20:10:44Z City rethinks road plans beside SoscolCHANTAL M. LOVELL Napa Valley Register
December 20, 2012 8:08 pm  • 

Two road projects planned for Gasser Foundation property west of Soscol Avenue may never happen.

According to the city, the extension of Gasser Drive over Tulocay Creek and reconfiguration of the Soscol Avenue and Silverado Trail intersection may no longer be necessary to handle traffic growth.

Financially, this would be good news since both projects were to be paid for in large part using city redevelopment funds that dried up when the state axed redevelopment agencies statewide in February.

Both street projects, part of the Gasser Master Plan adopted in 2007, were initially to be funded by Gasser, then the city would reimburse it over time, covering 85 to 90 percent of costs, said Jason Holley, a senior civil engineer.

The anticipated cost for the Gasser Drive extension is about $5 million, while the reconfiguration of the intersection could cost around $8 million, Holley said.

Lacking redevelopment money, the city has no funding source for reimbursing the developer if either project were to occur, the city said. “It’s not apparent to us where that money might come from,” Holley said.

However, the improvements may no longer be warranted, Holley said. When the city’s traffic circulation plan was written in the late 1990s, traffic in the area would increase at an anticipated 3 percent each year, Holley said.

However, the Soscol and Imola area has seen no increase in traffic in the last decade.

“It certainly calls into question the need for those improvements,” Holley said.

In the coming year, the city plans to review its traffic plan to see which planned improvements are necessary and which are not, Holley said.

“We’re going to be taking a look at our growth projections and all of the items in our circulation and all the street improvements and seeing if they’re still needed,” Holley said.

Holley said the city has more advanced technology with which it can review growth and traffic and will be able to determine if city resources would be better spent on other projects, rather than those once planned in conjunction with the development of Gasser North.

In lieu of having to extend the road and reconfigure the intersection, the developer will pay a traffic mitigation fee to the city, as is the protocol with most other developments. The amount will based on the cost of development on the north end of the property where housing and commercial buildings are planned. The money will go into a city fund to build traffic improvements later.

Commercial development of the south end is underway, with the Century Napa Valley movie theater recently completed and other areas being prepared for stores and offices, the city said.

The City Council unanimously approved the master plan change on Tuesday. Several other points in the plan were also amended to related to smaller infrastructure improvements the developer will make, with no reimbursement from the city.

“This document really is a living document and when we go forward with each step there are often times changes we need to make to reflect the current situation,” Holly said of the plan, which has been amended twice since original approval.

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(1) Comments

  1. gettingreal
    Report Abuse
    gettingreal - December 21, 2012 8:45 am
    They use past traffic to make their decisions, instead of looking at the massive development plan which is Soscol Gateway Corridor. Brilliant!
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