Street projects serve region

City studies cut through traffic

City Hall has commissioned two studies of traffic on Morgan Hill roads—one confirming that a large portion of commuters are cutting through from other areas every day, and one identifying significant infrastructure improvements needed at five of the busiest intersections in town. 

The intersection study, completed by Mott MacDonald, offered suggestions for infrastructure improvements. The cut-through traffic study looked at 34 roads during peak traffic hours in the morning and the evening, to identify which roads are most used by commuters driving through Morgan Hill on their way to and from other communities in the region; this study was done by Hexagon Transportation Consultants.

Both studies were expected to be presented to the council at its Sept. 18 meeting, after the Times’ print deadline. The studies were conducted at a time when local residents and officials throughout the Bay Area are increasingly concerned about the region’s transportation woes, most vividly illustrated by growing traffic congestion. 

The cut-through traffic study analyzed the impacted roadways on weekdays between the hours of 7am and 9am and 4pm and 6pm from 2017 to 2018.

The city wanted to look into the impact that cut-through traffic has on Morgan Hill’s roads. “City staff is concerned that the additional capacity generated by future roadway improvements would simply be used by more regional cut-through rather than to serve local residents,” said the study.

Overall, the study expected that planned roadway improvements in the city, like the rerouting of Hale Avenue, would lead to less traffic for local residents. 

The roadway improvements already expected to take place that will alleviate some of the traffic are the Hale Avenue extension to DeWitt Avenue, and a signal coordination effort along Monterey Road, Watsonville Road/Butterfield Boulevard, Cochrane Road, Tennant Avenue and Dunne Avenue.

Butterfield Boulevard, Condit Road and Murphy Avenue had the highest percentages of cut-through traffic during morning commute hours. The Hexagon study organized the roads by percentages, and the three roads all tallied 30 percent or higher in their share of cut-through traffic originating outside Morgan Hill during the peak commute hours.

Cut-through traffic rates were lower during the nighttime commute. Monterey Road, DeWitt Avenue, Cochrane Road and Sunnyside Avenue all came in at 21 percent or above for cut-through traffic.

subhed: Intersections need improvement

The intersection study conducted by Mott MacDonald looked at five intersections within the city: Condit Road and East Dunne Avenue;  Butterfield Boulevard and Tennant Avenue; Monterey Road and Main Avenue; Butterfield Boulevard and East Dunne Avenue; and the intersection at Monterey Road, West Edmundson Avenue and Tennant Avenue.

Mott MacDonald made a series of suggestions to improve the intersections which included restriping, widening turn lanes, repaving, replacing signs, lengthening lanes and improving pedestrian signals. 

The study also said the city should consider bike lane improvements and video detection at all intersections.

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