Traffic

Will the traffic study for the Portola Center project include a 20-year projection of traffic conditions? 

Bottom-Line Answer
Yes. The traffic study includes an analysis of traffic impacts from this project 20 years from now.

Technical Answer
The traffic study analyzed impacts in the 2030 timeframe consistent with the timeframes analyzed in the Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) prepared for the OSA General Plan and Zoning Amendments.

How will the traffic impacts from the project be determined?
 
Bottom-Line Answer
To determine traffic impacts from the project, the project applicant prepared a traffic study for submittal to the city. The traffic study was included in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and was available to the public for review and comment.

Technical Answer
The city required that the project applicant retain a licensed civil engineer or traffic engineer to prepare and submit a traffic study. The traffic study analyzed the proposed project’s potential to generate significant traffic impacts on surrounding roads; and identified measures which were appropriate and necessary to mitigate those impacts, if any, to less than significant levels. To ensure that school-related traffic was taken into consideration, the traffic study included data collected while school was in session and estimates for school-related traffic from the proposed project were analyzed.

Ultimately, the traffic study was incorporated into the Environmental Impact Report. The submitted traffic study was reviewed by city staff and its consultant team prior to incorporation into the Environmental Impact Report.

Will parking be allowed on Glenn Ranch Road after the development is completed?
 
Bottom-Line Answer

The proposed project does not include parking on Glenn Ranch Road.

Technical Answer
The City currently prohibits parking along all arterial roadways, including Glenn Ranch Road, with a few occasional exceptions. The Portola Center project did not propose modifications to these parking restrictions.

How will pedestrians cross Glenn Ranch Road to access the new proposed Portola Center Park?
 
Bottom-Line Answer

Pedestrians will most likely cross Glenn Ranch Road via marked crosswalks and button-activated crossing signals, as they do today. The final traffic study will include recommendations on the pedestrian crossing system and recommend changes if necessary.

Technical Answer
The Glenn Ranch Road / Saddleback Ranch Road intersection currently provides marked pedestrian crosswalks and button-activated pedestrian crossing signals. Changes may be made to the locations of the marked crosswalks, the timing of traffic/crossing signals and/or other intersection design features as necessary to optimize pedestrian safety at this intersection in conjunction with the proposed project. Changes, if any, would be based on current highway design standards, the recommendations in the final traffic study and evaluations performed by the city's Public Works Department and consultant team. In addition, the sidewalk access ramps will be upgraded to current standards.

Will the new project include construction of dedicated turning lanes on Saddleback Ranch Road and Glenn Ranch Road?
 
Bottom-Line Answer

The project proposes for southbound traffic at the intersection of Saddleback Ranch Road and Glenn Ranch Road, a dedicated left turn lane, a through lane and a dedicated right turn lane with a median separating through traffic from the right turn lane. This would allow vehicles making a right turn to proceed without stopping on to Glenn Ranch Road and then merge into traffic. The configuration is similar to what is in place at the intersection of Glenn Ranch Road and Portola Parkway.

Technical Answer
The current project proposal provides for a dedicated left turn and a "free" right turn lane serving southbound Saddleback Ranch Road traffic at the Glenn Ranch Road intersection. This "free" right turn lane would provide for vehicles to yield and merge on to Glenn Ranch Road with no forced stop.
Pursuant to a development agreement that was negotiated and approved (in 2008) by the city with input from Portola Hills residents, the project developer was required to prepare and submit a traffic study which considers the pros and cons of providing a free right turn lane. The traffic study concluded that the free-right turn lane would not create impacts and as such, the free right turn lane was incorporated into the project.

What are City standards for the design of roads, intersections, and traffic control devices?
 
Bottom-Line Answer

Lake Forest has adopted the Orange County Highway Design Manual and the Caltrans Highway Design Manual as the basic standard for our roadway design. city engineers use industry standards for such elements as street lights, traffic signage and other features which enhance traffic flow.

Technical Answer
The City has adopted the Orange County Highway Design Manual and the Caltrans Highway Design Manual as its standards for roadway design. In addition, the city's professional engineers utilize other industry standards such as the California Manual of Traffic Control Devices. The City also relies on the expertise of its in-house professional staff and licensed engineers who work for the City as consultants. Relying first on the standards noted above, required stopping and site distances may vary based on several factors, including expected roadway speed, curvature and street grades.

Who pays for all the traffic improvement or mitigation for this project?

 
Bottom-Line Answer

The developer will pay for any necessary mitigation to impacts identified during the environmental analysis.

Technical Answer
The Lake Forest Transportation Mitigation Program (LFTM) is being applied to the Portola Center project. LFTM is a fee program developed to fund improvements to approximately 18 specific intersections city-wide and within the cities of Irvine, Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo. The Portola Center project developer is required to pay LFTM fees.

How will access be provided for future residents to the different areas of the project?

 
Bottom-Line Answer

Based on the current proposal:
  • Residents of the northwest project area (i.e., the area south of Millwood Road and west of Malabar) would access their neighborhood via a new street intersecting with Saddleback Ranch Road, north of Glenn Ranch Road.
  • Residents of the northeast project area (i.e., south of Malabar and east of Saddleback Road) would access their neighborhood via a new street intersecting with Glenn Ranch Road.
  • The project area south of Glenn Ranch Road would be accessed via an extension of Saddleback Ranch Road and a new 4-way signalized intersection located approximately 1,800 feet easterly of Saddleback Ranch Road. This intersection would also provide access to the homes east of Saddleback Ranch Road.
Technical Answer
Saddleback Ranch Road is anticipated to be via a new street intersecting with Saddleback Ranch Road. The project proposes the future intersection where a stub access currently exists.
 
 Access to the portion of the Portola Center Development located south of Malabar and east of Saddleback Ranch Road will be via a new street intersecting with Glenn Ranch Road. 
 
The portion of the project south of Glenn Ranch Road will be accessed via the existing intersection of Glenn Ranch Road and Saddleback Ranch Road, and a second access further east on Glenn Ranch Road, at the same intersection which provides access to the homes on the north side of Glenn Ranch Road.

The Portola Center Project is proposed in a high fire danger area. How will emergency egress/ingress occur should evacuation become necessary?
 
Bottom-Line Answer

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) has reviewed the project as proposed and has concluded that there will be adequate ingress/egress based on the number of homes. OCFA requires a minimum of two access points for the northeast project area.

The Orange County Sherriff’s Department and OCFA has prepared evacuation procedures for the Portola Hills area. If you would like more information on this plan, please contact Jim Wren, Lake Forest Public Safety Manager at jwren@lakeforestca.gov or (949) 282-5215.

Technical Answer

The Portola Center project plans have been reviewed by the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), which has primary responsibility for ensuring that the project is designed to minimize the potential for fire-related threats to public safety. This includes ensuring that the project provides adequate emergency ingress / egress routes, based on the number of dwelling units served and other site-specific factors. OCFA is requiring that a minimum of 2 access ways be provided to serve the northeasterly portion of the proposed development, one of which may be emergency access only. In addition, OCFA will require that the project developer submit a Fuel Modification Plan and a Fire Master Plan for review and approval, and to demonstrate compliance with numerous and varied standards and criteria for fire and life safety (fire sprinklers, fire hydrants, etc.). It should also be noted that the Orange County Sheriff's Department, in coordination with OCFA, has prepared a specific evacuation plan for the Portola Hills area. For more information on this plan, please contact Jim Wren, Public Safety Manager.

How are speed limits set in Lake Forest?
 
Bottom-Line Answer

The process to set speed limits in Lake Forest is the exact same process used by every other jurisdiction in California. By state law, speed limits are generally set at the “85th percentile” speed of vehicles on a given roadway segment. The speed limit is based on a number of factors, including the speed of vehicles traveling the roadway, accident history, roadway conditions, traffic characteristics, and surrounding land uses.

Technical Answer
The process to set speed limits in Lake Forest is the exact same process used by every other jurisdiction in California. To establish speed limits on local streets, and then enforce those limits using radar or other speed measuring devices, the State of California requires an Engineering and Traffic Survey. When setting speed limits, the city’s Engineering Staff is required by law to use the methods outlined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC) with guidance provided by the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD, 2012).

The speed limit is based on a number of factors, including the speed of vehicles traveling the roadway, accident history, roadway conditions, traffic characteristics, and surrounding land uses. By state law, speed limits are generally set at the “85th percentile” speed of vehicles on a given roadway segment. These speeds are usually collected via radar speed guns that target those cars that are free flowing (not delayed by traffic).

How is the City identifying and analyzing traffic issues associated with the Portola Center project? Who is the responsible traffic engineer? Who reviews the traffic engineer’s reports? 

Bottom-Line Answer

The process to identify and analyze traffic issues is largely dictated by traffic engineering industry practices. This process, applied to all projects in the city, is the same 1 that is being followed for the Portola Center project. The process begins with the Portola Center Traffic Study based on the city’s Traffic Model (approved by the Orange County Transportation Authority), which identifies and analyzes traffic issues. A traffic engineer hired by the Portola Center development team prepares the study. Traditionally, there is at least 1 peer review conducted by the city’s traffic division. In the case of Portola Center, 2 additional peer reviews will be conducted: 1 by the city’s environmental consultant; and, another by a second city consultant, Stantec Consulting.

Technical Answer
The process to identify and analyze traffic issues is largely dictated by traffic engineering industry practices. This process, applied to all projects in the city, is the same one that is being followed for the Portola Center project. The Portola Center development project is part of the City’s Opportunity Studies Area (OSA). The creation of the OSA triggered the development of the City's Traffic Model, approved by the Orange County Transportation Authority. Stantec Consulting manages the Traffic Model on behalf of the City.

The City’s Traffic Model, which serves as the foundation for the Portola Center Traffic Study and all the other OSA developments, is a tool used to identify and analyze traffic issues within the city. The first step in the process required the Portola Center development team to hire a traffic engineer to prepare a traffic study that relies on objective data collected consistent with established standards in the field of traffic engineering. The developer’s traffic engineer then provided Stantec project data as inputs for the model. Stantec analyzed the data and used the Traffic Model to calculate traffic volumes and predict traffic patterns. The developer’s engineer then compiled this information, reviewed the data for impacts to the roadway system, and made recommendations for improvements to the roadway in order to mitigate any issues that may develop as part of the development. While the traffic study included information regarding impacts to surrounding intersections during construction and post construction, it was not required to analyze or mitigate existing adverse conditions. However, the city recognized the importance of these issues to the surrounding community and proactively analyzed impacts to surrounding intersections and roadway segments during construction and post construction.