The average number of left turns on Bolsa Road onto southbound Highway 25 have declined from 125 cars per hour to 10 since the implementation of a pilot program restricting the maneuver during peak hours, according to a Caltrans draft field report dated March 12.
In August, Caltrans implemented a no-left-turn program from Bolsa Road onto Highway 25 from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Caltrans identified the Bolsa Road intersection—which motorists use to circumvent traffic at the 101/25 onramp—as one of the main causes of congestion and collisions on Highway 25.
According to the latest report, Caltrans conducted six Turning Movement Counts (TMCs). The most left turns were recorded Aug. 10-14, the first week of the program, and the least amount of turns were recorded Jan. 25-29.
TMC data was collected for five consecutive days between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. every 15 minutes, but the report only includes data collected between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
In the first week of the program, as many as 161 cars were making left turns from Bolsa Road during the peak hour, joining about 1,200 other motorists on Highway 25.
With the restriction on Bolsa Road, the report states motorists were forced to use Highway 25 without the option of bypassing traffic through Bolsa Road. The average vehicle counts increased on Highway 25 from 1,202 to 1,302 during the peak hour. Average traffic counts turning left on Bloomfield Avenue from Highway 25 also decreased from 125 to 67.
At the March 10 Mobility Partnership meeting between the two local transportation agencies, the Council of San Benito County Governments and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Nick Saleh with Caltrans District 4 said that the program has resulted in more than a 90% reduction in left turns from Bolsa Road.
“We need to make a decision soon if we are going to keep the restriction,” Saleh said, adding that he hoped to keep the restriction in place.
The program began as a six-month pilot study of ways to ease congestion on Highway 25.
According to the draft report, Caltrans will install a bigger No Left Turn sign—48 by 48 inches— to improve its visibility.
A seventh TMC was planned for Feb. 8-12 but its results were not included in the report (see PDF).
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