Circulation Element

The City’s Circulation Element is one of eight (8) mandatory elements of the Arroyo Grande General Plan and identifies the general location and extent of existing and proposed major roads, transit routes, terminals, and public utilities and facilities and seeks to make policies governing circulation consistent with the Land Use Element. The Circulation Element sets standards for developing streets and highways, levels of service, multi-modal circulation, and transportation systems. It also coordinates land use and circulation and provides the basis for planning and prioritizing transportation improvement projects and funding.

Significant work has been completed over the past several years, as time and resources permitted, that inform the Circulation Element update, including preparation of existing transportation conditions, corridor and operational studies, transportation model updates, and initial draft policies.

The updated Circulation Element has come a long way from the previous 8-page Circulation Element of 2001 with a single map (See Attachment D).  Some of the proposed changes to the Circulation Element update are highlighted below. 

  • Level of Service (LOS) Policy changing threshold to LOS D instead of the previous LOS C
  • New Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) Policy
  • Strengthened multimodal policies throughout, including Complete Streets, Roundabouts, and Safe Routes to Schools Policies
  • Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Policy
  • Refined roadway functional classifications, including renaming “Residential Collector” to “Local Collector”, and defined standard cross-sections
  • Provision for Rights-of-Way for planned roadways and building setback lines policies
  • Safety Policy to periodically update the Local Roadway Safety Plan (LRSP)
  • Neighborhood Traffic Management policies
  • Refined parking policies
  • New Improvement maps, including separate maps for different travel modes
  • Refined multimodal improvements beyond the current Bicycle & Trails Master Plan (i.e. Class IV Bikeways, mid-block pedestrian crossings)
  • The need to update the Bicycle & Trails MP in the form of an Active Transportation Plan
  • Incorporated an Existing Conditions Background Report and summary text within CE
  • Provides an updated list of major circulation improvements for roadways, intersections and interchange improvements.

To provide guidelines and procedures for future multimodal traffic impact study submissions, a set of guidelines needs to be established to provide comprehensive, clear and consistent analyses for all development projects within the City.  As part of the Circulation Element Update, GHD was also tasked with preparing the Traffic Study Guidelines (Attachment E), which establish standards for technical studies consistent with the latest applicable planning and engineering methodologies, standards, and analysis procedures. These guidelines will also establish protocol for pre-approval of project-specific technical assumptions in a Memorandum of Assumptions (MOA) with the intent of streamlining applicant-side workflow by avoiding duplicative work between draft and final multimodal transportation impact study submissions.

What's New

The following documents were adopted by the City Council on July 27, 2021:

Circulation Element

Initial Study - Mitigated Negative Declaration 

Multimodal Transportation Impact Study Guidelines 

The City of Arroyo Grande updated the Circulation Element and it was adopted by the City Council on July 27th, 2021. Further, recent legislation has driven changes in the way local governments approach transportation and the types of solutions available. The adoption of the update took the following new legislation into account: 

• The Complete Streets Act (AB 1358) 

• Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)/(SB 32) 

• The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) and the completion of Sustainable Communities Strategies 

• CEQA Streamlining for infill projects (SB 226) 

• A shift in CEQA transportation metric away from Level of Service (LOS) to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) (SB 743)

What is the Circulation Element?

The Circulation Element is not simply a transportation plan, but rather a strategy addressing multiple infrastructure needs for the circulation of people, goods, and utilities. By statute, the Circulation Element must correlate directly with the Land Use Element, but also has direct relationships with other elements. The provisions of a Circulation Element affect a community’s physical, social, and economic environment, as well as its health.