SCBC Protecting Cyclists’ Safety on Westside Road

On June 1, 2017,  SCBC’s Executive Director Alisha O’Loughlin testified before the Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Adjustments hearing,  requesting denial of a Discretionary Use Permit Application for a new winery located at 4603 Westside Road. The 8,145 square-foot winery and 2,171 square-foot tasting room (with a 10,000 case annual production and 25 promotional events annually) would generate an average of 153 vehicle trips daily, not including special event traffic.

One primary concern  was that the project’s access driveway would be located between two sharp curves on Westside Road with limited sight lines and minimal stopping distance available, presenting safety concerns for cyclists and other Westside Road users. These safety issues would be exacerbated during special events should cars begin queuing on Westside Road while waiting to enter the winery property. Other concerns raised by members of the public included impacts on groundwater and adjacent well supplies,over-saturation of wineries within the project area, and associated cumulative impacts.

The traffic study completed for the project used stopping distance criteria to determine whether the project’s driveway intersection would be safe. The traffic study concluded that the stopping distance available would be adequate for drivers to see and react to a vehicle exiting the driveway, assuming the driver would immediately see the obstacle and react in time.  SCBC urged that the project applicant be required to use more conservative decision sight distance criteria for several reasons: Westside Road is a very popular bicycle route; drivers on this scenic roadway may be distracted by the many local attractions; and some drivers are likely to be alcohol impaired.

We’re happy to report that the Planning Commission took a 5-0 straw vote to deny the Use Permit and Design Review and to continue the item to the July 6, 2017 meeting to take action on the Resolution for denial with findings. The Zoning Board’s decision can still be appealed to the Board of Supervisors. SCBC will continue to closely follow this project to help ensure maximum safety for cyclists.