Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Costco Traffic Update

When the Alliance helped to defeat the proposed BJs Warehouse club on Brush Avenue in the Bronx we forwarded the following traffic analysis (information that demonstrated just how developer-driven "analyses" low ball actual traffic generated) that became the linchpin of the successful opposition:

Estimating the Annual Travel Associated with BJ’s

The BJ’s traffic analysis reports average weekday volumes of 6,223 and average
Saturday volumes of 7,608 vehicles per day (parked vehicles only, no trucks, no-drop
offs). However, these volumes are based on counts taken at the Long Island BJ’s in July,
2003 when, according to the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation
Manual shopper volume is approx. 86% of annual average volume. Moreover, the Long
Island BJ’s is smaller than the one proposed for the Bronx. Adjusting the reported
volumes for these two oversights increases volumes by 39%.

In addition, the ITE Trip Generation Manual (page 1336) provides insight about
the weekly and seasonal operating characteristics of shopping centers (including discount
centers) that effect the totality of BJ’s annual trip generation. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate
these characteristics. Figure 1 shows the weekly variation of traffic with Friday traffic
20% greater than the weekly average and Saturday 50% greater. On an annual basis,
Figure 2 shows that May and June are about 6% greater than annual averages while
December is about 40% greater. In comparison, the Land Use Institute reports December
volumes more than double average monthly volumes. December Saturday traffic
volumes should be used to establish parking requirements. None of these factors were
considered for the BJ’s traffic analysis.

1 Litman, T., “Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis, Techniques, Estimates and Implications,”

In the final estimate we wrote: "The result is that BJ’s will produce approximately 3.3 million vehicle trips a year. At an average of 3 miles per trip, half on expressways, BJ’s shoppers can be expected to drive nearly 10 million miles a year, much of it concentrated within a couple miles of the intersection of Brush Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard." Now the traffic and shopping patterns will not be the same for Eleventh Avenue, but you can begin to see the magnitude of the problem here. At least the Bronx site was approximate to an expressway.

At the current proposed location there's simply no good access to the site than won't cause massive traffic dislocation and environmental damage. So what we see here, in the mayor's endorsement of the store, is just how Bloomberg represents all of those so-called nasty special interests that he and his followers are constantly inveighing against.


NY1 focuses on the Costco story this morning: "The discount warehouse chain Costco is considering opening a new store along the West Side Highway between West 59th and West 61st streets. It is meeting opposition from some elected officials and critics who don't want Costco competing with local businesses..."