Multi-Modal Study Explained

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

March 26, 2023

The County has clarified what a study of Los Osos Valley Road will entail and the role the public will play in planning the future transportation needs.

Jake Hudson, a transportation planner with SLO County Engineering explained that the Los Osos Valley Road Multi-Modal Corridor Study, which County Supervisors recently increased funding for by some $150,000, will take all the various transportation-related studies and plans and bring them together in one document.

He explained that over the years various projects have been planned along the LOVR corridor from Foothill Boulevard in SLO to Pecho Valley Road in Los Osos. 

These have been drafted, debated and approved under various “plans” like the Community Plan, the Bicycle Plan, Circulation Studies and more. 

“This will be putting pen to paper,” Hudson told Estero Bay News. “This will figure out how these projects fit in with each other. No one’s ever laid it all out yet.”

He said that over time these various studies and planning documents have each dealt with a particular area or mode of transportation. For example when the late Alex Madonna built the Froom Ranch development (Costco and Home Depot) in SLO, he was required to make improvements to the intersection of LOVR and Foothill Boulevard but those improvements weren’t defined and haven’t been done. Hudson said they’ve been discussing the intersection with the City of SLO and whatever those changes shake out to be, will be included in the multi-modal study.

And when the County conducted its bikeways planning, LOVR was one of the main roads cyclists wanted made safer for them.

Hudson explained that what he will head up is a study that pulls together all these working parts into one, cohesive document that future private development proposals can use to design whatever LOVR frontage improvements will be required.

The multi-modal study will be a conceptual product and bring together all the drawings for improvements and restating the purposes for each.

“Specific to the LOVR corridor,” he said, “It will define what the road will look like.”

It will drive the design of frontage improvements but not developments themselves. These various improvements have all been debated and approved along with documents like the Community Plan, the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance and others.

But these planning documents deal with concepts not design details, which would be done when the various concepts move towards actually being built.

He said now that the funding has been approved, the study will get started and the public will play a large part in this, too. He said the County team and an outside consultant, will work with the Los Osos Community Advisory Council (LOCAC) on the parts of the study that are within LOCAC’s area of concern, within the Urban Reserve Line of the town. (Los Osos has an Urban Services Line, which is essentially the boundaries of the Community Services District; and the Urban Reserve Line, the area outside the USL where services are expected expand into in the future.)

“There will be a lot of opportunities for public input,” Hudson said. Included will be a technical committee to work on the study and LOCAC is expected to have a representative along with the County and Council of Governments, which is where the money is coming from, along with other “key stakeholders” on the technical committee. Hudson will be the lead man on the study as well as the County’s public contact person.

Their first steps will be internally, Hudson said, as they get organized. The new study will give a broader picture of what LOVR will look like when all the various parts come together, and will also dictate what private developments will be responsible for — things like storm drainage, sidewalks and paving, among potential others. One area that’s certain to get some attention is the stretch of LOVR from Palisades Avenue to Monarch Grove Elementary School and potential pedestrian improvements.

“It’s one of the more exciting stages” of the study, he said. “This is actually how it’s going to lay out.”

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