A recent joint Berkeley Lab and City of Berkeley traffic study
on one of the city's busiest corridors has found that drivers going to and from the
Laboratory represent a significantly smaller proportion of the traffic flow than had
previously been assumed.
According to the "origin-destination" study, conducted on Sept. 22,
Laboratory-related trips accounted for less than seven percent of all traffic passing
along the Warring Street corridor at the southeast corner of the Berkeley campus. Some
city officials and neighborhoods had been assuming that as much as 30 percent of the
traffic was attributable to Laboratory business.
"This is good news," said Rich McClure, facilities planner at the Laboratory.
"It reflects the Laboratory's commitment to and success in developing transportation
alternatives which support our environmental stewardship, as well as our positive
relations with our neighbors."
Added McClure, "The BART-bus shuttle combination, plus increased car pooling
incentives, improved bicycle accommodations, expanded pedestrian access, and the
installation of a card-key scanner at the Grizzly Gate are contributors to a reduced
Laboratory impact on the Warring corridor."
The Belrose/Derby/Warring corridor is busy most of the day, as it provides direct
access between central and northern Berkeley and points south, including the
Claremont/Ashby junction and the access roads to Highways 13 and 24.
An estimated 20,000 cars pass through the corridor on any given day. Even though that
represents about 5,000 fewer cars than the average counted 11 years ago, the busiest times
of the day still tend to clog traffic due to winding streets and stop signs.
During a 12-hour period on one typical Wednesday in September, driversósix at a
timeówere asked to divert briefly into queues, set up both northbound and southbound, and
answer 45-second questionnaires about their trips. A total of 1,342 surveys were conducted
in the northbound direction, and 1,415 in the southbound direction.
At the end of the day, Berkeley Lab accounted for 6.8 percent of the northbound traffic
and 4.1 percent of the southbound traffic. During the peak morning commute (8 to 9 a.m.),
the Laboratory was the destination of 12 percent of all northbound drivers; for the peak
evening commute (4:45 to 5:45 p.m.), it was the origin of 6.9 percent of the southbound
By contrast, the Berkeley campus was the destination point for 37 percent of the
northbound drivers and the origin point of 27 percent of the southbound drivers. During
peak commute times, proportions of the traffic going to or coming from Cal accounted for
79 percent in the morning and 54 percent in the evening.
Drivers going to and from North Berkeley and downtown Berkeley accounted for the
largest percentage of non-University traffic traversing the corridor during the day.
Other general findings reported in the survey include:
- Southbound traffic is significantly heavier than northbound traffic.
- About 61 percent of southbound drivers take Tunnel Road eastbound after traveling
through the corridor.
- Overall traffic volumes have declined over the past decade on this corridor.
- 56 percent of peak-hour southbound drivers have a local destination in Berkeley, Oakland
- Single-occupant vehicles predominate.
- Almost 75 percent of the drivers indicated they used this corridor at least two or three
times a week.
McClure said the survey information will be used by the city in its transportation
planning activities. The effort was conducted by Fehr and Peers Associates of Lafayette.
It was the first of its kind at that location in 20 years and had the support of the
City of Berkeley Planning and Police departments. The city Transportation Commission was