Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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Study: Marin to experience worst traffic delays from sea level rise

By Will Houston, Marin Independent Journal, August 7, 2020

“Marin County and the North Bay could see the worst traffic delays in the Bay Area as highways become more prone to flooding, according to a new Stanford University study.

Published August 5th in the Science Advances peer-reviewed journal, the study assessed how a combination of sea-level rise, tides and storm surges in the next 20 years would affect the Bay Area’s existing traffic jams if left unaddressed.

“While the North Bay doesn’t have the most flooding compared to other areas, the flooding occurs at critical connection points where few if any alternative routes exist, said study coauthor Jenny Suckale, an assistant geophysics professor at Stanford.

“Suckale said a common sentiment among communities that aren’t close to the coasts such as Santa Rosa did not feel they would experience as acute a traffic delay compared to areas more prone to flooding. However, the study found these areas would be some of the hardest hit by traffic delays, especially affecting workers who are already making long commutes.

“Anne Richman, executive director of the county’s traffic congestion management agency, the Transportation Authority of Marin, said that while she has not fully reviewed the Stanford study, the overall findings are not completely surprising based on past studies by the county and Caltrans.

“ ‘It’s important to keep in mind that this is a regional problem, we need regional solutions,’ Suckale said. ‘You can’t do it piece by piece.’ ”

Read the full article here.

Read Stanford’s press release summarizing the research here.

Return to the September issue here.