April 6, 2002
A member of the Johnson County South Coalition (JCSC) had just finished writing a letter about the poorly prepared traffic studies done by TranSystems Corporation. The fear was that this same consultant had now been hired to prepare the traffic study for the Metcalf and 159th SE rezoning and development. Just then, her son walked in the door and said someone was doing traffic counts at Metcalf and 159th. The reason her son could walk in the door on Friday was that school was out - there would be no parents or students driving to and from school. A major component of traffic in the area would be excluded from the traffic counts.
This is typical behavior for Transystems. On previous studies done by this consultant the JCSC had discovered:
- Traffic Study #1, June 2000: This study did not include any school traffic, since it was done in the summer. The Enrollment at Blue Valley High School that August was 1,700 students plus an approximately 150 staff. The consultant was forced to re-do the study.
- Traffic Study # 2, December 2000: On the Accident History: included accidents in years 1997, 1998 & 1999.
- Metcalf was closed for 16 months in this timetable.
- When counting accidents, consultant neglected to include County accidents, "forgetting" that 159th Street is one half county and one half City.
- Traffic Study #3, September 13, 2001
Overland Park and the Consultant were out counting cars on this date from 7:10 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. This did not take into consideration the High School traffic once again. Since it was late arrival:
The traffic engineers had already packed up by the time the High School students and staff would be arriving to the schools.
- BVW started at 9:00 a.m
- BVHS started at 9:20 a.m.
But there is more.
After JCSC members themselves had caught such egregious errors as those above, the JCSC hired a consultant to review the last study. In spite of the fact the JCSC was not provided the entire set of data for the study and could provide only the final report to the consultant, he found even more errors in his review of the study:
- The Wal-Mart consultants were supposed to give an estimate of traffic for the Wal-Mart SuperCenter gas pumps. So they used figures from the 1970's for Mom and Pop gas stations, which are significantly lower volume than recent studies show for large, discount center gas bays.
- The consultants made an assumption that people would come into the Wal-Mart one way, but take a much harder and longer route to leave, rather than go back the way they had come. This seemed like an odd assumption to make. Except this brought down the traffic estimate for a critical intersection on Metcalf.