The McKean Road Sports Complex
A review of the Second Draft Environmental Impact Report, (EIR)

by Bob Boydston, AVCA Past President

It is only natural that AVCA wishes there would be a suitable place for the Almaden youth to play baseball and soccer, and we would like to support such a venture.  But in our desire to have such a facility, we can not overlook some negative factors that are serious.

The principal negative factor that affects the McKean location is the inadequate water supply.  The two Environmental Impact Reports, (EIR), clearly illustrate this problem.  On page 77 of the first EIR, it was stated that, "the project would result in potentially significant adverse water supply impacts." and drought conditions would contribute to shortages throughout the groundwater sub-basin.

The new EIR, on page 92, states that the two project wells would not have enough capacity to meet the project needs.  This is an operational problem rather than an environmental problem.  Of more interest is the effect of the irrigation on the surrounding water supply.  On page 89 of the new EIR, a slightly weaker statement is made.  It admits that a draw down of neighboring wells would occur, but most wells would not have problems;  but it goes on to say that under drought conditions, the pumping at the site, "may contribute to problems with having adequate ground water across the sub-basin.".  These statements of adverse water effects are weaker than in the first EIR, but the problem still remains.  Based on current project irrigation requirements, this AYA project is risky.

What the first EIR failed to state was what the volume/capacity, (V/C), number for the McKean Road is and what the estimated change would be if the project were approved.  This was called to the attention of the planning department at the time.  The new EIR also omits this information.  I would have to guess that volume of traffic exceeds the road capacity.  The traffic condition of the two-lane McKean Road is of more interest than the Almaden Expressway which was studied intensely, all the way to the Route 85 interchange.

The traffic Level of Service, (LOS), has been modified to ease the requirements.  The old EIR, on page 82, shows the delay times for LOS E and F to be 40 to 60 seconds, and 60 seconds up.  The new EIR, on page 95, shows E and F to be 55 to 80 seconds and 80 seconds up.  Traffic is not going to feel any better, but projects will be easier to justify.  This new LOS definition comes from the 2000 Highway Capacity Manual and is different because as one sees a stop light ahead, one slows down and then stops.  When the light turns green, the car accelerates to get up to speed.  The old method counts only the stop time;  the new method adds the deceleration and acceleration times to the stop times.  Under the old method, the LOS for the Camden/Almaden intersection is shown to be F on page 103 of the old EIR when already approved projects are included.  The new EIR, on page 95, shows the same intersection to be E.  The traffic has not improved.  Using a new method of LOS causes unnecessary confusion.  The LOS determination should have been the same for either method.  It is recommended that for consistency purposes, only the stopped LOS table be used.

One of the alternatives mentioned in the second EIR is to do just five acres for the playing fields instead of thirty-five as planned, but the report states that in times of drought, irrigation may have to be reduced for even the five acres.

Under the conditions reported in the first and second EIRs, AVCA can not support this Almaden Youth Association McKean Road Sports Complex Project.