Pursuant to Senate Bill 743 the City of Petaluma is transitioning to a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) metric to assess environmental impacts. Historically, the City of Petaluma has used level of service (LOS) methodology to assess traffic operations and analyze environmental impacts for projects in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In 2013, Senate Bill 743 established new legislation mandating a change to the CEQA Guidelines (Section 15064.3), which replaces the LOS metric with a VMT metric. The shift from LOS to VMT focuses on regional traffic patterns and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rather than vehicle delays on local roadway networks.
The City is in contract with Fehr & Peers to guide the transition from LOS to VMT and develop a Petaluma specific VMT model, which will rely on regional data from the Sonoma County model provided by Sonoma County Transit Agency (SCTA). The SCTA model calibration is being finalized and Fehr & Peers is developing parameters for a Petaluma specific VMT model (travel demand model). Draft VMT baseline information, metrics, methodology, screening levels, thresholds and mitigation measures will be prepared and presented to a Technical Advisory Committee for review and feedback. Input will also be solicited from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Transit Advisory Committee. Input received will be incorporated into a Final VMT Report, which will be presented to decision makers including at least one public hearing before the Planning Commission and City Council.