Circulation Element

The City’s Circulation Element is one of eight (8) mandatory elements of the Arroyo Grande General Plan and identifies the general location and extent of existing and proposed major roads, transit routes, terminals, and public utilities and facilities and seeks to make policies governing circulation consistent with the Land Use Element. The Circulation Element sets standards for developing streets and highways, levels of service, multi-modal circulation, and transportation systems. It also coordinates land use and circulation and provides the basis for planning and prioritizing transportation improvement projects and funding.

Significant work has been completed over the past several years, as time and resources permitted, that inform the Circulation Element update, including preparation of existing transportation conditions, corridor and operational studies, transportation model updates, and initial draft policies.

The updated Circulation Element has come a long way from the previous 8-page Circulation Element of 2001 with a single map (See Attachment D).  Some of the proposed changes to the Circulation Element update are highlighted below. 

  • Level of Service (LOS) Policy changing threshold to LOS D instead of the previous LOS C
  • New Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) Policy
  • Strengthened multimodal policies throughout, including Complete Streets, Roundabouts, and Safe Routes to Schools Policies
  • Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Policy
  • Refined roadway functional classifications, including renaming “Residential Collector” to “Local Collector”, and defined standard cross-sections
  • Provision for Rights-of-Way for planned roadways and building setback lines policies
  • Safety Policy to periodically update the Local Roadway Safety Plan (LRSP)
  • Neighborhood Traffic Management policies
  • Refined parking policies
  • New Improvement maps, including separate maps for different travel modes
  • Refined multimodal improvements beyond the current Bicycle & Trails Master Plan (i.e. Class IV Bikeways, mid-block pedestrian crossings)
  • The need to update the Bicycle & Trails MP in the form of an Active Transportation Plan
  • Incorporated an Existing Conditions Background Report and summary text within CE
  • Provides an updated list of major circulation improvements for roadways, intersections and interchange improvements.

To provide guidelines and procedures for future multimodal traffic impact study submissions, a set of guidelines needs to be established to provide comprehensive, clear and consistent analyses for all development projects within the City.  As part of the Circulation Element Update, GHD was also tasked with preparing the Traffic Study Guidelines (Attachment E), which establish standards for technical studies consistent with the latest applicable planning and engineering methodologies, standards, and analysis procedures. These guidelines will also establish protocol for pre-approval of project-specific technical assumptions in a Memorandum of Assumptions (MOA) with the intent of streamlining applicant-side workflow by avoiding duplicative work between draft and final multimodal transportation impact study submissions.

What's New

The Public Draft of the Circulation Element is available for review. Click here for the document. Please review and provide written comment. 

The Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration is available for review.  Click here for the document.  There is a 30 day public review from April 19,2021 to May 19, 2021.

The Multimodal Transportation Impact Study Guidelines is available and can be here.

2020 Update Process

The City of Arroyo Grande is working on an update to the Circulation Element, due for completion by June 30, 2021. Periodic updates of the Circulation Element are required by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to assure that local governments strive to meet the State’s housing goals. Further, recent legislation has driven change in the way local governments approach transportation and the types of solutions available, including: 

• The Complete Streets Act (AB 1358) 

• Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)/(SB 32) 

• The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) and the completion of Sustainable Communities Strategies 

• CEQA Streamlining for infill projects (SB 226) 

• A shift in CEQA transportation metric away from Level of Service (LOS) to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) (SB 743)

What is the Circulation Element?

The Circulation Element is not simply a transportation plan, but rather a strategy addressing multiple infrastructure needs for the circulation of people, goods, and utilities. By statute, the Circulation Element must correlate directly with the Land Use Element, but also has direct relationships with other elements. The provisions of a Circulation Element affect a community’s physical, social, and economic environment, as well as its health.  


The last comprehensive update to the City’s General Plan occurred in 2001. Since then, several updates have been approved to various elements. The last update to the City’s Circulation Element was the Bicycle and Pedestrian plan in 2012.

A Social Pinpoint Website featuring an interactive map was prepared and available for public input from November 17, 2020 thru February 28, 2021.  Over 75 comments were received and incorporated into the Circulation Element Update.

A draft Circulation Element is available to the public. The draft will be presented to the Planning Commission for comments in April 20, 2021. A final draft will be taken to Planning Commission and City Council for adoption in June 2021.  

A Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration is available for review and comment after April 19, 2021.  The document is posted on this website. There is a 30 day public comment period, which ends on May 19, 2021.  Please provide your written comments to the City Engineer by either mail or email as provided below.

How You Can Help

Residents and local stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the update process. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, public participation and outreach will be restricted to teleconference and various online resources.    

Review the documents as they become available. Let your concerns and comments be heard.

Draft Circulation Element can be reviewed here.

Draft MND can be reviewed here.

We are requesting that all comments be provided in writing by sending an email or written correspondence to the City Engineer as provided below:

                        ATTN: Robin Dickerson, City Engineer                   

                        City of Arroyo Grande

                        Community Development Department

                        300 East Branch Street

                        Arroyo Grande, CA 93420


                        Or email 

For more information, please contact Robin Dickerson, PE, City Engineer at or (805) 473-5441.