Published February 17, 1998
Volume 6, Number 2

Chris Kinzel of TJKM Transportation Consultants Urges Refocusing to a Regional Vision of Growth, Development

Chris Kinzel
Chris D. Kinzel, P.E., with the TJKM archives. Here are copies of the
company's reports dating back to 1974.

It could be said that Chris Kinzel is going places. However, it would also be accurate to say that Kinzel, president of TJKM Transportation Consultants, helps other people go places.

"We provide traffic engineering consulting services for a variety of clients, including cities, counties, congestion management agencies, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and a lot of private sector people," he says. "Right now, about 60 percent of our work is private sector, and our clients would typically be developers or other civil firms, architects, and environmental firms." 

Kinzel founded the firm with three partners in 1974, when the firm the four previously worked for ceased operations. Now, with literally thousands of projects under his belt, Kinzel finds that one of his favorite activities involves utilizing that collected experience to help shape the future of the region through his work with various business and civic groups. 

"I think there's an important role for the private sector in helping to shape and direct and, to a certain extent, lead the way in terms of where we're going as a region," he says. 

Kinzel heads the Transportation Committee of the Tri-Valley Business Council and is active in the Economic Development Committee of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. 

"These are groups that are not just watchdog groups; they're trying to take the initiative and to help out, to see things go in the right direction."

Kinzel recently attended a retreat for the board of directors of the Tri-Valley Business Council at which the members began to develop a vision for the future of the Tri-Valley.

"We're becoming the home of a lot of interesting and cutting-edge types of businesses: software, telecommunications, medical. These people have needs for employees and they're competing with firms not only elsewhere in the Bay Area but also all over the country. 

"It's a little self serving, but they're really trying to create an atmosphere and an environment that's a positive place. That works out to everybody's benefit. We don't want congestion, we don't want homes crowded up on the hills, bad air quality and bad schools, overcrowded hospitals and all those sorts of things."

Kinzel addresses these same issues in a professional capacity as well. TJKM is responsible for the Pleasanton traffic model, which the City now employs as one of its primary planning tools.

One of the conditions originally placed on Hacienda's developers was that traffic conditions at over 30 intersections in town had to be analyzed with the construction of each new building. 

"We were doing so much of that, we automated the process, and the result was the Pleasanton traffic model," he says. The software was eventually acquired by the City, which has expanded and enhanced it. "It's now used not only to evaluate projects, but also to evaluate the build out of the General Plan and in analyzing proposed land use changes."

TJKM has also played a key role in the progress of the I-680 expansion project which would add a carpool lane to the freeway between Pleasanton and Milpitas. 

The firm was selected to study the situation with hopes of coming up with a quick and economical solution, such as restriping the existing pavement to add a lane. Kinzel's group found that additional construction would be necessary to add a carpool lane to the freeway, and prepared a plan which included construction of the new lane.

This project, which Caltrans estimates at $75 million, has been accepted by the various counties and congestion management agencies and awaits funding. 

"If all goes well, it may be known in the next two to three months if the funds are going to be placed in the 1998 State Transportation Improvement Plan," he says. 

He hopes for a speedy resolution. "Unfortunately, the problem developed so recently and so quickly that it hasn't had time to work its way through the process, like most projects do." 

Perhaps with the type of long term planning Kinzel advocates, such problems will be avoided in the future. 


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