New Mace Blvd Traffic Study Needed Before Making any More Changes

ChangePicby Alan Pryor

The City is in the midst of trying to formulate a plan to alleviate traffic congestion along the Mace Blvd. Corridor.

Following are excerpts from the Staff  Report presented to the Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission (BT&SSC) for their July 11, 2019 meeting which discusses the traffic congestion on Mace Blvd and the City’s proposed responses.

Traffic Congestion:

Since the project design phase was completed in 2016 and prior to construction, traffic congestion steadily increased along the corridor during the evening peaks, particularly on Thursdays and Fridays. Several factors have converged which explain this condition:

  • Traffic congestion on eastbound Interstate 80 backs up past the Downtown/Richards Blvd exit, sometimes west of State Route 113, resulting in motorists exiting at the Richards off-ramp, bypassing freeway congestion by traveling east on Chiles Road through Mace Blvd, which increases congestion at the Mace Blvd/Chiles Road intersection.
  • The Mace Blvd on-ramps to eastbound Interstate 80 back up, increasing congestion.
  • Mobile and in-car navigation applications re-route freeway traffic in Dixon at the Pedrick Road interchange around the congestion via eastbound Tremont Road and northbound Mace Blvd.”

Whether the fault lies solely in the increased traffic on I-80 or diversions through Davis or the City’s failure to anticipate and account for it is a moot point at this stage. Clearly, the next step must be to get an accurate handle on what traffic flow patterns are now and how they will change in the future. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the Staff Report that provides current estimates of daily and peak traffic counts and how they will change in the future except to say that it will get worse.

“Traffic congestion on Interstate 80 continues to increase, as does the use of navigation applications diverting drivers around it. This technology has also affected Cowell Blvd, Covell Blvd, and Second Street corridors. Given navigation algorithms route drivers based on travel time, peak traffic congestion relief from capacity-increasing design revisions may not endure, long term. That is, routing more cars through the corridor may occur, resulting in similar congestion problems.

Therefore, adjustments to the Mace Blvd corridor should focus on accommodating local traffic demands and movements, while assisting with alleviating out of town “cut through” traffic to the extent possible. Ultimately, the solution rests with either capacity increases on Interstate 80 or other policies to bring highway travel in better alignment with capacity. Separate efforts with Caltrans are underway to examine this issue more closely.”

Any changes in traffic flow in I-80 that may alleviate the congestion problem on Mace are at least a decade ahead of us. CALTRANS might be able to put in some High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes within a 5-year period . But this will only help commuters that carpool get to the bypass a little more quickly. It will do nothing to alleviate the main source of congestion on I-80 which is the bottleneck at the Yolo Bypass Causeway. I’d venture to say that any work to add additional lanes to the Causeway will be at least 10-15 years in the future.

So I believe the City would be foolhardy to just try to solve traffic problems on Mace only by “accommodating local traffic demands and movements, while assisting with alleviating out of town “cut through” traffic to the extent possible” while otherwise praying that CALTRANS can solve the I-80 congestion problem. This is a short-sighted plan especially if the proposed fixes are implemented without a thoroughly vetted updated Traffic Study.

Toward encouraging such an updated traffic study, that end, I submitted the following letter to the Bicycle, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission (BT&SSC) and the City Council concerning the need for a new traffic study to be done on Mace Blvd before implementing any proposed roadway modifications to alleviate the current congestion problems.

______________________________________________

To:    Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission & Davis City Council

From: Alan Pryor

Date:  July16

Re:     Need for a New and Updated Traffic Study for the Mace Blvd. Corridor

Dear Commissioners and Council-members - Following is an edited copy of written comments I left with the BT&SSC at their meeting last week.

The Mace Blvd corridor though the I-80 interchange has become the worst street in Davis in terms of traffic delays and motorist frustration. There are now far more strident complaints about this problem than ever arose about Richards Blvd.-Olive Dr. even during the height of the Nishi 1.0 debate when citizen attention was focused on that problem.

I confess I have not been actively involved in the meetings and discussions surrounding possible Mace Blvd. fixes but still wanted to share one observation I had after reading the Staff Report on the proposed upgrades presented at last week’s BT&SSC meeting. It seems the City’s s proposal is to take an iterative approach to solving the problem. That is, one small change will be made and, after seeing how that works, then another small change will be made and see how that works, etc.

However, there seems to be a key component missing from this process and that is having an updated traffic study of the entire corridor done so real traffic numbers are modeled and evaluated when considering future changes. Although the Mace Blvd. improvements were designed in 2015-16, I believe they were based on traffic counts going back to around 2011. I think a prudent course would be for the City to commission a completely new traffic study on the Mace Blvd. corridor before implementing any new changes at all.

Yes, that will cause delays and be time-consuming. But right now I don’t think the City really has a handle on the scope of the current problem much less how bad it might get in the future. And the City itself acknowledges in the Staff Report that traffic has substantially worsened since the design was approved and WILL get worse in the future if only from increased I-80 traffic alone.

But the 800-lb gorilla in the room that is not being considered is the traffic impacts on Mace Blvd. of any new Aggie Research Campus (ARC). The EIR for that project (done when it was still called the Mace Ranch Innovation Center - MRIC) was certified about 3 years ago but it was similarly based on much older traffic counts circa 2011. How will the thousands of daily trips through the Mace Blvd. – I-80 interchange resulting from the ARC project impact the traffic flow on Mace Blvd that has already become enormously more congested in the past 8 years since the traffic counts were originally done?

I would suggest that any new traffic study done to guesstimate impacts on different Mace Blvd. configuration changes must also look to the future by including both increased I-80 traffic AND increased estimates of traffic as a result of the proposed Aggie Research Complex.

By the City's own admission in the Staff Report, traffic through the Mace Blvd corridor and I-80 has substantially increased in recent years which would constitute a change in circumstance from when the old MRIC EIR was certified with the now-dated traffic counts and obsolete traffic study. Therefore, an updated traffic study of the Mace. Blvd. corridor MUST be done anyway to amend the EIR for ARC if only to avoid litigation if the City otherwise proceed with a Notice of Determination for an EIR which relied on the old traffic data.

If a new traffic study has to be done anyway for the ARC proposal which is expected to be brought forward soon, shouldn’t you consider the results of that study before giving your blessing on any short term proposed Mace Blvd. fixes now?

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Pryor

______________________________________________________

The EIR previously certified by the City for the MRIC project (now ARC) indicated that "Mace Boulevard carries approximately 17,500 vehicles per day according to the traffic counts collected by the City of Davis in April 2011." The EIR also projected that the commercial-only (no housing) option "would generate about 2,600 AM peak hour trips, 2,390 PM peak hour trips, and 17,100 daily trips before considering external trips made by non-auto travel modes." or about doubling the 2011 traffic counts which, by now, are very substantially understated

Clearly adding 17,000 trips per day to the already congested Mace Blvd. corridor could result potentially result in gridlock through the entire Mace Blvd. - I-80 corridor.

The estimates of increased traffic on Mace Blvd. as a result of ARC underscores the need for a thorough and complete traffic study before any short-term fixes are made to Mace Blvd south of Chiles Rd.


Angels Arrive at Roseville Theatre Arts Academy

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Photo: Meghan Leeman

By Marc Valdez

Angels in America is a notable play for the way it examines AIDS and homosexuality in America in the 1980's through the use creative symbolism and is well worth the drive from Davis. This production also features Davis's own Rachel Hoover as Hannah Pitt. Rachel grew up on stage in Davis, performing in 30 shows before leaving for college. She returned to the stage in Davis this past November as Miss Hannigan in "Annie."  

“Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” written by Tony Kushner, is an epic story that starts in December, 1985, with an epilogue set in 1990.  There are two parts of “Angels.” The entire epic spans almost six hours: 2 ½ hours for Part 1, and 3 hours for Part 2.  “Angels” is directed by David Blue Garrison, with set design by Fred Lamora, lighting design by John Evans and special effects by Jennifer Young.

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The Davis community joins the worldwide protest Lights for Liberty

7A1C0631-FD0A-4798-BB11-E4C37D7DEDA8A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps

On Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps, will bring thousands of people to locations worldwide as well as to concentration camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.

Join us at 7 pm at the Central Park in Davis. The local groups who are sponsoring the event include the Davis Phoenix Coalition, Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, the Celebration of Abraham, Safe Yolo and the Yolo County Democratic Party. The event will include speeches, a poetry reading and music.

The Phoenix Coalition will take a free will collection to help raise bond money for people in detention. The donations will be sent to Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Service (RAICES) www.raicestexas.org. Helping immigrants pay bail is the fasted way to help individuals leave the detention camps.


LINDA DEOS RUNS FOR YOLO COUNTY SUPERVISOR

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(From press release) Linda Deos, a consumer protection attorney and small business owner, will run for the 4th Supervisorial District of Yolo County. Her decision came as a result of conversations she had with local residents while exploring a campaign for Davis City Council.

“My focus had been on running for city council again, but as I spoke with neighborhood activists and leaders, I realized that many of the issues they were most passionate about were really county-wide matters,” said Deos.

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Frerichs, Fowl & Facebook

LucasLet’s just say that I’ve never placed a whole lot of stock in officials.

I'm not saying they're all bad, but from my experiences, the so-called power with which they've suddenly been imbued, prevents them from recognizing the true weightiness and purpose of their positions. They forget that they need to maintain the trust of those who elected them, while earning the trust of those who had not.

When such officials misbehave I’m no longer surprised. After all, many of us have had plenty of practice being disappointed by individuals elected to positions they are ill-equipped to fill.

Not being surprised however, does not mean being apathetic – when our elected officials forget that they have been charged with offices of duty and trust, I believe they ought to be reminded.

Which brings me to Mr. Lucas Frerichs, Davis city council member.

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There should be a public buyout of PG&E

By Dov Salkoff

I am in a strange stage of my life. I am unemployed with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, living in my mother’s house. Since moving to Davis, I became more involved with political activism, most of all climate change. I am now driven, every day, by the conviction that there is something fundamentally wrong with this world, and people like me are in a good position to be part of the movement to fix it.

I’ve heard a lot of ideas from Davisites on how to combat climate change, and there is a clear pattern. Electric cars, solar panels, “going vegan” and biking to work peak enthusiasm as ways to reduce emissions, but there is a fatal flaw in these solutions. They leave out the poor and working class. In a survey of eight counties in the Sacramento region, 37% of respondents said they couldn’t afford making personal changes to reduce their environmental impact.

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Interdependence Day

Earth flagBy Colin Walsh
 
It’s time we realize and act upon our interdependence. 
 
During the Cold War they called it mutually assured destruction. If either super power provoked the other and war ensued the result could be complete annihilation of all life on the planet. Each country dependent on the other to not destroy everyone. We were taught to live in fear of our adversaries. We were taught they would kill and or enslave us, and they were taught the same, but in truth we were interdependent for our continued existence. 
 
We have a lot to unlearn.
 
Today with climate change we have a new more active mutually assured destruction. If we don’t start acting together globally we will surprisingly quickly find large parts of the world uninhabitable. Our old "adversaries" must become our allies and we in turn must become their allies in a quest for mutual sustainability. 
 
We are interdependent whether we acknowledge it or not. The migrant and refuge children in camps are our children. It’s time to beat our swords into plow sheers and turn our science and industry of war to a science and industry of global sustainability. If we don't our destruction is mutual and mutually assured.
 
After generations of a scarcity mind set and entrenched camps it won't be easy, but we have to start somewhere.
 
So if you see me today, I may optimistically wish you happy interdependence day. Now you know why.
 
 

Reflections on the Fourth of July in 2019

Declaration-of-IndependenceOn this day, let us not forget what the 4th of July is truly commemorating.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


Davisite Arrested at Peace & Climate Protest 

Fulton smlrBy Colin Walsh

Bath Iron Works, Maine, June 22, twenty-two people were arrested for taking part in a demonstration, among them was Sarah (Sadie) Fulton of Davis. 

Fulton previously challenged Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry as a certified write in candidate in the 2018 election (link). Sadie has been an active member of the Yolo County Green Party and is listed as a contact on the webpage.

Fulton and other protesters were arrested for blocking a public way at a private event christening USS Daniel Inouye, or DDG-118. The Inouye is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named for the late senator from Hawaii. 

The Bath Iron Works shipyard, in operation since 1884, has built a long list of US Naval ships. It is operated by General Dynamics, a major US military contractor. The iron works has been a flash point for antiwar demonstrations for many years.

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Valley Clean Energy board meeting, Thursday, July 11

VCEThe Valley Clean Energy board of directors will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, in the Council Chambers at Woodland City Hall, 300 First St. in Woodland. The meeting is open to the public.

The board — which includes members of the Davis and Woodland city councils and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors — is expected to hear a presentation from a representative of PG&E on the utility’s residential time-of-use rates.

VCE, the local electricity provider, launched a year ago and provides cleaner energy at competitive rates to 55,000 local customers. For more information, visit https://valleycleanenergy.org. To receive agendas by email, sign up at https://valleycleanenergy.org/get-in-touch/.


What Rich Rifkin Doesn’t Understand about Ethnic Studies

Rifkin-ethnic-studiesIn arguing against ethnic studies, he inadvertently demonstrates the need for it.

By Roberta Millstein

When I was in college, I saw little need for Women’s Studies courses.  My thinking was that discussion of important contributions from women should be included throughout the curriculum. 

Some thirty-five years later, they still aren’t.  Neither are the contributions of racial minorities.  Yet some people still sing the same song that I song in college.  They have failed to learn what I  learned the hard way – that change doesn’t just happen on its own, and that sometimes you need what might seem like an imperfect solution in the interim in order to get to the point where you can implement a better solution. 

We need ethnic studies now.  We’re not at the point where we can just integrate the work of racial minorities into the curriculum.  I wish we were there yet, but we’re not.

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Davis Soroptimists give moms a boost

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On June 5, Soroptimists Meredith Sweet, left, and Eda Chen present Terecita Lopez with a $2,500 grant to help her finish her training to become a licensed vocational nurse. Three other women received grants as well.
Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo

Soroptimist International of Davis gave a boost to four local moms on June 5, when it presented $5,000 in Live Your Dream Awards.

(From Press Release)

At a luncheon at Odd Fellows Hall, the service organization presented a $2,500 grant to Terecita Lopez, a $1,000 grant to Brenee Spears, and $500 grants to Samantha Morales and Ngozi Nwoko.

The Live Your Dream Award is a cash grant given to women who are financial heads of their household and pursuing an undergraduate degree or vocational training. The award is a resource for motivated women to improve their education, skills and employment prospects, leading to better lives for themselves and their family.

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Frustration Over Paid Parking Expansions

Paid-parkingNew citizen initiative filed in response

Frustrated by City Hall's insistence on paid parking expansions despite massive popular resistance, friends of downtown and concerned Davisites have filed a citizen's initiative to go on the March 2020 ballot. The proponents of record are Daniel Urazandi and Robert Milbrodt although many people have been involved in drafting the initiative. To become involved yourself come to a campaign organizing meeting at Steve's Pizza 6PM on Thurs June 20.

Public notice from the proponents:

Why an initiative?

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Making Lettuce Happen

LetuceBy Kelley Joseph

I have tried for a few seasons to grow lettuces and failed several times and this year was the first year I managed to make it happen. SO I wanted to share some tips that made the difference in case anyone here has struggled with it or is interested in adding it. I’m by no means an expert, so that means 1. If I can do it, you can do it too 2. Feel encouraged to add more advice if you have had your own success with it 3. This is definitely a hacking together and not an expensive professional set up so don’t be intimidated or think it takes a lot of complicated gear.

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Overheard at Cindy's

CindysBy Carey Ann Hunt

            “I don’t think my future girlfriend would appreciate the fact that I drive 90 mph every chance I get. So, considering that, I try to slow down to 65 every time I notice how fast I’m going.” He is a tall slender young man, wearing a black San Francisco tee-shirt, and fine rimmed glasses. He chatted to his friend, a young woman with a grown out bob pulled back into two pony tails. They sat across from each other in a booth, on the Chiles’ side of the restaurant. Piano music played in the background. It was a slow Tuesday evening at Cindy’s.

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A Tour of The Sustainable Living and Learning Communities

A IMG_8406A future focused interdisciplinary institution grows from the deep roots of UC Davis’s alternative communities.

By Colin Walsh

In an earlier article we discussed the new SLLC that binds together the Student Farm, The Experimental Community Gardens, the Domes, Design Lab workspace, and Project Compost and the Tri Co-ops (Pierce, The Agrarian Effort, and Davis Student Co-op). What had been distinct learning communities with similar values and commitment to student agency, are now a unified grassroots educational initiative that explores a broad range of principles and practices related to agricultural, environmental, and social sustainability. Together, they aspire to promote 4 values, according to the SLLC website: experiential learning, sustainability, community, and place.

We also looked at the Green Fellowship program, a new effort to “fund projects exploring student-led advancement of social justice, sustainable technology, and environmental sustainability at UC Davis” according to the website.

A_IMG_4047The Tour

On Saturday 5/11, as a very nice wine and cheese reception featuring food from the Student Farm and wine from the award winning Matthiasson and Farella wineries wound down (Steve Matthiasson and Tom Farella where in attendance), our tour guides gathered us together in the Eco Garden by the historic farm house at the student farm. We were welcomed warmly by our guides Carol Hillhouse and Nick Tamayo. Nick described his several years of experience with the student farm as he became ever more involved.

First, we walked through the Eco Garden, literally taking time to smell the flowers. Our guides took the time to point out plants and told us about the history and visions for the areas as we went.

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Aimee Rose Santone Delivers in Rent

Rent By Rachel Rycerz

Aimee Rose Santone will be playing Mimi in Davis Musical Theatre Company’s production of Jontathan Larson’s rock musical RENT, running June 14 through July 7. This will be her third featured role at DMTC; she debuted with the role of Esmeralda in Hunchback of Notre Dame in January, and just finished playing Gladys in Pajama Game. Ms. Santone took a few moments before rehearsal to duck into the hall outside the theater (located at 607 Pena Drive in Davis) and talk about her latest role.

Mimi is the youngest principal role in RENT. Though the character is only 19, Mimi has already had it pretty rough in her life, has a drug addiction, and is living with AIDS. Aimee shared “Despite having a hard life, she brings a positive attitude.  She lives each day in the moment, like it is her last.”

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Davis Amtrak Survey?

SurveyI just took the Davis Amtrak station transit survey and I have some questions of my own.

By Colin Walsh

The City spent $250,000 on a User Survey about the Davis Amtrak station. The funding came from a state of California grant and not the City of Davis, but that is still a pretty good chunk of CA taxpayer change.

I am a frequent train commuter, so I was interested to take the survey. Having grown up in Davis I am a native bike rider, having lived in New York I am an adaptive strap hanger, and having lived in LA I have certainly done my share of driving.

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Mace Ranch Innovation Center reborn as Aggie Research Campus

West from Rd 30B - Sac skylineThe on-again off-again on-again business park proposal returns, with scanty detail

By Roberta Millstein

The proposed Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) is back, now reborn as the Aggie Research Campus (ARC).

In Spring 2016, the developers of the proposed MRIC decided to put the project on hold, citing “higher than expected costs” and a less-than-promising economic analysis.  This was actually the second hold on the project, the developers having suspended the project once before, then having brought it back, then having suspended it again.

When the proposal was suspended for the second time, some City analysis had been done, but some commissions were still in the process of analyzing the proposal, such as the Finance and Budget Commission, the Natural Resources Commission, and the Open Space and Habitat Commission (as I noted in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise after the first hold).

Now as UCD and DJUSD let out for summer vacations, the developers have returned to request that the City resume processing their application.  See the following letter addressed to the members of the Davis City Council:

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Concert to Fight Human Trafficking and Child Sexual Abuse

62509530_2404302522942218_416424790476193792_nTaylor Chicks, The Duval Speck Trio, and The Yadao Trio Play Benefit Concert for Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center 

From Press Release

All are invited to attend a fun-filled, energetic benefit concert with The Taylor Chicks, The Duval Speck Trio, and The Yadao Trio at The Oddfellows Hall, 415 2nd Street in Davis on Sunday, June 23 from 4:30-8:00 pm.

This special event supports Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center ( MDIC ) in its efforts to eliminate human trafficking and child sexual abuse. Beer, wine, Fabulous Tacos by T’s Tacos and Tunes will be available for purchase. There will be a silent auction featuring artwork by Cathy Speck, which has been very popular in the Davis 2nd Friday Art About circuit.

Cameron Handley, Director of the MDIC (Yolo County’s Children’s Advocacy Center) reports, “Sex trafficking of our local youth is far more prevalent in Yolo County than most people realize. Because of our proximity to two major interstates, I-80 and I-5, our specific region in California is one of the most targeted regions by traffickers in the United States”

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