Please Re-Open G Street

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By Adele Shaw

I’m sharing this letter with people in Davis who might not be aware that retail businesses on G Street are suffering from the street closure.

I’m an artist and one of 65 local artist/owners of The Artery Gallery located at 207 G Street. When the City issued “Temporary Use Permits” (TUP) and closed G Street, we supported it. But as an unsupervised, unkempt bacchanal unfolded we began to look forward to G Street’s re-opening.

The original re-opening date of August 5th came and went. No information came from the City of Davis as the closure was extended without a word to affected businesses. Today, our customers continue to rant with frustration over the street closure’s unkempt conditions and filth.

A permanent closure of the street will likely cause the death of many of the non-restaurant businesses on G Street.  The city issued TUP’s during “emergency” times but they’ve created another emergency all together- an inequitable restaurant takeover on G Street. It may look like a party when you’re picking up a pizza or having a beer, but it’s not an equitable, harmonious party.

Non-restaurant businesses on the 200 block of G Street outnumber the restaurants more than 2:1 (24 retail, consulting or other businesses to 11 restaurants). Yet the retail, consulting and other businesses on G Street continue to suffer. We’re experiencing diminished income and are losing customers because of the street closure. I expect this will get worse as the winter comes.

I wonder what’s the purpose of closing G Street?

Is it a thoroughfare for pedestrians from one place to another? No.

Does it provide pedestrian access a particular destination? No.

Is it part of a multi-modal urban network to develop and foster a downtown core with flourishing businesses of all kinds? No.

Continue reading "Please Re-Open G Street" »


Farmers market vendors, staff resolve to mask up

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The Davis Farmers Market Alliance board passed a resolution on Sept. 20 that all staff and vendors will wear masks at the markets. All of its staff and more than 90 percent of its vendors are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photos)

(From press release) In its continued commitment to public safety, the Davis Farmers Market Alliance board adopted an emergency protocol on Sept. 20, requiring its staff and vendors to wear masks.

The Davis Farmers Market is doing its part to keep a ‘Healthy Davis Together,’ ” said Randii MacNear, executive director of the market. “Come visit us and be extra safe – with our open-air shopping and 100% masked sellers and employees!”

The emergency protocol was part of a resolution from the nonprofit’s board of directors, noting that “despite the outdoor nature of the farmers markets run by DFMA, and despite compliance with all local, state and federal rules, the markets can be crowded spaces.”

The resolution continued, “in furtherance of its commitment to public safety and out of respect for its 44 years of community support, the DFMA Board of Directors wishes to implement COVID prevention protocols that are stricter than applicable local, state and federal rules.”

Although the market is outdoors, in a setting where masks are not required, most vendors and shoppers already wore them. The temporary rule does not require shoppers to wear masks. The protocol is in effect Sept. 22 through at least Dec. 12. The board plans to review the rule by early December, and consider whether to extend it.

Year-round, rain or shine, the Davis Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in Central Park, 301 C St. Wednesday hours are 3 to 7 p.m. through October, then closing at 6 p.m. November through March. Special holiday markets are Wednesday, Nov. 24, noon to 6 p.m.; and Fridays, Dec. 24 and 31, 8 a.m. to noon. It will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. For more information, visit https//davisfarmersmarket.org or visit it on Facebook or Instagram.


Hiding the DISC 2022 EIR update

DISC2022 Secret2 Comments to City Council on 9/22/2021 regarding the DISC 2020 EIR process

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Dear members of the Davis City Council,

I would like to object to the way the City is doing business in relation to the DISC EIR.

On the consent calendar of tonight’s agenda is a staff report detailing the actions taken by the City Manager while the council was in recess. Buried on the last page is a single line item disclosing that the City Manager approved almost $100,000 for an addendum to the EIR for the DISC project.

Previously, approval of this type of contract was done by council and the staff report revealed important information to the public about the EIR process. Several of us objected at that time that it was not enough information, and this time around we have even less information. The City should not advance the EIR of a major project like this - in secretive ways.

Further an addendum is not appropriate because there are significant new factors that have not been considered by the previous EIR.

  1. There are changed circumstances due to COVID and how office space is used. This must be analyzed in the new EIR.
  2. The new project has a much Higher proportion of the project dedicated to freeway adjacent retail. This is likely to have larger impacts on the downtown and must be studied. 
  3. The previous biological surveys are now outdated and need to be redone.
  4. Further revelations about the severity of climate change and how that will affect the project both in terms of adaptation and mitigation should also be considered in an update to the EIR.

Therefore, I also call on the Council to set a public scoping meeting for the new EIR immediately.

Please  ask that this item be pulled from the consent calendar and instruct the City Manager to immediately make the contract with Raney and outline of work be made public.

Thank you for your Consideration,

Colin Walsh

 

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Roberta Millstein, Consent calendar, item 4 D

Buried in this item is a line of a spreadsheet showing that the City manager approved payment to Raney Planning & Management to prepare a CEQA addendum for the new DISC 2022.

Two years ago, this approval was its own consent item, with documentation supporting the recommendation, and it had to be pulled from consent at the request of citizens.  Two years ago, staff originally thought an addendum to the previous EIR would be sufficient.  Then they said a supplement would be required – a higher level of analysis.  Some of us objected this still wasn’t enough.  Then they ended up needed to do hundreds of pages of a more detailed Subsequent EIR. 

It seems like the same mistakes keeping being repeated – at the last meeting, I and others highlighted the rushed process for DISC 2022 with not enough commission input, and now again with both old and new DISC we have a truncated EIR process without enough justification and transparency for the proposal to do just an addendum.

We still haven’t been given much information about this project, yet we are being told again that an addendum to the EIR will be enough.  The pandemic makes everything uncertain, particularly traffic and office occupancy.  They will need to figure out a way to project for that.  Downtown businesses are even more financially precarious and so the impact to them needs to be reconsidered.  And of course the biological surveys need to be redone, particularly for sensitive species such as the burrowing owl and various bat species.  Finally, the impacts of drought, fire, and smoke in our area due to climate change have become evident; these must be re-evaluated as well, especially in light of the loss of potentially mitigating agricultural land and increased traffic.

I request that this item be pulled from the consent and that the City manager be instructed to immediately make public the contract with Raney and outline of work to be performed.

I further request a public scoping period, including a public scoping meeting, on the updated EIR.

Thank you.


Davis is Home of Northern California's Zombie Bike Ride!

Graphic(From press release) On Sunday, October 31st between 12pm–3pm ride along the Davis Bike Loop and encounter Zombies, brought to you by The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, The Bike Campaign and nearly 70 sponsors, collaborators and media partners!

DancersWe are delighted to be partnered with Bike City Theatre Company and their team of sketch writers, directors and actors to provide an unforgettable experience! Join us for fun, laughs, photo ops, and a Mirror Image Dance Company Thriller performance!

SkydivingTHAT'S NOT ALL – Watch zombies fall from the sky, compliments of Skydance Skydiving (details to come)! Finally, join our after party in downtown Davis at Davis Common, at 500 1st Street, where attendees can enjoy a live DJ as well as a fantastic array of food, drink and dessert options from 3:30-5:30pm. Then it is time for the kids to trick-or-treat ? at dozens of downtown businesses!

There are NO ADMISSION FEES. This is a FREE community event. There is no starting or ending point for the bike ride. Riders can hop on the Davis Bike Loop at any location and ride in either direction. Details on Skydance Skydiving's zombie skydiving performance to come.

Continue reading "Davis is Home of Northern California's Zombie Bike Ride!" »


Letter & motion from Tree Commission concerning Sutter tree cutting

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This motion was approved unanimously at the Tree Commission's August 21, 2021 meeting.

 The following letter was approved by a unanimous motion of the Commission at their September 16, 2021 meeting and sent by staff to the City Council on September 17.  This issue will be in front of the City Council tonight.

From: City of Davis Tree Commission
To: Davis City Council

We are writing to request clarification and revision of the process for approval of tree removals from commercial property.

The resolution creating the Tree Commission (06-187) states that the purpose of the Davis Tree Commission is, "to act in an advisory capacity on tree related matters, including review and approval of tree removal requests."

Three large projects have recently had large numbers of trees removed without input from the Tree Commission. 205 trees in a two-phase project, currently in process (Sutter Hospital expansion & solar addition); 83 trees in a project to replace these trees with PV solar panels (Cousteau Pl.); 103 trees as site preparation for a new development (Bretton Woods).

These requests were never brought before the public or the Tree Commission, prior to being heard by the Planning Commission. They were also not brought before the Natural Resources Commission, or the 2-by-2 subcommittee between the Tree Commission and the Natural Resources Commission that is currently looking at the parking lot portion of the Tree Ordinance and how to maximize both solar arrays and tree canopy.

These three events alone total a loss to the City of 391 mature trees. These trees took one to several decades to reach maturity.

Tree Davis, working with the City of Davis, planted 379 new trees between October 2020 and April 2021. It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to make that happen during the Pandemic.

Thus, in a year when a record number of trees were planted by the City and the community, the City of Davis has a net loss of trees for the year. It is especially disheartening in a time of Global Warming and in a city that prides itself on its tree canopy - a city that has qualified as a "Tree City USA" for decades. Add to this that the trees in these applications are mature trees, while the replacement trees will be small, and the loss to the community canopy is staggering. The Tree Commission believes strongly that we will not reduce our environmental impact by removing mature, established trees and reducing our tree canopy.

Surely there is a problem with our process when a community member is required to go before the Tree Commission to remove a single tree, but a corporation can remove any number of trees -including trees that were required for the approval of a development - without any Tree Commission or community input.

The Tree Commission respectfully requests that tree removals of twenty Trees, one Landmark Tree, or a project greater than, or equal to, five acres be subject to a similar process as for removals of City Trees. This request is consistent with recommendations made by this Commission regarding the update to the Tree Ordinance. The Tree Commission also respectfully requests that a process for tree removals by property owners be developed that is aligned with the City's goals regarding its urban forest and that the process emphasize transparency, accountability, and community engagement.

With respect,

City of Davis Tree Commission


Sutter Tree Removal Sets Terrible Precedent

Sutter lotA letter to the Davis City Council from Don Shor

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To the members of the Davis City Council,

This letter is in support of the appeal by Alan Hirsch of the tree removal permit, issued for Sutter Health, for the removal of 63 trees in order to make room for the installation of solar panels in their parking lot.

My concerns are about the process, the city’s overall policy for tree conservation, the efficacy of the mitigation proposed, failure to account for the value and many intangible benefits of trees, and the disturbing precedent of valuing solar panels over trees.

We need a discussion of the city’s commitment to an adequate and sustained urban tree canopy, clarity about which commissions would be best for actual oversight on an advisory basis, and how the process of removing large numbers of trees should be evaluated by staff, commissions, and the council.

Process.

I do not fault the city staff for this. These are policy issues that have been brought to the fore by the sheer number of trees being removed via a single application. There should be some threshold at which a removal that affects the city’s urban forest to this extent is not simply done by administrative review.

Mitigation.

The proposed mitigation needs to be evaluated by tree professionals. The recommendation by the NRC that the mature trees be moved reflects this lack of expert input. It is unlikely to succeed and would be a misdirection of resources.

Better planting of their entire parking area would be a better use of funds if it were done correctly. That includes new trees to shade as much asphalt as possible, with consideration given to the reduced options due to the presence of solar panels and shading issues. More open soil areas are needed to improve infiltration of natural rainfall and allow successful root development. Climate-ready landscaping should be installed wherever trees can’t be planted.

In fact, the city’s overall tree removal mitigation strategy needs to be evaluated with a particular emphasis on parking lots, both because they are especially important for urban heat island effect and because few, if any, of the parking lots in Davis meet the city’s 50% shading requirement.

Continue reading "Sutter Tree Removal Sets Terrible Precedent" »


A rare compilation of photographs and images of the historic Davis Arch

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Davis Arch image

(From press release) Enjoy a rare compilation of photographs and images of the historic Davis Arch. When scrolling through the images, please pay attention to the captions for each.

Included below is a brief history of the creation and ultimately the destruction of the Davis Arch that includes the establishment of the Chamber of Commerce and the Women's Improvement Club. It is interesting to note that the Chamber still puts on occasional cleanup days, a tradition as old as the chamber itself.

See the individual photo captions to learn more about the rise and fall of the arch as well as its revival in multiple murals and other media.

An excerpt from "Davisville '68 The History and Heritage of the City of Davis":

Continue reading "A rare compilation of photographs and images of the historic Davis Arch" »


Part 2 - Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!

Staff's and Council's Current Scheme to Limit Analysis and Input from the Commissions include Artificial, Arbitrary Deadlines Imposed on Citizen Advisory Commissions.

By Alan Pryor

Introduction

Readers will remember one of the primary complaints surrounding DISC 1.0 on the November 2020 ballot as Measure B was that the Commissions were intentionally and systematically excluded from fully participating in the review of the project through scheduling manipulations imposed by City Staff with Council approval. It appears that history is repeating itself which is the subject of this series of articles. Part 1 of the series (see https://www.davisite.org/2021/09/d%C3%A9j%C3%A0-vu-council-and-staff-collude-to-limit-review-of-the-disc-2022-project-by-the-citys-advisory-com.html) discussed the history of City Staff and Council ignoring input by both the Advisory Commissions and the public in many other important City matters.

This Part 2 in the series discusses the recent Council decision that greatly limits Citizen Advisory Commission input and recommendations for Baseline Features for the newly proposed DISC 2022 project now heading for the June 2022 ballot in Davis. The article is a detailed examination of the means by which the City Council and Staff are intending to again limit analysis and input from the Commissions by hamstringing the Commissions' ability to hold multiple meetings to review the DISC 2022 project.

Continue reading "Part 2 - Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!" »


Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!

Part 1 – A History of Staff and Council Circumventing or Ignoring Citizen Advisory Commissions in Davis

by Alan Pryor, Former NRC Commissioner

Introduction

This is Part 1 in a series discussing the recent Council decision that greatly limits Citizen Advisory Commission input and recommendations for Baseline Features for the newly proposed DISC 2022 project now heading for the June 2022 ballot in Davis. Readers will remember one of the primary complaints surrounding DISC 1.0 on the November 2020 ballot as Measure B was that the Commissions were intentionally and systematically excluded from fully participating in the review of the project through scheduling manipulations imposed by City Staff with Council approval. It appears that history is repeating itself.

This Part 1 in the series will discuss the history of City Staff and Council ignoring input by both the Advisory Commissions and the public in many other important City matters. It will be followed in Part 2 by a detailed examination of the means and schemes by which Staff and Council similarly intend to limit Commission review and input in processing of the DISC 2022 project.

Background

Francesca Wright, a founding member of Yolo People Power, had a scathing editorial in Tuesday’s Davisite concerning the City Council 's continued failure to meaningfully address police reform in Davis over the year (see https://www.davisite.org/2021/09/wanted-leadership-substance-on-public-safety-not-spin.html). Ms. Wright claimed this failure is still occurring despite unanimous approval of a 9-point plan for reform presented to Council by 3 different citizen Advisory Commissions and a petition signed by over 800 citizens calling for immediate action on the Commission recommendations. Said Ms. Wright about these failures,

It has been over a year that community members have been asking City Council to create meaningful structural change in how we address public safety. We have marched. We have sent public comments to City Council meetings. We have analyzed local police traffic stop and crime data, researched the underpinnings of public safety as well as examples of effective public safety practices.

...We have met individually with each council member. Over 800 people signed an open letter to the Council. Three council-appointed commissions unanimously supported nine recommendations on public safety.

...This may be the most public pressure exerted on any council in the 23 years I have lived in Davis California. And after all of this, how has the current city council responded? … they have not advanced Davis’ vision. This is not leadership. This is maintenance of the status quo.  To have meaningful change we need effective visionary leadership.

This is reminiscent of Staff and Council behavior in ignoring Commission and public input in many other important but questionable decisions unilaterally made by Staff and Council over the past several years and calls into question whose interests they are really representing behind the dais.

Continue reading "Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!" »


Wanted – Leadership Substance on Public Safety, Not Spin

Timeforthenine

By Francesca Wright

It has been over a year that community members have been asking City Council to create meaningful structural change in how we address public safety. We have marched. We have sent public comments to City Council meetings. We have analyzed local police traffic stop and crime data, researched the underpinnings of public safety as well as examples of effective public safety practices.

We have sent petitions. We have met individually with each council member. Over 800 people signed an open letter to the Council. Three council-appointed commissions unanimously supported nine recommendations on public safety.

Our former Mayor offered a road map of how to create a Department of Public Safety that could position the City of Davis to become a leader in evidence-based prevention and early intervention.

This may be the most public pressure exerted on any council in the 23 years I have lived in Davis California. And after all of this, how has the current city council responded?

We have witnessed performative rhetoric, an increased police budget, and the most modest changes possible. All while numerous other cities are taking progressive steps forward, the very kind we’ve been urging the City of Davis to take. Our “fair city” is falling farther behind the curve.

Continue reading "Wanted – Leadership Substance on Public Safety, Not Spin" »


Sudwerk named top U.S. Brewery & Brewer of the Year

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Sudwerk won gold medals at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival for The People’s Pilsner and Backyard Hero American Lager. It also won Brewery & Brewer of the Year (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Sudwerk Brewing Co. of Davis won the coveted Brewery & Brewer of the Year award ­– and two gold medals – at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival.

Put on by the Brewers Association, the 35th GABF, which concluded Friday, Sept. 10 in Denver, is the most competitive beer contest in the nation. The 2021 event included 9,680 entries from 2,192 breweries representing all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. For the second year in a row, the festival portion of the event was canceled due to COVID-19.

Sudwerk won gold for The People’s Pilsner, out of 161 entries in the Bohemian-Style Pilsner category. The Davis brewery also earned gold in the Contemporary American-Style Lager category, for its Backyard Hero American Lager, out of 63 entries. Sudwerk head brewer Thomas Stull and the brewing team were named best brewer of the year.

Sudwerk is one of the most award-winning breweries in the Sacramento region. Most recently, Märzen Amber Lager won a gold in the same contest in 2019, and a silver in 2018. The People’s Pilsner won a bronze in 2019. Sudwerk chose not to enter the 2020 contest because of the strain of the pandemic.

Continue reading "Sudwerk named top U.S. Brewery & Brewer of the Year" »


DISC is back… and so is bad process

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Staff and City Council favor developer interests over citizen input

By Roberta Millstein

This past Tuesday (Sept 7), the City Council formally set in motion the process to evaluate the twice-reborn industrial park/hotel complex on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, now dubbed DISC 2022. Readers will recall that this project was handily defeated at the polls less than a year ago. Now it is back again with half the acreage, fewer amenities, and a smaller proportion devoted to revenue-generating commercial uses. 

Also back again is staff acquiescing to the developer's extremely short requested timeline. 

There have been some improvements in process this time around. The project was made a regular agenda item, allowing for greater citizen awareness and discussion, though apparently a number of people were still caught by surprise. And all of the relevant commissions are scheduled to be consulted from the outset, something that citizens had to fight for the last time. 

However, staff's Tuesday proposal was that each commission can only evaluate the project once. Why? The developer wants this on the ballot by June 2022 and staff wants to comply with that, stating there is not enough time for commissions to have more than one meeting concerning the proposal. Why do they want to go along with the developer?  Well, you will have to ask them, but it is certainly not a timeline that favors citizen input, remembering that commissions are intended to be a conduit for citizens to give feedback to the City.

Continue reading "DISC is back… and so is bad process " »


Seeds of Justice lecture and workshop series

(From press release) What is our responsibility as people who live, work, or worship in Davis to the original inhabitants of this land? What is the legacy of environmental racism? How can we heal and repair the harm? These and other critical questions guide a new educational opportunity being offered to the community this fall.

The Episcopal Church of St. Martin will bring a series of lectures and workshops, Seeds of Justice, to Davis to highlight the work of scholars and cultural practitioners in this region - the ancestral homeland of the Patwin-Wintun people.

St. Martin’s developed the Seeds of Justice program to understand the racialized history of the land here in the epicenter of gold, greed and genocide. Through storytelling, discussions and hands-on workshops, participants will study the resistance and resilience of Native Californians to the ongoing social and environmental impacts of settlers in this region.

“We hope this will be a safe, honest and transformative space for our community to grapple with the legacy of injustice to this land and her people,” said Ann Liu, Chair of St. Martin’s Care for God’s Creation Committee. “Everyone is invited to come and learn with an open heart and mind.”

Continue reading "Seeds of Justice lecture and workshop series" »


We need critical thinking from our City Council on climate change

By Mike Corbett

Given an understanding of what’s in the recent IPCC 6th report what would you expect a rational city council to do in response? Humans evolved because of our critical thinking abilities. So if a current city council possessed those abilities what would they be doing right now?

 You would expect them to convene a special meeting so the city could begin taking urgent steps to stop greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere as well as steps to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They would make it a priority for their staff and commissions to find ways to take immediate steps to accomplish these crucial actions. 

 Since the Davis City Council declared a climate emergency two and a half years ago, little has been done. And as we approach the completion of the current climate action plan (CAP), our City's approach seems to be falling far short of what it should be. The recent survey of our citizens has revealed a very weak City understanding of all our options and what we should be doing today.  We need to employ more critical thinking.

 Critical thinking must first address the ability to find the most important thing or issue to focus on in any given moment or situation, from personal choices to issues within the global realm.  Additionally, critical thinking must start with the work of understanding a problem’s core by analyzing its depth and breadth. That means understanding the full context around the issue (in this case the IPCC report), and that means looking past biases or views that obscure the core of the problem.

Continue reading "We need critical thinking from our City Council on climate change" »


How to vote in the gubernatorial recall election? Step one – vote!

Wheretovote

By Roberta Millstein

If you are registered to vote in CA, you should have received your ballot for the election to recall Governor Gavin Newsom by now.   If for some reason you aren’t registered, August 30 is the last day to register to vote; after that, you can “conditionally” register and vote at your county elections office or polling location after the voter registration deadline, up to and including Election Day (Sept 14).

Voting is easy!  In Davis, there are several voting assistance centers and ballot drop boxes.  See the graphic at the top or this page for details.  Or you can mail in your ballot – it has to be postmarked by Sept. 14. Each ballot will come with prepaid postage. So no excuses not to vote.  If you're not in Davis, check out your local options.

And your vote really matters in this election – even more so than usual – so please take the time to vote!

The biggest challenge that Governor Newsom has to overcome is voter apathy – people thinking they don’t need to vote because Newsom is a slam dunk (how’d that work out for Gray Davis?) or who just aren’t that excited about Newsom.  Well, I have to admit I’ve not always been happy with his decisions, either.  But then again, I can’t think of any politician in my lifetime I’ve been totally happy with. 

Governor Newsom has done nothing bad enough to deserve a recall and the candidate everyone thinks will most likely win, Larry Elder, would be terrible.  Elder thinks that people who are concerned about climate change are “alarmists,” he supports overturning Roe v. Wade, and he wants to eliminate the minimum wage (link).  He would be terrible for California, especially if he had the opportunity to appoint a Senator if Senator Feinstein were to retire.

Davis tends to overwhelmingly vote Democratic, as does California as a whole.  So if we mobilize to vote “NO” on recalling Governor Newsom, we can help make sure that California doesn’t head down a dangerous path.  So please vote “NO” on question 1 on the ballot.

Continue reading "How to vote in the gubernatorial recall election? Step one – vote!" »


Three petitions = three frustrated and unheard constituencies

Three-petitions

By Roberta Millstein

What do trees being cut down at Sutter Davis Hospital, the Mace Mess, and Cannery traffic safety have to do with one another?

At first glance, not much.  They are in three entirely different parts of town.  Two of them do have to do with traffic and safety in part, but each has its own features.  For example, residents near Mace Boulevard are concerned about the addition of over-engineered road structures they were not consulted on, and in light of increased traffic and other problems, would like them removed.  And neither traffic safety at the Cannery nor the Mace Mess seems to relate to the removal of mature trees done without any input from the relevant City Commissions.

But those who have been following the Davisite might have noticed a commonality: in all three cases, citizens felt strongly enough about the issue to create a petition, as described in the following articles:

When citizens are moved to create and sign petitions, it’s a signal that they feel that their voices aren’t being heard through normal channels, such as comments at the City Council or letters to the editor of the local newspaper. With a petition, citizens are trying to speak loudly, with one voice.

Continue reading "Three petitions = three frustrated and unheard constituencies" »


Architect says: Solar need not mean Tree Removal

Solar & Trees, Perfect Together

Solar and TREES - Page_1The following letter was sent to the City Council as well as to the Davisite.

These past few weeks have made it clear to almost everyone that we have a problem on earth. The climate is different, and we are all heating up. Trees help reduce the “island heat effect” in and around cities. When trees are in a parking area the temperature of the parking area is 10 to 20 degrees cooler. They help shade us, our cars and more importantly the pavement so that it does not reflect the heat.

Can solar panels and trees co-exist on the same site? Well, the short answer is yes. Of course, if your house in always in shade and you planned to put the solar panels on your roof you will not get enough power from the solar panels to pay for themselves in a lifetime. However, the standard philosophy that solar panels and trees cannot be placed near each other is nonsense.

Here in Davis we have before us a prime example. Sutter Hospital Phase 2 Project’s consultant proposes removing all the trees in the parking lot so that solar panels can be placed above the parked cars. City Council will be voting on an Appeal by Sutter Hospital from the approved City plan to permit the trees to be removed and NOT relocated as the City had required them to do so in its approval.

Solar and TREES - Page_2However, there is a solution that will save the trees AND provide even more solar panels. The solar panels can span over the driveways in the parking lot thereby allowing the trees to remain on the island median between the parked cars. The trees would be far enough away from the solar panels so as not to shade them. The shade from the trees will still shade some of the cars, and the solar panels will shade some of the cars as well. The accompanying drawing shows where the solar panels can be located, a sketch comparing our recommendation to the Sutter Hospital consultant’s approved plan and a sectional drawing showing the shading of the trees and solar panels on the cars. This recommended plan also protects the solar panels from possible future car fires in the parking spaces.

Hopeful,

Marcus Marino, AIA, NCARB


New Petition to fix Mace Mess reaches 700 Signatures

Mace mess2

A new petition to restore Mace Blvd south of I-80 has been circulating recently. This week it reached 700 signatures.

You can see and sign the petition here:

http://chng.it/Ry7fQx96

 

text of the petition follows

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The petition summarizes our problems and requirements for Mace restoration.  Since this is a summary of the responses to a survey I recently sent out, it of course doesn't include each individual's favorite fix, but I hope it is close enough so that you-all would be willing to sign. 

As two years’ experience has demonstrated, if we don't tell the City what we want, heaven only knows what they'll do.   If you are a south Davis resident and want the Davis City Council to fix Mace, please sign.     

Thanks!

Char  

PETITION TEXT 

Introduction 

The City of Davis’ initial rationale for the Mace Project was incorrect.  This social engineering experiment on an established neighborhood to constrict the major traffic artery between north and south Davis and “force residents out of their cars” failed to recognize that all the neighborhoods affected have a high percentage of retirees and commuters who cannot lead their daily lives on bicycles even if they might wish they could, no matter how much pressure the City applies.  The result is an intrinsically flawed design. 

South Davis residents have been living with the safety issues and problems caused by the current Mace Boulevard configuration for the last two years, and the problems, especially gridlock, are returning as people return to offices to work post COVID.  Regarding the Mace Mess, as of 5/27/21, the City’s webpage states “the County and City representatives will follow up in a few weeks to review any questions or clarifications from the County. A community meeting will follow with date and time to be announced. Further updates will be posted once the City and County representatives are able to meet again.”  

I have advised the City that south Davis residents require adequate lead time before this meeting, that is, at least a week advance notice.  It is not reasonable to expect residents to study and understand a cryptic road diagram during a 2-hour in-person or Zoom meeting, then comment on it in two minutes.  In addition to posting on Nextdoor and the City webpage, the City should email people from the email addresses on the sign-in sheets from public meetings from the last two years.  The City must post copies of the plans to be presented on the City webpage, on Nextdoor, on Facebook, and attach them to the emails sent out to the mailing list at least a week before meetings, so people will have time to understand what is proposed.

Survey 

Recently south Davis residents were surveyed about what they want to see done with Mace Boulevard.  Most of the features in the current Mace configuration are designed to take up roadway in an attempt to turn Mace into a residential street. 

The City has approximately 80 acres of infill property in central Davis on the north side of the freeway that would be perfect for the sort of residential/shopping/bicycling urban design the City has unsuccessfully attempted to force on south Davis residents.  The City needs to fix Mace and then focus on applying this design to Davis proper, where it would be more feasible and appropriate. 

Following is a summary of the survey results. What needs to be done is really very simple.

Summary 

Required Design Changes in Order of Importance to Respondents (MOST IMPORTANT FIRST)

  1. Remove all bike lane curbs, the concrete maze on the west side of Mace from Cowell to Redbud, and all rock pile islands.
  2. Restore both NB and SB second vehicle lanes on Mace from Cowell to Redbud.  Remove the suicide lane and use the roadway real estate to restore the second lanes.
  3. Restore sweeping right turns at Mace and Cowell; provide adequate turn pockets at other intersections. 
  4. Elevate bike lanes (providing sloped  curbs) and merge with pedestrian walkways
  5. Design considerations:
  6. Bi-directional bike lane on West side of Mace from Redbud to Cowell; no bike lane on East side of Mace, or
  7. One-directional bike lanes on West and East sides of Mace from Redbud to Cowell; travel direction aligned with vehicle traffic. 
  8. Reduce the width of all crosswalks and move them closer to the corners so that drivers have a clear line of sight when attempting to turn.
  9.   San Marino Lights:
  10. Design considerations: 
  11. Remove massive San Marino light poles and refit San Marino lights with standard poles with RYG lights;  program them so that they do not signal when there is no cross traffic, or
  12. Retain triple pairs of lights, but fit light poles with sensors so that they only flash when there is cross traffic. 

                                 iii.    Install pedestrian/bicyclist crossing buttons. 

  1. When the second NB and SB lanes are restored to Mace, south Davis residents who are actual traffic engineers recommend that the City not plan on installing additional lights and high-tech sensors to the south until the results of the above changes are tested.  The expensive technology might not be necessary. 
  2. Taper lanes from 2 SB lanes from San Marino to Montgomery to 1 lane; increase NB Mace lanes from 1 lane at Montgomery to 2 lanes by South El Macero Dr.
  3. Add merged bike lane/sidewalk on the east side of Mace from Cowell to Chiles.  
  4. Whoever owns the oleanders on both sides of Mace should keep them trimmed up over head height or remove them. 

RESIDENTS' COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS   

  1. Most respondents liked the County’s innovative idea of elevated/merged bike/pedestrian lanes, although there were some questions:

       o   Some (not all) bicyclists felt that bi-directional bike lanes were more likely to cause accidents than one-way bike lanes.

       o   Some residents asked whether bike traffic should be required to travel in the same direction as vehicle traffic, regardless of bike lane design. 

  1. Some residents asked if bike lanes would be necessary on both sides of Mace, especially if a bi-directional bike lane is built on the west side from Redbud through to Cowell.  
  2. All residents (and especially residents facing Mace in the El Macero/N. El Macero to Redbud area) find the bike curbs and maze in this area dangerous and dysfunctional and want them removed.  This would also restore ADA access and residents’ on-street parking, as well as provide passage for agricultural equipment. 

Petition on “ CANNERY TRAFFIC SAFETY MEASURES” circulates

67417B2B-838E-48ED-8289-0539B771DC52An online petition is being circulated regarding traffic safety in the Cannery development. As of this post it has garnered 133 signatures in just a few days.

You can view or sign the petition here.

The petition reads as follows:

The current traffic conditions in the Cannery are dangerous, and we need increased traffic safety measures implemented as soon as possible. We have many children and elderly residents who do not currently feel safe in their own neighborhood, and there have been recent accidents and near-misses due to the lack of adequate traffic safety measures currently in place. 


Areas of special concern we would like to see:

  • Stop signs at Blanchard & Vine (currently a four-way intersection with no stop signs)
  • Stop signs at Spring & Kaneko (currently a four-way intersection with no stop signs)
  • Cannery Loop: Speed limit signs, stop signs, and/or speed bumps (currently no safety measures in place)
  • Pedestrian crosswalks: increased safety measures (e.g., flashing lights)
  • Engineering and traffic survey throughout the Cannery, as there are numerous other safety concerns throughout the neighborhood that the City needs to evaluate

Thank you for your consideration and prompt attention to this matter.


Statement from the Sierra Club concerning tree cutting at Sutter

Sutter-Davis-treesThe following letter was emailed to the City Council, the Natural Resources Commission, and the Tree Commission this morning

Dear Council members and Commissioners -

The Sierra Club Yolano Group is aware of the current controversy surrounding the placement of solar photovoltaic panels in parking lots at Sutter Hospital. To be clear, the Yolano Group supports both solar electrical generation and trees and realizes that sometimes these interests will conflict and compete with each other with respect to land use.

For instance, we actively supported Yolo County's rapid expansion of ground-based solar PV systems but adamantly opposed their placement at Grasslands Park south of Davis on Mace Boulevard where it displaced a vernal pool and rare and endemic plants. We supported the deployment of wind turbines in southeastern Sutter County but opposed their placement in the Pacific Flyway near Clarksburg where their spinning blades could kill migrating and nesting birds. In each case there were acceptable alternative nearby locations where the alternative energy systems could be placed without adverse environmental impacts.

It appears that such an analysis of alternative placement sites for the PV panels at Sutter Hospital has not been performed and we support such a process to help ensure that the maximum environmental benefits of PV deployment are obtained. We understand that two city commissions are currently looking at this exact same question, the Tree Commission and the Natural Resources Commission, and that such a review will be completed and recommendations issued within just a few months.

The Davis community has numerous alternative energy and tree experts who can provide valuable input into these investigations for a measured deliberation which expertise should be fully utilized. We therefore request the Davis City Council defer final approval of the Sutter Hospital PV project until this Commission review, along with community input, is finalized and their final recommendations are issued.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Pryor, Chair

Sierra Club Yolano Group