What Residents of Nishi Won't Know (Yet It Will Still Hurt Them)
What does the proposed Nishi project have to do with traffic downtown?

The Nishi Project (Together with Other Projects) Will Hurt Air Quality Downtown

Nishi-picBy Dan Cornford

Thanks to Roberta for posting her excellent comments on Nishi and the air quality issue. The attempts to brush off or ignore Dr. Cahill's findings or to investigate them further indicate just how developer-driven some factions in this town are. I would like to make an additional related comment (s).

On May 26, 2016 I published an Op-Ed in the Davis Enterprise, shortly before the vote on Nishi 1.0 entitled "Downtown traffic also will be worse with Nishi." It can be read in full at: https://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/downtown-traffic-also-will-be-worse-with-nishi/

To summarize briefly I argued that the traffic studies for the EIR for Nishi (on which Nishi 2.0 still relies) were outdated, inadequate, and bordering on fiction.

One point I did not make is that the increased downtown traffic congestion would also contribute not insignificantly to a further deterioration of the air quality in the core downtown area of Davis, and including the Nishi site as, even longer queues of cars amassed at every stop sign intersection fighting with pedestrian traffic (as they do now already) to get to their destination and to try and find a parking space.

Since I wrote that article, of course, projects have been approved by the city, and UCD has announced it will provide 8,500 beds on campus. Thus, within a few years best estimates are that the population of the core area and its immediate surrounding areas, including UCD, of Davis will increase by circa 10,000 people by the time all these projects are built out. Aside from total traffic gridlock and a parking situation that will be impossible at almost all times of day, how do you think that is going to affect air quality downtown?

Despite these major developments and increase in population the city is arguing that it does not need a further traffic study, or indeed any amendment or supplement to the whole and original Nishi 1.0 EIR!!! This I find to be quite incredible in terms of simple common sense, and in terms of what CEQA says about the need for a supplemental EIR in cases where significant development has taken place, or will take place in the near future. My reading of basic CEQA law is that a supplemental, if not a new EIR, should be required to assess the full extent of these cumulative impacts. Indeed, a case is being brought against the city but do not hold your breath as the track record of those filing such suits is not good.

I will further add the City Council and all its commissions did a lousy and totally inadequate job in terms of assessing the cumulative impacts on everything ranging from air quality, traffic, to fiscal burdens et al. So, sad to say, we need articles along the lines of: "WHAT THE RESIDENTS OF DAVIS DON'T KNOW ABOUT NISHI YET (BUT WOULD BE SHOCKED TO KNOW).

 

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