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July 2019

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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