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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:


text of the petition follows


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.     





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.


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.


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. 


  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. 


Alan Charles Miller

There is no doubt this needs fixing. I hope that the City will use a DIFFERENT design consultant and contractor than the original. All too often a corrupt consultant purposefully designs things that are over-engineered and wrong so they can get a change-order or another contract. To use the same firms would look bad, even if they were clean - so make sure the City don't do that :-(

The City had money for this, but traffic calming for Old North and Old East - which we had prelim designs for from a consultant what - eight? - years ago, are still in the hopper, since there is no line. I quite imagine for the cost of the Mace Mess we could have had everything we asked for in Old East and Old North - certainly for a fraction of the concrete if not also a fraction of the cost.

How does this stuff happen? How does a mega-concrete-pour no one wanted butt in the line far in front of long-standing needs many of us want/need?

But now, we'll pay again to fix the expense of the mistake. And still we get an octagon on a stick as a booby prize.

Something is fishy in Denmark.

Ron O

Alan: You ask "how" it happened?

SACOG money, "supplementing" the city's money. In other words, money with strings attached. (Sort of like receiving an email from a "prince" overseas, asking you to wire them $10,000 so that they can free-up $1,000,000 - and then give you half of that.) Complete with basic "grammer/speling erors".

Now requiring solely the city's money, to fix it. Hopefully, without having to give money back to SACOG.

In other words, you've already lost money to the prince, but now (also) have to pay the transfer fees that the bank is charging you.

That's my understanding, at least. :-)

Todd Edelman

The premise about conversion to a residential street and re-development of the whole area into multi-use is simply delusional.

The main goal was to make it better and safer for all users. Certainly the design was deeply flawed and still is. Unfortunately this "all" can be difficult to implement well. But it's possible... it's better and more to talk about creating incentives and possibilities for not using a private car.

There were many reports of increased cycling traffic to school; that was one of the goals. Certainly the bike infrastructure could be better.

"Sweeping" right turns are dangerous and "real engineers" know this. It's City policy to remove them when they can. Unfortunately they don't always push for it. It should have been done at W. Covell at F St in connection with the grade-separated "maze" between Cannery and F St -- also on Mace in connection with construction of the new HQ of our lord & saviour, Nugget.

As I-80 invariably gets more use in the coming months and years... if Mace has more capacity... more people will come this way. Like water. We need to solve the I-80.

Agricultural vehicles need a bypass south of El Macero to 32B.

There's some useful bicycle infrastructure ideas here and about - but to be clear bike lanes which are grade-separated are not called bike lanes... again, something your real engineers should have noticed when they did a technical review of this petition. They would be Class IV cycleways, cycleways, bikeways, protected bike paths, etc.

I do agree that a lot of concrete and other things that were installed is unnecessary. "Active transportation" is a key element of City policy and it's not clear that what's in petition will make it better. Certainly the free right flowing turns will not.

Commuters and retirees ride bicycles and take public transportation in great numbers in many other parts of the world. Taking an e-bike with a well-designed cargo carrier to Nugget etc from El Macero and other parts of eastern South Davis can be a normal activity.

Alan C. Miller

Quoth RO: "In other words, money with strings attached. (Sort of like receiving an email from a "prince" overseas, asking you to wire them $10,000 so that they can free-up $1,000,000 - and then give you half of that.)"

Work in govm't. Quite familiar with the concept.

Personally prefer less money with less strings - but there are string addicts out there, and cement companies with generous wallets.

Quoth TE: "Commuters and retirees ride bicycles and take public transportation in great numbers in many other parts of the world."

Apparently not in this part of the world?

I'm new here. Have I reached my five comment limit yet?

Roberta L. Millstein

"I'm new here. Have I reached my five comment limit yet?"


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