By The Artery
G St businesses await clean up and reopening but the part of the City Council wants G St closed permanently it seems so their 5 year old can turn cartwheels in the street. How quaint. How ageist. In the meanwhile seniors with mobility issues find it too difficult to come into the area, as communicated to us by our customers.
At the 11/2/21 City Council meeting the council remained split 2:2 for partial reopening vs complete closure. The Downtown Business Association’s recommendation is for two-way traffic to resume with updated outdoor seating which is fair.
But the Council’s arguments to keep G St closed permanently revolved around an absence of logic and fair reason. Arnold’s consideration to keep G St closed as a concession because 100% of the streets downtown are open to traffic shows he’s more interested in that detail than if 100% of businesses in Davis recover from the stress of the pandemic or not. Where is the city’s fairness to support all businesses to recover? Roseville, Palo Alto, Walnut Creek and many other cities around the country are in the news saying they’re reopening streets to help retail before the busiest shopping time of year.
The Mayor of Davis also wants to keep G St permanently closed. She’s said she thinks we’re only concerned about aesthetics and parking spots. This isn’t all of it - she’s not listening. We’re looking at digital mapping systems which show G St as closed; not good. Look at what happened to K St in Sacramento in the 1960’s and again recently. Additionally, we see people urinating on the tree out front our business, vomit, graffiti and other signs of the worse side of humanity when they’re given access to areas not intended for recreation. This is “misbehavior”. Pledging to clean this up has proven a vapid promise - for four months. We see little follow through.
However, noteworthy, they said in the meeting they think large developers looking to buy in Davis will think it a very good thing if G St remains closed. (See meeting transcript) Who are they serving here: Big Developers or local business?
Then, of course, there’s the 5 year old doing cartwheels in the street. I hope that works out. In the mean time we’ve provided copies of letters from our customers saying they need to drive down G St during the day when the street is empty and restaurants are closed. Council is not serving the needs of the older demographic who need to drive. Someone please remind them government isn’t supposed to implement policy that’s discriminates against age, sex or race.
So, with council split, there’s no action. The Temporary Use Permits expired 12/20. The question of who requested the street closure is a mystery shrouded in a complete lack of accountability. This is a big red flag everyone should pay attention to- if it’s happening now you can bet it will happen again.
The City of Davis is due to receive over 19.7 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan soon and all they can do is put lipstick on a pig and talk about the beautification of downtown.
For those who enthusiastically say being able to meet, eat and drink in the street builds community please look up the definition of community and go make like-minded friends. (Those who sell you alcohol are not your real friends :) We’ve been successful in business for 47 years. How? By working together, being fair and riding trends. In three years the popularity of G St pedestrian mall will give way to something new. Maybe sooner - there’s another pizzeria and bar opening up around the corner on 3rd St. (the old Bistro 33 location)
Davis has 485 acres of parks suitable for community gatherings and cartwheels. It has over 100 miles of bike lanes. This part of G St can’t be that necessary for a pedestrian street. It’s not on the 2019 City Plan, which cost the people of Davis thousands to produce.
We believe the closing of G St was a power grab made during the pain of the pandemic. It was never meant to be permanent. Like other cities across the country, it’s time to reopen the street, fair is fair. Where is the inclusion of all businesses? Why isn’t the City listening to the recommendation of the DDBA? They have extensive knowledge of how business works and what business needs - arguably more than City Staff does. The city’s decision is biased and unfair. Everyone wants to be involved in the next new thing, but we are being left behind for something new and shiny. Stand outside the Artery any day and you’ll hear someone say this is their favorite store in Davis.
What can you do to make a difference? Email letters to City Council urging them to be fair and be inclusive. During the next city council meeting call in and leave a voice mail with your opinion.