Part 3 Candidate Responses to the Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for the 2022 Davis City Council Election
MAGA Abortion and Election Deniers

Part 4 Candidate Responses to the Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for the 2022 Davis City Council Election

Sierra-club-yolano

Transportation Management

Introduction - As has been our custom for over 20 years, the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares a wide-ranging questionnaire and presents it to candidates in races of interest to our local membership. The questionnaire for the 2022 Davis City Council race received answers from all 5 candidates in the 2 of the 5 City Council Districts for which an election is held in November, 2022.

The candidates, listed in alphabetical order by their first name, are:

District 1 (West Davis): - Bapu Vaitla, Dan Carson, and Kelsey Fortune

District 4 (East Davis ) - Adam Morrill, Gloria Partida

Questions were asked in the following general categories :

Part 1 - Land Use and Housing Development – Peripheral Development

Part 2-- Land Use and Housing Development – Downtown Core and Student Housing

Part 3 - Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Part 4 - Transportation Management

Part 5 - Toxics in the Environment and Other Environmental Issues

Part 6 - Waste Management and Financial Contibutors

Parts 1 through 3 in this series can be viewed by clicking on that article's title above which is linked to the earlier publication.

This is the 4th in the series of articles and focuses on Transportation Management and provides candidate responses to the following questions:

Question #1 - Bicycle Use

Davis prides itself on being a bicycle-oriented city with miles of bike lanes and paths throughout the community to facilitate bike use as an alternative form of transportation. Yet, the bicycle mode-share in Davis has dropped in recent years.

What would you propose to make the bicycle a more viable and safe transportation mode in Davis?

Question #2 - Downtown Parking Structure

Do you support the construction of a new automobile parking structure near or in the downtown core and why or why not?

 

If yes, where would you like to see it located, how large should it be, and how should it be paid for?

Question #3 – Downtown Parking Meters

Do you support the addition of parking meters on downtown streets or in downtown city-owned public parking lots or parking structures and why or why not?

Subsequent articles in the series in the coming days will focus on the two remaining general categories in Parts 5-6.

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Part 4 - Transportation Management

 

Question #1 - Bicycle Use

 

Davis prides itself on being a bicycle-oriented city with miles of bike lanes and paths throughout the community to facilitate bike use as an alternative form of transportation. Yet, the bicycle mode-share in Davis has dropped in recent years.

 

What would you propose to make the bicycle a more viable and safe transportation mode in Davis?

 

Responses from District 1 Candidates

Bapu Vaitla - I believe that we should consider measures to disincentivize the use of fossil fuel vehicles, particularly in the downtown core and adjacent areas. Specifically, working in close consultation with downtown businesses and residents, we should explore charging for curb parking in the core and reduce the parking requirement minimums for new development (while assuring that such developments have adequate transit connections). The curb parking funds could be used to create the infrastructure for a range of micro-mobility options, including rental bicycle depots and pedi-cabs.

In addition, 5% of major street stretches lack bike lanes. 95% coverage is excellent, but we should prioritize completing our bike lane network on major streets.

Dan Carson  - Our City Council is taking significant steps that I have personally supported to improve bicycle (and pedestrian) safety in Davis and encourage its use. The city very recently completed a grant project to link Olive Drive via a freeway overcrossing to South Davis; is preparing to build a I-80/Richards improvement project that contains a dual-track pedestrian and bicycle crossing of I-80 that will greatly improve bicycle safety; and is developing a potential project to link Olive Drive to the Amtrak station for bicyclists and pedestrians via a railroad undercrossing. 

In addition, I have successfully advocated in behalf of an addition of $250,000 to the city budget allocating funding to design a new roundabout at Arlington and Russell Boulevard proposed in the Reimagine Russell plan co-sponsored by the City of Davis, the UC Davis campus, and Yolo County. The idea is to formulate a “shovel-ready” project for which we could seek Active Transportation Program or similar state or federal grant funding. The roundabout would help resolve conflicts in this heavily used corridor among bicyclists, pedestrians, mass transit riders, and motorists that discourage alternative forms of transportation and pose a serious risk to traffic safety. It would without question make bicycling a more viable and safe transportation choice in West Davis, and encourage greater use of this transportation mode.

Kelsey Fortune -  When considering funding for road and path improvements, bicycle infrastructure should come first. As I mentioned in the first question, I believe that financial incentives to discourage private vehicle infrastructure and private vehicle ownership is integral. Finally, building dense housing near places of work and play further encourages cycling over private vehicles.

Second, we must encourage the uncoupling of car parking from rent at apartment complexes and institute a parking lot excise tax. This is a simple way to generate income to assist public and active transportation incentives and infrastructure.

We need a robust plan to attack alternative transportation which should have its own funding. The city needs to put money where their mouth is.

Responses from District 4 Candidates

Adam Morrill - We need to first repair and rebuild the bicycle infrastructure that we currently have and which are crumbling from years of neglect and poor planning.  Additionally, we need better traffic enforcement in the city.  There are too many people speeding and running red lights and stop signs.  If parents fear for their children’s safety due to dangerous drivers, then they won’t let them bike to school or elsewhere.  We also need to consider lighting issue

Gloria Partida - Repairing our bike lanes is important. Our polar bear pedal program is award winning and has made our young people continued future bike riders supporting our schools bike infrastructure will go a long way. Ebikes will also increase the number of people that leave their cars at home. Finding ways to give incentives for this would be great. This could be a conversation with Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District.   

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Question #2 - Downtown Parking Structure

 

Do you support the construction of a new automobile parking structure near or in the downtown core and why or why not?

 

If yes, where would you like to see it located, how large should it be, and how should it be paid for?

Responses from District 1 Candidates

 

Bapu Vaitla - I do not. Available space in our downtown core is precious, and I don’t believe it should be used to facilitate the use of fossil fuel vehicles. The only scenario in which I would support such a structure is if 1) it replaced and consolidated other parking in the downtown, freeing up lots for dense infill housing; and 2) was built underground with mixed-use developments or public space on top of it. In general, however, I believe we should be moving towards a downtown core that’s built for pedestrians and bicyclists (with appropriate allowances for public transit, first responders, and those with mobility restrictions). 

Dan Carson - I do not support such a proposal at this time for several reasons.  First, our draft Downtown Specific Plan proposes that any such proposal be deferred until other transportation strategies that could reduce reliance on automobile use in our downtown, have been tested.  Second, public funding is not available to build such an expensive project.  Third, an existing parking lot near the Regency movie theater complex at Fourth and G often has ample parking spots available on busy weekend periods that is going unused.  For all of these reasons the time is not right for such a project, and it may never pan out.  The downtown plan proposes that such a project put set aside until other approaches to parking management, and diversion of cars from our downtown, have been tested. I agree with that approach.

Kelsey Fortune - I am not in support of allocating additional prime real estate to vehicles. Downtown businesses pay high rent, and yet we continue to allocate space to vehicles for free. Increased parking will only encourage people further to drive to downtown rather than using alternative transportation.

The only situation in which I would support a new parking structure is if it is paired with the removal of private vehicles and parking from some downtown streets to provide more space for businesses, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Responses from District 4 Candidates

Adam Morrill - I do support the construction of a new parking structure.  While it should be the goal to get as many people to bike to downtown, the reality is that many people will not and if there is not enough convenient parking available, it is the local businesses (and tax revenue) that will suffer.  It should be built on top of the current Amtrak parking lot.  This is an ideal location as it serves as a multi-modal transit hub.  It is frequently full on week days due to Amtrak commuters and as a result, people might be discouraged from taking Amtrak if they are unable to park at the station.  Additionally, this location is close to many popular dining establishments in downtown and would help to increase nighttime visitors to the downtown.  I would look to SACOG and Amtrak for initial funding and also look into issuing bonds which would be paid for by charging for parking and e-vehicle charging..

Gloria Partida - No I think we should encourage people to bike or use public transportation to go down town.

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Question #3 – Downtown Parking Meters

Do you support the addition of parking meters on downtown streets or in downtown city-owned public parking lots or parking structures and why or why not?

Responses from District 1 Candidates

 

Bapu Vaitla I do support a fair parking price policy. I believe it would incentivize individuals to use fossil fuel-free transport, create appropriate pressure for the City to invest in public transit and micro-mobility options (bike shares, electric bikes, pedi-cabs), and make our downtown a more human-centered environment.

I recognize that some downtown businesses and residents may be hesitant to lose free parking. We must conduct an impartial analysis of the economic impacts of a switch to paid parking, and engage in a collaborative process with our business community to design a plan that revitalizes our downtown core.

Dan Carson - I did support a compromise approach to the issue pre-COVID that would have expanded paid parking in certain downtown city parking lots. However that project was appropriately put on hold as the full impact of the pandemic on our downtown businesses became apparent and parking became a non-issue.  Downtown business traffic still has not returned to its peak pre-COVID conditions. 

The draft Downtown Specific Plan calls for the integration of financial incentives, such as paid parking, to make our downtown a less auto-intensive environment. While the details would need to be worked out carefully – for example, by ensuring that elderly and disabled persons have access to appropriate parking locations -- that seems to me to be a sensible approach.   

Kelsey Fortune - I believe that implementing a price on parking is a great solution to discourage driving and create a new funding stream for the city. However, it is politically unpopular and not my first choice to reduce congestion and VMT.

As mentioned earlier, I would first discourage vehicle ownership through a parking space fee for multifamily and commercial complexes, which I believe would have a similar impact on parking in the downtown core as meters and also provide a funding stream for the city.

Responses from District 4 Candidates

Adam Morrill - Yes, I support paid parking within the downtown core and in city-owned lots and structures.  It is an untapped revenue stream that can be used to help fund efforts within the city to improve our environmental footprint.  Additionally, it will also encourage those who can bike to downtown to bike instead of drive.  My only caveat would be that people with accessibility issues would be accommodated somehow with no or reduced cost parking as in some cases they have no other option but to drive.

Gloria Partida - Yes I think parking meter are good for management of cars downtown.

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The Sierra Club Yolano Group is a local Sierra Club group comprising members in all of Yolo and small parts of Solano and Colusa Counties. We can be contacted at sierraclubyolanogroup@gmail.com.

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