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June 2023

Breaking news: Yolo I-80 Widening Not Funded!

Advocates who steamrolled project scramble to save it

The June 28th California Transportation Commission meeting in Suisun gave out $3.3 billion with mantra “get it built”.  It was standing-room only, squeezing 15 commissioners on the dais, 20 staff and 60 local transportation agency officials from around the state in a room 2/3 the size of the Davis City Chambers. Activists should note that while the monthly meeting location moves from venue to venue around the state, the public can zoom call in. Photo by Alan Hirsch.

 By Alan Hirsch

The Yolo I-80 widening project was not given the missing 54% funds ($103 million) at the California Transportation Commission meeting (CTC) on Wednesday 6/28. This means the initial $87 million earmarked federal funds for the project will be lost as it will time out before it is spent. At least this was what was represented on 6/6 to Davis City Council.

At the June 6th meeting the Council wanted to delay the EIR to add transit options, but were told this was not possible, due to the fact the initial money would time out if EIR was completed and an alternative chosen by January 2025. What was not discussed with Council was the $87 million in earmarked Federal money could ONLY be used for widening, i.e. was a pre-wired choice from congress. So if an EIR instead choose a transit alternative that Davis want to add, it might have be a poison pill for the funding already lined up.

Was this knowledge behind what was going on that evening when Davis Council attempted to interrogate the EIR project alternatives, and add a new one, but was discouraged?  We may never know. But it’s a new process now.

CTC Meeting is the Major Leagues

I was the only “civilian” public commentator speaking on this or any projects at the CTC meeting though there were many letters from public opposing Yolo I-80 project were received. It notable no one showed up in favor of project-- or submitted late letters of support (note: some Yolo Cities had quietly written letter for support in winter and spring 2023).  A  number of local agencies reps and elected official from elsewhere in the state comment uniformly support on their projects, which affirm CTC staff recommendation  to fund. I note even a state Assembly member called in a comment – he was monitoring the 4-hour meeting.

The CTC gave out $3.3 Billion, so funding the $103 million gap in the Yolo80 project was almost rounding error. The I-80 project itself got no CTC commissioner questions or discussion. Not surprising as it was one of 48 in the "Trade Corridor Enhancement" tranche - ... item 17 on 18 item agendas just that afternoon. There were only funds for 25 of the 48 in that tranche so it was competitive, but rarely are CTC staff suggestions overruled.

Continue reading "Breaking news: Yolo I-80 Widening Not Funded!" »

Council bamboozled at 6/6 meeting

I-80I-80 Widening rated last for funding by Caltrans.

By Alan Hirsch

Preface: Just 46 hours after Davis Council was forced into a shot gun wedding with Caltrans on the Yolo80 freeway widening, the gate keeper organization on transportation projects, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) staff made public a: “do not fund”  recommendation. The next chance for making up these state matching funds is in 18 months. It would be unusual if the staff recommendations are overturned at the June 28th CTC meeting.

* * *

On January 6th, ignoring 21 public comments unanimously opposing it, the Davis City Council voted 3-1 to take the first step to go along with the I-80 widening project. The majority decided to listen to YoloTD Vice Chair Josh Chapman and it’s staff. This vote supports the city partnering with Caltrans to sell out our goal of zero carbon for Davis: Caltrans will get to use our “good” GHG-reducing projects to justify the additional GHG caused by the freeway widening. Caltrans’ carrot was to offer funding (amount unknown) to help developers of both the Nishi housing development and the housing proposed in downtown Davis.

As reported in the Enterprise article 6/10, the council voted this way even though they were uncomfortable with how the widening undercuts our local climate change plan. Among the complaints made by public were calls to remember the city’s climate emergency resolution.

Only Councilperson Bapu Vaitla remained skeptical of what was represented to council and voted no -- i.e. to protect the city’s plan to go to zero carbon.

Continue reading "Council bamboozled at 6/6 meeting " »

Recommendation to the Davis City Council for Changes in Davis’ Affordable Housing Ordinance

By The Sierra Club Yolano Group Management Committee

June 27, 2023


The Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance is now implemented on a temporary basis. Renewal with some modest changes is anticipated this evening.

However, the existing Affordable Housing Ordinance has provisions which we believe do not provide social justice, equity, and fairness in terms of meeting the needs of the City’s low-income population because it is biased toward the financial benefit of developers rather than maximizing the availability of affordable income housing in Davis.

Following please find our recommendations for immediate changes to update the City's temporary Affordable Housing Ordinance for ownership development projects. Additionally, we suggest the City embark on a concerted effort to further revise the ordinance to make it more equitable and understandable to developers and the general public for both ownership and rental development projects as more fully described below.

Recommendation for Immediate Change

1) Eliminate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as an acceptable alternative to provide on-site Affordable Housing - Prior to the immediate renewal of the Affordable Housing Ordinance, we strongly recommend completely eliminating the provision whereby ADUs are allowed as fulfillment for up to 50% of a For Sale project’s affordable housing obligations as currently exists.

2) Substantially increase in-lieu fees if chosen by a developer as an acceptable alternative to provide on-site or offsite Affordable Housing - We recommend that in-lieu fees be substantially increased so that it is no longer a financially preferable option for developers to pursue.  We endorse the staff recommendation to have an "in lieu fee to represent the full cost to build an actual unit."

Recommendations for Further Changes in the Very Near Future

3) Increase the minimum percentages of affordable housing required in most developments -

a) For rental multifamily developments and ownership detached housing, increase the standard 15% requirement for onsite or offsite affordable housing units to 25% (15% Very Low Income and 10% Low Income).

b) For ownership and rental mixed use and stacked-flat condominiums, increase the affordable housing requirement from 5% to 10% (5% Very Low Income and 5% Low Income) and eliminate the exemption for such units in the core area from the requirements of the Affordable Housing Ordinance.

4) Increase the minimum parcel size for land donated to alternatively meet affordable housing requirements to 4 acres – Experts in the field of non-profit low income housing project financing have stated that land donation requirements of lesser sizes are not feasible to finance given the realities of financing requirements and available tax credits.

We elaborate on each of these recommendations further below.


Continue reading "Recommendation to the Davis City Council for Changes in Davis’ Affordable Housing Ordinance" »

How Big Does Davis Need to Be? A Lot Smaller Than Growth Advocates Want You To Think

Criteria for inclusion: stand-alone college towns with a population less than 90K and a public university larger than 10K enrollment. Dataset may not include every example of this, but diligent efforts have been made to be as complete as possible. The orange line shows the best-fit linear regression model. Any place above the line has more than its projected population based on enrollment. (Added 7:30 PM, June 23, 2023)

By Rik Keller

Tim Keller (no relation) stated in the article “Guest Commentary: How Big Does Davis Need to Be? College Towns Analysis Part 3 – Long-Term Planning” that “In previous articles we saw evidence that suggests that a population of 120,000 might be entirely appropriate for a university town such as Davis: It is the size of Ann Arbor, Michigan (home of the University of Michigan), Champagne-Urbana (home of the University of Illinois), and Lafayette Indiana (home of Purdue). These are all well-regarded and well-funded research universities of very similar size and character to UC Davis.”

For reference, the 2022 population of Davis was 67,048, and Tim’s number is a huge 179% increase above that.

The so-called “evidence” that he based this on was a very incomplete, cherry-picked, and in some cases factually-inaccurate, list of 17 universities and host towns to compare to Davis.

He stated “The trend that emerges immediately is that the population of a “university town” such as ours tends to be about 3x the size of its student body.”

I have access to a more complete database of 40 public research universities with enrollment of at least 10,000 students (and up to 50,000), located in distinct host towns with populations less than 100,000. Tim ignored the vast majority of these. It turns out that the median population-to-student enrollment ratio of these 40 college towns is almost identical to that of Davis (Davis is slightly higher), which completely undermines his argument that Davis needs massive population growth to support current university enrollment.

If Tim hadn’t approached the exercise with an endpoint in mind—his preconceived notion that Davis need to be much larger than it is—he could have done a more credible analysis. His limited cherry-picked data had some basic facts wrong. The 2022 population of Corvallis was actually 60,956 (not 95,184), and the population-to-enrollment ratio is actually 1.73. And he drastically understated the enrollment for the University of Indiana at 35,253, when Fall 2022 enrollment was actually 47,005. The population-to-enrollment ratio for Bloomington is actually 1.68. With Davis at around 1.9, these two cases, as well as the median of 1.82 for the larger dataset, indicates that Davis has more population per enrollment than the norm.

I won’t get into a critique right now of Tim’s notion that a simplistic and crude comparison of population size to university enrollment should provide prescriptive guidance. But suffice it to say for now that a more through examination of the facts using a more complete dataset of college towns, points to the opposite conclusion that he had.

Should we be surprised that one of the people behind the “Sustainable Growth Yolo” organization is advocating for massive amounts of growth based on faulty analysis and assumptions? I’m not sure why they aren’t more honest and just delete the “sustainable” part.

Rik Keller is a university instructor in communication studies and social work. He has two decades of professional experience in demographic analysis and housing policy & analysis in Texas, Oregon, and California after obtaining his master’s degree in city planning. He is also a 15-year Davis resident.

Letter: City Council moves toward an exclusionary Davis

What a sad Council night for Davis this past Tuesday.

Both projects put forward by the city Tuesday night are by design planning for an exclusionary Davis.

Both projects short us on affordable housing for the very low income and low income. They both set aside the lowest number of units ever affordable to VLI and LI units of any proposed annexation.

When David Taormino asked me to do the affordable housing for Bretton Woods I said I would if he doubled the land required for affordable housing.

David provided land for 150 VLI and LI apartments instead of the required 68 apartments.

Standing at the Bretton Woods Booth at the Farmers Market every Wednesday and Saturday proved my point. His willingness to do more VLI and LI units that he needed to was the critical element in winning community approval in a Measure J election.

I and Delta Senior Housing Communities (DSHC) are no longer doing the affordable housing at Bretton Woods but that one generous act had great impact and won community support.

With 378 acres to build why is Village Farms skimping on an extra four acres for housing VLI and LI people.

All that is needed is 1% (3.78 acres) more of the 378 acres.

Due to their skimping on both projects I am opposed to them both.

I don’t want the Davis that is being sold to us. It is a Davis with fewer doors for the poor.

That Davis will be richer and whiter and shun the poor working people.

Join me in demanding more from each project to build a more welcoming and inclusionary Davis.

David J. Thompson

5 City/County Climate Commissions Are Being Sidelined

Best way to handle inconvenient truth is to not talk of it

Image003 323

By Alan Hirsch

This week the well-meaning volunteers of Yolo County’s Climate Action Committee will be hosting three open houses to collect public input.

However, I think these volunteers, like climate committee volunteers on 4 other Yolo County cities, are being distracted from the elephant in the room.

Image001 1516
Is the Davis CAAP just performative if freeway widening can’t be discussed in Davis by our climate committee?

Each of the five Yolo government’s Climate Act Plans note we need a plan to dramatically reduce auto driving if we want to address our greenhouse gases (GHG), the source of 65% of Woodland  and 69% of Davis’s GHG. For example, the city of West Sacramento plan set a goal of reducing driving 40% by 2045 by a shift to transit and active modes.

Yet, the proposed widening of the I-80 Freeway is projected by UC Davis researchers to do the opposite: encourage more driving and longer commutes forecasting 177.9 million more miles of driving each year. This means an increase in the county’s carbon footprint by 3%- larger than the entire City of Winters.

UC Davis research also demonstrated, like all past widening, this $380 million project one won’t fix congestion for long: the freeway is 100% certain to re-congest after a few years due to more car travel the widening it itself encourages.

Yet not one of these five climate commissions have discussed this project and its tradeoffs or have a plan to provide input to Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) in July.

It is not the volunteers on these committee’s fault: it about city and county staff who haven’t put it on their agendas.

This is accomplished by the freeway advocates embedded in government who claim to want public input but actually discourage it by spin:

Continue reading "5 City/County Climate Commissions Are Being Sidelined" »

Comparison of Village Farms Davis and Shriners Proposed Developments

Comparison of Village Farms Davis and Shriners Proposed Developments

by Alan Pryor

I. Introduction – Recent online comments suggested a side-by-side comparison of the features of several currently proposed development projects subject to a Measure J vote would be useful to allow readers to do an “apples-to-apples” comparison of the salient features of the projects. As a result, I prepared such a spreadsheet showing what I considered to be the most important features of the Village Farms Davis and the Shriners development projects.

The following general categories were considered in this analysis;

  1. Total Project Size and Buildable Acres
  2. Number of Market Rate and Affordable Housing Units and Density
  3. Area of Open Space, Roadways, and Proposed Mitigation
  4. Distances to Important Local Destinations and Public Transit Access
  5. Infill Potential vs. Sprawl
  6. Other Project Benefits to the Community

Information for the analysis was derived from public sources and/or filings made by the project developers and follow-up inquiries when additional information was sought.


II. Results – The results of this effort is shown in the following spreadsheet:

Continue reading "Comparison of Village Farms Davis and Shriners Proposed Developments" »

Porter carries UC Davis’ Iron Brew contest

Iron Brew 2023 Brewing Kettles 1
UC Davis Iron Brew winners, from left, Zachary Carling, Asuka Okamoto, Sarah Suriano and Yoon Jung Choi. (Photo credit: Katherine Yanogacio/Sudwerk Brewing Co.)

(From press release) Four UC Davis students in Glen Fox’s Practical Malting and Brewing class earned more than top grades for their final project. They won the ability to work with Sudwerk Brewing Co. and produce their winning beer on a commercial scale.

Each year, students in the Food Science and Technology 102B class compete for the Iron Brew title, where teams present a beer they formulate, brew and analyze at UC Davis. A panel of industry professionals from across Northern California judged the entries on March 29. Since 2014, Sudwerk has added value to the prize by offering to help the students commercially produce their recipe at the Davis brewery.

This year’s winning beer was Porterline Brilliant, a dark, rich ale with 5% alcohol by volume. The team included students Zachary Carling, Yoon Jung Choi, Asuka Okamoto and Sarah Suriano. All four are Food Science and Technology majors, who graduate on June 17.

Ten teams competed in the 2023 Iron Brew. Each one designed and brewed three 30-liter recipes (almost 8 gallons each). The best of each team’s three batches was submitted for judging. The winning team works with Sudwerk to re-create their recipe for commercial release.

Continue reading "Porter carries UC Davis’ Iron Brew contest" »

Davis Pride Festival draws biggest crowd ever

The crowd cheers during the drag revue at the Davis Pride Festival on Sunday (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)

(From press release) The Davis Phoenix Coalition presented its biggest Davis Pride Festival to date, with its inclusive celebration for members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. An organizer estimated that more than 5,000 came to Central Park for Sunday’s ninth-annual event.

It was part of a community-focused, family-friendly weekend that included a skate night, fun run, music festival, drag queens, vendors and more – June 3 and 4. A handful of quiet protesters attended the drag show and took video. The crowd and drag queens started interacting with the protesters, who left before displaying the banners and posters they intended to raise.

Those in Davis will notice the rainbow crosswalks around Davis’ Central Park, which were painted on May 28. Those set the celebratory tone for Skate with Pride on Saturday night, Run for Equality on Sunday morning, and the Davis Pride Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The fair included music, a drag queen revue, educational booths, food, drink, and vendors coordinated with the assistance of Davis Craft and Vintage Market. There were even special activity zones for youths, teens and seniors.

On June 23, there’s a Ride with Pride bike party excursion, with participants meeting at Central Park at 6 p.m. and leaving about 30 minutes later. Businesses interested in hosting local pride events, to raise money for and promote Davis Pride, may learn more at https://www.davispride.org/host.

Davis Pride events are coordinated by an all-volunteer community formed by the Davis Phoenix Coalition, a nonprofit that works to foster diversity, eliminate intolerance, prevent hate-motivated violence, and support LGBTQ+ youths in Davis and surrounding communities. The coalition was founded in the aftermath of a 2013 anti-gay attack on former Davis resident “Mikey” Partida. Proceeds from Davis Pride events support the coalition’s anti-racism and anti-bullying campaigns, help LGBTQ+ youths and their families, and provide outreach with area police departments, churches and schools. To donate, go to https://davisphoenixco.org/donate.

Davis Media Access Executive Director Autumn Labbé-Renault interviews Davis Pride Director Sandré Henriquez Nelson on KDRT radio at Sunday’s festival. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Mikey Partida prepares to raise the pride flag at Davis City Hall on Sunday, June 4, before the Davis Pride Festival. Partida was the victim of an anti-gay attack in 2013 that spurred the formation of the Davis Phoenix Coalition. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Runners and walkers take position at Third and C streets in Davis on Sunday before the Run for Equality. The event was part of a series of weekend pride activities. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Claire Yribarren, left, and Olive Amendolara pose for a photo during Saturday’s Skate with Pride event in Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
The ’80s cover band Tainted Love headlined the Davis Pride Festival on Sunday in Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Skaters compete in a limbo competition at the Skate with Pride event on Saturday, June 3 in Davis’ Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Festivalgoers enjoy as Xavier Toscano & Friends perform Sunday at the Davis Pride Festival in Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)

Reject Caltrans So-Called Mitigations to I-80 Widening & Support Rail Transit Investment Instead

I urge residents to attend the City Council meeting this evening to speak against the Davis City Council supporting the widening of I-80, and instead supporting investment in the parallel intercity rail corridor.  [The item comes up at 8:15 pm]

An Open Letter to the Davis City Council


Dear City Council Members:

I am writing to you today as a citizen of Davis.

You are being asked to approve three letters of intent with the State of California, regarding supposed 'mitigation' for the increased air pollution resulting from the widening of I-80.  I urge you not to sign these letters and instead send a strong message to the State of California opposing the widening of I-80, and instead to actively support a massive investment in intercity rail transit.

Davis lies on the Capitol Corridor rail line between Roseville and San Jose.  Plans are being developed for a new rail crossing between the East Bay and San Francisco that would allow Capitol Corridor trains to access the Peninsula directly.  Plans are in the works for a new tunnel between Martinez and Richmond to allow the removal the curvy section of the rail line along the Bay to protect the corridor from sea-level rise and speed up that section by ten minutes.  Plans are in the works for hourly and half-hourly rail service within an 18-hour service window.  Plans are in the works for 110 m.p.h. trains using hydrogen, overhead electric, or battery-hybrid electric equipment.

What these plans lack is funding and state commitment.  The State of California's stated policy is to fund alternative transportation and reduce VMT & GHG.  Yet actual State policy speaks through its funding allocations in expanding highways under the guise of adding 'managed lanes' which the State admits will add to air pollution in the case of the I-80 widening project.  Under what reasoning can Davis support this?

The so-called mitigation to fund infrastructure for Davis developments is called 'support' in the documents.  That any given development will actually contribute to a reduction in pollutants is a theoretical exercise based on models that are not specific to Davis.  The true effect can only be known once such developments are occupied and the transportation choices of residents known.

The so-called transit mitigation is to fill a need that may or may not exist.  The need for a micro-transit program in our small town, or the need for a vague 'increase' in public transit has not been studied, nor has the overall effect on pollutants.  Davis is being asked to support questionable, theoretical and insufficient mitigation for a project that the State admits will increase pollution.  This goes against Davis' values.

Transportation is the #1 cause of air pollutants.  This is largely because of automobile dominance.  It can be difficult as City Councilmembers to turn down 'free' State money, but in this case you indeed must turn that money down.  To give support to the I-80 widening would be to support the continued mass funding of road widening and automobile supremacy.

Instead, I urge the City Council to make a strong statement to the State of California against growing the auto-centric transportation status quo.  I urge rejecting the mitigation and 'partnership' in highway-widening and instead writing a letter to the State in support of massive investment in intercity rail transit. 

Tell the State to leave I-80 over the Causeway as it is, retaining two shoulders on each side in each direction for safety.  Then ask the State of California to divert the billions of dollars in current and future highway funds intended for Interstate 80 expansion to instead fund the expansion and improvement of the parallel Capitol Corridor passenger rail service from Roseville to San Jose.

I thank you for hearing me,

Alan C. Miller

Managing the mismanagement

Should Mayor Will Arnold recuse himself tonight from an I-80 project discussion because he's Media Affairs Manager at Caltrans?

ArnoldArnoldImage left: Councilmember Arnold's official Facebook Page & Caltrans / Image right: City of Davis

Tonight's City Council Agenda item on the 80 Yolo Managed Project was already covered critically and nearly exhaustively last weekend in the Davis Enterprise and yesterday here in the Davisite and in the Davis Vanguard.

It’s no secret that Mayor Will Arnold is the Media Relations Manager for Caltrans.  Should he recuse himself from the discussion for ethical reasons?  Should he be signing a letter to support a project he would then have to (continue to) work on at Caltrans? I don’t think he can recuse himself from the communications hierarchy there. Based on the linked articles above, consider how Caltrans communicates things about the project: The spin, the lack of backstory, obfuscations to the point of dishonesty... disrespect. (At a public presentation hosted by Cool Davis a couple of months ago, Autumn Bernstein of Yolo Transportation District - who is co-presenting this evening at City Council - said that her agency had convinced Caltrans to do the managed lanes variant with VMT mitigation. The linked articles tell me Caltrans had already decided to do this some time ago, and I would not be totally surprised if they try to re-include the new bike-ped crossing of the Yolo Bypass as a carrot.) 

Arnold’s job description at
LinkedIn is:  “Caltrans Headquarters Public Affairs, Office of the Director – Duties include managing media inquiries and press relations, designing and executing effective communications strategy, and writing/editing communication plans, press releases, talking points and social media content.”

A Tale of Two Crossings: Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'

* If Nishi can't be built, there's nothing to trade as a mitigation
* Dedicated bike-ped crossing of the Yolo Bypass was quietly cancelled after years of promises.



Tonight's City Council Agenda item on the 80 Yolo Managed Project was already covered critically and nearly exhaustively last weekend in the Davis Enterprise and yesterday here in the Davisite and in the Davis Vanguard.


A Bridge That Can't Be Built...

I arrived in town after Nishi 1.0 (retroactively supported a concept that would involve a complete redesign of the 80-Richards interchange inclusive of a parking structure and Park & Ride for regional buses which would have minimal impacts on Richards) and was against Nishi 2.0 because I don’t think that there should be housing (buildings with windows people open!) so close to the noisy and arguably otherwise-polluting interstate, but it’s not why I am suggesting that the proposed “multi-modal” mitigation is a fallacy. I agree with others that no VMT mitigations should happen with this project, and am trying to make clear that the plan of Caltrans and its erstwhile partners are also a mess from a technical point of view. (There's also the sheer ironic delight of trying to facilitate the construction of a project using these VMT credits - as it were - to make the Nishi space noisier and more polluted next to a widened interstate.)

The 80-railway corridor is a wall for people on bikes, but so is the railway on its own.  See Pole Line over 80 at lower right in the illustration above. It’s incredibly long because it has to go very high over the railway tracks, more so than to get over 80 itself (to better understand this, picture the crossings over 113 which are much lower as they only need to accommodate trucks.) First of all, this – and all the over-crossings of 80 in town – are simply not comfortable and suitable for people on normal bicycles, especially carrying children, and especially if they can make the journey by private motor vehicle or e-bike.   The over-crossings have around a 6 to 7% grade, nearly twice as high as the Dutch standard: So to make it comfortable for hundreds of people to go from Nishi to campus it would have to be nearly twice as long. Look again at the view of 80 at Pole Line: There’s no space for this unless it’s very circuitous and indirect and lands behind the Shrem Museum or just by the entrance to Solano Park from Old Davis Rd. (The red line in the top of the image is only as long as Pole Line, and it needs to be much longer.) And that’s just for cycling. Imagine walking this at least twice a day. Motor vehicles including buses can obviously do this, but that's no one's definition of "multi-modal".

I feel confident in saying that since a motor vehicle, bus, bicycle and walking connection is part of the agreement for Nishi, and as Union Pacific forbids an under-crossing, there’s no way to build Nishi unless it’s returned to the voters. There’s nothing to mitigate here as nothing can be built for mitigation.


A Cancelled Crossing...

For years a dedicated and new bicycle-pedestrian bridge across the ‘Bypass was promised in the project. In 2020 – when I was still on the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) – the notification that it was dropped some months earlier was only indirectly mentioned in a summary for a BTSSC meeting by the primary liaison for the City of Davis at the time, Brian Abbanat (former City of Davis Senior Planner; now he’s in a similar role for Yolo County and co-presenting Tuesday evening.) A couple of years later when this was mentioned to the other co-presenter, YCTD head Autumn Bernstein, she said it was not funded: I believe that the aggregate truth – to be precise as possible – is that Caltrans dropped it, never told any of the local interested groups about it (e.g. Bike Davis, Davis Bike Club) through their liaison Abbanat and that it wasn’t part of the initial, funded proposal to the Federal Government. Our City, County and State government representatives were silent about this betrayal in our so-called "USA cycling capitol".

Development Planning Priorities for Davis

Note: As part of item 8 on Tuesday's City Council agenda, the City will consider an evaluation rubric as a possible tool for consideration of review of peripheral proposals. The following is an alternative rubric proposal.

Proposed by Judy Corbett, Alan Hirsch, Roberta Millstein, Alan Pryor, Bob Schneider, David J. Thompson, Colin Walsh, Stephen Wheeler, James Zanetto, and Sierra Club Yolano Group

1. Develop infill opportunities first

  • City to hire consultant or add staff to actively pursue and encourage implementation of the Downtown Plan and other infill opportunities.
  • Council action to initiate redevelopment of city-owned parcels on Fifth Street and communicate with potential nonprofit partners.
  • Council to approach school district regarding redevelopment of 5th Street properties.
  • Upzone parcels along arterial corridors and in shopping centers to a minimum height for mixed-use development so as to use land efficiently in central locations.
  • 100% affordable housing overlay zoning like the Cambridge model to create new affordable housing redevelopment opportunities in already developed areas. By focusing zoning changes only for affordable housing it gives affordable housing developers the opportunity to initiate redevelopment projects without competing against more lucrative for profit market rate developments for development sites.
  • Reduce parking requirements for these sites, including considering car-free housing on certain sites, along with low parking maximums, to encourage redevelopment & affordability; a package of policies to reduce motor vehicle use such as on-site car-shares, market pricing, good bike parking, transit improvements, etc.

2. Initiate and complete General Plan or Specific Plans updates.  This will provide a comprehensive look at the future and ensure consideration of cumulative impacts including traffic, water, wastewater and other infrastructure. A General Plan is preferred but an option might be a Specific Plan for the Northeast and /or Northwest areas. Any new planning process should be kept short and efficient so as to avoid the lengthy and expensive experiences of many past plans.

3. Peripheral development standards

Continue reading "Development Planning Priorities for Davis" »

Make transit & walkable communities a priority, not just a mitigation for freeway widening

I-80TO Mayor Will Arnold and Members
Davis City Council

From: Judy Corbett, Professor Steven Wheeler, Alan Pryor, Professor Mark Huising, Professor Roberta Millstein, Jim Zanetto, Colin Walsh, Alan Hirsch, Robert Thayer

Our group supports walkable, bikeable, compact infill development near transit, shopping, community amenities, and jobs. Building a wider freeway to increase the auto capacity is contrary to our over-arching goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It is well established science that wider freeways do not fix congestion but do increase driving and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), as noted in the well researched Davis Enterprise article of June 3th. The travel forecast model developed by the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies (and accepted by Caltrans and the Yolo County Transit District) estimates that the I-80 freeway widening will generate enough car travel (178 million miles a year !) to  equal the GHG emissions that would be generated by adding a new auto centric city the size of Winters.

Will Davis Decide to Ignore Climate Emergency?

On Tuesday June 6 Caltrans will ask the Davis City Council to make use of our GHG-reducing projects to justify the additional GHG that would be caused by the I-80 widening.

Continue reading "Make transit & walkable communities a priority, not just a mitigation for freeway widening" »

No deal on cuts except military. Tax the corporations and the wealthy.

Neither happened in the debt ceiling deal that is now through the Senate.

Screenshot-2023-05-23-at-2.By Scott Steward

Representatives take a sober oath of office to serve the people and what we get are plutocrats. Replutocrats and Deplutocrats, choose their Parties of Grievance or Complicity, controlled by plutocrats in succession to be the Pelosis and the McConnells of their time - McCarthy and Jeffries.

There is no good scenario where irresponsible military spending, grossly fattened tax benefits (for the already ultra-wealthy) and withholding aid to the hungry is the plan.

The 20 year wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost us $21 trillion. Whatever we've been doing in the middle east, now Ukraine, and around the world has cost us trillions. When crying for a balanced budget, why aren't we ending sixty years of US led forever war policy?

Corporate profits have increased 14 times since 1980 to $2.8 trillion a quarter. In the same years, most wages have just kept up. Tax law has increased owner, executive, and trust babies purchasing power a 100 times. They can afford the cost cost of health care, housing and education.  For these essentials, the rest of us have less purchasing power than we did 60 years ago. That is what our budget policy should fix.

Continue reading "No deal on cuts except military. Tax the corporations and the wealthy." »

Letter: Hibbert’s 224 Apartment Proposal Will Have NO Parking and NO Poor

This Loophole Must Be Removed

Hibbert’s SB 330 development avoids the Builder’s Remedy which at least requires 20% of the units for Low Income (LI) so on the face of it for 224 units projected there should be 44 units for low income households.

So by adding a measly 8,000 sq. ft. retail to a four story project, Hibbert’s avoids providing 33 low income units. Under SB 330 only 11 low income units are proposed which is 5%. None of units will serve very low income (VLI) households which is the city’ biggest gap in meeting the RHNA numbers of 580 VLI.

The project is exclusionary by design.

For the Hibbert’s site proposal under SB330 there will be no parking requirements. Think of the impact on G street neighbors and the Co-op in particular. Where will 250-300 vehicles park in the neighborhood?

David J Thompson

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - June 2023

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

There MAY not have been a May version of Al's Corner.  People got by.  They posted May stuff in April.  We all lived.

June's Al's Corner will feature ketchup and mustard on top.  Peace.  Over & Out.