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July 2023

Explaining how RFK Jr.’s recent remarks were racist

It’s a good reminder that “hate” is a very limited way of talking about racism.

By Roberta Millstein

I recently got into a conversation with some people on Facebook about whether Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s recent remarks about Chinese people and Ashkenazi Jews regarding COVID-19 were racist.  The conversation was too hard to have on Facebook, so I stopped engaging, but I think it’s worth looking at his remarks in more detail because I think they are quite damning, and yes, racist. 

I take his remarks personally because I myself am an Ashkenazi Jew, but since RFK Jr. is running for President of the United States, and since apparently some Davisites think he is a good candidate, it’s important for all of us to take a second look.

The video of his remarks is here.  The quotes below are my transcription.  I edited lightly (removing stutters, etc.), and may have missed a small word here or there, but I am confident that I have it mostly correct.

Continue reading "Explaining how RFK Jr.’s recent remarks were racist" »

Response to I-80 update piece by Alan Hirsch

Note: The following email was sent to the Davisite, asking for a correction to Alan Hirsch's recent articles.  As the email contains some misunderstandings about the nature of the Davisite, a new article has been written that tries to correct these misunderstandings and other common misconceptions – see More about the Davisite.  Just as with Alan Hirsch's articles and with any other article on the Davisite, the volunteers who operate this blog do not vouch for the correctness of what is written below.

The Davisite has recently posted a series of guest-authored pieces by Alan Hirsch about the Yolo 80 Managed Lanes project containing a pattern of significant inaccuracies, potentially causing confusion about the project among the general population. Providing a forum for vigorous policy debate is an important role of blog-based local media, however, informal media should aspire to post accurate information, even from guest authors.

As Caltrans’ partner on the Yolo 80 Managed Lanes project, the Yolo Transportation District (YoloTD) responds to two inaccuracies in Mr. Hirsch's most recent July 24, 2023 article posting titled, "I-80 update: Caltrans proposes cutting mitigation for Phase I".

               Article Title and Article List Item #1: Mr. Hirsch's title “I-80 update: Caltrans proposes cutting mitigation for Phase I” is inaccurate. Caltrans has not proposed in any way to cut mitigation for Phase 1 of the Yolo 80 Managed Lanes project. Any version of the project that moves forward will be subject to CEQA. The Draft Environmental Impact Report has not yet been released, and any speculation about its contents is just that -- speculation. Mr. Hirsch has speculated that funding will not be available for mitigation, which is an opinion, not a fact.

               Article List Item #2: YoloTD's statement that an HOV lane would be congested on day 1 requires additional background. The comment refers to "peak" hours at bottleneck locations under a specific HOV2+ scenario where high-occupancy vehicles with two or more people (HOV2+) are allowed access to the lane, which is one of several scenarios that could advance. Other scenarios with higher occupancy requirements could result in lower congestion levels on the new lanes.

Continue reading "Response to I-80 update piece by Alan Hirsch" »

I-80 update: Caltrans proposes cutting mitigation for Phase I

Image001 1525

by Alan Hirsch

  1. At the Yolo Transportation District (YoloTD) board meeting 7/17, it was shared that Caltrans is considering a plan to save the I-80 widening project by trimming it back from $210m to the $86 mil fed funds they have so they can spend them before the funds time out: Their plan would be to widen a few miles of the freeway as HOV without adding tolling infrastructure.  i.e., no source of revenue for more transit or other mitigations. This is the core project Caltrans assumably was after anyway as they originally had Congress ear mark the $86m in grant money to only be used for an untolled  HOV lane.  Assumably full tolling and mitigation would be implemented when and if money for a now larger Phase II is found sometime in the future.
  2. YoloTD staff using Caltrans numbers have said even a complete 17mile long HOV lane would be congested day 1. Arguing now for a widening just a short section blows apart any logic that Caltrans want to fix a “bottle neck”.
  3. Three of the five YoloTD members objected to Caltrans toll-less plan for the new lane expressing concern they want money to spend locally. Board member Jesse Loren of the Winter Council was very concerned about not having toll lane revenue funds for a social equity program- assumably a program needed to mitigation of inequity of having that self-same toll lane. At risk for Davis is the Micro transit service- i.e.  93% subsidy required for $40/trip service as well as financial help the developer of the Nishe project and downtown Davis.
  4. Most Board members asked how much widening they can buy after inflation impact cutting the buying power of the money. Lucas Frerichs raise a question if a CEQA environmental lawsuit might slow or stop the project (response: likely not if EIR is certified by Caltrans but it could retroactively affect the mitigation program and tolling policy.)
  5. The board raised no question about staff’s Plan B other that cuttings scope: i.e. fund the phase I  short fall created when California Transportation Commission failed to fund on 6/26. YoloTD Staff report noted they were considering local Muni-bond or obtaining Federal FHWA Loan to be guaranteed locally. YoloTD staff said this is still being explored but the time frame is challenging.(see previous Vanguard article)
  6. Silence continues on the Climate Change Elephants in the Room: In discussions by YoloTD Board that night, the terms Climate Change,  VMT, GHG or induced demand were not used in reference to-I-80 project.  There was no acknowledgement or response to letters by Professor Stephen Wheeler, signed by 20 Davis resident on climate change asking for reopen EIR with transit alternatives or a similar letter by Professor John Johnson of CSUS.
  7. No one directly acknowledge or publicly responded to powerful letter from head of National Center for Sustainable Transportation Professor Susan Handy that said based on decades of studies the I-80 extra lane- even if tolled -- won’t fix congestion but will hurt the environment. This letter was privately shared with the board but not shared with the public (see coming Vanguard article that will reprint it)
  8. YoloTD chair Tom Stallard gave a statement “for the record” He references generic “letters” which might include that from Wheeler and Handy.  Not bothering to reference any science to studies, he that the board need to be realistic and simply widen the freeway as this would fix congestion.  He used examples of his grandchildren’s need to get to piano lesson and sporting event as evidence of important needs that need be addressed. His argument is a tour de force of how common sense should overrule science out of the university. No member of board contradicted his statements as chair. Tom Stallard is one of the richest men in Yolo County having given over $50,000 to the Mondavi Center, so a managed toll lane that never congests would work well for his family to avoid congestion.
  9. Josh Chapman, the Davis Council rep failed to show.  Davis City manager/council does not seem to have appointed an alternate-to YoloTD unlike other JPB bodies the city is a party to.
  10. -I 80 Draft EIR release will again be delayed again to the end of August per Caltrans statement at YoloTD meeting. Caltrans originally scheduled the DEIR to be release in January of 2023. Caltrans has no email list to inform stakeholder of delays and does not update such information on the project’s website, so continue to read the Vanguard or Davisite to keep informed.

The Meeting: Video of July 17, 2023 board meeting is at  https://youtu.be/O7odnLgxuF4  The I-80 agenda item begins at 33 minutes in. Tom Stallard’s statement that effectively denies university science of “induced demand” is at about 1:06


Yolo County and CA population growth projected to stall for decades

CA forecasts extremely slow population growth for next 4 decades for  Yolo County and California.

by Colin Walsh

The state of California Department of Finance released an update to its state population projections on July 19, 2023. These projections are based on Census 2020 data and demographic analysis. (link)

The state estimates the current population of California is 38,990,487 and that the population will increase to 39,508,492 by 2060. That is only a little over 500,000 or just slightly over a 1% increase in a 37 year period. This is essentially a year-over-year zero growth rate for the State of CA.

This halt to population growth in CA comes after a century of rapid growth that transformed CA from a sparsely populated state to the most populous state in the country. This projected lack of growth comes after 2 years of slight decline in population where the state lost more than ½ million people between 2020 and 2023.

CA pop growth

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Council set to mis-spend $400,000 on Arroyo Park

By Janet and Joe Krovoza

In another instance of the consent calendar shielding requests for large financial commitments, city staff are asking Council Tuesday to approve more than $409K to build a "shade/picnic structure" at Arroyo Park.

When the Recreation and Park Commission voted to recommend its construction back in April of 2022, the estimated cost was $257K. Public bids revealing a far different cost estimate were opened only last month.

Should we really be spending scarce public dollars on this scale on a new "amenity" such as this, especially when people can't even walk their dogs at Arroyo without risking injury to their pets from burrs and thistles ($300 to pull a thorn from my dog's foot), broken irrigation pipes take literally months to repair, and ruptured pathways make it difficult if not impossible for people with mobility issues to get around?

This strikes us as a lot of money for what is basically six picnic tables, two barbecues and a roof. At a minimum, such a major commitment (which will incur ongoing expenses, consume turf, and threaten adjacent trees) certainly deserves the "separate discussion" its inclusion on the consent calendar precludes.

Let's also put this in context. The park already has two shaded open-air group barbecue areas  They are used, but don't seem overly so or impacted. Maybe we could add a few more picnic tables, update the barbecues that were put in 20 years ago, and save ourselves something close to $400K?

In any event, if a cost estimate is 60 percent higher than what was represented to the Recreation and Park Commission, it ought to go back to them for review. And such an item certainly shouldn't go straight to the City Council on consent.

In His Own Words - Walter Shwe Exposes and Brings Down Al's Corner Hypocrisy

In what could be the most important hero-story in Davis' history, Walter Shwe saved the Davisite from Alan Miller's hypocrisy as found on Al's Corner.  Readers should congratulate Mr. Shwe for his Davis-saving efforts in the comment section below.  In his own words, combining two WS comments, one of which was written at 4:45 a.m. on July 5th, Mr. Shwe says:

" I exposed the hypocracy of Mr. Miller. He regularly slammed the Davis Vanguard for censorship, yet he did the same thing with me everytime I tried to truthfully call someone out by name. Without the the names, my comments had little value. Worse still, he swore frequently, then attempted to laugh it off. Good riddance to Al's Corner. Al's Corner turned out not to be a free speech platform.  Glad I don't have to read any more of Mr. Miller's whinny comments about the Davis Vanguard! 🤣 "

Mr. Shwe TRUTHFULLY called people out by name, but was prevented doing so by Alan Miller.  He also called out Mr. Miller's "swearing".  Most important, he pointed out that Al's Corner did not publish all his comments in whole, PROVING that Al's Corner was not a free speech platform.  He also proved that Mr. Miller was a horse.


Letter to Yolo County Transportation District concerning adding a lane to I-80

July 14, 2023

Board of Directors
Yolo County Transportation District 350 Industrial Way
Woodland, CA 95776

Dear YCTD Directors:

We write to express our concern about Caltrans’ plans to add a lane to Interstate 80 between Dixon and Sacramento, referred to as the “Yolo 80 Managed Lanes Project.” Such freeway capacity expansion will raise greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and vehicle miles travelled (VMT) in the I-80 corridor while inducing motor-vehicle-dependent suburban sprawl. It is contrary to GHG-reduction goals set by the State of California, the Sacramento region, Yolo County, and many local cities. Any congestion relief will be short-lived due to induced demand, as shown by many past freeway expansion projects.

At your meeting on July 17, 2023, we request that you ask Caltrans to study additional options for this project that would substantially improve transit, keep freeway capacity within current limits, stabilize or reduce VMT, reduce GHGs and local air pollution, and improve equity.

Such options might include

Continue reading "Letter to Yolo County Transportation District concerning adding a lane to I-80" »

Ageist, Racist... and not the only collective bicycle solution we need

From a presentation I did about bike share in Germany the year after my team's first place win in an international bike share design competition with more than 100 competitors.

The authorities in Greater Davis* (City of Davis and UC Davis) plan to introduce a shared micro-mobility system starting this September (the introduction of e-scooter share and re-introduction of e-bike share). It is the topic of an informational item today at the July meeting of the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) at Davis Senior Center, 530pm in the Activity Room. The planned operator is Spin. (The staff report mentions Lime, a lot -- they are the operator in Sac and West Sac and seemed to have been the operator-in-waiting here through at least the end of 2022).

There was e-bike share in Davis and UC Davis from 2018 until 2020, when Jump, its operator, cancelled it due to lack of use due to COVID-related UCD class cancellations and remote learning. Non UC-users were not considered, or at least were left in the lurch. (It's worth noting that during this time bike share use in other cities increased due to aversion to public transport...)

Following I will address the issues mentioned in my headline, and then briefly will comment on some other features of the draft agreement. There's way too much to address in one article - hopefully the Commission is able to sort through the staff report in a holistic way.  If you want to skip to my juicy accusations of ageism, racism and far from ideal use as a mobility solution, see the sections below entitled 18 and Where's the Fleet?

To step back a bit - and also to educate Commissioners because there's now been 100% turnover in the BTSSC since 2018 and only one of two key City staff members still on board since then - and turnover also at UC Davis TAPS - here's a list of issues for micro-mobility share in our region from the beginning, and also some stuff about my professional history with bike share. Some of the following is anecdotal - as indicated - not due to lack of trying, and mostly because discussions with the private entities involved in operator (and sponsorship) are private, and apparently e.g. NDA's come into play.):

2000s: The advertising and street furniture giant JCDecaux approached the authorities in Lyon, France about sponsoring a new bike share system - there were earlier ones in other European cities, but this was the first one with technology broadly similar to what we have today - in exchange for an exclusive on their main business, a mentioned. This set a template for corporate sponsorship of bike share, especially in the USA, where we have - for example - bike share in NYC sponsored by Citicorp, and in many general east-of-the-Mississippi cities by Blue Cross-Blue Shield (BCBS) associated entities.  In my view, this marriage to corporate sponsors has had some negative impacts, which I don't consider as in any reasonable trade-offs: Citicorp controls banks and real estate loans, and thus directly affects the lives of many of its users outside of their bike share monopoly; BCBS-associated companies have in a rather insidious (ironic) way have healthwashed-with-bikes their opposition to Medicare for All-type plans. This reliance on direct corporate funding is wholly unique to micro-mobility share in the USA, and locally (Capitol Corridor, Regional Transit, Unitrans and Yolobus are mostly supported by passenger fares, government subsidy... including Unitrans by the City) and a small amount by advertising on properties, and in some cases gives control to a private entity with no related regulation, no way for citizens - aside from shareholders - to have a democratic influence.

2003: While leading a study visit to Germany from Prague we were introduced to the bike share system run by the German National Railway Operator. It was early technology, e.g. a staff person told me that the put on pretense that the bikes could be found via GPS trackers, but there were actually none in place.

2009: A team consisting of myself (I was based in Berlin at the time, operating as Green Idea Factory), a Swedish mobility consultant and a Swedish industrial design firm won one of two first prizes for a detailed concept for a dockless bikeshare system in an international competition in Denmark. The concept is articulated further in a presentation I created in 2010.

2017: Sutter and Kaiser were both asked to be main sponsors of bike share in the Sacramento region. Anecdotally, Sutter objected because it wouldn't want Kaiser-branded bikes on its properties, and Kaiser objected because vice-versa. So....no sponsorship happened. Without naming these companies by name, this information came from at the time City Councilmember Frerichs and the now former head of JUMP.

2018: Before the pilot started in the region, the operator JUMP was purchased by UBER. The pilot started in Davis without input from the BTSSC, because Staff wanted to start by "bike month" in May of that year. Also around this time West Sacramento started negotiations to work with a different operator, but were talked out of it.

2019: The BTSSC was only allowed to formally review the system after a year. At the time  I was on the BTSSC and I wrote a critical report, mentioning age and weight limits and other issues.

2019: Since the beginning, throughout this year and into 2020, there was a issue about bikes being parked in a way which would encumber or threaten others. Leaving aside how this compares to what car and delivery truck drivers do, it was something that needed to be addressed. Staff was very resistant for a time  to the idea of parking bikes in the street "like a motorcycle" - and people were doing this on their own, but it was not officially-sanctioned -  but then when I came forward with a detailed proposal - at the time I was still on the BTSSC - but was then told that staff had already decided to do it. See also. Unfortunately this was never officially put into practice by the time that JUMP ended bike share operations in spring 2020. Spin operates on the campus of UCSD, and their parking instruction video is over five years old, and hardly anyone has watched it. Rules need to be intuitive.

2019: OK, possibly in 2018? The City had BTSSC members and others tested perhaps six different types of e-scooters in anticipation of their possible allowance for general use by City Council.

Early 2020: JUMP cancelled bikeshare through the region, as mentioned. The staff report doesn't mention that a  great deal of its bikes and supporting technology was simply and literally trashed.

2022: Bikeshare and scootershare started again in Sacramento and West Sacramento, operated by LIME (who purchased JUMP from UBER) with government financial sponsorship (something not happening with Davis/UC Davis.)


Is this the bike they're planning to use here? Can't tell if there's a way to secure something in the rack... if not, that's a deal breaker! https://www.spin.app/s-300



From its beginning as a pilot just in Sacramento, bike share in the region (this plan joins non-connected systems in Sacramento and West Sacramento), has had a minimum age limit of 18.  It's critical to understand that there is no state regulation preventing anyone who is able to ride a bike from using the type of e-bike - a Class 1 e-bike - that Spin will provide, and e-scooters require only any classification of driver's license (so at lowest, 16 for the latter, and perhaps state ID's do not count.)

Lower-income families have fewer mobility options, generally-speaking (e.g. fewer cars, prohibitively expense train tickets, etc.) and youth members of these households even more so. Brown and Black people are disprotionately-represented in these households. So not only is the proposed agreement between the City of Davis, UC Davis and SPIN ageist, it's also racist.



Violation of Federal Law (in the previous bike share system), Elected Official and Staff hijinks

Around the time of my 2019 critical report - linked above, and mentioned in it - I suggested that the lower-than-18 age limit - not supported by State regulation on the utilized Class I e-bike - was in violation of the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, a Federal Law that is, in a way, an age-related version of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, as the City of Sacramento - a partner in the regional bike share system - was receiving Federal money to install bicycle parking racks as these were determined to be necessary to account for the increase of bicycles. The response from SACOG was that as the rule was that of the bike share operator and not the City of Sacramento or its government partners - they were off the look. A brazen loophole, in their view, obviously to intimidate me into not pursuing the matter! (Lucas Frerichs was aware of this or perhaps even helped direct SACOG staff on this matter.) At the time, former City of Davis senior planner Brian Abbanat - now working for Yolo Transit District - even wrote me as a BTSSC member an email - responding to my article in Davisite - telling me to not spread implications etc that the City was in violation of the law. Despite all of this - and to their great credit - the BTSSC unanimously supported my motion to recommend that the City Council ask JUMP and SACOG to consider lowering the age limit. The City Council did put this on their long range calendar but never acted on that, and dropped it once JUMP pulled service, and left it off once bike (and scooter) share discussions starting again. Some Councilmembers - perhaps Arnold and Partida - did ask about the issue during a meeting in 2022, but around the same time the City of Davis and UC Davis were already planning to go it alone on micromoblity share, though at that City Council meeting a now former representative of SACOG, Kirk Trost, said based on in his experience in developing bike over the region over the previous decade, there were essentially no operators who allowed people under 18. This is false on a national level (NYC, Philadelphia...) and in California (Los Angeles, Long Beach...) all allow people to use e-bikes from under 18.

Institutionally-speaking, not only SACOG and the City of Davis are blocking youth mobility, but also the board of DJUSD. Back in 2019 I met with Cindy Pickett when she was President - or just a member: She was willing to support a min. 16 age limit, BUT no one else on the Board was interested.  Thanks for trying, Cindy! (Also about bringing back school buses...)



My concept has for a few years been not simply that the entry level for bike share is under 18 (and for scooter share from license-accquisition) but that that it's peer-based. In other words, that one can use bike share - again, no government age restrictions apply - at the same time as their peers. My specific example would be that it start with ascending 10th graders, i.e. from the first week or so - pending administrative processing, etc - of the summer before 10th grade.

How is this better than strict temporal demarcations? For a start, 15 year-olds are likely to be friends with people both older and younger: Not everyone is the same age at the beginning of summer before 10th grade, nor during the school year, etc. So - in theory - with peer-based mobility share - a 14, 15 and 16 year-old who are good friends could all ride bike share bikes together from the start of the mentioned ascending period. A peer-based system wouldn't split friends up: Consider the extreme alternative: A group of students all under 18 who can't use bike share but CAN drive, or a mixed group, all of whom can't use bike share but CAN drive.

Wow, what a great reward, mobility milestone, etc... and perhaps before they're already (emotionally-invested) in getting a driver's license (which apparently they need to use the scooters, irony!). Right? Unfortunately: Crickets. This would be a first in the country, or perhaps anywhere.



In the end the Request for Proposals (RFP) - see pg 66 - made a very, very soft ask for below 18 age limits. Way too soft for a city and university that chronically self-congratulate in regards to equity and inclusion. Srsly, are we applying Hate-Free too narrowly?

20. How do you intend to serve users who are less than 18-years of age? The City of Davis would like to provide shared bicycles to community members 16 and up, which could include non-electric devices as part of the device mix. [...]

The answer to this (see pg 3.):

Age. All users must be 18 and over. In accordance with state and federal law, this policy protects the best financial interests of Spin’s customers and their organization since the minimum legal age of consent in most contracts (including user agreements) is 18 years or older. Staff understands the strong interest in allowing for people 16 and over to use these devices, however, all of the vendors had a minimum age of 18 years old.

  • It's not clear to which "state and federal law"(s) they refer to. Adults (who are also guardians of minors) can sign off for them on any number of things, including marriage. There's only a state law requiring a driver's license for e-scooters and being at least 16 to operate a Class 3 e-bike (again Spin bikes are Class 1)
  • Spin's "customers" (the parents and guardians) are fully capable of deciding how to protect their financial interests, and those of their children/charges.
  • It's not clear who are "all of the vendors": It's not mentioned in the staff report, i.e. there's no listing of who submitted bids or proposals aside from Spin (Operators of the systems mentioned below all allow under-16's: Philadelphia, Bicycle Transit Systems; NYC and Washington, D.C., Lyft; Long Beach, Social Bicycles (who split off from what became Jump), Los Angeles, B-Cycle.)  That Lime only allows 18 and over's is only their decision... call it a "business decision", you know, like making cluster bombs...  or we can call it's: Lawyers 1; Davis youth, 0.

Other Cities Better than Davis / UCLA 1; UCD: 0

As mentioned above, under 18's can use shared e-bikes in major cities such as Philadelphia and NYC, the nation's capital, and in California in Long Beach and Los Angeles. All require some form of parental or guardian permission and formal responsibility. In sum these systems provide tens of thousands of electric assist bicycles to minors.

What's significant about the bike share system run by Metro, the public operator in L.A. (inclusive of Hollywood, Venice, etc.)  is that it is also expanding to cities such as Culver City, is already in Santa Monica, and - significantly - the UCLA campus. (How is a university campus relevant to under 18's? Well, many so-called child prodigies and other very high achievers skip a grade or more and enter university before age 18. Some also participate in summer programs, or use various facilities during the year, such as I did at UCLA when I had an AP history class in high school near the university. Do we want 16 and 17 year-olds visiting our city for serious academic reasons to be denied shared micromobility?)


Icing on the Cake of Anti-Equity

As many - including micromobility share - operators know well, users frack with age limits. What this means is that, for example, there are technical limits to how they can prevent anyone using a smartphone with their app on it connected with a credit card. Spin seems to hint at new countermeasures in the staff report, BUT this might partly bluster, similar what the Germans did nearly 20 years ago, as mentioned above.

More important, let's see how this likely works in practice: In most cases parents/guardians know the rule but allow their child to 'cheat" for any number of reasons. It seems likely that parents who tend to do this are less risk averse in regards to some financial issue that comes up as a result. So this would indicate a further anti-equity bonus in the form of a bias  in the system for wealthier families. To be clear, I've not done research on this, but it seems like common sense.


Is the scooter Spin will be bringing here? It's worth noting that about four years ago several operators brought scooters to town for staff and commissioners to test out. That didn't happen again... https://www.spin.app/rides/spin-6


"Micromobility" - my blog engine can't decide if it needs a hyphen - is a bit of a new term, so I've perhaps conflated some things above between e-bikes and e-scooters. BUT as mentioned above, one only has to be 16 with a driver's license (from other states and countries?) to use an electric-assist scooter in California. So the ascending thing doesn't apply.  Otherwise most of  the planned to be codified ageism and racism applies! Hooray! YES, from what I have seen all operators have a min. age 18 limit for scooters.... and Davis and UC Davis are refusing to take a stand about it. #equitydeferstotheman


Where's the Fleet?

Is the planned system what we really need to get a very, very wide range of people and campus in the city on comfortable, fast enough, well-built and appropriately designed bikes?


Every year... thousands of faculty, staff and especially students appear in Davis. Some have not ridden a bike in some time, some don't know to ride... these and many more don't actually know what is a useful bike for Davis, many don't have time to research and pick one out. Useful bikes are also hard to get, though selection is getting better - I think that some Dutch academic-related people are warned about this in advance: I have two Dutch-built bikes which were never sold retail in the USA... left by former Aggies...)


The bike pictured above -  or ones like it - is a poster child for absolutely not the bike to offer to students or others in Davis:


Loud, inefficient tires, bad for cornering on pavement and in rain

No fenders

No semi-built in lights or built in lights

No way to carry cargo

No bell!


Not a big loss of money if it breaks down or is stolen (A newer model is only $300)

Nevertheless, this is a type of bike that's extremely common on campus. Many also don't fit well, even if purchased new. 

Note that aside from the one thing in the Pro column, I am not talking about the quality of the bike, likely warranty or lack of local bike shop support. This is about design. 

What the UC Davis campus (and probably many other UC and CSU campuses) really, really need is a fleet system of some sort. There are various business models, but the main criteria could be:

1) Suitability for local terrain and surface conditions: This means a relatively narrow gear range, or perhaps one relatively low gear, and therefore only 3 to 5 speeds. This means tires suited best for streets and possibly a bit of gravel, so that a student bike can fulfill at least a bit of a spontaneous recreational need. 

2) Cargo equipment suitable for carrying a large student backpack and two bags of groceries, possibly even some kind of low security (for groceries, not laptops)

3) Built in lights with power from other than batteries 

4) Low step, with three sizes to accommodate nearly all rider heights

5) Security system consisting of a tough main lock, front wheel security nuts and Dutch style frame lock for the rear. 

5a) Possibly some dedicated locking design based on typical bike share, but the bikes will still need to be parked in random places, so that only goes so far. Unfortunately these bikes probably can't be unique enough  in a way which facilitates locking-to-itself.

This system would be a complement to normal bike share (um, non-ageist, non-racist bike share!)

Though as mentioned the business model may vary, one idea would be that every student is assigned a bike by request at any time which will be of the appropriate size for the individual, and easy to identify with a color, a number and some tech-facilitated means connected with a smartphone app. This bike would be maintained by some outgrowth of the Bike Barn etc, or even farmed out to local bike shops (who would, after all, be dealing with a set design with the same parts etc. The bikes would have to be un-lockable by related staff so that can be picked up where they parked, broken down etc 

Cost? Yes, this will be expensive, though not relative to the existing costs of tuition and fees. 

The advantages cannot be over-stated:

Reliable bikes, optimized for student and related close urban lifestyles.

Predictable lighting.

A slow downsizing of chronically under-lit, poor fitting (size and use) , mechanically and pneumatically-sub-optimal crap bikes that fill every possible nook and cranny in the city and campus... wasting space, wasting time, avoiding safety, making it easy for driver-identified people to complain.... filling the city and campus bike racks with rusting junk that takes a huge amount of capacity, time and money to deal with.

WHY has this not been discussed to date in Davis?

Examples from the region and abroad. Some of the fleets are designed for a particular locale, such as a corporate campus, others are designed for an entire country, still others for long-term use:

Google campus bikes



This is a new sub-topic for a longer discussion, but it very BADLY needs to happen.

The End of Al's Corner







A huge explosion and fireball enveloped the Al's Corner tanker truck late Tuesday evening.  The explosion was heard as far away as Esparto, Knights Landing, Allendale, Zamora, Broderick, Saxon, Batavia, and the Milk Farm.

Preliminary investigation by the combined UCD and City fire departments indicate that a flea had flown into the side of the tank, causing the explosion.

When asked how a flea could have caused such an explosion, fire chief Woody Burns said simply:

"It was a very annoying flea".

Contacted at his new residence on the east side of Pole Line Road just north of 8th Street, Al was asked about Al's Corner's iconic run in the Davis shitty-blog scene.  Al responded simply:

"It's been real, and it's been fun.  But it hasn't been real fun."


Bite into Davis Downtown’s Burger Battle

The Badmash “Gangster” Burger at Falafel Corner is competing in the Davis Downtown Burger Battle. It features lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, thousand island sauce, mayonnaise, house-made secret sauce, American and Swiss cheese, bacon and egg. (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Davis restaurants are offering lots of juicy reasons to head downtown this month, as eateries compete for the title of Best Burger.

Nearly a dozen restaurants are taking part in the 2023 Davis Downtown Burger Battle, and the list is growing. Patrons are the judges, assigning points for every featured burger they try. It’s a great chance for burger fans to show support for a favorite establishment – and try some new ones. Entries include beef, veggie and vegan burgers, and some creative combinations of toppings and breads. Each participating eatery features one contest entry. Judges may rate one or all burgers – one entry per restaurant.

The eatery with the highest-scoring burger will receive a trophy and bragging rights. Throughout July, burger tasters scan a QR code at their table (request one if not available), and score the burgers for taste, presentation, creativity, patty, toppings and bun. Grading in each category is from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). In early August, the restaurant whose burger has the highest average score is declared the winner.

So far, participants include Third & U Café with a jalapeño burger, Bull ’N Mouth with its Down the Hatch Burger, Cloud Forest Café with a Valley Veggie, The Davis Food Co-op with The Vegan Vaquero Burger, El Patio Fresh Mexican Grill with a Mex Burger, Falafel Corner with a Badmash “Gangster” Burger, The Halal Guys, Handheld Sweet & Savory Pies with a Brie Burger wrapped in dough, Steve’s Pizza with a Sticky Burger with maple syrup and peanut butter, Tommy J’s Grill & Catering with its Firehouse Burger, and Village Pizza & Pints with a Gorgonzola Burger with Bacon.

Read full descriptions of each restaurant’s burger entry at https://davisdowntown.com/2023-burger-battle.

Downtown Davis businesses still wishing to participate in the program may visit https://bit.ly/BBregistrationform to sign up.

Davis Downtown leads and energizes the downtown as the primary business, entertainment and cultural center of Davis. Alive with activity seven days a week, downtown Davis draws locals and visitors alike to experience fine food and beverages, retail, professional services, arts and entertainment in an extraordinary and sustainable gathering place.