It Does Pencil Out
Film screening and immigration discussion is Nov. 2

Did Caltrans Piece-Meal Plan for I-80 corridor violate CEQA, ignore Davis impacts? 

Caltrans failure to do corridor wide EIR negated transit, wastes billions and did not call out cut thru impacts

Piecemealing Map I-80 corridor

 by Alan Hirsch, Yolo Mobility  

Transit works best as a network- you won’t get transit ridership if you just build just 1 or 5 miles of light rail, or upgrade just a few miles of Amtrak to 100mph service. You need to have interconnected regional system, especially with our dispersed land use patterns.  

Below is a Caltrans map from the long-hidden corridor plan, the “I-80  CMCP” shows the many widenings has planned or started in the  I-80 Corridor. These types of corridor plans, first required by SB1 (2017) reveal for the first time “piece-mealing” of freeway widening, I.E., breaking a corridor widening into  many small separate projects.   Each separate project is studied separately thru alternative analysis/EIR process so to assure transit alternative are small stand-and never pencil. And many of  project are so small they don’t even require at EIR.   

If fact, this is why piece-mealing is a violation of California Environmental Law. It has been cited by many others including a recent hi level whistleblower as how Caltrans systematically gets around environmental laws designed to address climate change.  

The corridor plan for I-80 (I-80 CMCP) was not released to public on Caltrans website until May of 2023, over 9 months after the Yolo80 EIR alternative were selected. In fact, this corridor plan did compare transit  vs highway alternatives. It concluded upgrading the Capitol Corridor Rail service to 100 MPH is 15x more cost effective to move people than the entire bundle of freeway widening shown on map (see Vanguard article).  

With many of the widening construction already are underway, one can wonder how many billions (with a B) of dollars in taxpayer money are being poorly spend because of this setup by Caltrans to preordain a result ? What sort of set back does this represent on meeting the state climate plan that required us to reduce driving and well as shift to electric cars to reduce our GHG’s. 

One can also note the Yolo causeway “bottle neck” and cut thru traffic in Davis did not just happen:  it was created by Caltrans by widening freeway to the west and it impact on Davis section of I-80  s shown clearly in  traffic studies.   

As for collaboration with communities in the developing corridor plans, a public record request of Yolobus/Yolo TD found no records in its files it was involved in developing the plan, and Caltrans has never presented the final or preliminary report or involved YoloTD board or Davis City or its Commissions in its development in a substantive way. Yet Caltrans lists these entities, as well as citizens groups like Bike Davis as involved with its development. Caltrans neglect of considering community impact is shown by Caltrans failure to list “reduce cut thru traffic” as a goal/purpose/need for their proposed Causeway widening on its project website

SAVE THE DATE: A Freeway Teach-In Nov 8th  

Davis Futures Forum on the Future of the I-80 Corridor 

Wed, Nov 8th 7:00-8:30  Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall, 412 C street 

I-80 traffic congestion is frustrating even the most patient among us! The Caltrans proposed solution has been to increase the number of traffic lanes, however many Davis citizens have expressed strong opposition noting the need for transportation alternatives. Further, a high level Caltrans executive has accused her peers of violating environmental laws by underestimating the negative impacts of the proposal. And research at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies shows that attempts to address congestion by adding lanes only works for a short time before the lanes are filled again by new drivers. 

What is the solution? The public is invited to explore this question at a Davis Futures Forum talk and panel discussion. The keynote speaker is Professor Susan Handy, the renowned head of the National Center for Sustainable Development. Her presentation will be followed by a diverse response panel who will give us their thoughts about how best to move forward. The event will be held Wednesday, Nov 8th at 7pm in at the Davis Community Church. Please sign up in advance and you will receive advance material, a link to the real-time zoom and YouTube recording of the teach-in. 


Robert Canning

Where is the link for the event? Thank you Alan.

South of Davis

Allen wrote:

> Transit works best as a network- you won’t get transit ridership
> if you just build just 1 or 5 miles of light rail, or upgrade just a
> few miles of Amtrak to 100mph service.

Unless the 100mph train station is less than 100 feet from the home or office of most people they won't take the train.

I'm one of the the few adults in Dave that rides a (non electric) bike to and from work most days and each year it seems like the average person is getting lazier, more out of shape (and fatter). For years our family would all ride from "South of Davis" to the Nugget fields, but 99% of the families would drive (even the Wildhorse families).

If I can't talk a fitter and healthier than average young family that lives in Wildhorse to get on their bikes and ride a half mile to a soccer game I don't see any chance of getting the "average Davis resident" to walk or ride their bikes to take public transit (even a train that goes 100mph).

To paraphrase George Carlin "Think how fat and out of shape the average person in Davis is and remember that half the people in town are even fatter and more out of shape".

P.S. I agree that "Transit works best as a network" and I'm guessing that few people will take the CA High Speed Trains from Bakersfield to Merced if they ever even start running in the next 20 years (I wonder if even one person has ever said "I wish there was a high speed train from Bakersfield to Merced?")...,an%20existing%20Amtrak%20rail%20route.

Greg Rowe

if Caltrans has in fact been piecemealing CEQA for its projects, that would be contrary to one of the basic tenets of the CEQA Guidelines. The public agencies that employed me for a number of years (Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency and Sac County Dept of Airports) could have never gotten away with doing that.

In terms of Canning's comments, he makes a number of good points. I rode public transit to work for many years while living in Cincinnati ("Queen City Metro") and took BART to work in Oakland when I lived in the East Bay (near Walnut Creek). I tried taking Yolo Bus a few times to work in downtown Sac from Davis and to SMF from Davis, but the experience taking the bus to and from the airport was not pleasant.

While working in downtown Sac, I rode my bike to work on Fridays because casual dress was allowed on Fridays. I kept my bike in my office, and was able to take a shower at the locker room facility in the downtown Sac County parking garage. The only bad part of the bike ride was getting across the Tower Bridge.

Taking the bus from Davis to SMF in the mornings was OK (after a walk of several blocks to the Davis bus stop.). The ride home was an entirely different matter. The bus transfer facility was at the shopping mall in Woodland. We had to wait there about 15 minutes for another bus to arrive with Davis bound passengers. While waiting, the bus driver smoked outside the bus, with his toxic cigarette smoke wafting into the bus. So, not only did the ride home take twice as long as it would if I had driven, but I also had to be exposed to toxic smoke; NOT worth the effort.

Not to be critical, but I wonder if many of the advocates of public transit have ever used public transit themselves to any great extent. There is few things more unpleasant than waiting at a cold, windy and wet bus stop or BART platform for a bus or train that is running behind, when you could be in the warmth and comfort of your own car.

Robin Wiener

How/where do we “sign up in advance” for Prof Handy’s presentation?

Victoria Whitworth

There was an excellent article in Vox last Tuesday (Oct. 21, 2023) that features Norway's rethinking of its substantial subsidy of private electric cars in favor of more wealth-equitable and climate-friendly public transportation. I think it's especially pertinent to our current issue of the I-80 widening effort by CalTrans.
Here's the link:

Thanks for your work.

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