Entries categorized "Business"

Four Car Washes Near 80 & Mace?

Car wash center sign
Poorly-Photoshop'd modification of "Davis Auto Center" sign on Chiles next to I-80

I have been engaged for a couple of weeks on the subject of the proposed car wash at 480 Mace (at Cowell Blvd.), and have written about it.

I am not sure when the following items appeared on the City's website, but I see now that there's also a plan for a "new service station, a convenience store and carwash, a separate retail building, and related site improvements" at 4810 Chiles AND to "maintain the existing carwash [and] construct a new 2,832 square-foot convenience store" and implement related features at 4480 Chiles, which already has a car wash.

My concerns are:

1) The public notification and project documents for the 480 Mace proposal make no mention of the simultaneous process for 4810 Chiles, for which Mr Njoku says he's aiming a hearing on March 23, 2022, though I believe Sherri Metzger said at the PC meeting tonight that this was not guaranteed - nor for 4480 Chiles, which Mr Lee says will have a hearing "soon". This is two weeks after the re-scheduled Planning Commission hearing for 480 Mace. What's the CEQA comments deadline for 4810 Chiles? The sum of this seems to be that perhaps a week before the re-rescheduled Planning Commission hearing on 480 Mace, the residents of 4735 Cowell Blvd who received the 500 ft notice that proposed car wash will receive another for the second car wash at 4810 Chiles, as will other commercial addresses within the 500 ft radius BUT significantly also the Ellington Apartments, which have their main entrance on El Cemonte, and a small shared border with 4810 Chiles. Is the 4810 Chiles applicant going to be making the same mistake as 480's in regards to a lack of outreach. (The letter about the requested continuance from the 480 Mace applicant which was shown at the PC meeting tonight thanked Staff for circulating the announcement and mentioned they were doing similar on NextDoor. Nothing else.

Car wash plan mapOn the left the two existing car washes; on the right two proposed.
Note that proposed ones are directly adjacent.

2) The Traffic Studies for 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles make no mention of each other. I had already written about my concerns for the overlap for design and signalling changes for 480 Mace proposed mitigations and the Mace Re-Design non-approved plans, and this makes me even more curious.

3) The Traffic Study for 4810 Chiles seems to show egress from NB Mace, but it's not clear if it's open, one-way etc. The Study mentions no mitigations for it.

4) The available documents for 4810 Chiles include maps which marginally at best show El Macero Village and Ellington as "Apartments", not e.g. perhaps 500 people or more within 500 ft.

5) The documentation for 480 refers to the proposed buildings having visual elements similar to those nearby, but this is not inclusive of what's proposed for 4810 Chiles, which looks objectively remarkably different (and subjectively incredibly generic and ugly.)

Circle K
Proposal for 4810 Chiles... yeah, ugh...

6) I understand the current zoning, the district plan already referred to by Staff as "out of date", but don't see how it makes sense to have a total of four car washes in close proximity to each other (three mentioned and the one behind the Chevron station at Mace and 2nd St.) and why it's been encourage or allowed to be pursued. Given the very close timing of 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles including the lack of time and effort for community input for 480 Mace, it also seems like a race. Perhaps the Planning Commission won't approve them but what if it does, because...

7) Two of the proposed car washes are so close that their vacuums - or loud stereos played by customers - may be able to be heard by visitors to the other location, and more critically by the apartment complex that lies partially directly in between them, El Macero Village Apartments, where I live, except during the times that the sound of I-80 is louder, but then this all has at least a subjective cumulative effect.

8) Fehr & Peers has done the Traffic Studies for both 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles, and also the design plans for the Mace Re-Design. For the former two they are working for the applicants and for the latter for the City (and County?). It's not clear if their work for the City for the Re-Design of Mace has been used for 480 - or also 4810 Chiles - but it seems so as in the Study for 480 they suggest mitigations for areas - namely, the intersection of Mace and Cowell - for which they've also proposed concrete design modifications at the direction of the City. Is this all perfectly normal?


Davis Downtown names Brett Lee as executive director

Lee_DDBA
Brett Lee (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Former Davis Mayor Brett Lee has been named executive director of the Davis Downtown Business Association, effective June 3.

Lee replaces Brett Maresca, who stepped down from the role on Jan. 26 to pursue other opportunities. Former Davis City Manager Dirk Brazil has been interim executive director since Feb. 12.

Lee served on the Davis City Council from 2012 to 2020 – the last two of those years as mayor. He’s a third-generation Davis resident and is raising his 15-year-old son here. Lee has degrees from UC Berkeley and the London School of Economics. For the past nine years, he has worked as a process improvement engineer for Farm Fresh to You, a subscription-based organic produce delivery service of Capay Organic farm.

Kevin Wan, president of the Davis Downtown board of directors, is thrilled to welcome Lee. “His existing relationships with city staff and his experience with the politics of Davis make him the perfect fit to lead Davis Downtown and champion our mission. Since his days on City Council, he has always been an advocate of our downtown, especially for clean and safe streets, which – year after year – is a top concern with our membership. His skill set will be a tremendous asset to help us navigate an evolving economic landscape.”

Continue reading "Davis Downtown names Brett Lee as executive director" »


Davis Downtown names Brazil interim executive director

DirkBrazil
Dirk Brazil (courtesy photo)

(From press release) Former Davis City Manager Dirk Brazil has been named interim executive director of the Davis Downtown Business Association, effective Monday, Feb. 12.

He replaces Brett Maresca, who stepped down from the role on Jan. 26 to pursue other opportunities.

Brazil served as Davis city manager from 2014 to 2017, and as Yolo County assistant county administrator from 2006 to 2014. After retiring in 2017, Brazil worked as interim city manager for the cities of South Lake Tahoe and Alameda, and as the interim executive director of the Yolo Habitat Conservancy. 

“I’m looking forward to working with the DDBA board and their membership in the next few months to first, help them in their search for a new executive director, and second, to look into how best to possibly restructure DDBA into a more focused and effective organization,” Brazil said. “I’ll also seek collaboration opportunities with City of Davis elected officials and city staff, as well as UC Davis administration. There is a great deal of potential in these partnerships.”

Continue reading "Davis Downtown names Brazil interim executive director" »


G Street Reimagined

G Street Reimagined-1
(Click to see larger version)

By Architect Marcus Marino of Design M Group

On October 4th, the engineering firm hired by City planning staff presented their options for G Street to the community for comments. The Davis Enterprise newspaper wrote an article on this but neglected to mention the alternative plan prepared and presented by the Davis architectural firm, Design M Group. The firm’s architect, Marcus Marino, explained the major differences between his proposal and the City planning staff’s proposals.

The City of Davis has reduced G Street to a 20-foot wide pedestrian/emergency vehicle area in the center of the street. City Planning’s proposal is to keep the sidewalks for pedestrians as well. Design M Group proposes a different plan: pedestrians use the center width of the street while using the existing sidewalks and sides of the street for restaurant seating, store display areas, or parklets with kiosks. This plan could enliven the pedestrian area, allowing a more cohesive atmosphere for the extension of the restaurants and potentially increasing revenue for the City of Davis.

Design M Group proposes making G Street level from the pedestrian area to the sidewalks by milling the street and using an outdoor, raised flooring system. This raised flooring would permit stormwater to continue to flow in the same way that it does now, potentially reducing costs to the City. Design M Group’s proposal also aims to have a simpler and more cost-efficient way to correct the parking area near 2nd Street.

G Street Reimagined-2
(Click to see larger version)

The most dramatic part of the proposal was the suggestion to build gateway signs over the entrances to the G Street area as an homage to the original Davis Arch that stood from 1916 to 1924. The gateway columns would be conical, like those of the original Davis Arch, and they would be built with perforated stainless-steel material that would be lit from the inside—creating a starry night sky effect as people walked by the structure.

Downtown advocate Aaron Wedra has closely followed both the City's and Design M Group's plans and expressed his view by stating, "I believe Design M Group's recommendations offer more substantial improvements to the pedestrian area of G Street than what the City has considered up to this point. The City has repeatedly emphasized adding strand lighting and street art (and other small improvements), but so much more could be done. This space is our city’s historic main street and, considering its proximity to the train station, could serve as the gateway to downtown. Putting a gateway arch on at least the South entrance would bring a lot of life to this pedestrian space. Additionally, Design M Group’s plans make much better use of the entire width of the street. The City’s current plans seem to partition the street into at least five segments unnecessarily."

Design M Group’s architectural renderings can be seen at https://smartzgraphics.wixsite.com/design-m.


Thursdays in The Davisphere canceled for 2023

(From press release) Thursdays in The Davisphere, the concert series launched in 2022 by Davis Downtown, is on hiatus until 2024.

The board of the Davis Downtown Business Association decided this month to cancel the 2023 event, planned for Oct. 26 in Central Park. In 2024, the organization is looking to bring Thursdays in The Davisphere further into the downtown core, to add vibrant energy to its downtown member businesses.

DDBA Executive Director Brett Maresca said several factors led to the difficult decision. The postponement gives the organization time to raise funds and plan for a spectacular 2024 series.

The inaugural season of Thursdays in The Davisphere was weekly in September and October 2022, thanks to funding from a city of Davis grant to revitalize local businesses emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. A follow-up survey showed a nearly 90% approval rating of the event, citing the energy and vibrancy it brought to the downtown. Davis Downtown provided a designated nonprofit beneficiary to receive a portion of proceeds from beer and wine sales.

Davis Downtown is recruiting sponsors and vendors. Sponsorships would allow the organization to offer multiple Thursdays in The Davisphere events in 2024. For details, email [email protected].

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.

  • For more information on The Davisphere, visit thedavisphere.com.
  • Learn more about Davis Downtown events and programs at davisdowntown.com.
  • To stay abreast of activities, sign up for the Davis Downtown email newsletter at davisdowntown.com/subscribe.
  • Follow Davis Downtown on Facebook at @davisdowntown and on Instagram at @davis.downtown.

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

OBISinclusion
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.)

 

Spinbike
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

 

18

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.

 

Unanimousv

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...)

 

Peerage

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.

 

The RFP

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.

 

Spinscooter
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

e-Scooters

"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?

Nope.

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...)

1872B826-001A-4966-87D7-6BE4AC9633F5

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:

Cons: 

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!

Pros: 

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

Swapfiets

OV-Fiets

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


Bite into Davis Downtown’s Burger Battle

FalafelBurger
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.


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 Downtown launches new eGift Card

EGift Card Design 2023(From press release) Davis Downtown today launched a new eGift Card, encouraging people to shop locally.

The virtual card program allows shoppers to spend them at any participating Davis Downtown merchant or restaurant, and offers the gift-giver the peace of mind that their money is supporting local businesses.

Brett Maresca, executive director of the Davis Downtown Business Association, said the organization frequently gets requests from the city, UC Davis, sporting leagues, schools, PTAs and others for this kind of card.

“By providing this opportunity, we can keep dollars local that often end up going to Amazon or other large chains outside our community,” Maresca said.

These cards are made available through Yiftee, a company that started in 2012 to “Keep Local Dollars Local,” as its motto states. It has more than 450 community cards across the nation, generating millions of dollars for small businesses. These eGift cards work like a credit card when a customer redeems them. There’s even a platform for companies, nonprofits, schools and other entities to buy them at a discount for quantities of $1,000 or more. Email [email protected] for bulk purchase inquiries.

Continue reading "Davis Downtown launches new eGift Card" »


Potential irregularities underlying decisions made about the U-Mall site

There were significant errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations about zoning, the EIR, and contractual obligations.

By Rik Keller

Screen Shot 2023-04-18 at 8.10.10 AM
Screen Shot from the City of Davis website

Note: The following has been set to members of the Planning Commission and members of the City Council

I’ve been following the U-Mall/University Commons/The Davis Collection discussions with interest. I have decades of land use planning experience as a consultant for cities and counties since receiving my Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning degree in the mid-1990s, including general plan policy review and development, zoning ordinances, housing elements, and project consistency review. Based on my knowledge and experience in the field, I have some very strong questions about the process that the City has conducted.

Looking at the 3/8/2023 staff report for the Planning Commission in detail:

  1. There are significant errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations about the Mixed Use (MU) land use designation and associated Planned Development (PD) zoning district adopted for the site by the City Council on August 25, 2020. I believe these errors may be significant enough to re-open the discussion about a required residential component for the site and possibly require additional City Council votes;
  2. There are also significant errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations about the required environmental analysis under CEQA for the revised project. Specifically, because the project no longer has a residential component, the streamlining procedures that allowed for some CEQA analysis exemptions no longer apply, and additional EIR analysis appears to be required;
  3. Finally, many of the contractual obligations under Development Agreement (DA) no longer apply, but an amended DA was not completed by the project proponent and City Council.

In summary, there appear to be numerous shortcuts taken to approve the modified project that aren’t legally adequate.

As a note: In his 3/20/23 appeal to the 3/8/2023 PC decision, Councilmember Bapu Vaitla did question the consistency of The Davis Collection proposal with broader General Plan vision statements but did not directly address the specific language and requirements for the Mixed Use designation and the PD zoning district for the site.

Continue reading "Potential irregularities underlying decisions made about the U-Mall site" »


Bill Gates, Today is the Day to Replace Your Oily Credit Card with a Green One

Screenshot 2023-03-21 at  1By Scott Steward

Bill Gates would tell you we are in danger of living an impoverished life. The idea that we would have to give up our fossil fuel funding credit cards, it's just a bridge too far. Isn't it?  It turns out that if you want to get your cash rewards, and stop funding fossil fuel banks with your credit cards, almost all of what you would get from a fancy frequent flyer credit card, you can get from a fossil funding free credit card from your local credit union or bank.

I have looked around. I looked at the comparison chart provided by ClimateAction, Compare Credit Card Table. The ClimateAction table does not include all choices.  Golden One Credit Union Visa Cash Back+ card was not on the list, but I was encouraged to use the Credit Union for comparison as it had a lot of the features that were highest on the Fossil Funding Free card list.

I compared the Golden1 card to Chase bank's Southwest Rapid Rewards VISA card.  Chase is the largest US funder of fossil fuel. My analysis shows that for $25,000 spent through the cards, you might lose about $73 (from $562 to $489) or a reduction of 12% cash back by going with the fossil funding free card.  Based on this analysis, that's within the margin of error.

2023-03-21 Chase card vs  1

Today is TH!RD ACT Tuesday, if you're shopping downtown and you happen to notice a bunch of rabble rousers, of many ages, alongside Chase Bank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, you'll know why. Each of these banks uses record amounts of your deposits for their loans to oil companies around the world. They are the world’s largest funders of fossil fuel, and you're paying for them with the fees and interest syphoned from your cards..

You can change your credit card and you're not going to impoverish anyone. In fact, you're going to put cash in your pocket that is worth every penny of cash back that you get from your frequent flyer miles.

Continue reading "Bill Gates, Today is the Day to Replace Your Oily Credit Card with a Green One" »


Letter: To Help Ukraine, Boycott Chinese Goods

China has taken to aiding with Russia to help support the Russian economy. The trade between China and Russia has escalated and China has taken to buying Russian oil, the most profitable export from Russia. At the beginning of 2023 Russia’s economy has started to show signs of stress but the Ukrainian economy has tanked.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution (12/10/2022) by a large majority on Wednesday, calling on countries not to recognise the four regions of Ukraine which Russia has claimed, following so-called referendums held late last month, and demanding that Moscow reverse course on its "attempted illegal annexation".

Russia voted NO and China abstained

By propping up a belligerent Russia that nation is committing crimes against humanity. China has Ukraine’s blood on its hands.

To help Ukraine achieve peace I am joining with others to boycott Chinese goods. China is one of the few countries aiding Russia where a boycott would have effect. Please join me and check those labels when you shop.

David J Thompson


Is this one block on G St. the best choice?

Screen Shot 2023-01-16 at 8.50.05 AMBy Diana

Is the one block on G St. the only area in downtown Davis suitable for a community gathering spot?  Don’t we have the accessible E St. plaza that was converted from parking spaces to a community gathering area, complete with staging for entertainment and communal activities, that would better serve the downtown and the public?  Public funds were used to make this happen in 2000.  Did I see an announcement a year or so ago, either from The Davis Enterprise or from the Davis downtown business association, of plans for a remake of E St. plaza at considerable cost paid for with federal funds?  Wouldn’t that project and space make better sense, financially and economically, for redevelopment by the city with the very same goals in mind for making a safe and comfortable gathering spot for the community in downtown Davis?

Another possible area for the city of Davis to consider in their quest to develop community friendly space is to enhance an area of Central Park with user friendly spaces that would promote community.  Wait!  There’s already something there: Davisphere! “What is The Davisphere? It is a vibrant, eclectic & electric communal atmosphere where there is entertainment for all ages. The idea was based on the simple premise that positive energy builds when people get together and enjoy themselves. The Davisphere symbolizes community encompassment, vibrancy, the Earth we share, and a place of belonging.”  It’s located right here in downtown Davis thanks to the efforts of DDBA.

Screen Shot 2023-01-16 at 8.53.10 AMWhat about having the city work alongside the property owners of Davis Commons on 1st and Richards Blvd. to create the kind of open air community space the city is striving for?  The one-acre, semicircular park bordering the businesses located in the heart of downtown Davis could be a spectacular gathering spot.  This could happen without hampering local business with undemocratically government enforced street closures.

I’m thankful to Davis for providing the 63 miles of bike paths and 102 miles of bike lanes throughout the entire city so that cyclists are able to navigate our town safely. Do we really need to take one more block for bicycles if it means damaging local businesses to the point of endangering the entire downtown? The time and expense it takes to operate a business is huge and when it all goes south the independent owner is devastated!  Are you aware of how many businesses have closed in the last 2 ½ years in downtown Davis? At last count there were multiple dozens! How many more before the lights go out in downtown Davis?

Reopen G St. and look for a better alternative that make sense.


A pedestrian-only area would be neat…let's reactivate G Street!

G Street GuideBelow is a recent letter, shared with the Davisite, to our council members to provide input on the upcoming January 17th meeting, addressing Item 4: G Street Closure Update.

Sent by email on January 14, 2023 

Good day to you council members,

It has been two years and six months since we closed G Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets to vehicular traffic. I helped plan for this closure, as I was staff at the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) at the time. The DDBA worked closely with City staff Ash Feeney and Sarah Worley. I talked to business owners, created infographics (such as the one attached), and monitored this pedestrian-only area frequently when it was considered a part of the City and DDBA's Open Air Davis initiative.

We were all very satisfied with our efforts to support downtown businesses, especially restaurants, and keep them open during COVID-19 shutdowns.

Ever since we converted a portion G Street to a pedestrian-only area, there have been pleas from the business community for one of two things to happen:

1) Open this area of G Street again for parking, or

2) Beautify and activate this area of G Street and take advantage of a rare pedestrian-only conversion

I personally have always been a strong advocate for the latter option; however, I do understand the point of view of those who prefer the former option. In the following sections, I will expand upon these two options; describe the mounting pressure for action; and explain how we can make Davisites happier.

Continue reading "A pedestrian-only area would be neat…let's reactivate G Street!" »


Why DiSC matters for the City Council election

Some of DiSC’s proponents called it a tiny city. That suggests it is a microcosm of Davis as a whole and all of the issues it faces.

DCC with DiSC in background-2By Roberta Millstein

In a recent interview with the Davis Enterprise, Gloria Partida said that “I know that people right now are very focused on what happened with Measure H” but that being a member of Council is “not a one-issue job.”

However, Measure H represents a large number of central and key issues that future Davis City Councils will have to weigh in on.  It would have been bad for Davis in variety of ways, as Davis citizens widely recognized when they rejected the project by an almost 2-1 margin. 

Thus, a candidate’s stance on Measure H speaks volumes about their values and how they would govern.  Gloria Partida (District 4), Dan Carson (District 1), and Bapu Vaitla (District 1)  were strongly in favor of Measure H.  In contrast, Kelsey Fortune (District 1) and Adam Morrill (District 4) strongly opposed Measure H.

As the No on Measure H campaign emphasized in its ballot arguments and campaign literature, each of the following issues was relevant to the proposed project. In no particular order:

Continue reading "Why DiSC matters for the City Council election" »


Where have all the babies gone?

Screen Shot 2022-07-09 at 10.22.28 AMBy Dave Taormino

Davis has been gradually losing its innate college town character. The level of civility in civic discourse continues its decline as demonstrated in the recent Measure H campaign. The 1960 – 70s mid-western ethos that prospered when Davis and UCD set out on their mutually aligned growth paths has deteriorated with urban-like political fighting. The midwestern neighborly values that were once well established have given way to a divisive approach to community engagement. In housing development discussions, the person you disagree with is characterized as evil, dishonest, a liar, etc. Why? In part because Davis’s 40 years of restrictive housing and growth policies has spawned and feeds unintended and unnecessary discord with little visible, offsetting benefits.

Here are some of the impacts:

  1. Less than 40% of our TOP City management live in Davis. Nearly all the major City decision makers and their families live elsewhere. Their family life and personal civic involvement is not here.
  2. The percentage of Davis Police and Fire Department personnel who live in Davis is much lower than the TOP management. In essence, their family and hearts reside elsewhere.
  3. The vast majority of North, North Davis homeowners are individuals employed at UCD or a Davis business. They cannot afford to live here. A sizable number have children commuting daily with their parents to attend Davis schools, a good outcome for us.
  4. In the Cannery, roughly 80% of the buyers had no relationship to Davis or UCD, although some had grown children living here. Most came from the Bay Area and Marin County, exactly where the Cannery developers heavily advertised. It was an intentional strategy not intended to attract local UCD faculty, staff, and other Davis workers. In the 546 homes, an unbelievably low number of school age children actually live there. Something like 26 new students resulted from Cannery’s 546 homes plus apartments. In the 80’s and early 90’s a “Cannery-type neighborhood” would have generated 300 - 400 new students. Where have all the families with or capable of having babies gone?
  5. Approximately 1,000 Elementary through High School students commute daily to our schools. Without these commuting students some neighborhood schools would close. Imagine the rancor and anger that would result should neighborhood school closures be considered. The civic anger, neighborhood vs neighborhood would likely be greater than the recent Measure H arguments. The School District has done a masterful entrepreneurial job in “recruiting” out of Davis parents/children to attend our neighborhood schools. For how long can those creative efforts be sufficient? A university-oriented community NEEDS GREAT schools. Great schools require children from childbearing age parents living here and as a result contributing to a wholesome, family friendly, inclusive community. That was “the 1960’s and 1970’s Davis civic perspective” when UCD embarked on its original and now continuing growth plan.

The list could continue, but you get the point.

Continue reading "Where have all the babies gone?" »


Public Reconsideration and Action on G Street

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Why is G Street still closed?

During the height of the pandemic, most businesses on G St. in downtown Davis, between 2nd and 3rd, initially supported the emergency action to temporarily close G St. This was specifically to help restaurants and bars carry on with their business outdoors.  More than two years later, eateries have now regained use of their indoor dining rooms but the street remains closed to vehicles with no store-front accessibility to businesses or parking. Minor aesthetic improvements were made and it’s still unattractive.

The Downtown Davis Business Association polled all downtown businesses. The results of the survey were overwhelming - 92% of businesses said “Reopen G St. to two-way traffic.” The City Council was informed of the results of the survey in November 2021.  Many of our downtown businesses do not support the city’s action that keeps G Street closed.

We ask the city council to put the matter of G St. on the agenda at the Tuesday, July 5th meeting for public discussion. The business owners and the community who are impacted by this “temporary emergency action” deserve a fair and open process to study and adopt a plan that suits all of us. Our emails to the council have not been adequately answered. We’d like more conversation and follow through. The City Council meeting held in 11/2/2021 on Zoom, with this item on the agenda was woefully inadequate in terms of allowing full public discourse.

You can support our effort to get this matter added to the city council agenda by contacting us at:  [email protected] and allow us to add your name to the letter; please speak up.

Additionally, you may email all members of the City Council directly at this email address: [email protected]

Thank you,

G St. Businesses
The Artery
Illusions
Sole Desire
Davis Barber Shop
Mahin Alterations
Abaton Consulting
Law offices of Roberta S. Savage
Copyland
Bankers Lending Group
Volleys Tennis Shop
Katmandu Restaurant
Brooks Byrd


Democracy Isn’t Just for Countries

By Miranda Duncan

We champion democracy as the ideal system of governance, where freedom can flourish.  All voices are equal and have a right to be heard.  When it comes to the workplace, though, we’re reluctant to embrace democracy.  In the business sector, we expect there will be one person at the top making all the decisions for others to follow.  Why do we demand democratic rule for our country and reject it in the workplace? 

Nowhere is rejection more obvious than from the U.S. Small Business Administration.  May 1st heralds International Workers Day, and during the first week of May, the SBA will acknowledge small businesses across the county for their resilience, ingenuity and creativity.  No cooperatives, however, will be featured during Small Business Week.

Let’s give credit where credit is due.  Small businesses strengthen our economy by employing 60.6 million people, accounting for 47.1 percent of the workforce.  Small businesses have added 10.5 million net new jobs over the past 20 years, and in 2014, a study showed small business contributed $5.9 trillion to the GDP (U. S. Small Business Administration, October 2020). 

Not included in those numbers, though, are the 465 worker cooperatives in the United States today, employing approximately 7,000 people, and generating over $550 million in annual revenues (Democracy at Work Institute, U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops, January 2020).  “Why,” you might again ask?   

Continue reading "Democracy Isn’t Just for Countries " »


The Wardrobe's 2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration, 4/22/22, 4-7 PM

2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration (1)(From press release) Clothing tells us the truth about age. In a world where fast fashion is becoming increasingly wasteful and creating a larger carbon footprint, The Wardrobe has been and continues to be focused on promoting slow fashion that is sustainable and long-lasting.

Owner Heather Caswell has generally carried very small clothing lines in her store, focusing on unique clothing that is often made by local designers. Caswell promotes California Chic fashions which are colorful, comfortable, well made, playful but, more importantly, ethically sourced.

She believes that the boutique is both a reflection of her own attitude and of the Davis community where it has been located and reinvented over the past 34 years.

The Wardrobe is now in its 3rd location and has been a regional leader in carrying locally sourced goods. Eighty percent of their inventory is made in North America and a quarter of it is made right here in California. Each year Caswell makes a choice to have a more environmentally conscious business model and reduce the store's carbon footprint.

Some of the practices they follow include using recycled bags and boxes (since day one), switching to LED lights, maintaining HEPA filters, and using natural non-toxic cleaning methods that are proven to make a difference. Every year they try to take another ecologically responsive step forward: last year they stopped using foil printed labels and logos.

Continue reading "The Wardrobe's 2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration, 4/22/22, 4-7 PM" »


DISC is anything but ‘sustainable’

Annexation Area DiSC 2022_070721By Stephen M. Wheeler

Davis residents have begun receiving calls and mailings from backers of the so-called Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DiSC 2022) in preparation for the June 7 election, when the project will be on the ballot as Measure H.

Don’t be fooled by the rosy promises and endorsements on the developer’s materials: DiSC represents neither innovation nor sustainability. It is another big piece of suburban sprawl promoted by one of Davis’ most aggressive sprawl-builders, Dan Ramos.

DiSC is essentially a greenwashed business park. Business parks are a traditional, much-discredited economic development approach in which cities designate a large area of land on their periphery for whatever commercial development they can manage to attract. These projects are highly motor-vehicle-dependent and undercut efforts to revitalize more centrally located downtown areas.

DiSC materials talk about bike and pedestrian connections, renewable energy, use of native and drought-tolerant species for landscape design, energy-efficient construction, and shuttle buses to downtown. This is greenwashing. These environmentally oriented details are nice (and many are required by existing regulations).

But they aren’t nearly as important as the fact that 1.34 million square feet of new commercial space would be allowed by a freeway exit far from downtown. Approving huge projects that will build out over 20-plus years — almost certainly in different ways than originally envisioned — is just not a good way for a city to move towards sustainability.

Continue reading "DISC is anything but ‘sustainable’" »


Bike Parking is Complicated?

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Using a battery-powered common angle grinder, Darell Dickey works with the Davis Police Department to cut locks from abandoned bikes found in the city. He knows first hand that the soft metal of the Lightning Bolt racks is often easier to cut than the locks themselves. ROAM's creators claim that the lock takes 2500% more time to cut than a - presumably typical - U-lock. If ROAM eventually provides full coverage in Davis and UC Davis - note that there is no plan to equip racks on private property - and people really want a bike, won't they simply take a predictably short amount of time to cut the city racks?  (Inset photo from ROAM brochure attacked to Staff Report. Right hand photo taken in Davis in Fall 2017.)

 

Tomorrow on UC Davis campus and at the monthly meeting of the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) a new shared public bicycle lock will be introduced, followed by pilots and local research...

I'VE not seen the lock in use and the presentation doesn't contains imagery that's clearly actual photography - and not the much more helpful video - but for now have comments and questions for the lock developers, City and UCD partners....

  • The BTSSC and other complementary bodies have not created a new strategy for bicycle security, have not asked to do so, and have not been asked to do so.
  • City of Davis Staff are implementing new programs using City property without Council approval.
  • The locking system seems over-complicated, dependent on smart phones, Cloud-connectivity and electrical power supply (both on the locks and system servers) to function properly, or at all.
  • It’s not clear that the City and UC Davis c
    Roam1
    From ROAM's brochure, attached to the Staff Report
    ampus will end up having the same program, or if one body might accept it and the other not. (Despite the reality of the City-Campus Mobility District, transportation engineering and planning, organization and promotional activities and infrastructure standards of the City and Campus are mostly formally separate aside from cooperation on, for example, Unitrans and the Reimagine Russell visioning project. There's a plan to allow shared e-scooters on campus but not in the city -- a big mistake in user-friendly transportation policy.)
  • The promises of resistance to defeat and plans for distribution seem exaggerated, and it’s possible that the City would have to pay for it despite being instrumental in development of a commercial product. If the project goes forward, its users in Davis should not have to pay for the system though user fees, or indirectly. The City is looking into this, but it's not clear if the ROAM creators will take responsibility for it, or other sources will be sought.
  • The system does not work with non-Lightning Bolt (LB) racks (unless there’s a variant for other modern types).
  • Aside from the system used on UCD campus, it’s only for racks on City property, this leaves out a tremendous number of LB-equipped parking spaces, many of which present significant opportunity for theft due to lack of supervision or supplemental security (e.g. bicycle rooms). It’s important to note all of these properties are in fact semi-public and still required to observe local regulations for bicycle storage.
  • It’s not clear if the system will actually be available on semi-public property. In some cases this will mean that ROAM-equipped and non-equipped racks will be in close proximity. This seems to be a direct contradiction of the “everyone” claims of the concept’s authors.
  • If the system IS available for use on semi-public property but only via opt-in, i.e. by choice of the property’s managers or owners, it may further widen the gulf between the haves and have nots in bicycle parking in Davis, as there are a significant number of (improvised) parking spaces at commercial properties and residences which have no racks, LB or otherwise. This is in direct contradiction of the authors' claimed benefits and violates equity principles for Davis as lower quality bicycle-parking is likely over-represented at more modest rental properties (This would be solved starting with a truly-equitable policy of the City, initiated by the Council and discussed and prepared for actualization by recommendation of relevant Commissions, e.g. the BTSSC and Social Services.) There's also no explicit mention of DJUSD properties - i.e. users such as students at primary and secondary schools, even as a future goal (yes, inclusive of the magic "everyone"). Bicycle theft on these campuses is a huge problem that the administration is not solving. The theft of  a bicycle can be traumatic for people in this age group, especially if their family has difficulty replacing it. Why isn't this community involved at the first stage? Isn't there considerable value in the user experience of a younger person who might have difficulty with some over-complicated systems?
  • City Staff promised new bicycle parking regulations as long as two years ago, but nothing has come of it (only the registration program which is mostly the work of an outside entity, and ROAM). Five years ago, the City initiated a plan to improve bicycle parking at Davis Depot, and eventually added longer lockers, which fit the long-tail type of cargo bicycle. Five years ago the City declined to pursue acquiring facilities that would accommodate larger cargo bikes or bikes with  trailers for Davis Depot. Prior to the pandemic there were some ideas about adding over-sized bicycle parking in the one of the under-utilized buildings at the Depot, but nothing's come of it.

 

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There's secure parking for this vehicle at the train station... (Image: Urban Cycling Institute on Facebook)
Bike-Europe-Pon-Takesover-Urban-Arrow-1024x695
... but not this one (Image: Urban Arrow)

The Bike Lock design:

What makes it take “25 times” more time to breach than…. what? A cable lock, a top-of-the-line U lock? My chain and lock combo takes at least 3 to 4 minutes to cut in the field with an angle grinder  – ROAM takes 90 minutes?

It’s “Cloud Connected”: What happens when it can’t connect for any number of reasons, as other systems can’t sometimes? Does it become unusable?

Right now the “Lightning Bolt” locks take less time to cut than the more expensive hardened locks. The main reason it’s not happened a lot is likely due to the psychological disincentive of damaging city or university property, as opposed to personal property. Will existing racks be modified to be more resistant to quick cutting?

Presumably the alarm sound comes from a small hole etc that’s also protected from water intrusion – have their been tests to seal this without setting off the alarm?

If the QR code on the lock is damaged how can the user disable the lock?

If the user loses their phone or its battery is dead, how the can the user disable the lock?

How many regular bicycle users don’t have mobile phones?

Is there a way for people who don’t have mobile phones to use the system?

What supplies the power to the locks? A separate battery on each holding piece that requires a swap for a recharged battery? How often does it need to be recharged?

Have there been tests where a unit’s alarm and lights were activated in the present of people not connected with the project? If so, what was their reaction?

All the visuals in the attached promotional brochure are visualizations - no photos. Presumably some exist as they are being introduced BEFORE the BTSSC meeting and before its members formally-reviewed it. 

*****

I went through the entire staff report and interleaved comments and questions. It's long and it's here.