Entries categorized "Downtown"

Letter from DISC developers to Davis Automobile Association

AutoCenter
It took some digging but I found a key letter from the DISC developers to the City of Davis Association of Private Motor Vehicle Sellers and Suppliers:

Dear CDAPMVSS,

Following are what we plan on the primary characteristics of DISC in regards to your organization’s mission:

1 – Most of the day a connection by private automobile to Downtown Davis, UC Davis and West Sacramento will be extremely convenient and fast.

2 – A private automobile will be required to conveniently and quickly travel to Pioneer Elementary, Nugget (on Mace) and surrounding stores, and of course to the Davis Auto Mall (identifiable by its bicycle logo from I-80).

3 – Travel by cycling and walking to Harper Junior High and Korematsu Elementary will be significant until a crossing guard is killed and two students are injured at the intersection of Alhambra and Mace. In response we plan to place small posters at bus stops in the area to direct drivers to slow down. We were going to pretend to compromise and pretend to return to our spoken-only agreement the construction of a grade-separated crossing of Mace but in the end the Council didn’t ask for it.

4 – Travel by automobile to schools outside of east Davis will be the majority mode, especially to Davis High School, and drivers will threaten students crossing E. Covell to get to Birch Lane Elementary, crossing F and 14th to get to North Davis Elementary and the high school.

5 – The TDM plan will determine that carshare is not interesting for nearly all residents who have opted to rent a parking place near their home.

6 – Caltrans has confirmed that they have no interest in assisting in building a safe and dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facility across I-80 in the vicinity of Mace, similar to their same position on the I-80 Managed Lanes project.

7 – Some residents will ride cargo bikes to Target and surrounding shops until a user is killed at the corner of Mace and 2nd.

8 – The Chevron station at Mace and 2nd will gain business.

9 – Mode share of the fare-free shuttle to Davis Depot and Downtown will be insignificant due to duration and inability to match fluctuating schedule of Capitol Corridor trains due to problems outside of their control, such as shipping traffic on the Carquinez Strait that requires bridge interruption.

Thanks, the DISC development team.


DISC 2022 Transportation - Planning Commission falls for Developer's Trick

TrapBacThe trap was set likely shortly after "DISC  2020" was defeated by voters.  When the developers of this peripheral sprawl - or I'll be nice and call it West West Sacramento - were planning to re-introduce it last year for a vote this year - they realized that a key demand was a grade-separated crossing of Mace. So they removed it from the Baseline Features... fully-intending to agree to do it as a concession.

Back story

The City Council-approved Street Standards (2016) don't mention e-bikes at all. What this means is that the width, curvature, and proper siting of infrastructure that would optimize the use of e-bikes - in particular the Type 3 variant that has assistance up to 28 mph - is totally missing in Davis, or more immediately in concepts, plans as well as development agreements and baseline features in current and near-future projects.

To address this, over two-and-a-half years ago when I was on the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Commission (BTSSC) I got support for adding an item to the long range calendar which would address it; this first appeared on the LRC in September 2019, with a possible date of December 2019 for the agenda. (It is abbreviated somewhat erroneously as "intersection design guidelines / standards"). It has been pushed back repeatedly since then, and the BTSSC did not support forming a sub-committee about it during 2020.

What this means is that significant concepts and projects which could alleviate transportation problems, such as Reimagine Russell, the new-ish Class I multi-user path on the south side of Russell (chronically and clinically-referred to as a "bike path) or smaller projects all over the city are not future-proofed for the increase of modal share for cycling we desperately need to improve everything from climate impacts to conviviality to fitness to transportation crashes. Our city is simply too large now in size to have a significant modal share with "acoustic" bicycles. Not convinced? Look at the low bike modal share from peripheral areas of town in the UCD Campus Travel Survey, which shows low share even for people with campus destinations where car parking is not always convenient, and not fare-free. It's not hard to extrapolate - necessary, as the City has essentially refused to do its own counts for years - that almost no one regularly rides from Mace Ranch or some other peripheral areas to Downtown for a coffee or beer - sort of the most normal thing in the Universe in a bicycle-branded cycling city.

SurveyCycling
UCD Campus Travel Survey 2019-2020 (pg. 30) - By bike, DISC is just over four miles from ARC, a central point on campus when considering agricultural facilities. This distance has about a 10% modal share for cycling, and includes mostly students, many who don't have their own cars.



However, as we can see from the example above, the faster type of e-bikes are quite expensive. I've seen nothing lower than just over $3,000. Though important - or all - major arteries in Davis - should be optimized for this type of bike - the idea is not only to optimize for them but make safe for all users, including on acoustic bikes - it cannot mean that this type of bike should be essentially required to live here and enjoy the purported high quality of life. Infrastructure optimized for fast bikes is also a significant improvement for all bikes, as it's direct, requires a minimum of stops, is not shared with motor vehicles... or pedestrians and dogs.

To be more precise, the goal should be the 15-Minute City. This is a relatively new standard or classification of a very, very old sometimes organic strategy to make key locations in a city within 15 min from anywhere else, for all means of transportation. This seems to also serve as a kind of proof of the bicycle modal share results in the Campus Travel Survey. It's definitely something that should be part of our new General Plan, or even worked on earlier by a joint Commission process (BTSSC, Planning... perhaps Natural Resources and Social Services...). I would argue that it should also be about effort, so a 5 or perhaps 7-minute walk is the equivalent of a 15 min bike ride. I've said that if kids can't walk unaccompanied 5-minutes from where they live to buy ice cream cones, it's a failure (and that's just one example, a single ice cream place or a truck at DISC doesn't make it sustainable.)

It's also quite important to be reminded that the City of Davis has for over four years not had a senior civil engineer with a transportation focus. Many projects have gone forward - sometimes to completion, often with significant flaws - without the benefit of this experienced and wise counsel.

 

Last Night

At the Planning Commission review of Disc 2022 last night - and early this morning - I was actually quite impressed by the comments from multiple Commissioners regarding negative transportation issues of the planned project, and even the general discussion about its unavoidable impacts and uncertainly of benefits from transportation demand management... well, at least earlier in the discussion. Commissioner Shandy was particularly right on with her criticism of planned widening of Mace - presented by the developer as a kind of unquestioned religious observance - contradicts claimed benefits for people cycling and walking. There were other positive and thoughtful comments by a majority of Commissioners.

I knew that the grade-separated crossing of Mace was a kind of sneakily-hidden prize and tried to point out in my sort of sloppy recorded comment that that a safer crossing of Mace would not on its own make DISC 2020 excellent for cycling (this is better than "cycle-friendly"), because of distance from Downtown and places further west, and besides that, safe crossings directly to the south along Mace across 80 would cost many millions and be very complicated (and at least in my head I know that Caltrans District 3 and the Yolo County Transportation District have withdrawn the earlier plan - it was supposed to be built first! - of a new bike and ped bridge across the Bypass as part of the I-80 Managed Lanes Project.)

Screenshot from 2022-01-13 02-14-21
Just an aside about the bandied about "globally-known sustainability of Davis": This was the air quality last night shortly after the meeting was over (via Purple Air)

 

 

The Trap is Sprung

Though it was fully-intended to be a positive thing and I will give credit to Commissioner Shandy, the discussion and lead-up to a vote turned sour when she proposed that a grade-separated crossing of Mace and a Class I trail across the undeveloped land south of Harper Junior High would make her feel better about the planned Mace widening and other traffic impacts. She suggested nothing about safe cycling and walking connections to other places, such as the Nugget and popular restaurants across 80. But the problem is that, for example, the area planned for housing at DISC 2022, on the north and eastern side of the project area, is more than 15 minutes away by bike from Downtown and at leat 20 to 25 minutes away from the UC Davis campus that is the raison d'être for DISC 2022! Moreover, the route has almost no optimized cycling infrastructure the whole way (varied from local streets to arteries, no protected bike paths, lack of priority at stops, etc... there is no proposal for any of this in any proposed development agreement or baseline features). But mainly it's too far by bike... never mind walking! Most of the time people - with free or with un-bundled parking - will take I-80 between campus and DISC, even more so to many facilities etc on the west side of campus related to agriculture. I-80 is such a fantastic route much of the day that nothing can compete with it, including shuttles and express buses, which I am sure will at best have a tiny modal share.  This creates huge challenges for any development more than 15 min away from key locations, and it means simply that they should not even be considered. (Oh, wouldn't it have been great if staff were directed to work on the General Plan and told the developers that there was no capacity to work on stuff that would very likely be in violation of a progressive outcome for it?)

So the Planning Commission has recommended the two elements mentioned above that are supposed to address problems on Mace to the City Council. My conclusion is that the developers will signal their intention to accept them - perhaps with a little drama - and the Council will praise them for doing so. But again, even with everything promised (e.g. shuttles, TDM) and not promised (e.g. e-bike-optimized infrastructure) there's still no place for DISC. Still no way to successfully do something better than I-80 via private vehicle for anything but a minority. There's really nowhere to walk to from DISC. Hopefully the voters will see through this ruse and others and reject DISC 2020.

Galadrieltempted
In the ALTERNATIVE timeline, Lady Galadriel was tempted by but in the end did not succumb to the Power of the Grade-Separation ring

 

Denethor
In the REAL timeline, Lord Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was consumed by the Grade Separation Ring and driven mad.

 

 

Question

Last night I was quite surprised when the developer said with much conviction that baseline features were not necessary to enforce the creation of certain designs and programs at DISC 2022, as these would be required by CEQA. Then why have baseline features as a solution for any of these things, in all the discussion for years up until now? If a reader could enlighten me I would truly appreciate it.

Afterword

I am all for more housing - for all income levels, but with a significant proportion below market and lower income - and workplace and related development in Davis. I have never said I was against these things in any local discussions, for example in the Davis Vanguard. But they have to be infill, they have to be on greyfields such as parking lots, industrial areas along 5th St - not only the PG&E yard - and in the eastern side of South Davis and other areas much closer to Downtown and especially for what DISC 2022 purports to be about much closer also to campus. With electric shuttles on fixed routes, optimized cycling infrastructure, a new connection across 80 around L St., mixed-use above (existing) parking lots and so on many if not close to all of the actual benefits of a project like DISC 2022 can be realized. It's not impossible, it's not rocket science, it simply requires conviction, creativity and less b.s. and false claims about sustainability. Hopefully Council, Commissions... local media... and organizations such as Bike Davis and Cool Davis re-direct the citizenry towards an alternative to DISC or a truly sustainable version of it... closer to and integrated with the City of Davis and the UC Davis campus.


G St remains closed so a 5 year old can turn cartwheels 

FIT House
G Street shown as closed on Apple Maps

By The Artery

G St businesses await clean up and reopening but the part of the City Council wants G St closed permanently it seems so their 5 year old can turn cartwheels in the street. How quaint. How ageist. In the meanwhile seniors with mobility issues find it too difficult to come into the area, as communicated to us by our customers.

At the 11/2/21 City Council meeting the council remained split 2:2 for partial reopening vs complete closure. The Downtown Business Association’s recommendation is for two-way traffic to resume with updated outdoor seating which is fair.

But the Council’s arguments to keep G St closed permanently revolved around an absence of logic and fair reason. Arnold’s consideration to keep G St closed as a concession because 100% of the streets downtown are open to traffic shows he’s more interested in that detail than if 100% of businesses in Davis recover from the stress of the pandemic or not. Where is the city’s fairness to support all businesses to recover? Roseville, Palo Alto, Walnut Creek and many other cities around the country are in the news saying they’re reopening streets to help retail before the busiest shopping time of year.

The Mayor of Davis also wants to keep G St permanently closed. She’s said she thinks we’re only concerned about aesthetics and parking spots. This isn’t all of it - she’s not listening. We’re looking at digital mapping systems which show G St as closed; not good. Look at what happened to K St in Sacramento in the 1960’s and again recently. Additionally, we see people urinating on the tree out front our business, vomit, graffiti and other signs of the worse side of humanity when they’re given access to areas not intended for recreation. This is “misbehavior”. Pledging to clean this up has proven a vapid promise - for four months. We see little follow through.

Continue reading "G St remains closed so a 5 year old can turn cartwheels " »


Stock up at Pre-Thanksgiving Market

PatricksGardenMed
Patrick Hoover of Patrick’s Garden is just one of dozens of vendors who will be at the Davis Farmers Market’s expanded Pre-Thanksgiving Market, from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24 in Central Park. (Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo)

The day before Thanksgiving, the Davis Farmers Market extends its hours. This year’s annual Pre-Thanksgiving Market will be from noon to 6 p.m. in Central Park, 301 C St., Davis.

On Wednesday, Nov. 24, the market will have a bounty of seasonal produce, table décor, flowers, olive oil, honey and wine. Several bakeries will have fresh-baked items like pumpkin, apple, pecan and berry pies and pumpkin cheesecake; breads, stuffing mix and cookies.

Year-round, rain or shine, the Davis Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Normal Wednesday hours are 3 to 6 p.m. November through March, and 3 to 7 p.m. April through October.

Other special holiday hours at the Davis Farmers Market are Fridays, Dec. 24 and 31, from 8 a.m. to noon. The market will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, but open from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29. For more information, visit https//davisfarmersmarket.org or visit it on Facebook or Instagram.


Russell Sprouts Little Imagination

ReimagineInvertedDoes imagination require or at least benefit by transparency and a truly robust public process?

For a year or so the City of Davis, UC Davis and Yolo County have been working with the private consultancy Toole Design and the public to "Reimagine Russell Boulevard".  City of Davis staff plan to update the City Council at this Tuesday's Council meeting.

Following are comments I made on the survey which was planned to close on November 12th but is open as of this moment...

My comments are split into two parts: First I focus on the process, next on the design. Process, today. Design, tomorrow (or Tuesday morning).

*****

1 - The project inexplicably has two websites, one for "administrative" reasons. There's never been an explanation for this.

2 - On the admin. website there is a list of representatives of some sort from the city, the Community Steering Committee.  Two of them told me that they were not happy that it was only a sounding board and not really official - and there's no way specific way indicated to reach them. Additionally I was informed by a Committee member that they were not provided access to raw data from the first survey earlier this year. My impression is that the City learnt its lesson from the Downtown Plan process and decided to formally reduce democracy in the project. If no one visits the admin. website they won't even know about these people. At the very least the budget of nearly half a million dollars (!) didn't allow the consultants and so on to do more than a few public sessions over a year's time.

Continue reading "Russell Sprouts Little Imagination" »


History of Davis' Train Station

By Aaron Wedra, Marketing Coordinator for the Hattie Weber Museum

In 1864 it was determined that the California Pacific Rail Road would extend eastward from Sacramento over the Donner Summit route to become part of the transcontinental rail line.

The “Cal-P”, as it was familiarly known to early-day railroad builders, was incorporated in January 1865, and was principally financed with British capital. Construction began at Vallejo in December, 1866, and the first rails were laid at the same place on April 10, 1868.

Planners for the California Pacific Rail Road Company decided to build a line from South Vallejo to Sacramento which would also connect Marysville and Woodland at a junction in Davisville. Construction and grading of the rail bed began in Vallejo in December 1866 and the first rails were laid in April 1868.

The construction of the first Davis depot began in July 1868 and the first passenger and freight service between Vallejo and Davis Junction began on August 24th, 1868. The fare was $3.00.

Continue reading "History of Davis' Train Station" »


Letter to the City Council about G St Re-Opening

The City Council will address the G Street Closure / Re-Opening tonight. It’s item 8 on the agenda if anyone is interested to chime in.  https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-council/city-council-meetings/agendas

G st closure

Dear Mayor Partida, Davis City Council members, Liaisons and Managers,

Thank you for your attention and consideration to re-open G Street to traffic.

The city staff has published their recommendation for only a partial re-opening of G St, only one lane of traffic but the data from the DDBA’s survey contradicts their recommendation.  To their point of rescuing restaurants from failing during the Pandemic, they succeeded. It is a fact that a handful of restaurants are profiting with increased seating capacities that exceed the their TUP proposed usage. While still, retail and locally owned businesses are still teetering on closing. We’re wondering why the deadline for the street closure over shot the August 5th deadline without a word from the City. We were never asked about the street closure in the first place. I hope the City will try to help all businesses downtown from the economic effects of the pandemic to keep a diversified culture and serve the entire community. This should align with your goals for a vibrant downtown and thriving neighborhoods.

I would kindly ask the City Council review this statistical information on the advantages, disadvantages and effectiveness of full and partial street closures adapted from www.trafficcalming.org

Continue reading "Letter to the City Council about G St Re-Opening" »


Please Re-Open G Street

Davis10 copy

By Adele Shaw

I’m sharing this letter with people in Davis who might not be aware that retail businesses on G Street are suffering from the street closure.

I’m an artist and one of 65 local artist/owners of The Artery Gallery located at 207 G Street. When the City issued “Temporary Use Permits” (TUP) and closed G Street, we supported it. But as an unsupervised, unkempt bacchanal unfolded we began to look forward to G Street’s re-opening.

The original re-opening date of August 5th came and went. No information came from the City of Davis as the closure was extended without a word to affected businesses. Today, our customers continue to rant with frustration over the street closure’s unkempt conditions and filth.

A permanent closure of the street will likely cause the death of many of the non-restaurant businesses on G Street.  The city issued TUP’s during “emergency” times but they’ve created another emergency all together- an inequitable restaurant takeover on G Street. It may look like a party when you’re picking up a pizza or having a beer, but it’s not an equitable, harmonious party.

Non-restaurant businesses on the 200 block of G Street outnumber the restaurants more than 2:1 (24 retail, consulting or other businesses to 11 restaurants). Yet the retail, consulting and other businesses on G Street continue to suffer. We’re experiencing diminished income and are losing customers because of the street closure. I expect this will get worse as the winter comes.

I wonder what’s the purpose of closing G Street?

Is it a thoroughfare for pedestrians from one place to another? No.

Does it provide pedestrian access a particular destination? No.

Is it part of a multi-modal urban network to develop and foster a downtown core with flourishing businesses of all kinds? No.

Continue reading "Please Re-Open G Street" »


A rare compilation of photographs and images of the historic Davis Arch

2
Davis Arch image

(From press release) Enjoy a rare compilation of photographs and images of the historic Davis Arch. When scrolling through the images, please pay attention to the captions for each.

Included below is a brief history of the creation and ultimately the destruction of the Davis Arch that includes the establishment of the Chamber of Commerce and the Women's Improvement Club. It is interesting to note that the Chamber still puts on occasional cleanup days, a tradition as old as the chamber itself.

See the individual photo captions to learn more about the rise and fall of the arch as well as its revival in multiple murals and other media.

An excerpt from "Davisville '68 The History and Heritage of the City of Davis":

Continue reading "A rare compilation of photographs and images of the historic Davis Arch" »


Hot Davis Days—3 Days of Summer fun

Hot Davis Days Header

(From press release) Let’s Transform Downtown into a Summer Fest From August 13–15th! Attendees can expect hot summer deals & desserts during our 3-day Summer Treat Crawl, Northern California’s renowned cover band, Thunder Cover, and opportunities to make new friends over coffee and pastries at our Cars & Coffee meet!

The Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) is hosting and managing this exciting program, and we are delighted to do so to bring residents, students, families and visitors to downtown Davis for a chance to celebrate the Summer with open-air activities.

Miss Picnic in the Park? This program is for you.

Thunder CoverWe are thrilled to be hosting Northern California’s pop/rock cover band, Thunder Cover, coordinating with a large number of downtown businesses,  gathering classic car owners and owners of other unique vehicles (hot rods, electric, and custom cars), and working with community sponsors that make this all possible.

Summer Treat CrawlParticipate in our downtown Summer Treat Crawl Friday through Sunday, which offers specials on ice cream, boba tea, iced coffee, and other desserts as well as a chance to win a $100 kid -themed gift basket! Details at  www.davisdowntown.com/summer-treat-crawl.

On day 2 of the extravaganza, we are celebrating the Summer with a 3-hour concert on G Street, where we are extending the outdoor pedestrian-only area between 2nd and 3rd Streets.

Cars and CoffeeAnd on day 3, we will have our Cars & Coffee meet  from 10am to noon, complete with coffee from Pachamama Coffee and pastries from Upper Crust as well as the appearance of award-winning balloon artist, Dilly Dally the Clown for children. This event is great for families, friends and car enthusiasts.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook @DavisDowntown and Instagram @Davis.Downtown as we continue to release details on each event.


City of Davis and the (Near) Future of Rail Travel

L21spanish

Virtual Public Workshop! Thursday, July 15 from 530 to 7pm

 

I wrote the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) earlier today:

To the BTSSC,

I strongly suggest that the BTSSC set up an ad-hoc sub-committee about Link21 so that it can stay engaged long-term, receive and process community input and then at the appropriate time make recommendations to the City Council.

The City of Davis is a small tomato in a huge pot of soup in this matter, but the railway proportionately bisects the City of Davis more than other town along its current route between Oakland and Davis. Davis grew around the rail and I-80 corridor in a way that - especially in the last 60 years - did not facilitate multi-modal travel based on the railway. A typical regional or suburban station like Davis in much of Europe would have multiple bus lanes that terminate at the station and hundreds of secure bicycle parking space for all kinds of bikes, suburb connections for walking and cycling for all directions, and a lively place for activity in front of the station, instead of a parking lot. The City has made some progress in this area of late, but, for example, there are still many who want a new parking structure at the station, and voters thankfully - but only narrowly - disapproved a new development project far from the station with no good cycling connections to it, lots of parking and imagined good access to I-80.

I had tried to form a sub-committee nearly three years ago about the I-80 Managed Lanes Project, but it was terminated shortly after Commission approval because the second member moved to Sacramento. While I appreciate the healthy skepticism the BTSSC had about the Managed Lanes Project at the last meeting, I believe it prudent to get ahead of the game as much as possible for this even larger project that relates to both the Managed Lanes Project as well to our Downtown and General Plans, as significantly improved rail service would facilitate the creation of a lot more carfree or carlite households in town. As you seem to recognize, the worst outcome of the Managed Lanes project will do nothing but worsen traffic in town and literally throw a rotten tomato at our forming Climate Policy. The worst Managed Lane implementation will not support railway travel until perhaps many years from now, and indirectly, when thousands of Davis residents, frustrated with increased congestion and pollution, surround Caltrans District 3 HQ and bombard it with stinky, rotten tomatoes genetically-modified to annoy "deaf" state officials and narcissistic automobilists.

TomatoesAs a robust railway powered by renewable energy is a key tool in fighting Climate Change, I would also suggest you consider making the sub-committee a joint one with NRC, and Social Services too in order to help ensure that the system is accessible for all households.

The person who seems to be the current project manager for this part of the Megaregion, Jim Allison from Capitol Corridor, is very approachable and helpful. The Link21 sub-committee would be wise to also connect with other - especially smaller - communities along the corridor in order to create common, expected and seamless last-mile connections to their stations, and dense and proximate housing that makes good public transportation possible. All the pieces are necessary, but the puzzle has to be solved by everyone. I think that I prefer the tomato to the puzzle metaphor.

Thanks,

Todd Edelman"


15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!

SD15
 
My strong feeling is that all local streets - including Downtown - should have a 15 mph design speed. This is already a number most are familiar with, as it's used alongside e.g. speed tables on school routes and even the sharp turn from 2nd St to L St.

The design speed is a speed that most people feel comfortable moving at in motor vehicles. People on bikes can also feel a design speed, but they are nearly infinitely more inherently safe than motor vehicles to others in the public ROW. 15 is also a bit faster than most cycling speeds.Traveling by bike on most greenbelt paths in Davis at 15 mph feels too fast - the paths are under-built - and perhaps the biggest design flaw in post 1970's Davis, sadly and ironically complemented by the clinically-insane wideness of many streets in West Davis, Mace Ranch and South Davis... but also much older streets in Old North, etc.
 
Does it seem slow? Perhaps. However, consider that for most journeys by motor vehicle a relatively short distance is on local streets. So any journey lengthening will be minimal.
 
Or can it even be shorter? Yes! 15 mph speed design is best complemented by elimination of existing mandatory stops; to be replaced by yields. It's these often unnecessary stops that lengthen journey time the most. Getting rid of them also decreases pollution (gas, particles and noise) and makes people less likely to feel the need to speed to the next stop sign.
 
So it can be both safer and faster!

Continue reading "15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!" »


Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!

2nd StRailway modification project along 2nd St. leads to subverted process and disrespected City policy.

The item "CCJPA 2nd Street Improvements 30% Design" is on the Consent Calendar for the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) today.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), which runs the eponymous rail service with partner Amtrak, is planning to make modifications to the railway parallel with 2nd St, roughly between L St and the Pole Line. A significant part of the project will also raise, repave and re-stripe 2nd St - there's long been a problem with railway ballast making its way to the street - and include installation of an ADA-compliant sidewalk on the north side of the street, where no sidewalk currently exists up to the west end of Toad Hollow.

So far, so good? Unfortunately not. The item involving a significant infrastructure modification is only on the Consent Calendar and the changes to the street itself - aside from the new sidewalk, which is clearly a good thing - are not following the 2016 Street Standards, and the whole length of 2nd St is not compliant with the 2013 General Plan Transportation Element.

Continue reading "Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!" »


Davis for Real Public Safety Bike Caravan/Teach-in

(From press release) Many Davis community members have been re-thinking public safety after episodes of police brutality and a long-time lack of adequate services for mental health issues, drug use, and houselessness. These issues have exacerbated racial disparities, which are particularly pronounced in Davis.

This is why Davis leaders have been sending hundreds of emails and public comments to the Davis City Council, urging council members to create a Department of Public Safety independent from the Police Department. Organizers argue that such a department could employ social workers, civil servants and mental healthcare professionals to take on tasks like welfare checks, code enforcement, traffic enforcement, noise complaints, and more.

This Saturday, May 15th, 1pm-3pm at Davis Central Park, Solidarity Space (4th and C), the Davis for Real Public Safety Coalition will be hosting a bike caravan followed shortly by a teach-in at Davis Central Park. This event will include a panel discussion to examine why Davis needs an independent public safety department and what community members can do to bring about a more just City of Davis.

Continue reading "Davis for Real Public Safety Bike Caravan/Teach-in" »


Picnic in the Park makes changes

Wednesday music and beer to move downtown

PIPlogo(From press release) The Davis Farmers Market is returning to its roots, putting the focus of its Wednesday market back on the farmers.

COVID-19 health guidelines halted concerts and alcohol consumption at the market. There haven’t been the usual crowds filling Central Park for Picnic in the Park, yet farm-fresh produce sales are up.

Since 1995, the Wednesday market has extended its hours into the early evenings. While not abandoning the Picnic in the Park name, the Davis Farmers Market plans to discontinue the music and beer garden.

Meanwhile, the Davis Downtown Business Association is eager to pick up the music and alcohol portion of the event, and incorporate it into Open Air Davis, as early as next spring.

Continue reading "Picnic in the Park makes changes" »


DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs

Infill would be a better choice

By Pam Gunnell, Richard McCann, and Matt Williams

A 200-acre business park like DISC is not an objective in the City of Davis’ General Plan.  Additionally, DISC contains uses (housing, retail, parks, ag buffer) that require land that would not be needed with an infill model that uses existing parcels inside the city limits. According to the project’s own environmental review documents, the FSEIR, only 101 acres of the 200-acre DISC are needed for R&D, office and light manufacturing.  (FSEIR p. 2-21 and p. 2-254) 

Since DISC is proposed to be built out in 4 phases over 20-25 years, 101 acres of land is not needed all at once.  For that reason, existing smaller parcels in Davis may be able to accommodate the initial R&D development and defer the need to consider DISC for a number of years … at a time when the impacts of COVID on market demand for Office/R&D/Flex space are much clearer.

The City, however, is not seriously considering meeting its commercial needs with infill of existing parcels, despite the fact that a 2019 City study enumerates 124 acres of vacant parcels inside the city limits. (FSEIR p. 2-21 and LINK) This does not include City–owned properties and parcels that are underutilized and could be rezoned – for example the PG&E property on the edge of downtown nor does it include redevelopable properties already appropriately zoned.

Continue reading "DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs" »


Criminal Negligence

By Dan Urazandi

There have been a series of crimes at my shop that have forced me to consider crime in Davis. Most of us take it for granted that Davis is safe like it was a decade or two ago. Many of us are learning otherwise as we are victimized by criminals. I hope a few more can be convinced without having to become victims and that corrective action will be taken before things get even worse, particularly as covid policy is emptying California jails.    

   In 2018 and 2019 my son and I were victims of two assaults with deadly weapon while minding our store. This year's crime was a burglary, we were hit with a smash and grab on 9/24. I was aghast and furious that the police would not assign an investigator to the case. They seemed unconcerned with property crime, which begins to explain its massive increase in the last few years. So we handled the case ourselves; when the suspect came back on 10/9 to sell me stolen merchandise from other stores he burglarized and, yes, some he had burglarized from me, my son and I put him under citizen's arrest after some struggle. When I handed him over to DPD they acted for the first time in this case with expedition by letting him go one hour after picking him up. That's after we found him, caught him, fought him and arrested him for them. The thief couldn't have been stupider and we went far beyond what a citizen should have to do to catch this serial burglar, but he went free anyway.

Continue reading "Criminal Negligence" »


Letter: The Road Ahead

IMG_3892DISC for me represents a 20+ year commitment to going down the wrong road.  It represents a reversal of fundamental tenets that have shaped Davis for the better.

DISC is sprawl plain and simple. It circumvents every good planning principle that Davis has stood for. It places retail, office and dense housing on the periphery while destroying 200 acres of farmland. It is the antithesis of what we should be doing in the era of global warming as DISC depends on car commuters and makes a joke of the City’s mandate of carbon neutrality by 2040.

Furthermore, DISC will destabilize existing businesses and compromise our ability to fill existing vacancies. Even before Covid, DISC was a poor plan for a community that values a strong downtown. But, Covid on top of DISC boggles the mind.  The SEIR states that cannibalism from DISC will cause sustained commercial vacancies of up to 313,000 sq. ft.

The good news is that we have an alternative option that would take us down the right road.

We have enough land in Davis to serve our commercial needs. In 2019, the city’s justification for converting 3820 Chiles Rd. from commercial to residential reads “the existing current inventory of vacant land for 0ffice and R&D/Flex uses will meet demand for the next 43 to 69 years”.  We also have a Downtown Plan that is full steam ahead and calls for intensifying residential and commercial in the core. Joe Minicozzi, hosted by Cool Davis in March, was unequivocal that investing in the ground Davis already has, that has existing services and infrastructure, is the best path to economic stability and revitalization.

I want to add that Colin Walsh, candidate for City Council District 2, is the one council candidate who has studied every aspect of DISC and has taken a lead role against the project. In Colin you will find a candidate who will make the tough decisions to do what is right, and not what is politically expedient.  He has the resolve and commitment to go down a better road.

Pam Gunnell
Davis


Downtown Merchants Revolt Against DDBA's Support of DISC

The following signed petition was sent to the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) by a group of downtown business owners expressing concern that the DDBA issued a statement in support of Measure B and asking that that statement of support be rescinded until the full DDBA membership can be polled in an open, transparent, and democratic manner – Heather Caswell, The Wardrobe

__________________________________________________________________________

Be Bold – Be an Agent of Change! - A Petition Opposing Measure B and DISC

We believe the heart and soul of Davis is our downtown core. And we believe we must protect it and nurture it to realize its long term, sustainable potential. We support he Downtown Development Plan as a viable means to rejuvenate and enhance the businesses and livability of the downtown core.

We also believe the development of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) on the far east side of Davis, with 2.6 million sq ft of commercial space including 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 160,000 sq. ft. of hotel and meeting space, will siphon business tenants and merchant customers away from our downtown coreadversely affecting affecting its viability and vitality. 

We therefore are opposed to Measure B which seeks to approve the annexation of prime farmland into the City and the construction of the massive DISC project.

Continue reading "Downtown Merchants Revolt Against DDBA's Support of DISC" »


DISC is using Voodoo Economics

Voodoo-economics(From press release) The Developer's promises of economic benefits from DISC want you to believe all you have to do is vote "YES" on Measure B and the City's potholes will be miraculously filled with the gold nuggets tumbling from the DISC bandwagon.

But the DISC project will not be an economic bonanza and may even cost the City money over the long term. This is because extremely optimistic projections of property taxes from the project will probably never materialize.

And with no fiscal guarantees, the Developer will be the only one hauling away wheelbarrels of money!

Continue reading "DISC is using Voodoo Economics" »


Why Lock Out Our Trees?

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan needs to address trees.

Cork oak
Giant cork oak downtown

The mature tree canopy in downtown Davis is an invaluable historic, environmental, and economic asset. It is a legacy we are fortunate to inherit and its future rests in our hands. Ideally, because of our informed stewardship the next generation will inherit a healthier and more extensive tree canopy resource.

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan (DDSP) allocates 25 pages of guidance to the design and placement of signage, but nothing to canopy conservation and the integration of new trees into downtown development. We do not believe that this omission reflects the level of value that our city officials, business leaders, and residents place on trees in our commercial area.

Tree Davis has submitted written comments that include these recommendations to bolster the inclusion of trees in the DDSP.

Continue reading "Why Lock Out Our Trees?" »