Entries categorized "Environment"

Hold your pets! Hold your breath! FIREWORKS are back!

Dog-fireworksAt this Tuesday's City Council meeting, May 10th, at 630pm, less than one month ahead of Celebrate Davis and less two months ahead of the 4th of July, the City Council is planning to authorize pyrotechnic displays at these events.

For the past two years due to COVID and/or wildfire smoke issues, spring and summertime fireworks have been suspended for the most part. Wiith all the other stresses on our families, it's been a literal lifesaver for dozens or more pets typically killed, injured or traumatized by fireworks, and a small measure to keep the air clean as many took their last breaths due to the pandemic. It's likely that wild animals also suffer. Some may also have supported the cancellation in solidarity with communities nearby that burnt in recent years.

We breathed in the smoke from fires in Paradise, so why are we allowing toxic combustibles to be launched into the sky, also as many of us do all we can to help people attacked by larger pyrotechnics in Ukraine?

Sadly, it's claimed that pyrotechnic displays fulfill the Council Goal to "Support an array of festivals and celebrations that will culturally enhance and engage our community [and] promote equity..."

Cultural? Engagement? EQUITY?

We can have fun and safe events that promote community and patriotism without fireworks!

What can we do about it? Many cities around the country have replaced fireworks displays with lazer light shows. The Council - or at least Mayor Partida - and a representative of the Davis Chamber of Commerce - organizer of Celebrate Davis - are aware of this and have engaged with citizens in past years. So it's unclear why this is only on the Consent Calendar, presumably to be passed without comment.

We need to comment immediately, in advance of the Council meeting! By email - before 3pm on Tuesday - to or by calling in starting at noon that day at 530-757-5693 and leaving a message of up to two minutes in length. Please voice your opposition (and why), ask for a light show instead of fireworks, and for the item to be pulled from the Consent Calendar so that it can be discussed.

It may also be useful to contact the Natural Resources Commission which is having a special meeting on Monday at 630pm about the City's climate actions (CAAP), by email to by10am Monday and/or by calling in live at 530-757-5693 as a general comment at the beginning of the meeting, or you can probably relate this issue to climate change and alternatively can call in during public comment for the CAAP item.

Please copy emails to the Davis Chamber of Commerce: and or call them at 530-902-7699 or contact them separately with the same message as above.

City Council links: https://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/2022/2022-05-10/03N-Fireworks-Display-Authorization.pdf + https://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/2022/2022-05-10/City-Council-Agenda-05-10-22.pdf

NRC link: https://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/CityCouncil/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/Natural-Resources-Commission/Agendas/20220506/2%20Agenda%20Natural%20Resources%20Commission%20Special%20Meeting%20Agenda%20May%209,%202022.pdf

Davis Chamber of Commerce links: https://www.davischamber.com/celebrate-davis.html + https://www.davischamber.com/

Finally, Nugget Markets is the Title Sponsor of Celebrate Davis. They and other sponsors such as Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente would probably not want to be associated with a potentially great event that is toxic and worse for families. Contact them, too!


It is all there in the Numbers … Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!!!

Traffic-on-maceBy Matt Williams

With apologies in advance to those people who find my articles and/or comments too detailed, I’m going to clearly show David Greenwald of the Davis Vanguard the numbers, so that he, and hopefully everyone, understands the traffic study contents. 

For those of you who want to skip the detail and just read the summary, it appears at the bottom of the article alongside the very tall Google Earth image of Mace and its current lane configuration.

With the caveat that the readers of yesterday’s article don’t know what steps might have happened behind the scenes that weren’t described in the article, it appears that yesterday, David Greenwald forgot to follow his own advice.  Several times in the recent past David has complained bitterly that one of the Vanguard’s guest writers published their article without taking the time to check with an information source prior to publishing an article that criticizes one or more aspects of our community’s decisions and/or decision processes.  I believe, but could be wrong if there is information I don’t know about, David would have done well for himself and for the Yes On Measure H campaign team if he had checked with the information source he criticized in yesterday’s article.  If he did do so, I’m sure he will clarify in a comment.

Traffic studies are arcane beasts.  They follow a set of clearly set out rules that a lay person like David and me has to work hard to understand. It is easy for a lay person to make mistakes when trying to understand “WHY?” a traffic finding in the traffic study is what it is.  In late 2020 when formally submitting questions  about the traffic study in the Draft EIR, I learned that lesson the hard way.  To their credit Fehr & Peers responded very clearly, logically, understandably, and professionally to my questions … pointing out where I had gone wrong in my calculations.  They were good teachers.  I thank them for that educational lesson.

So, when the updated traffic study for DiSC 2022 was published I was able to much better understand the data … and also carry forward the intersection by intersection graphics that had accompanied the 2020 traffic study.  However, before I finalized any conclusions based on the new data, I reviewed those tentative conclusions with a retired City traffic engineer and two engineering professionals who have considerable experience dealing with traffic.  Their collective and individual counsel was very valuable.  Their advice would have been very helpful to David if he had sought that advice prior to publishing yesterday.

Continue reading "It is all there in the Numbers … Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!!!" »


Sierra Club Endorses Juliette Beck for Yolo County Supervisor District 2

Beck(From press release) After an extensive evaluation process by the Management Committee of the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club Northern California Political Review Committee, the Sierra Club Yolano Group is pleased to announce the Sierra Club's official endorsement of Juliette Beck for Yolo County Supervisor District 2.

We were convinced of our choice based on Ms. Beck's extensive and demonstrable commitment to environmental and social justice and her unwavering support for a just transition when addressing the impacts of climate change on the least fortunate of our citizens. Ms. Beck's  platform embraces a progressive, humane, and evidence-based approach which gives voice to historically marginalized citizens which aligns with the core beliefs of the Sierra Club.

Why we are endorsing Juliette Beck for Yolo County District 2 Supervisor

Juliette Beck is running to be the first woman elected to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors since 2006. Beck believes that with transformative climate leadership, youth empowerment, and a laser focus on health and community well-being, the county can build an inclusive economy and truly sustainable communities.

As a mother, raising a fifth-generation Central Valley family with her husband Nick, Beck believes we can not simply hope that things will get better. She is running for Supervisor to create systemic change with opportunities for all Yolo County residents – especially children – to thrive.

Her platform is based on the indigenous concept of “buen vivir” - to live well is to live in harmony with all of life.

Climate Leadership

Continue reading "Sierra Club Endorses Juliette Beck for Yolo County Supervisor District 2" »


Misrepresentations of the Yes on H/Yes on DiSC campaign

Yes-on-H-mailer-cropped-annotatedBy Colin Walsh

The Vanguard published a guest commentary by Jackson Mills, “Debunking Deceptive Descriptions of DiSC in No on H Campaign Messaging,” on Tuesday morning. But it’s the commentary itself that is deceptive.

Ironically Mr. Mills himself chooses to mislead people in his selection of an outdated illustration to lead the article. It is notable that the illustration used with this article is from the previous DISC proposal and is certainly not an accurate picture of the current DiSC proposal. The water feature in this picture is an idealized version of the drainage ditch that ran through the middle of the previous project (it also shows far more water than there ever would have been). The drainage ditch does not run through the project in the current iteration. And the drainage ditch certainly doesn’t support paddle boarding as depicted on the Yes on H mailers.

The Vanguard has done nothing to address the Misrepresentations of the Yes on H campaign. Those claims have included such outrageous exaggerations and misinformation such as:

Measure H “helps our community fight the housing crisis” – DiSC will have over 2,400 employees, and by the City’s own documents only 187 will live in the onsite housing. That adds over 2,200 additional people looking for housing in Davis, adding pressure to our already incredibly tight Davis housing market.

Continue reading "Misrepresentations of the Yes on H/Yes on DiSC campaign" »


Don't tax the sun

Solarpanels(from press release) Despite clear public opposition to a Solar Tax and to making solar unaffordable, the CPUC announced last week that they are still considering a Solar Tax of between $300 to $600 per year for the average solar user, while also slashing the credit for the solar energy sent back to the grid.

Because we were so successful at stopping their first Solar Tax, the CPUC is now trying to hide the ball by calling the tax by a different name. Their latest idea is to tax the solar energy you produce and use at home. The less energy you buy from the utility because of your solar, the higher the tax.

This is like taxing people who hang-dry their clothing instead of running the dryer. It's absurd, it's intrusive, and it violates every principle of conservation and responsible citizenship. It contradicts everything the Newsom Administration says it is for: solving climate change, promoting clean energy, making solar more equitable, and keeping the lights on. We are also quite sure it is illegal.

But, unless we speak out forcefully against this new Solar Tax proposal, it may very well become the new reality in California. Earlier this year, your voice helped to defeat the CPUC's first Solar Tax. We need your voice again, as loud as ever:

Continue reading "Don't tax the sun" »


Letter: Who wants DiSC?

DISC overview shotWho wants 12,000 more daily car trips on Mace Blvd? 

Who wants to annex and pave over 102 acres of prime farmland and environmental habitat OUTSIDE the City of Davis boundary?

Who wants to violate every principle of effective city planning by developing 80,000 square feet of retail businesses beyond the city’s downtown?

Who wants an additional 460 housing units that would deplete scarce water resources and distress our already fragile infrastructure, including roads, schools and downtown parking?

Who wants a project that may violate air quality standards and add a 4.5 percent increase to Davis’s carbon footprint?

Who wants a project that proponents say will “Combat Climate Change”? (Been to Mar-a-Lago lately guys?)

Who wants a project that will develop 1.34 million square feet of office space when most businesses are transitioning to remote work-at-home employees? (Seen those massive empty development projects in China?)

Vote “NO” on H.

Here’s what Joni Mitchell said:

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go that
You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

David L. Johnson
Davis


Letter: Growth and Gridlock in Davis

Isn’t there a better way to provide funding for city services than paving over prime agricultural land with an industrial park? We have an internationally recognized agricultural research university and the city is proposing to despoil the very essence of that educational field: the land. The university hasn’t asked for this project or even endorsed it.

I’ve lived in Davis for 37 years and have watched leaders plead again and again for sprawl on our periphery, touting the need for often-delusive revenue to cover unchecked city spending. Like many, I put roots down in Davis because it offered what I desired most, excellent, innovative city planning, strong schools, and a strong city spirit. In the past, Davis was known nationally as a charming small college town with abundant bike paths and lanes, surrounded by farm land and open space.  I left southern California specifically because of regional gridlock and air quality. Why are Davis leaders trying to replicate those problems here?

Are we in a race with other communities to build the most car-centric, traffic-choked developments: Is there something inherently wrong with maintaining  a small community that values its neighborhoods and agricultural roots?  Why don’t city leaders demonstrate some  economic creativity and re-imagine a  government that can sustain itself without gobbling up all the open space that surrounds it.  Or shall we let regional developers dictate our future?

The commuter gridlock that has already invaded East and South Davis is spreading throughout the city. Is this to be our future?  Besides death and taxes, it’s the one sure thing that will happen if the proposed development, Measure H, passes. Yes, ‘more cars are coming anyway’ as a result of the ‘Waze’ traffic app. Why make that worse by adding another 12,000 car trips to the mix?

 Please help maintain the current quality of our city and vote No on Measure H.

C.H. Pickett
Davis


Letter: Time to say "No" to DiSC

ClockOne of the few benefits of COVID has been people’s heightened awareness around the climate crisis. For me personally I have made significant lifestyle changes regarding my transportation choices and frequency of travel, started purchasing second hand clothing, and committed to eating sustainably produced foods.

I would like to think that our City Council would also have learned and grown more conscious of their leadership’s impact on Davis during this urgent time when we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Look no further than the DISC development (Measure H on the ballot) to see how they have failed to grow.

The new 2022 iteration of DiSC will, according to the Sierra Club, create “excessive traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and poor land-use and planning.” DiSC will “increase the city’s carbon footprint by 5%.” It is frightening to see the City Council push so hard for this massive development of office space, a big hotel, and fancy condos on the outskirts of town near an area of Davis already burdened by poor planning decisions (e.g., Mace Mess).

Meanwhile one council member, the notorious Dan Carson, took the time and small- minded perspective of suing the citizens of Davis themselves who operate the No On DISC campaign. What an incredibly unconscious and egocentric move! Is this the government we have to help us create radical change to address climate crisis issues?

As an average citizen who works from home for a non profit, is married to a Davis school teacher, and believes a better world is possible if we all contribute, I would kindly ask you to open your minds to voting No on Measure H in the June ballot. Learn more at VoteNoOnDisc.com campaign site.

Nikki Martin
Davis


Letter: Measure H misrepresents itself

Greenwashed-trafficDavis voters rejected DISC in 2020. We didn’t want environmental and quality of life costs for all in exchange for economic gain for few. So the developers hired a PR firm to reframe the issue as Measure H, or to lie so blatantly as to make Loki swoon.

They say paving 102 acres will “preserve agricultural land,” that DISCs 12,000 more cars daily will “make driving easier” and “speed up commutes” (quotes direct from Yes on H). They think a population that is in favor of downtown, open space, clean air and minimal traffic will vote for a project that is the antithesis of these because they put a bicycle on their lawn signs.

They hope Davisites are too stupid to see through greenwashing newspeak and they need the councilpeople they own to maintain a pretense of environmentalism while vigorously campaigning for a freeway sprawl development that’s as carbon neutral as Charles Koch’s vacations. In future I suggest the developers save the corporate PR money and I can suggest equally believable slogans like “Trees Favor Axes,” “Snails For Salt” and “Turkeys Love Thanksgiving.”

Dan Urazandi
Davis


Letter: Beck for supervisor

BeckAs this decade begins, we walk briskly towards utter climate catastrophe. Before 2030 our planet will warm beyond 1.5 degrees and the worst of climate change will no longer be avoidable. Those aged 29 and younger, down to the child born as I write, will suffer the first cataclysmic effects of this disaster. But those over thirty will experience less and leave behind a world plummeting ever faster towards a fate that they hadn't the courage to change.

But all is not yet lost. A new people are rising. Youth in communities across the Earth are standing up for a livable future · not a beautiful one, that has been taken from us. We ask only for a chance at life.

Too often we are told by adults our ideas are impossible. Yet those very adults in power have kept us on the road to disaster. Obviously, what is politically "possible" isn't enough.

But a broken system gives the youth little power of our own. Carrying signs, chanting, protesting, praying are acts of strength but they alone cannot save the world. We need our elders to begin listening and using their power to implement our ideas and solutions. Have they forgotten this was always their job? To follow the will of the people? We must elect adults who fulfill their promises.

Juliette Beck, running for Yolo County Supervisor D2, is a voice of hope in a time of fear. She is dedicated to climate justice and pledges to make the imperative changes now, and to give youth a place in decision making. I'm confident Juliette will be true to her word. She is heartfelt, loving and inclusive. Juliette Beck will invite in every perspective to ensure that decisions which affect us all are made by everyone. She is firm in the belief that this is not a campaign of one, but of all.

I give my strong support to this candidate and strongly urge others to do the same. The time for idle politics is over, the time for immediate action is upon us.

Emma Larson
Davis


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" »


Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure H - No on DISC

DISC overview shot

(From press release) Citing grounds of “excessive traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and poor land-use and planning”, the Sierra Club announces its opposition to Measure H in Davis CA on the June 7, 2022 municipal ballot.

Measure H is a vote to allow the annexation of approximately 100-acres of Prime farmland on the northeast periphery of the City and the development of a business complex, hotel- conference center, and retail along with a 460-unit housing development. The project site is now farmed and serves as foraging habitat for numerous Special Status Species including Burrowing Owls, Swainson’s Hawks, and White-Tailed Kites.

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban sprawl onto farmland and habitat and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies that further conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands. The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use with devastating environmental and social outcomes.

While the Sierra Club is strongly supportive of efforts to stimulate economic development and provide housing, particularly for working families, we do not support the DISC development which will turn over 100-acres of productive Prime farmland into a massive, sprawling, auto- dependent business park", said Alan Pryor, chair of the local Sierra Club Yolano Group. "Although some on-site housing units will be constructed, there is no mechanism to ensure that the housing will be occupied by workers at the development project itself”.

This development is inconsistent with official Sierra Club land use policies encouraging infill development. Instead, the project is reminiscent of peripheral, sprawling, car-centric developments of earlier times that encourage long-range commuting. It is the antithesis of smart urban planning”, added Mr. Pryor.

Of particular concern is the 12,000+ daily auto trips projected to result from the development adding further congestion to an already bottle-necked City thoroughfare, Mace Blvd., and the I-80 freeway. In addition to the wait-times and traffic disruption, this excessive traffic is the primary contributor to the over 22,000 metric tons per year of additional greenhouse gases projected to be produced by the project. This DISC project alone would increase the greenhouse gas footprint of Davis by almost 5% jeopardizing the City's mandate of carbon neutrality by 2040.

Continue reading "Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure H - No on DISC" »


Letter: Beck is a voice of hope

Beck
Juliette Beck

As this decade begins, we walk briskly towards utter climate catastrophe. Before 2030 our planet will warm beyond 1.5 degrees and the worst of climate change will no longer be avoidable. Those twenty-nine years and younger, down to the child born as I write, will suffer the first cataclysmic effects of this disaster. But those over thirty will experience less and leave behind a world plummeting ever faster towards a fate that they hadn't the courage to change.

But all is not yet lost. A new people are rising. Youth in communities across the Earth are standing up for a livable future…not a beautiful one, that has been taken from us. We ask only for a chance at life.

Too often we are told by adults our ideas are impossible. Yet those very adults in power have kept us on the road to disaster. Obviously, what is politically 'possible' isn't enough.

But a broken system gives the youth little power of our own. Carrying signs, chanting, protesting, praying are acts of strength but they alone cannot save the world. We need our elders to begin listening and using their power to implement our ideas and solutions. Have they forgotten this was always their job? To follow the will of the people? We must elect adults who fulfill their promises.

Juliette Beck, running for Yolo County Supervisor D2, is a voice of hope in a time of fear. She is dedicated to climate justice and pledges to make the imperative changes now, and to give youth a place in decision making. I'm confident Juliette will be true to her word. She is heartfelt, loving and inclusive. Juliette Beck will invite in every perspective to ensure that decisions which affect us all are made by everyone. She is firm in the belief that this is not a campaign of one, but of all.

I give my strong support to this candidate and strongly urge others to do the same. The time for idle politics is over, the time for immediate action is upon us.

Emma Larson
Davis, CA


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’" »


What should Davis's "Resilience Hub" be?

The City Council approved spending of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds at its most recent meeting, including $400,000 for "climate resilience hub/climate action needs." This being the only money they allocated related to climate change, it seems especially important to think about what such a hub might look like. Below are relevant documents from the City's Utility Commission.

~~~~~~~

From: Resilience Subcommi1ee
To: Utilities Commission
Re: More definitive vision of Resilience Hub Date: October 20, 2021

The Resilience Subcommittee offers the following ideas and questions to the Utilities Commission to help formulate a vision of how a Resilience Hub could be beneficial to Davis and the specific qualities we would like to have in a Davis Resilience Hub.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Resilience is the ability of people and communities to anticipate, accommodate and positively adapt to and thrive amidst changing climate conditions and emergency events.

Resilience Hub is a local facility to enhance community resilience by providing reliable essential services when emergency events occur and other community benefits under normal conditions. A resilience hub typically:

Continue reading "What should Davis's "Resilience Hub" be?" »


Unitrans Turns 54

Campus and City Bus System Celebrating 54 Years in the Community

54thAnniversaryFlyer00001 54thAnniversaryFlyer00002(From press release) ASUCD Unitrans, the City of Davis and UC Davis local bus service, is turning 54 on Friday, March 4! To celebrate, Unitrans is running one of our vintage London double decker buses on a special, free campus to downtown lunch shuttle from 11 AM to 1 PM. In addition, Unitrans will host refreshments and giveaway items outside at the Memorial Union Bus Terminal from 11 AM to 1 PM. At noon, to celebrate our community's transit legacy, all three functioning vintage London double decker buses and two new modern double deckers will "parade" through downtown on 2nd and 3rd Streets from the Memorial Union Bus Terminal. The vintage buses have not been in service since March 2020 and Unitrans has used the last two years to refurbish and repaint the buses. Unitrans hopes to reintroduce the vintage buses into limited service in spring 2022.

https://unitrans.ucdavis.edu/news/2022-02-22/unitrans-turns-54-celebrate-with-us-on-friday-marc/


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?


Not the Road to Not Waste Water

Poor Outreach, Questionable Process, Certain Traffic Risk, Likely Noise, Unlikely to Meet Shading Goals, Possible Toxic Micro-particulates... Do Plans to Recycle Water Make this Car Wash Acceptable?

 

Wide view of proposed car wash
Curious visualization provided by the applicant: Less than 50% shading of non-planted areas, with some trees not appropriate for Davis, no dirty or clean cars... and one person riding a bike on the sidewalk.

 

The Planning Commission is holding a hearing scheduled for March 9, 2022 on the proposed Express Car wash at 480 Mace (at Cowell Blvd), and on this date it will presumably vote on recommendations for the project, which will be brought to the Council at an unspecified later date. See the above link for information about a community meeting on February 24 -- The public comment period ends today.

In my view there have been mistakes in outreach and process, and there are likely multiple negative impacts - mostly due to traffic and noise - of the proposed business at THIS location, only some which have been addressed - or mentioned at all - in the available documentation.

A significant amount of the documentation is on the subject of how the facility will re-cycle water. It's not clear why the self-identified eco-friendly City of Davis doesn't already require this of all similar facilities, nor why the project applicant was not encouraged to - or on their own - partner with one of the existing facilities less than a few minutes away - to allow an update for water-saving and the newer-style hybrid full- and self-serve car wash proposed for this site.

I've made a list of issues below to make this easier to digest, and for me to focus upon! Perhaps only some of these things bother you, perhaps some you've not considered....

I live at the other side of the apartment complex next door and have no financial interest whatsoever in this location nor this type of business.

 

Communication, Outreach, Process

+ Their documents from December promised "community outreach", yet they didn't organize it until after people complained following an article in the Davis Enterprise and a public notice sent out in early February to addresses within 500 ft of the proposed project site.

+ They did no outreach to the Pioneer Elementary School community until one was scheduled due to community pressure. It's not clear how this community has been notified about the sole meeting.

+ They've done no specific outreach to residents especially on the west side of El Macero Village next door, where at least six units are in line of sight to and close to 14 industrial vacuums that will start to be used seven days a week, and from 7AM to 7PM in the summer.

 

NooutreachMOD
A promise but nothing except under pressure - From the City of Davis website, and on there from last year (if you knew where to look) and in advance of the setting of the date hearing in the Planning Commission.

+ This was not brought to the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission, which actually looked at the Mace Re-Design a week after the public notice about this was sent out.

+ It was not brought to the Natural Resources Commission, which would make sense to me due to its noise and even potentially positive water impacts, assuming people stop using another facility or don't wash their vehicle at home.

+ It was not brought before the Tree Commission. Though there's little being done to remove existing trees, developers do obligations for a certain amt of tree cover within a certain number of years.

 

NotconnectedwithMaceMessMOD
On February 7, 2022 Planning Staff told me " Mace Corridor Project is a separate process. This project is not directly related and will not conflict with Mace Boulevard modifications. I assume you are familiar with what is happening and know about the Feb 10 BTSSC meeting when they are scheduled to discuss the corridor.

 

Traffic Risks

+ The Traffic Study suggests mitigations within the geographical scope of the Mace Re-Design project, with a final design the Council will vote on in March, before they've had a hearing on the proposed car wash.The proposed mitigations affect the same built features and signalization equipment. Is the intention that Planning Commission will recommend changes that the Council will decide in the scope of the Mace Project, before they decide again on the same elements at the car wash hearing?

+ The Traffic Study makes no mention of the driveway of El Macero Village, which is perhaps less than 50 feet from the proposed Cowell Blvd driveway for the car wash.

+ The Study proposes multiple mitigations for traffic impacts including a left turn pocket into the car wash from EB Cowell, which is in the footprint of the current EB driving path into the El Macero Village driveway.

 

TrafficMOD1
Paths used related to the project if there are no physical modifications that prevent movements. RED is motor vehicle movements, Blue is people riding bicycles, Green is people walking. Note that movements to and from the area at the right (east), El Macero Village, were not part of the Traffic Study.

 

 

+ The Study proposes mitigations solved by staff guiding customers, signage and some hard features (which physically-restrict turn movements, etc), u-turn allowances and so, all at an already busy intersection along a Safe Route to School for children from west of Mace who attend Pioneer ES, and including a bus stop for two NB Unitrans lines. Though there seems to be significant storage space inside for vehicles to queue waiting for a wash, an overflow will go into Mace, just north of the bus stop, and along a Class II bicycle facility.

+ A local tree expert has already spoken in Council that he doubts the tree coverage plans, e.g. the visuals show shading on areas besides concrete, when only the concrete, asphalt etc counts.

NoSetBackNoTreeCover
Heat Island? Facing South towards Cowell Blvd.

 

+ My research has shown that the industrial vacuums typically used for self-service at car washes don't have HEPA filters. It's not clear if micro-particulates from vehicle cleaning will affect nearby areas, e.g. the apartments nearby. This issue is not mentioned in the project documentation.

+ Planning Department Staff told me that the South Davis Specific Plan is "out of date" yet "not formally rescinded". The links he sent me were from 1987 and earlier. Though a car wash is allowed, lots of other things are also allowed. See here,

NoSetBackDetail
Out of Code? The Davis Municipal Code requires a 25 ft set back, but in the plan - the dotted area is the eastern limit of the property - the residential district is about 15 ft from the structure. See http://qcode.us/codes/davis/view.php?topic=40-40_16-40_16_050&frames=on

+ El Macero Village, next door, is very close to I-80. Units have modernized windows, but it's very noisy it they're open. People living nearby already have this burden to deal with. There's no car wash in Davis which has multiple self-service vacuum cleaner stations located so close to so many residences, and open so early AND late. (The only roughly comparable site is Cable Car, but it opens an hour or two later and closes an hour or two earlier, depending on the season. It doesn't have 14 vacuum units, let alone 21 in total like the proposed car wash.)

+ In many places in California it's not legal to wash a vehicle in front of one's house, and in Davis only  due to the drought do we have the minimal required mitigation of a nozzle on every hose. I recall using a car wash in San Francisco in the 1990's, and pretty sure that at the time all car washes had to recycle water. Why is "Eco-Davis" so far behind in this aspect?

+ Presumably the applicant has a business case, and this "pencils out" for them and any investors. But is this accessing an untapped market (people that never wash their cars or do it at home) or will it serve people who currently use facilities elsewhere in town or nearby? If the latter, is it helping reduce lines and waits at these places, or just taking business away? Has there been a detailed study on this? It's great to have a car wash that recycles water - and I have a car, too, which I like to keep clean - but this location simply presents too many challenges and risks in noise and traffic safety and environmental degradation.

IMG_20220214_141807(1)
This is a view from the entrance area at the second story apartments to the east of the project. The applicant produced no visualizations from this point of view. The proposed wall of seven feet in height will be just a little taller than the bushes next to the fence. It's likely that some of the vacuum bays will be in view of the apartment windows, which are closer and have a different angle than this view.



I always prefer a locally-owned business when I have the choice. It's not relevant to me if they're
successful immigrants and new to the region or country or have been in town for a long time, and that's not something that the Planning Commission should find particularly relevant.

 

Zoning (and more about process...)

The area has changed a lot since 1987, it's way more built up, and Mace is now seen by many tens of thousands of people as a legit bypass of I-80, and it's not clear what the Re-Re-design will change. The proposed site is immediately next to a residential site - and from what I see the proposed set back is too short, it's about 15 ft from a structure on the east side of the lot to the residential property line - and we know a lot more about negatives of sound then we did decades ago, though the applicant says it will be just at legal limits at peaks (stereos of customers mentioned in a discussion on NextDoor were not taken into account). So just the fact that this is an industrial site right next to a residential one makes it somewhat unique, and of course wealthy people in town and City Council members don't live next door, and on top of that, the aforementioned specific conditions tell me that a lot more communication from the City and from the applicant should have been done, rather a single meeting scheduled only after people wrote the City with comments.

Perhaps it needs to be re-zoned. The world has changed since the early 1980's when zoning was sorted out for this location. Possibly for housing. New housing could have considerable mitigation for noise, with special windows, building materials and dense greenery Without any parking, which would just be a waste of space, and expensive to build underground, and to make up for not building it higher than 35 ft. The lot is roughly half the size of the lot next door, which has over 100 two and three-bedroom apartments, but also considerable space used for parking, green space and recreation areas. So perhaps up to 50 one to three bdrm apartments with a central atrium.

 

In Conclusion...

Formal problems such as an improperly limited traffic study, the over-lapping approval situation with the Mace Re-design, an apparently not enthusiastic position on community outreach, especially to most relevant elementary school, the unclear outcome of the Mace project (besides the formal overlap) and sensitivity of the area, perhaps newly realized, due to the shooting incident and collision in the past couple of weeks, tells me that we should all thank the applicant for trying to make a better car wash and create a few well-paying jobs with good insurance benefits, but to do it in another location -- perhaps working with one of the current car washes not so far away to convert it to this more modern type.

 


The Sierra Club Sues Yolo County to Demand Sensible Environmental Safeguards in Open Pit Aggregate Mining

The Sierra Club joins a lawsuit with a local citizens' group, Yolo Land and Water Defense, calling for changes in flawed Yolo County aggregate mining regulations and for appropriate further protection of lands and waters adversely affected by existing mining practices.

Sierra-club-yolano

(From press release) The Sierra Club has partnered with local residents in a lawsuit filed today to hold Yolo County accountable for environmental protection and restoration of farmland while continuing to develop sound open pit aggregate mining policy.

The lawsuit does not seek to stop aggregate mining in Yolo County. Rather, it will simply require the County to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") before allowing Teichert Inc. to develop a new 320-acre mine on prime farmland adjacent to Cache Creek and several miles west of Woodland.

This would require the County to fully disclose and evaluate the real adverse environmental impacts of open pit aggregate mining as currently allowed by the County and to commit to mitigation strategies to reduce those impacts. Adhering to this process is what the law requires, and indeed, these same requirements apply to every other regulated land use in the County and State.

Continue reading "The Sierra Club Sues Yolo County to Demand Sensible Environmental Safeguards in Open Pit Aggregate Mining " »


Local Mom and Climate Activist Juliette Beck Considers Run for Yolo County Supervisor

BeckJuliette Beck, a lifelong social and environmental justice advocate, mother and caregiver, filed over 200 signatures on Wednesday with the Yolo County Elections office to stand as a candidate for District 2 County Supervisor.

“I am testing the waters to see if there is community support for a strong progressive, woman candidate and climate champion in Davis and Winters,” said Beck.

Beck moved to Davis with her husband Nick Buxton in 2008 when she was pregnant with their first daughter to be close to her sister and brother-in-law who had moved to Davis a few years earlier. She loves Davis and is grateful to the community for nurturing their young family over the last thirteen years.

Beck has been an active parent volunteer at Cesar Chavez Elementary and a strong advocate of outdoor learning during the COVID pandemic. Over the years, she has enjoyed coaching soccer, biking as a way of life, working in the school gardens, supporting the local youth climate strike movement, and raising her family including her two daughters and energetic dog, an “Aussiedor,”  Luna.

“I want to thank the dozen volunteers that pitched in to collect over 200 petition signatures in less than a week. Juggling family, work and personal well-being is not easy during the ongoing pandemic, but clearly people are concerned about climate change and want to help do all we can to make a difference to our children’s future,” said Beck.

Continue reading "Local Mom and Climate Activist Juliette Beck Considers Run for Yolo County Supervisor" »


Bike Parking is Complicated?

YoloBypassDRAFT
 
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.

 

273615950_1541649452881847_7777620194860680555_n
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.