The following letter was emailed to the BTSSC this morning.
Dear members of the Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission,
I am writing to you as a former commissioner (10+ years) and Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC), having completed my term last December. I was involved in analyzing what is now being called the DiSC 2022 project in all of its iterations, so I hope you find my comments helpful in your discussions.
I understand that at your meeting this Thursday, Oct 14, you are only deciding whether to establish a Davis Innovation and Sustainability Center (DiSC) Subcommittee, with the meeting to discuss the project as a commission to come later. I am writing to strongly urge you to establish a subcommittee now. The OSHC reviewed the project last week and expressed frustration that there were many issues that they did not have time to discuss; see this report of the meeting.
Given the changes in the project – which you have not been fully presented with, but I believe that they are more extensive than you might imagine – and your commission's thoughtful and considerable recommendations from the last time, a subcommittee is absolutely essential for sorting through all the documents to figure out what has changed and how your recommendations might change as a result.
I note that your packet for this meeting only includes a two-page description of the project. The OSHC was given a more extensive project description that you might find helpful; see Attachment 2 of this document.
Here is an example of one large change that the BTSSC might be interested in commenting on and that a subcommittee could consider. The original proposal stated that "DISC will construct a grade-separated bicycle and pedestrian crossing on Mace Boulevard connecting to local and regional trails (see p. 14 of this document). This was to be a baseline feature, meaning it was a guaranteed part of the project; indeed, the only way to guarantee that a promised feature will be in the actual project is for it to be designated as a baseline feature.
However, in the current DiSC 2022 proposal, the developer promises only to "acquire and dedicate land to accommodate a future grade-separated bike/ped crossing of Mace Blvd to be located north of the Mace Drainage Channel" (see p. 18 of the document given to the OSHC that I linked to above). As I read this – and I encourage you to ask the developer about this directly – if the project were to go forward, there may or may not end up being a grade-separated bike/ped crossing of Mace Blvd as part of it, since they are only promising to acquire land to make a crossing possible in the future, and it's not even clear that the acquisition of land is a baseline, i.e. guaranteed, feature. If I am right, this would be a loss of a significant feature of the project, one that I expect your commission would want to weigh in on.
Again, this is just an example – I imagine that there are other such changes that a subcommittee could find, but that it would be difficult to discover if only one meeting is allocated to the issue, with materials appearing just a few days before.
So again, I urge you to vote now to form a subcommittee, to look at the materials I have provided, and to ask if there are other relevant materials that would help you in your decision making.