New Richards Interchange Improvements To Be Funded by Nishi Gateway

i-80interchange

(From Press Release)  The City of Davis released a rendering of plans submitted to CalTrans for the Richards corridor that must be completed prior to building the Nishi Gateway project, a live-work community on Davis’s June ballot designated as Yes on Measure A..

The rendering, attached, shows the following:

  • The widening of the Richards Boulevard/I-80 Westbound off ramp to three lanes to prevent cars from dangerously stacking up on I-80. This will provide a smoother transition and added capacity for people traveling to downtown, campus and south Davis.
  • The new off-ramp is moved closer to the bridge (a tight diamond similar to Mace Blvd) to improve operations at the Olive Drive intersection. Improvements include a new traffic signal to provide increased capacity and distance from the Olive Drive intersection. This will eliminate the dangerous weave conditions from the existing cloverleaf reads that conflict with cyclists.
  • An extra lane to turn left onto West Olive Drive from Richards Boulevard, which allows people traveling to campus to bypass the Richards tunnel entirely. Currently traffic headed towards campus must be funneled down 1st street and compete with downtown shoppers. This configuration will make it so people headed downtown will not compete with University traffic on downtown streets.
  • West Olive Drive widened at the intersection with Richards to accommodate traffic to and from campus using the new bypass route. This bypass route will also allow Emergency Vehicles/Unitrans to access South Davis instead of avoiding the intersection entirely.
  • New protected bike lanes in addition to a walking path. Specifically, the proposal converts the existing five-foot sidewalk into a barrier-separated 12-foot two-way pathway. This will completely eliminate the conflict between bikes and pedestrians and cars exiting and entering the freeway.

“Improving Richards Boulevard has been a priority since I was first elected to the City Council in 1972,” said Maynard Skinner, a former Mayor of Davis. “We were never able to secure the money necessary to improve it, and without the millions of dollars provided by Nishi, I worry that the city will remain unable to make these critically needed changes on its own. Voting Yes on Measure A will secure a funding source for these critical improvements to the entrance to our City and core commercial district.”

Yes on Measure A includes a binding agreement that would ensure that the Nishi Gateway invests more than $23 million in Davis infrastructure improvements, all without new taxes. This includes a new access road from Nishi to campus and Old Davis Road so people living and working on Nishi can access I-80 from the underutilized Old Davis Road I-80 interchange. Both these major circulation improvements must be completed before any building can occur on the Nishi project.

From 2009 and 2013, there were 15 collisions at the Richards Boulevard/Olive Drive intersection, six of which involved cyclists. The City submitted to CalTrans an alternative bike path that would be safer to use than the current configuration. The path would pick up where the south side of the Richards tunnel ends and move the bicyclists further away from the road. A new tunnel will go under the freeway entrance so bicyclists and cars do cross on the same grade. This path will allow bicyclists to travel directly to South Davis.

Additionally, the current westbound onramp to Interstate 80 from this chaotic area leaves drivers little time to accelerate before merging directly onto the interstate. The new plan will create a dedicated lane to merge onto the freeway as well as an HOV (carpool) lane, creating safer travel along this corridor.

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68 thoughts on “New Richards Interchange Improvements To Be Funded by Nishi Gateway”

  1. Doby Fleeman

    While I have been a strong supporter of the need for and benefits of the Nishi Innovation Hub, I have continued to be frustrated with the transportation related aspects of the project – and this article is no exception.

    How the project was conceived without a dedicated Downtown Parking component and routine electric shuttle service linking both Downtown and the center, I do not know.  Perhaps such a solution will yet emerge.  Either way, I think the project is critically important to the city and our local economic development efforts.

    But now we have the announcement of a project to widen and improve the Russel overcrossing into the Downtown – an exciting prospect to say the least – but they couldn’t they just leave it at that?   Apparently not.  So now, in their infinite wisdom, Cal Trans is recommending new HOV lanes running through town?  Maybe I didn’t understand that quite right?  Are we saying that the existing 3 lanes of backed up east-west traffic will now be funneled down to the two lanes plus an HOV lane?  

    Hopefully, I’m misreading the article and what they meant to say was “in planning for the future, the freeway will be widened to four lanes each way with the inclusion of new, dedicated HOV lanes running east and west.”

    If not, we should be expecting to see the regular daily freeway backup extending all the way to Dixon for the foreseeable future.

    1. hpierce

      Doby… had you not been to author of the comment, I might not have bothered to read the article…  but I really respect your contributions…

      The only HOV lane I see in the graphic, and the text, “The new plan will create a dedicated lane to merge onto the freeway as well as an HOV (carpool) lane, creating safer travel along this corridor.”, indicates that they will be instituting ramp metering for the WB I-80 on-ramp, but providing for a “pass” (un-metered,at least initially) for multiple occupant vehicles, just as they did for the two EB I-80 on-ramps @ Mace.

      The main safety issue is that the ‘weave’ on WB I-80, between the easterly on-ramp, and the westerly off-ramp, is extremely short and a good ‘exercise’ in reaction times and “nerve”… adding a fourth thru travel lane on I-80 in this stretch, actually would only move any congestion downstream.

      The bike facility proposed also seems flawed, as it would just move the point where bikes need to integrate with the street system, with some VERY significant counter-flow problems, from Olive to Research Park Drive… but, at this point, it’s just a concept as to design, but getting the funding commitments is “job 1” at this point…  IMO.

      1. Doby Fleeman

        Hpierce,

        Thanks for the enhance explanation.  Sounds good to me.  Let’s get this thing going!

        Just wishful hoping, I guess, that Cal Trans would have been thinking 20 years ahead and the inevitable need for a 4th lane (HOV) and enlarged causeway.   Seriously, can anybody in Davis really endorse the resulting air quality impacts of what has become routine traffic congestion running through the middle of this town?

         

         

        1. Frankly

          I agree with this 1000 percent.

          In fact, we need five lanes going both ways to feed the I-80 Business-80 split (another stupid CalTrans thing… naming these two freeways I-80.)

          This is the primary east-west traffic corridor linking the Bay Area and everything east.

          It is that idiotic scarcity mindset that tends to screw things up.  The voters in Davis and other places in California have this irrational opinion that by keeping the number of lanes scarce that somehow this will help save the planet and make their life-experiences more enjoyable.  Wrong.

          The problem with counting on scarcity to push people out of their cars and onto public transportation are two-fold.

          1. Public transportation options are currently crappy.

          2. It has to get real bad before people will chose crappy public transportation over their car waiting in traffic.

          3. The lack of lanes causes the public transportation to also crawl.

          In terms of the Richards design, I agree that we need to find a better way to move bikes and pedestrians through.  I would like to see a bike and pedestrian under-pass.

          And I agree that the comprehensive plan for Nishi should have more public transportation infrastructure identified.  However, public transportation will still need a good roadway design, and this looks much, much better than what we have today.

        2. Alan Miller

          I agree with this 1000 percent.

          >Ten times more than you or anyone is capable of.

          In fact, we need five lanes going both ways to feed the I-80 Business-80 split (another stupid CalTrans thing… naming these two freeways I-80.)

          >Not a great idea.  Would require the complete rebuilding AGAIN of the Yolo Causeway.  A VERY expensive proposition.

          This is the primary east-west traffic corridor linking the Bay Area and everything east.

          >True.

          It is that idiotic scarcity mindset that tends to screw things up.  The voters in Davis and other places in California have this irrational opinion that by keeping the number of lanes scarce that somehow this will help save the planet and make their life-experiences more enjoyable.  Wrong.

          >Davis voters have never had a say on the width of I-80.

          The problem with counting on scarcity to push people out of their cars and onto public transportation are two-fold.

          1. Public transportation options are currently crappy.

          >True.  Except the Capitol Corridor which is awesome, if it’s going where you want to go, if expensive and infrequent.

          2. It has to get real bad before people will chose crappy public transportation over their car waiting in traffic.

          >True for most people.

          3. The lack of lanes causes the public transportation to also crawl.

          >True for buses, not for rail

          In terms of the Richards design, I agree that we need to find a better way to move bikes and pedestrians through.  I would like to see a bike and pedestrian under-pass.

          >A VERY expensive proposition.  And why would you do this, when one already exists a few hundred feet to the south?

          And I agree that the comprehensive plan for Nishi should have more public transportation infrastructure identified.

          >It has a Unitrans line.  What do you want, a hyperloop?

          However, public transportation will still need a good roadway design, and this looks much, much better than what we have today.

          >Agreed.

    2. Alan Miller

      How the project was conceived without a dedicated Downtown Parking component and routine electric shuttle service linking both Downtown and the center, I do not know.

      I am unclear what you are proposing as a “downtown parking component”.  Please elaborate or give an example of what this would be.

      As for I-80, I assumed the HOV was a forth lane, but indeed looking at the drawing the freeway is three each way.

      I am impressed by the improvements to the bike lane, diversion of UCD traffic away from the tunnel, removal of the infernal Unitrans island, and the bicycle separation from the onramps.  The current situation simply cannot continue.  It shouldn’t have continued as long as it has.

        1. hpierce

          Two votes, ~ 25 years apart… no dice on widening the Richards overhead.  The first time, CalTrans would have paid ~83% of it… just doesn’t seem to be  “in the cards”…

        2. The Pugilist

          You have to widen the underpass, widen 1st, and probably E St.  I think widening Richards on the south side, making it easy to turn directly onto Olive to get to campus is the best way to fix this.

        3. Alan Miller

          We should have at least two lanes going each way under the tracks.

          Leading to WHAT?  A giant car crusher?

          Unless you have two lane roads beyond the tunnel, this does nothing. Your odd solution to traffic of building more lanes everywhere has no practical value, nor has it ever worked. See: Southern California.

      1. Doby Fleeman

        Alan,

        City staff is often fond of citing successful solutions from other communities.  One of those communities, cited in connection with their very popular Main Street parklets program, was Park City, Utah.

        I happened to  be visiting Park City for a friend’s wedding, and had an opportunity to stay Downtown.   And, I promise not to harp on their three block long, three story tall parking structure located one block off Main Street.

        So, we had a rental car but didn’t need it, because they have this wonderful, very clean, free electric shuttle system that runs like clockwork, every 15 minutes, from early morning to maybe 10PM.  Down to the ski lifts, up to the top of Main Street and back again – about the same distance as from our Downtown to the new Nishi Development.

        So, since we have no extra space Downtown, and it is also quite expensive space at that, I thought why not see about building a “remote lot” on the Nishi Site that could be primarily allocated for employees of the Downtown and as overflow parking for Downtown visitors?   The land is (presumably) less expensive than Downtown property and the costs of construction – if executed in a coordinated and well-planned manner – should likewise be somewhat less expensive than demolition and construction on a Downtown site.  Maybe it could even be a gravel lot to reduce up-front expense and improve drainage.

        Simple idea borrowed from one of the communities our staff looks to for inspiration in other areas, but thus far no takers.

        1. Alan Miller

          OK, thanks for clarifying.  I understand the concept.

          From my experience in Davis, not sure it would work.  I know of free unlimited spaces four blocks from downtown that I have suggested to three downtown employees — each said it was too far, and they play the 2-hour shuffle instead.  With such impatience and lack of planning, I doubt they would wait for a fifteen-minute timed shuttle.

          As for gravel lots, when I was on the parking committee we suggested that for the Regal Lot, and found out once you make a lot “legal”, it has to be ADA compliant, and thus paved.

          Your ideas are valid, but people and regulations being who and what they are . . .

  2. Don Shor

    The new plan will create a dedicated lane to merge onto the freeway

    That’s been needed for years. I can’t imagine why they need a dedicated carpool lane on this stretch of freeway, and don’t really understand that comment. I agree with Doby that it would likely lead to needless and frustrating constriction of traffic on that section of I-80. All of the other improvements would be very welcome benefits of this project.

    1. Mark West

      My reading of the description is for a two-lane onramp to West bound I80, allowing for metering of traffic entering the freeway, much like is done with the East bound traffic at Mace. Sounds like a good idea to me.

    2. The Pugilist

      The HOV might help, but that’s coming from CalTrans anyway.  Honestly what we really need is not a carpool lane, but an express lane for through traffic. The bigger deal is fixing Richards which takes away a huge plank from the No on A people.  If you look at Richards as proposed, you realize quickly that the concerns about the Richards-Olive intersection are probably unfounded and this will alleviate a lot of traffic congestion.

      1. Frankly

        Right.   What the heck are these No-sers saying… that they like Richards the way it is?

        Adding 1000 UCD people every year will just continue to make it worse until we get to a gridlock.

        This brings me to point I tend to repeat often in business and life… a decision to do nothing is still a decision with consequences.

        1. Alan Miller

          a decision to do nothing is still a decision with consequences.

          Or, as Neal Peart states it a bit more eloquently:   “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.”

  3. Alan Pryor

    Three things –

    1) The rendering of the new West Olive Dr. (after construction) is incorrect because it shows all the existing building on both sides of the street remain intact. In fact, Dutch Bros, Redrum Burger, and the adjacent low slung metal building now occupied by the 3rd Space Art Collective are slated to be bulldozed and paved over. This is the only way to widen West Olive (i.e. to fit in 5 lanes where there are now only 2 lanes) without a serious violation of the laws of physics.

    2. The first sentence in the press release states

    …the Nishi Gateway project, a live-work community on Davis’s June ballot designated as Yes on Measure A.(emphasis added)

    In fact, the June ballot vote is simply designated as “Measure A” and not “Yes on Measure A”. I am sure this was an inadvertent slip-up and not an intentional subliminal insertion. That would otherwise imply the Yes on Measure A promoters think Davis voters are brain-dead and can’t recognize an obvious attempt at manipulation of the facts.

    3.

    Yes on Measure A (emphasis added) includes a binding agreement that would ensure that the Nishi Gateway invests more than $23 million in Davis infrastructure improvements, all without new taxes.

    Oops – There is that pesky “Yes on Measure A” name mislabeling again. Maybe they do think we’re brain-dead!

    Regarding the “$23 million in Davis infrastructure improvements, all without new taxes ” claimed by the press release, the promoters forget to mention that $1.775 million of that is coming from a rebate/credit given by the City to the Developer which is deducted from the $4.775 million of traffic impact fees that would otherwise be paid to the City. According to the Development Agreement, this rebate or credit is for “construction of the Olive Drive and Richards Boulevard Intersection improvements and the bridge over the Putah Creek Parkway”. In other words, the developer is being paid $1,775,462 for widening Olive Dr. and putting in the bridge to the Nishi property from Olive Dr which improvements are only needed as a direct result of the project itself.

    There is also the matter of the improper exemption of the project from the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance which would otherwise require the developer to put in 154 of the 440 rental units as Section 8 affordable housing or, if approved by the City, to pay $11,550,000 in in-lieu fees (at $75,000/unit) to the the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Interesting that this $11.55 million affordable housing exemption was supposedly agreed to by the City four years ago just as it was realized the new tunnel under the railroad tracks to the University  from the project would cost between $11 million and $12 million dollars. H’mmm…I am sure that is just a coincidence

    In any event, the $11.550 million give-away plus the $1.775 million give-away totals $13.325 million – or over half of the $23 million in new infrastructure costs supposedly paid by the developer “all without new taxes“. OK, so the City may not be raising taxes but we sure as heck are going to be paying for over 50% of these infrastructure costs through developer give-aways.

    1. Alan Miller

      In fact, Dutch Bros, Redrum Burger, and the adjacent low slung metal building now occupied by the 3rd Space Art Collective are slated to be bulldozed and paved over.

      Partially true.  Dutch Bros. will remain, reconfigured a bit.  The other two buildings are on the property line and probably too close to remain where they are.

    2. hpierce

      Only problem is, Alan M, left turn movements rob a lot of time from a traffic signal’s timing… just shifts the gridlock at peak to other locations… other movements.

      Oh, and ‘wrong again’, Mr Pryor… the most logical widening would be on the N’ly side of W Olive… the old Regal station site, etc.  The widening could easily happen on the N’ly or S’ly side, but trying to “split the baby” would be disastrous to the existing uses on both sides… you are correct, tho’ that the widening cannot be done without a significant widening, particularly if bike lanes are to be accommodated…

      1. Alan Miller

        Only problem is, Alan M, left turn movements rob a lot of time from a traffic signal’s timing…

        What does that *meeeeeeean*?  All movements “rob” time from a traffic signals’s timing.  There are two lanes, fed by three offramp lanes.

        1. hpierce

          Left turns are different (particularly, “protected” ones… a reason roundabouts work so well, often… all ‘right turns’)  …. the primary issue, is there will be more “trips”… IMO, Nishi should ONLY have primary access to UCD, except for bike/ped and EVA.  But you are correct… addition of any trips, on any movements, will negatively impact the intersections @ peak hours… [BTW, for many reasons, a roundabout @ Richards/Olive would be a ‘failure’… big time…]

          Despite the identities of the opponents to Nishi, am still leaning towards a ‘no’ vote if Nishi has a primary access to W Olive..

        2. Alan Miller

          I see the access via Olive and the pass-through of traffic as a net positive.  We’ll have to dis-a-gree on that.  I don’t see Richards/Olive area as doing anything but tanking as the years go by without these improvements.

        3. hpierce

          Yet, there is no commitment to date [from UCD], for a UCD access/connector… particularly a “minor”/major arterial.  Until there is, all the “improvement” concepts are a bad joke [or distraction, diversion]…  even then, there is no panacea for the Richards’ corridor unless there is no significant vehicular connection between Nishi and W Olive…

        4. Alan Miller

          HP, considering they can’t build anything on Nishi until they have a pass-through to UCD, what does it matter if they have an agreement or not (as you claim)?  They’ll have to get that first.

      2. Alan Pryor

        Oh, and ‘wrong again’, Mr Pryor… the most logical widening would be on the N’ly side of W Olive.

        Probably true. But the rendering still shows the north side of West Olive is ALSO unchanged. You can still see Napa Auto right where it is now. So the rendering drawing is wrong either way. I think the south side is the designated side for leveling the buildings and widening the street because the developer purportedly holds options on those properties.

        1. hpierce

          It’s conceptual… ‘you think’… unknowns… your statement that it WILL be on the S’ly side is clearly speculative.  I stand by my post.

          BTW, at this point, as described, I do not support the current Nishi proposal…

        2. Alan Miller

          HP, you are incorrect about the north side of Olive.  The planter in front of Dutch Bros. will be the right turn lane off Olive West, and the right-of-way goes right up to the wall at Murder Burger and Third Space.  Dutch Bros. will remain, as will Napa and the Regal lot.  That’s just where the right-of-way is.

        3. hpierce

          Not if enough R/W/property is acquired from the north… but until we have more info, more facts, the ‘agree to disagree’  thing works well for me…

        4. hpierce

          Alan M… rights of way can change… just takes $, effort, and judicial action… and staff time, usually… (more $)

          But I think you know that… you’re a smart person…

        5. Alan Miller

          HP, this isn’t an agree to disagree thing.  This is where the right-of-way is.  It’s already been planned and worked out.  Research it and you’ll find out I’m correct.

    3. DavisforNishiGateway

      Mr. Pryor, I think you are incorrect in your understanding of how the $1.775 million is being directed. This is not a “give away” as you claim, nor are the property owners being “paid” as you have also said. As part of Nishi’s traffic mitigation, they are required to contribute $4.775 million to a fund used to pay for citywide capital improvement roadway projects as decided by the City Council. The $1.775 million which Mr. Pryor erroneously calls “a giveaway” is simply the result of a decision by the City Council to allocate said portion of the project’s traffic mitigation fees to finance the creation of a bridge (among other infrastructure improvements along Olive Drive) so that the Davis Bike Loop can avoid cars. This will help keep the intersection of Olive Drive and the Bike Loop safe as well as improve flow and avoid disruptions for both bicyclists and motorists. The other $3 million of the traffic mitigation fees will go towards improving the Richards Interchange. Thus, I really can’t see a justifiable way that anyone could consider the decision to have the property owners use a portion of the money they would have contributed to the larger capital improvement fund to instead fund a specific infrastructure upgrade (improving this section of the Davis Bike Loop) which the City understands is important as being a “give away” or “paying” the property owners. They are still paying the full amount required. They are just being credited for using some of the money to pay for a specific desired infrastructure improvement requested by the City Council that will bolster one of the great features of Davis–the Bike Loop. With regard to any claims to a “give away” or the property owners being “paid,” however, it is quite clear that these are unfounded.

      Councilmember Davis has already, in a previous article published in the Vanguard on April 17th provided a thorough rebuttal to all of the salient objections Mr. Pryor raises. (Here is the link:  http://www.davisvanguard.org/2016/04/guest-commentary-city-not-violate-affordable-housing-requirements-nishi/ ). As Article 18.05.080 of the city municipal code makes clear, vertical mixed-use development does not include such requirements, but the binding agreement between the City and Nishi devotes an additional $1 million to affordable housing anyway. Here is the link to the Municipal Code regarding exemptions to the Affordable Housing: http://qcode.us/codes/davis/view.php?topic=18-18_05-18_05_080&frames=off

      In any case, it seems quite clear to me that this statement is not readily defensible given the relevant facts and statutes. I also know that Nishi contributes millions to traffic solutions, creates another access point to campus from I-80 (as has been noted in this article’s comments, traffic from Richards can be redirected through Nishi), but also creates a connection to campus and downtown through the Old Davis Road exit which is currently woefully underutilized (I know that some commenters have asked whether this has been planned for. It has. Extensively. It is part of the project baseline features, and is part of UCD’s LRDP). I know that Nishi creates housing where 80% of trips made will be on bikes and by foot rather than in cars clogging our highways and streets. The bottom line is that Davis is a lot better off with Nishi and the great things it provides (like student housing, R&D space, money for city services and DJUSD, etc.) than without it. No on A does a real disservice to Davis; it provides no affordable housing and no $1,000,000 contribution to the affordable housing trust; it provides no money for the City, schools, or infrastructure. It will lead to increases in rents due to scarcity of supply and will increase traffic and greenhouse gas emissions as more people are forced to commute. Nishi is a great project that addresses some of the most critical issues currently confronting Davis. Let’s move forward in a smart and sustainable way.

  4. ryankelly

    That would otherwise imply the Yes on Measure A promoters think Davis voters are brain-dead and can’t recognize an obvious attempt at manipulation of the facts.

    We’ll leave this to the No on Measure A folks.  And add to that the allegation that we voters are an immoral lot.

    Please stop using the term “give-away.” It implies that possessing something that is then given. You can’t give-away what you don’t have.

    1. Alan Pryor

      Please stop using the term “give-away.” It implies that possessing something that is then given.

      Actually, the City had the right to demand 154 affordable housing units and they gave it away for “pecuniary” reasons according to DavisforNishiGateway, above.

      Also, the City had the right to demand $4.7 million as traffic impact fees but they gave away $1.7 million of it back to the developer so they could construct the bridge extending West Olive onto the Nishi property.

      I call those give-aways – you can call it whatever you like.

      1. hpierce

        Wrong again… no way $4.7 million is needed to connect to W Olive (which I oppose for motor vehicles)… considerably less than $1 million… if you COMBINE the grade separated crossing to UCD (under UPRR), the connection to W Olive, improvements to, or contributions the tight diamond @ I-80, you MIGHT get to the $4.7 million number.

        But as stated by you, you do not speak truth…

         

  5. Topcat

    This plan fails to address one of the fundamental problems, that traffic coming into Davis is constricted down to the two lane undercrossing of the railroad tracks and that once traffic gets into the downtown core, capacity is severely limited by traffic lights, stop signs, cross traffic, pedestrians, and bikes.

    No matter how many pretty pictures we see there needs to be some recognition that we are trying to force too much traffic thru too little space and the Nishi project will make this situation worse.

    1. Alan Miller

      I don’t think you are seeing this straight.  Most of the traffic during the jam periods is traffic going to campus.  Most of this campus traffic will turn left off Richards onto Olive West and not go through the tunnel.  That reduces pressure on the tunnel and reduces traffic on 1st street mornings and evenings.

    2. Topcat

      Most of this campus traffic will turn left off Richards onto Olive West and not go through the tunnel.

      So the road thru Nishi will become a major traffic thoroughfare.  I wonder if the planners have considered this?  I also wonder how the University facilities people will deal with all that additional traffic on Old Davis Road?

      1. Alan Miller

        So the road thru Nishi will become a major traffic thoroughfare.  I wonder if the planners have considered this?

        Of course they have.  That has been the plan all along — that’s what makes this work for the City and UC Davis.

        1. hpierce

          Having been at some of the early meetings, years ago, the idea that W Olive, via Nishi would be a major roadway, is either untrue/mis-informed or the “L” word… unless the lane #’s, widths have significantly changed in the last 6 years…

  6. Ron

    Alan Miller:  “Most of this campus traffic will turn left off Richards onto Olive West and not go through the tunnel.”

    I think this depends upon the difficulties of going through Nishi (and then the University itself) to reach one’s final destination, vs. the difficulties of the current option.  (Of course, the current option will also be affected if Nishi is approved, since all traffic would still have to go through the intersection at Olive/Richards.)

    This will all be further impacted by the planned hotel at Richards/Olive, and the additional proposed apartment complex on Olive.

    It’s a grand “experiment”, at best. I have yet to see a situation where adding residences and businesses reduces congestion/traffic at existing intersections and roadways, even with “improvements”.

     

      1. Ron

        The Pugilist:  “Grand experiment on a situation that is currently broken.”

        Adding residences and businesses to existing roadways/intersections isn’t normally a good “fix”.

        Anyone who votes for Nishi because they think it will improve traffic/congestion is living in a different universe, from the one that I know.

         

        1. Miwok

          Whoever drew this up, you did tell them there was a new “Convention Center” going in there? Of course the Nishi “1500 employees” + the Convention center and the Hotel, and their employees is going to overwhelm whatever is planned? Of course the traffic studies, done properly, would never have sited the In N Out there..

  7. Alan Miller

    I think this depends upon the difficulties of going through Nishi (and then the University itself) to reach one’s final destination, vs. the difficulties of the current option.

    Of course, but the current route is terrible.  Look at a map with the Nishi underpass and it’s pretty clear to me I’d choose to go through Nishi.

    (Of course, the current option will also be affected if Nishi is approved, since all traffic would still have to go through the intersection at Olive/Richards.)

    Yes, but there will be two turn lanes to a two-lane road, only one into the tunnel.

    This will all be further impacted by the planned hotel at Richards/Olive, and the additional proposed apartment complex on Olive.

    As the intersection will be anyway, and will impacted by traffic from increasing number of students coming in from out of town by car if less students can leave near campus.

    It’s a grand “experiment”, at best. I have yet to see a situation where adding residences and businesses reduces congestion/traffic at existing intersections and roadways, even with “improvements”.

    Somewhat true, but stopping Nishi will cease the improvements to the worst intersection in Davis (Olive/Richards), but does nothing to stop either regional population gr0wth nor campus student growth.

    1. Ron

      Alan:

      Without repeating your counter-arguments:

      Again, I don’t know the final destination of most commuters.  Would they want to stop and park on the other side of the new tunnel (assuming that a parking lot would be available there), or continue on to a further destination?  I don’t know how much hassle it would be to go through Nishi, and then the University itself to reach a final destination.

      Adding additional lanes does nothing to shorten waiting times (for streetlights).  That’s what causes backups.  It does, however, encourage more motorists to use the intersection.

      If the potential residents of Nishi are instead dispersed throughout Davis and the region, many of them will not be commuting through the current tunnel.  (There are other ways to reach the campus, depending upon one’s point of origin, as well.)  However, if Nishi is built, more cars will use existing roadways and intersections to reach businesses and residences (regardless of “improvements”).

      I do have a question (for anyone who knows):  How many lanes (in each direction) would the western part of Olive Drive be?  (If it remains a two-lane road, how would traffic funnel onto that street, from the Richards/Olive intersection?)

       

       

      1. The Pugilist

        Right now the congestion on Richards is primarily due to a bunch of people using the underpass and 1st Street to get onto campus.  The lack of volume of the roadways, the poor sequencing of the lights, and the helter-skelter nature of Richards off-ramps just dumping traffic onto the street is a problem.

        What this project does is widen the southern portion of Richards, it diverts a huge amount of traffic from going through the tunnel and takes them through at the Nishi entrance.  That should solve a lot of problems.

        Nishi itself may add housing, but by fixing the roads, the traffic situation may well improve.  I don’t think that’s an absurd idea considering the known plan.

        1. hpierce

          Will agree to disagree… the ‘best’ (most effective) way to divert UCD traffic via Richards, would be fill the ‘funnel’ with concrete, and direct them to another corridor, particularly Hutchison and/or Russell.

          Thinking out of the box (NOT practical) perhaps use of the Richards OH should be a “toll thing”… preferably w/Fast-Trak… no need for booths… that might be effective in switching route choices…

          Would hurt the DT flow, but likely solve the UCD thing.

        2. Alan Miller

          the ‘best’ (most effective) way to divert UCD traffic via Richards, would be fill the ‘funnel’ with concrete, and direct them to another corridor

          Well, that’s not an extreme position at all.

      2. Topcat

        What this project does is … it diverts a huge amount of traffic from going through the tunnel and takes them through at the Nishi entrance.  That should solve a lot of problems.

        This might just move the congestion onto the Nishi site and West Olive Drive.  I can imagine a line of cars snaking all the way from the Richards intersection thru the Nishi property to Old Davis Road every morning and afternoon.

  8. Miwok

    New protected bike lanes in addition to a walking path. Specifically, the proposal converts the existing five-foot sidewalk into a barrier-separated 12-foot two-way pathway. This will completely eliminate the conflict between bikes and pedestrians and cars exiting and entering the freeway.

    Is that the grayish path that goes under the westbound ramp to I-80 and then looks like it is right next to the freeway? Hard pedaling.. I am surprised CalTrans would allow that.

    1. Dave Hart

      Bicycle traffic heading out of the downtown to South Davis does look improved, but I have some serious questions about traffic coming toward downtown.  That grayish path has somehow moved all westbound bicycle traffic on Cowell Blvd from the right (north) side of the road to the left (south) side at some point conveniently out of the picture.  Is this accomplished with some additional striping further south on Cowell?  Hmmm.  Once over there, bicycles heading north/west are in the “wrong” place for traffic when passing through the Richards/Olive intersection.  Seems like it may add to the confusion.  I don’t like the idea of routinely funneling bicycles into pedestrian crosswalks and that is what this appears to do.  This intersection proposal needs a LOT of work and review by people who actually ride bicycles.

    1. Miwok

      You are aware there is a tunnel under the Freeway? Don’t know why they are even considering bike traffic as a part of this.

      Unless and until the City considers making the commuter lanes big enough, tearing down the frat houses on First, for example, they will not be serious about the traffic.

      B Street has been throttled by the line painters just like Fifth Street, which was too narrow for two lanes. Most cities would be cutting down trees instead of building new buildings right out the the sidewalk like the Fifth street Block of Shame between F and G.

      Traffic Planning? I see what they achieve, I cannot imagine they planned it. Turn these streets to bicycles only, that will fix it. Autos will not be a problem if you restrict their access, right? 🙂

      Put a toll booth at each way of the tunnel, and that will solve it quickly and profitably.

  9. nameless

    This discussion reminds me of all the fear mongering that occurred before the 5th St redesign.  Personally I think the 5th St. redesign makes 5th much safer for everyone, and is only slightly more crowded during rush hour, but not significantly so.  My guess is that if Nishi is approved, traffic will improve around the Richards underpass.  But any type of change always carries with it some degree of risk.  But so does doing nothing carry risk.  I believe the greater risk lies in doing nothing at that intersection.

  10. hpierce

    Have you experienced E Eighth street recently?  The queues  have increased substantially (by blocks @ peak hours)… but, of course, the Fifth Street road diet was a “complete success”…

    1. Alan Miller

      As a bicyclist on 5th, I am amazed I survived all the years before 5th was fixed.  It is substantially safer, and not fixing it was never an option, only a delay by the sick.

  11. skeptical

    If you wanted 5th Street to serve as a neighborhood street, you might think the redesign was successful.  If you see 5th Street as an arterial (it is), then the redesign is a disaster.  It just spread out and clogged traffic along 5th and several other streets.

    The 5th Street design could be improved, but it should be done with the idea of optimizing both neigborhood and arterial functionality.

    Unfortunately, the same mentality is designing the Richards/Olive corridors, which will only make the traffic along these road segments worse.  UC and Nishi traffic should be blocked from Richards/Olive during peak travel.

    1. nameless

      To skeptical: I’m not sure why you believe the 5th St redesign is not successful.  Bicycles are considerably safer, as are pedestrians.  Motorists are not that inconvenienced, when all is said and done.  Furthermore, there are alternative routes to bypass 5th if a motorist is trying to get from one side of town to the other.  I drive 5th at evening rush hour, and don’t find it much of a problem at all.  I get through in almost the same time as I did before the redesign was implemented.

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