Analysis: Assessing the Impacts of Lincoln40 – Part 3, Will There Be a Pedestrian Crossing?

Proposed Overcrossing from Olive Drive to the Train Depot

On Sunday, Eileen Samitz wrote that “your articles continue to ignore and side-step the serious problems and impacts by a mega-dorm project like Lincoln40 and try to simplify it to a numbers or ratio issue.”  In her comment, which we re-printed as an article on Monday, she raises a number of points that we will be addressing over the course of the coming days and weeks.

We have previously addressed  the issue of the “toxic plume” and “traffic impacts.”

Today we address the potential pedestrian/bike overpass.

Ms. Samitz writes, “Due to the Lincoln40 project the subject (of) a pedestrian/bike railroad underpass (or more expensive overpass) is being floated as an idea, but who is going to pay for the $7 million price tag for that? Lincoln40 would be creating the tipping point to need such infrastructure which would cost $7 million. The Lincoln40 developer has made clear that he is not going to pay the bill for that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, even though it is his Lincoln40 project exacerbating the traffic and circulation situation to need it.”

For starters, Paul Gradeff, the project manager for Lincoln40, has previously told the Vanguard – and this week told the Vanguard directly – that the project is “clearly being becoming the catalyst to provide a longer-term solution to the Richards interchange.”

He said, “We have always agreed to pay our fair share and have already helped by creating a viable entry/access point that did not exist prior to our development plans.”

What the project is not going to do is provide all of the funding for such infrastructure.

A proposed Olive Drive connection to either the train depot or L Street would create a new grade-separated bicycle and pedestrian facility connecting Olive Drive, just west of Hickory Lane, across the UPRR (Union Pacific Railroad) tracks to the eastern side of the Amtrak platform/boarding area at the Davis Transit Depot.

In November the pedestrian/bike overcrossing to the train depot was rated by consultants as feasible with an estimated cost of $6.3 to $6.7 million.

In conversations with the city, it was noted that the Olive Drive-train depot connection was rising to the top of the list of priorities.  The city is planning to apply for funding for that connection in the next cycle that starts in January 2018.

However, getting funding through that program, a very competitive statewide program, is less certain than the city believes the funding is for the Richards Boulevard-I80 interchange project.  “It’s speculative whether or not we’ll receive funding (for the overcrossing),” the Vanguard was told.

It will be a policy decision from the city council to say that the whole cost of this overcrossing project should be borne by the Lincoln40 developer.  The people we talked to agreed with Mr. Gradeff, arguing that they didn’t see the developer funding the entire project as it is really a fair share type of cost.

“We would expect them to provide some share of the project,” we were told.  “But whether or not that facility would be in place before construction occurs would also be a policy decision of the city council.”

If that project is funded through the ATP (Active Transportation Program) grant program then the impacts of Lincoln40 would be more temporary since there would be a clear access point to downtown for pedestrians and bicyclists.  There is anticipation that the overpass would become a shortcut to the UC Davis campus that would enable bicyclists to bypass the Olive-Richards intersection.

The city staffer also believes there could be a Pole Line Road bike/pedestrian connection project that would improve access to the US40 bike path from the areas north and south of I-80 and the UPRR tracks.  The grant funding for that project is considered more likely and the cost is less, at $3.9 million.

However, the consultants, note, “The Davis Transit Center Bike/Pedestrian Overcrossing option would provide better access for the residents of the Olive Drive neighborhood and the proposed Lincoln40 project to downtown.”

The higher cost of the depot connection relative to the Pole Line Road bike/pedestrian connection would make the former “less desirable.” However, “If the Lincoln40 project contributes fair share funding the Depot project, this cost difference may not be important and it would be more advantageous to construct this crossing prior to or concurrent with the Lincoln40 project development because the Lincoln40 parcel provides an ideal construction staging area, thus potentially reducing the construction cost.”

The staff remarked in November that “the Olive Drive / Train Depot Connection would restore neighborhood access to downtown post-UPRR fence construction, while the Pole Line Road connection provides access to Montgomery Elementary School, reducing the bike/ped route to school from 2.6 to 1.2 miles. Grant applications were submitted to both statewide and regional Alternative Transportation Programs to fund the Olive Drive / Pole Line Road Connection facility. However, it was not recommended for funding in either program.”

Once again, the project manager indicates that Lincoln40 will contribute a fair share.  City staff has told the Vanguard this is a priority.  However, at this time funding for the project is uncertain.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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106 thoughts on “Analysis: Assessing the Impacts of Lincoln40 – Part 3, Will There Be a Pedestrian Crossing?”

  1. Alan Miller

    Today we address the potential pedestrian/ bike overpass.

    Again with the overpass.  Do you, and the City, not listen?  Go to the Coliseum Amtrak station and walk the back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth of their ADA-compliant, elevatorless “solution”.  People use facilities in numbers when they are convenient.  Building a “connection” that is cheapest (despite what ES says, an overcrossing is almost always cheaper) is not a great solution.

    For decades, the conversation has always been about an undercrossing.  The railroad talked of an undercrossing.  Now the railroad says overcrossing — despite the fact that Dixon and Santa Clara have both opened undercrossings recently (Santa Clara in the last few weeks – a beautiful facility) — and the City caves — now all the talk is overcrossing.  Either that’s elevators, or a long back-and-forth ramp on each side.

    People prefer undercrossings — they fit better into the landscape, take less time to egress, are safer if built right.  The better something is built, the more convenient and useful and welcoming, the more people will use it.  The idea is not to simply build something to cross the t’s and dot the i’s, but to build a decent and attractive and useful piece of infrastructure that will be around for generations.

    Davis is turning from great alternate-transportation infrastructure  to cheap solutions that are uninspriring — witness the semi-Dutch junction (cheaper), the last-minute inspiration of building the hairpin loop up onto Covell Bridge from Cannery instead of a multi-functional overcrossing from Cannery to H Street — itself a bad remedy of not building a path through Cranbrook — blocked by the owners of Cranbrook and the city’s unwillingness to challenge them.

    Too, the Olive-Amtrak connection should provide a safe-route-to-school, but ending at Amtrak forces kids heading north to the schools into the backside of downtown, heading up H Street on their backs behind the not-so-safe parking behind ACE Lumber, and then up through downtown streets, turning either way at 3rd Street.

    A much safer route to school would be to continue the Olive-Amtrak connectionbeyond the north-to-east leg of the rail wye, connecting to the foot of I Street and/or J Street.  This again as an undercrossing would be much preferable, but more expensive.  And it would bring children from Olive to a much safer route straight up J Street to the schools north of 8th Street, using H Street tunnel to reach schools to the west.

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      An undercrossing is a lot more and the city doesn’t believe the railroad will allow for a second one.

      What’s your plan for funding an undercrossing?

        1. Alan Miller

          Caltrain owns it with UPRR having retained certain rights.

          However, at that point UPRR owns some of the right of way, as it is at the junction with the UPRR freight line. Article also sites going under UPRR.

          In Dixon, undercrossing built a few years ago is under UPRR.

    2. Mark West

      I’m with Alan M. on this issue. The underpass makes more long-term sense and will be worth the expense. This would be an upgrade to the City’s infrastructure that should be funded by all residents through our tax dollars and other City revenue.

      I’m not convinced however of a need to directly connect to the station. I see the safe path to school and the second connection to Olive as being higher priorities than access to the station. An Olive to L or K underpass would seem to make more sense to me, depending on the location of underground infrastructure.

    3. Robb Davis

      I think Alan raises good points about an undercrossing.  I, for one, have not given up on it but I also know (as does Alan), how challenging it is to work with UP.  I am also curious whether the other undercrossings you mentioned have challenges related to gas/broadband utilities.  Again, not insurmountable but adding to the cost.  I agree that these pieces of infrastructure last lifetimes and therefore spending more to get what we believe will serve needs over time is ideal.  I also know that we have to come up with that money at a point in time.  That can be a challenge.  I am up for seeing how we can meet that challenge.

      1. Howard P

        UC should be evaluated further along with OC…

        There is also construction feasibility (and these are questions, not anything else)

        I recall we had to install a ‘shoo-fly’ when we did the one for the Putah Creek Parkway one… maybe that ended up being waived by UP
        the other constraints are available r/w (relatively easy with the PCP one)
        utilities/facilities that needed to be crossed are the same, and probably similar/same between those two and the Dixon one.
        Davis has an active passenger station… Dixon did/does not
        The proposed site would require a small drainage lift station

        But, depending on a further evaluation, taking the above and costs into account, I don’t have a strong bias, at this point… Alan does rightly point out benefits of an UC, and depending how much more, I’d favor leaning towards the UC, even if a higher initial cost.

        I’d rather spend money on that further evaluation than on further toxics studies…

         

  2. Ron

    From article: Ms. Samitz writes, “Due to the Lincoln40 project the subject (of) a pedestrian/bike railroad underpass (or more expensive overpass) is being floated as an idea, but who is going to pay for the $7 million price tag for that? Lincoln40 would be creating the tipping point to need such infrastructure which would cost $7 million. The Lincoln40 developer has made clear that he is not going to pay the bill for that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, even though it is his Lincoln40 project exacerbating the traffic and circulation situation to need it.”

    So, the bottom line is that this isn’t resolved, but some believe that the council should approve the development without it.

    This is another example of the reason that such student dormitory-type structures belong on campus, where overpasses/underpasses are not needed.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      You need to ask the following questions: (1) What is the impact if there is not a ped/ bike bridge? (2) How does the EIR suggest that impact if significant get mitigated? Hint: There is an answer to those questions in the draft EIR and it was presented in a previous Vanguard report.

      1. Ron

        The EIR is a pretty big document.  I’ve read part of the EIR, and quoted a section on here the other day.  That quote describes the existing bicycle commute along that route at the highest level of difficulty/danger.  The EIR also includes the impact on traffic, since bicycles/pedestrians would have to use the same streets/intersections as automobiles (including the “worst intersection in town”).

        If there’s a dedicated signal at Olive/Richards (in place of a needed overpass/tunnel – per your earlier suggestion), then that intersection will become even worse than what’s stated in the EIR.

        Funding for all traffic improvements (including the overpass/tunnel) must be in place, prior to considering ANY development approval. It does seem as though a tunnel is a much better option, for the reasons that Alan stated.

        Frankly, this issue is so important that the city might want to consider helping to fund it (in other words, subsidize the development), if they’re hell-bent upon approving the development, regardless of the impacts on the city.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          That’s why I mentioned that it was in the Vanguard’s report:

          “…The applicant shall construct the striping improvements prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy. As part of this improvement, the coordinated traffic signals between First Street / D Street and Richards Boulevard / Research Park Drive shall be re-timed to provide efficient traffic flow.”

          That is the required mitigation for the increased bike and pedestrian traffic. Is an overpass better? Yes. And that’s why it is a priority, but it is not required. And remember the impact on that signal is only about 18 seconds. So what you want to do is delay the building of 700 beds for students over 18 seconds of impact on the intersection.

        2. Ron

          David:  It wasn’t clear to me that the “restriping” would address the danger on Olive.  (From what I recall, that would also require eliminating parking on the eastbound side of the street, since there otherwise isn’t sufficient room.)

          In any case, this does nothing to eliminate the “other” danger that the DEIR describes along that route, which is the Olive/Richards intersection, itself. (And again, it appears that some may be hell-bent on approving this development, even before funding has been obtained to improve that intersection.)

          “Timing” the signals is quite different than your suggestion to have a dedicated/phased signal, for bicyclists and pedestrians.

          Regarding the 18 seconds, I’m still not sure that this has been adequately explained.  Regardless, that’s the impact on ONE of the impacted intersections.  And again, the intersection would change from the “C” to a “D” level, during the A.M. peak.

          An argument can always be made, that bad planning decisions are “justified” by building student housing, even when UCD’s LRDP process has not been completed.  (Actually, that’s the “jist” of all of your housing arguments, lately.)  This is what occurs when you put the needs of UCD over those of the city, regardless of impacts.

          One could also argue that this type of planning puts students at risk. Not all of them are experienced bicyclists, exercising due diligence. Some are also from other countries, and have no experience on local roadways.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            The key is the extra phase in the light that will allow bikes and pedestrians to cross the street without creating a hazard.

            “And again, it appears that some may be hell-bent on approving this development, even before funding has been obtained to improve that intersection.”

            It’s a trade off. The trade off is supplying housing now (or in 2019) for 700 students who otherwise would have to be couch surfing or commuting. The cost of that is an 18 second extra travel time through the intersection (on average). The reason that some people are hell bent on seeing new student housing built is that they recognize that the situation is bad and there ways to help alleviate that situation. In a perfect world, I would agree, wait till the funding is in place or wait for the university to build the housing, but in an imperfect world, the cost of delay is much higher in my opinion than the cost of going forward.

        3. Ron

          David: “The key is the extra phase in the light that will allow bikes and pedestrians to cross the street without creating a hazard.”

          Again, it appears that this suggestion is NOT included in the EIR’s analysis of current conditions and impacts.

          Regarding the remainder of your comment, it simply reiterates that bad planning decisions are “o.k.”, regardless of the impacts on the city (and safety/interests of students, themselves).  Your comment also includes an assumption that UCD’s LRDP has been finalized, and that the city is essentially a hostage regarding UCD’s plans.  When you believe that point of view, then desperate planning decisions will be the result. 

          This is no way to conduct city planning. Unfortunately, some seem to believe that it is.

          All week, the comments from development boosters have had a tone of desperation, attack, and misunderstanding.

        4. David Greenwald

          You’re entitled to your opinion on the LRDP and what constitutes bad planning.  For me bad planning would be waiting for the university to increase their housing allotment rather than being proactive in addressing the housing shortage.

        5. Ron

          David:  I don’t suggest simply “waiting” for UCD to react.  However, some patience is required at this particular point in time.  (And yes, that might mean some temporary challenges/short commutes, instead of permanent poor decisions.)

          It’s not likely that Lincoln 40 would make any difference for most of the current generation of students, regardless.  (Due to time needed for construction, and because it’s apparently proposed to be a high-end / high rent complex.)

          I’m also not stating that an apartment complex shouldn’t be built, if/when the concerns and impacts are successfully resolved.  And, a primary concern (especially for those living at a possible future complex) is the bicycle/pedestrian overpass (or preferably – tunnel). (Actually, this is also a primary concern for anyone driving through Richards/Olive, as well. One impacts the other – sometimes literally.)

        6. Eileen Samitz

          “The key is the extra phase in the light that will allow bikes and pedestrians to cross the street without creating a hazard.”

          So David, if timing the signals to facilitate traffic flow is such a solution, why are they not doing it now? Why aren’t they testing this theory now?

          “And remember the impact on that signal is only about 18 seconds.”

          I know that you and advocates for this project would like to believe this, but not many others do. This “conclusion” by the Draft EIR consultants sounds completely bogus. Planning commissioners even raised concerns about this very odd conclusion as well as the “less than significant” impacts conclusion of the Lincoln40 traffic impacts by the Draft EIR consultants.

          Then, to even add any signalization timing changes to try to to facilitate the bicycles and pedestrians crossing Richards Blvd. to get to the UCD campus, the signal would stop all cars more often and longer. So the Richards Blvd. corridor traffic would logically be impacted significantly with 708 more students trying to get back and forth to the UCD campus all day long.

          There are many issues regarding the Lincoln40 Draft EIR to say the least.

           

           

           

           

        7. Alan Miller

          708 more students trying to get back and forth to the UCD campus all day long.

          Like, 708 students just keep going back and forth  all day long.  They need to get a life.  Though it beats going to the gym for exercise.

        8. David Greenwald

          “So David, if timing the signals to facilitate traffic flow is such a solution, why are they not doing it now? Why aren’t they testing this theory now?”

          Probably the same reason they haven’t done any number of common sense improvements to the corridor.

  3. Eileen Samitz

    Ron makes excellent points here, particularly the concern about how the City is approaching this planning process of processing an application for Lincoln40. The Lincoln40 is ridden with problems that need to be resolved first, not push them off until later when the City and the community gets hit with the impacts and costs. The impacts would not only be of the traffic and circulation problems at Olive Drive and Richards Blvd. which are detrimental to the City, but Davis taxpayers would get hit with the enormous price tag for infrastructure that this project exacerbates the situation for.

    It is also interesting how the Lincoln40 developer tries to put his “spin” on this situation now trying to claim that his project is “catalyst” rather than, actually, the exacerbating problem that it is. It is a pretty obvious, but clever maneuver by the Lincoln40 developer to try to motivate the City to subsidize his oversized mega-dorm which only offers expensive luxury,  single-room-occupancy housing designed exclusively for students with primarily 4- and 5- bedroom apartment “suites” where each bedroom has its own bathroom. This will be an enormous drain on our City’s water, wastewater and City services. And on top of all of these impacts, Lincoln40 will not help provide rental housing needs for non-students like families and local workers.

    So what does the City get out of Lincoln40? That would be significant impacts, costs, and the risks of the plume. None of this makes sense, and none of it is logical or good planning.  It is not in the best interest of the City to advance the Lincoln40 project until all of these problems and issues are addressed first, not delayed for the community to deal with all of the problems and costs later. This entire issue goes back to the fundamental problem that UCD needs to provide far more on-campus student housing rather then continuing to deflect its enormous housing needs onto the City.

    1. Ron

      Eileen:  “It is also interesting how the Lincoln40 developer tries to put his “spin” on this situation now trying to claim that his project is “catalyst” rather than, actually, the exacerbating problem that it is.”

      Good point.

    2. Tia Will

      Eileen

      I share some of your concerns. However, I am confused by one statement.

      4- and 5- bedroom apartment “suites” where each bedroom has its own bathroom.”

      Are you asserting that having access to a bathroom of one’s own automatically means that one will use more water ?  If so, do you have any information to support that ?  If not, perhaps I mistook your meaning about the water, wastewater and city services which would seem to me to be dependent on number of inhabitants, not number of toilets, showers, and sinks.

      1. Howard P

        Bingo, Tia… neither bedrooms nor bathrooms have impacts… people have impacts… and their behaviors have impacts…

        A 2 bedroom apartment, with 2 people per room, have pretty much the same impact as a four bedroom apartment with one occupant in each room… regardless of number of toilets or other water features…

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Tia and Howard P,

          The problem is the mega-dorms are charging a flat rent  by-the-bed. So there is no incentive for renters to conserve water or electricity. This issue came to light when the West Village project made the mistake of using this rent-by-the-bed format and one student interviewed by the Sac Bee on West Village was honest enough to admit that she took long showers because her rent would not change no matter how much water she used.

          The Natural Resources Commission has concerns about the need to address this issue particularly when they learned about UCD’s West Village failure to address water and energy conservation.

          The inability for West Village to implement energy (and water) conservation is why it cannot achieve net-zero-energy. The entire reason for building the expensive West Village project was for it to be a net-zero-energy project, but is still a failed experiment which is costly to run. This was poor planning on UCD’s part for not metering properly and billing based upon usage and the City needs to learn by UCD’s mistakes at West Village.

          The mega-dorms like Sterling and Lincoln40 are also going to be a single-room-occupancy with rent-by-the bed billing, so the same problem will exist, despite each apartment having a water meter. The developers are going to try using contests to try to give incentives to conserve. I wish them luck with that, but I am not optimistic.

          The other issue is having so many more bathrooms, with a bathroom per bedroom particularly in the 4- and 5- bedroom apartment “suites” will increase the cost of construction significantly, and so the rents will be higher.

          1. Don Shor

            http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/new-law-helps-renters-property-owners-save-water/

            A landmark measure by state Sen. Los Wolk, D-Davis, to require water meters and submeters in new apartment and other multi-family residential buildings, was signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown. The signing is the culmination of a four-year effort by Wolk to help renters and property owners conserve water.

            Wolk’s SB 7 requires owners of multi-unit rental properties constructed after Jan. 1, 2018, to provide residents with accurate information about the volume and cost of their water use through their own individual submeters. The bill also requires residents’ water bills to be based on usage.

          2. David Greenwald Post author

            Eileen: As I pointed out last spring, you’re argument is extremely flawed because water usage in apartments is very limited. They don’t have lawns or swimming pools. Most don’t even have internal washing machines.

        2. Eileen Samitz

          Don,

          As I said, the apartments each have a meter, but because of the multiple residents per apartment, but the renters are being charged a flat rate per bed. So it is not based on an actual “usage per bed”.

          1. Don Shor

            That’s exactly the case wherever roommates share a house or apartment. There is no such thing as usage per bed. The apartment is metered. The residents who share the apartment share the bill. They figure out how to split the cost. They’re all responsible for the conservation efforts of the apartment. This isn’t unique to this project. This is simply not an argument against this project. You are grasping at straws.

          2. David Greenwald Post author

            Also most apartments do not have their own laundry facilities and have limited exterior water usage for the individual apartments, so the amount of water used is quite limited.

  4. Ron

    David:  “And remember the impact on that signal is only about 18 seconds.”

    Just wanted to reiterate that the DEIR does NOT include David’s suggestion, to have a dedicated signal (for bicyclists/pedestrians, in lieu of an overpass or tunnel).  In other words, the table shows the impacts on the existing “free-for-all” intersection resulting from the proposal, as well as impacts on other intersections.

    Having a dedicated signal for pedestrians/bicyclists (when all auto traffic is stopped) is NOT addressed in the referenced table.

    1. Mark West

      You are correct, Ron, the idea is not in the DEIR for the simple reason that it isn’t necessary to mitigate the traffic impacts to within the City’s long-standing requirements. Not my opinion, but that of the traffic engineers who studied the project’s impacts.

      1. Ron

        Mark:  The point being that if the city chooses to install a dedicated signal for bicyclists/pedestrians, then the “18 seconds” is likely grossly understated. In fact, this suggestion is not addressed at all, in the referenced chart.

        Again, the draft EIR noted that the intersection is at the most dangerous, challenging level for bicyclists.  So, if the development is approved without some form of safe bypass (e.g., a dedicated signal, overpass, or underpass), then the city will be making a choice to expose a significant number of additional bicyclists and pedestrians to those conditions.  If the city chooses the “cheapest” method (a dedicated bicycle/pedestrian signal, in which all auto traffic is stopped), then the “18 additional seconds” that David keeps referring to is meaningless.

        I believe that the challenges for pedestrians are also addressed in the DEIR.

        A couple of other commenters have suggested implementing and examining some of the suggested “improvements”, before any development is considered.

        On a related note, I agree with you and Alan that a tunnel is preferable.  I also agree with you, in that safe access to campus might be more important that access to the train station.  (I’m not sure that the route to/from the campus beyond the train station has been examined.)

        1. Mark West

          “Mark:  The point being that if the city chooses to install a dedicated signal for bicyclists/pedestrians, then the “18 seconds” is likely grossly understated.”

          No, Ron, the point is that it has nothing to do with the Lincoln40 project or your wild guesses about potential traffic impacts. There is a reason they hire professionals to do the traffic studies.

          “I also agree with you, in that safe access to campus might be more important that access to the train station.” 

          My comment was regarding school children getting to class and had nothing to do with the University. University students are adults capable of making their own decisions about safety.

           

           

           

        2. Ron

          “No, Ron, the point is that it has nothing to do with the Lincoln40 project or your wild guesses about potential traffic impacts. There is a reason they hire professionals to do the traffic studies.”

          And, that suggestion was not studied. I offered no “wild guesses”.

          It doesn’t seem likely that the city would take “no” action to reduce the risk at that intersection, resulting from adding a significant number of new residents, commuting back/forth to UCD.  The city will likely require this (in some form), before construction is complete.

          If there’s a lack of funding for an overpass/tunnel, it also seems likely that the city would pursue the “cheapest” option (a dedicated signal, for bicyclists/pedestrians).  Again, the impacts on traffic of resulting from a dedicated signal was not studied.

          Mark:  “My comment was regarding school children getting to class and had nothing to do with the University.”

          Not sure why you think there’s going to be many (or even “any”) school-aged children living at this proposed complex.

        3. Howard P

          There are currently “school-aged” children living on Olive Drive.  Their current ‘default’ elementary school is Montgomery (used to be Valley Oak).  There are no Jr Highs or HS in South Davis.

        4. Mark West

          Ron: “I offered no “wild guesses”.”

          Really?

          then the “18 seconds” is likely grossly understated.”

          Looks like a wild guess to me, or did you recently earn a degree in engineering?

          “It doesn’t seem likely that the city would take “no” action to reduce the risk at that intersection…”

          We already know what the City plans to do at the intersection as it has been discussed extensively. The planned changes are completely separate from the Lincoln40 discussion and assessment, which has to be based on the current situation, not some future expectation. Your hyperventilating over this intersection doesn’t impact the Lincoln40 decision at all. The same is true for whatever decision the City makes about the proposed rail crossing. It is a separate issue.

          “Not sure why you think there’s going to be many (or even “any”) school-aged children living at this proposed complex.”

          Lincoln40 will not be the only apartment complex on Olive Drive (or did you not know that?).  There are already school-aged children living in the neighborhood who need a safer route to school.

        5. Ron

          Again, the draft EIR addresses the current conditions for bicyclists, commuting to/from the proposed site of the development.  I’ve previously posted this information, which shows that much of the route (including the intersection at Richards/Olive) is at the highest level of danger.

        6. Ron

          Mark:  “We already know what the City plans to do at the intersection as it has been discussed extensively.”

          Mark:  We absolutely do NOT know what the city plans to do, regarding a bicycle/pedestrian overpass, tunnel (or dedicated signal for bicyclists/pedestrians).  (That’s the topic of this article.)

          School-age children living on Olive would be another reason that this issue will be addressed.

          We do know that the city has plans to make other improvements to the intersection/interchange, if external funding is approved.

           

           

        7. Ron

          Mark:  “Looks like a wild guess to me, or did you recently earn a degree in engineering?”

          I offered no numbers.  Again, this issue was not studied.

          I simply noted that if a dedicated signal (for bicyclists/pedestrians only – in which all auto traffic is stopped) is added to the existing intersection, then traffic will be significantly impacted beyond the “18 seconds” that David and others keep referring to.

          I’ll stand by that fact, even without an engineering degree.  (Seriously, are you actually challenging this?)

        8. Howard P

          There is a big difference between a separate signal, and a separate phase at an existing signal.  Separate phase can be ‘actuated’, and so doesn’t kick in until there is a ‘call’ for that phase.  What David and others have been talking about is  separate phase.

        9. Ron

          Howard:  The same basic point would apply, regardless of whether it’s a separate “phase” or “signal”.  (Acknowledging that there’s some difference between the two.)

          I assume that it only takes one person to “call” for a phase.

          Neither option has been studied, in the DEIR.

  5. Todd Edelman

    1. What’s the I-80 pollution – gas, particles, noise – like at the planned Lincoln40 location?
    2. The best way for bikes between much of central and even east South Davis and the length of Olive St. and the Amtrak station and points north is via the aggregate connection of Poleline to the old 40 path and an undercrossing of the UPRR to the station. An additional feature would be an undercrossing that allows a direct connection to and from a two-way path on 2nd St. to the East. I see Alan’s point about going north on J St. etc. but it would be safer to make use of H St (for a two-way path) so I would like a connection from 3rd along the east side of the ROW as part of the Trackside or other development there and easements on the east side of the ROW to 5th switching over to easements on the west side of the ROW, then continuing to H St. YES! The formal issues of easements are one thing and another is if this would make it impossible for e.g. the ACE Rockyard, Hubbert or the Davis Co-Op to function adequately. BUT it’s the most direct route: Assuming good designers and wise votes, conflict along the route with pedestrians could be minimized (with a Class IV path and separate sidewalk). Get it: From Poleline all the way to Community Park, Northstar (etc.), Holmes Junior there would be five street crossings (3rd through 5th and 8th plus F St. or L St.)

    2a. The best route from Olive is across a safe crossing at Richards – is a roundabout possible here… one that will block entries as necessary in case the Richards undercrossing gets clogged? – directly to the undercrossing to the Arboreteum. The route through Downtown is fine if one has business in Downtown, and this is better with a cycle-priority corridor on 3rd St, but still the Olive route is faster and would have fewer conflicts, even with pedestrians.  (I am concerned that the new 3rd St. Gateway between B and Campus is going to have pedestrian vs. cyclist conflicts – sometimes a shared space design is not ideal!).
    3. So they would not have to go up to Poleline and then down to the old 40 path, I’d like to see a direct connection to the aforementioned south side of 2nd St. path from Poleline and 5th (e.g. Sterling) which would give an unimpeded route to Davis Depot, or continuing to Olive.

    1. Todd Edelman

      Actually with everything described above from all the greenbelt paths from South Davis that intersect at the Playfields Park PLUS an undercrossing at Richards there would be a continuous path all the way across nearly all of Davis with the worst conflicts with pedestrians along the current Class I multi-use configuration and egress points to properties on along Olive… but really the best thing to would be to have the path along the southside of the ROW all the way to Richards. More easements necessary. Do it for the kids, people!!!

    2. Alan Miller

      I would like a connection from 3rd along the east side of the ROW as part of the Trackside or other development there and easements on the east side of the ROW to 5th switching over to easements on the west side of the ROW, then continuing to H St. YES!

      NO!  I mean yes, but no!  We have to stick with the art of the possible, of the next step.  It’s fine to have a long-term future plan to build into, but the city doesn’t even have that, and proposing all this when we are just looking at the connection over the tracks is a distraction.  The above means acquiring a strip of UPRR right-of-view — both complex and expensive.

      Getting under is possible, but quite enough of a challenge.

  6. Keith O

    I don’t know if I’ll be able to get any sleep tonight with all the anticipation of a possible
    Analysis: Assessing the Impacts of Lincoln40 – Part 4
    coming tomorrow.

  7. Don Shor

    Eileen: the subject (of) a pedestrian/bike railroad underpass (or more expensive overpass) is being floated as an idea, but who is going to pay for the $7 million price tag for that?
    Ron: So, the bottom line is that this isn’t resolved, but some believe that the council should approve the development without it.
    Ron: Funding for all traffic improvements (including the overpass/tunnel) must be in place, prior to considering ANY development approval.

    The developer’s commitment to his share of the funding should be in place. The improvements are not exclusively to the benefit of the new development, nor is the need for them exclusively caused by the new development. So beyond his share, it is not necessary for all funding to be committed before Lincoln 40 can be approved.

    Regarding the 18 seconds, I’m still not sure that this has been adequately explained.  Regardless, that’s the impact on ONE of the impacted intersections.  And again, the intersection would change from the “C” to a “D” level, during the A.M. peak.

    D level is considered acceptable.

    An argument can always be made, that bad planning decisions are “justified” by building student housing, even when UCD’s LRDP process has not been completed.  (Actually, that’s the “jist” of all of your housing arguments, lately.)  This is what occurs when you put the needs of UCD over those of the city, regardless of impacts.

    Planning is neither good nor bad, it is reflective of the conditions. It is reasonable planning to take an underutilized site and increase the housing density in a market that has high rental housing demand.

    Regarding the remainder of your comment, it simply reiterates that bad planning decisions are “o.k.”, regardless of the impacts on the city (and safety/interests of students, themselves). 

    Your comment also includes an assumption that UCD’s LRDP has been finalized, and that the city is essentially a hostage regarding UCD’s plans.  When you believe that point of view, then desperate planning decisions will be the result. 

    It doesn’t matter if the LRDP has been finalized. Under any realistic scenario in that regard, we will still need more rental housing in town. It isn’t a matter of whether, it’s a matter of how much.

    Eileen: Davis taxpayers would get hit with the enormous price tag for infrastructure that this project exacerbates the situation for.
    … oversized mega-dorm which only offers expensive luxury,  single-room-occupancy housing…
    This will be an enormous drain on our City’s water, wastewater and City services.
    So what does the City get out of Lincoln40? That would be significant impacts, costs, and the risks of the plume. None of this makes sense, and none of it is logical or good planning. 

    Every new construction pays fees. Every building pays for utilities.
    It is just hyperbole to call these “oversized mega-dorms.” They are apartments. They aren’t dormitories in any normal definition of that term. “Luxury” is also hyperbole. The owners aren’t going to price themselves out of the market. They will get market-rate rents at the high end of the range because they are new and will offer amenities that older apartments won’t have. They won’t be cheap. But I don’t know where you get your definition of luxury from. Sharing an apartment with 4 other people isn’t in my definition of that term.
    What the city gets out of it is more rental housing stock. It is very sound planning to increase our available rental housing stock.

    Eileen: “And remember the impact on that signal is only about 18 seconds.”
    I know that you and advocates for this project would like to believe this, but not many others do. This “conclusion” by the Draft EIR consultants sounds completely bogus. 
    Planning commissioners even raised concerns about this very odd conclusion as well as the “less than significant” impacts conclusion….

     
    I believe the folks who provided that information are professionals. In general, if you’re going to question the conclusions of professionals it’s probably best to provide your own countervailing expertise. Just calling it “bogus” doesn’t make it so. Planning commissioners aren’t traffic engineers either. I have no problem with an independent assessment of the output provided in the draft EIR, but this disparagement of professionals by people who have no standing to do so is getting frustrating.

  8. Ron

    Here we go, back on the merry-go-round.

    Don:  “The improvements are not exclusively to the benefit of the new development, nor is the need for them exclusively caused by the new development. So beyond his share, it is not necessary for all funding to be committed before Lincoln 40 can be approved.”

    This argument does not get the needed improvements built (including but not limited to the bicycle/pedestrian overpass or tunnel).  If funding is not available to do so, then the city and its residents will experience negative consequences, if the development is considered for approval prior to resolving this. The improvements (particularly the bike/pedestrian overpass or tunnel) are needed primarily because of this proposed development. As discussed above, this is a safety issue, as well as an issue which impacts motor vehicle traffic, at the primary entrance point to the city.

    Don:  “Planning is neither good nor bad, it is reflective of the conditions.”

    It is true that “good and bad” are relative terms.  But, there are negative and unresolved impacts at this point.  (I’d call that “bad”.)

    Don:  It doesn’t matter if the LRDP has been finalized. Under any realistic scenario in that regard, we will still need more rental housing in town. It isn’t a matter of whether, it’s a matter of how much.

    It does indeed matter, if the city embarks upon building an unknown amount of housing designed exclusively for students, and purposefully overlooks the impacts of doing so.  (Including but not limited to the need for unfunded overpasses, underpasses, or phased signals which wouldn’t be needed if located on campus.)  Again, I’d call that “bad planning”, and prioritizing the needs created by UCD over those of the city, itself.

     

     

    1. Don Shor

      It does indeed matter, if the city embarks upon building an unknown amount of housing designed exclusively for students, and purposefully overlooks the impacts of doing so.

      The city is embarking on a known amount of housing, it is not designed exclusively for students, and this process is how the impacts are addressed.

      (Including but not limited to the need for unfunded overpasses, underpasses, or phased signals which wouldn’t be needed if located on campus.)

      There has been a general perception over the years that Olive Drive needs help with traffic issues. It’s not this project that has suddenly created the issues there. It’s also thousands of people living elsewhere and commuting into town. And it’s an entry that’s narrow and constrained to two lanes. This new development didn’t create the problems of Olive/Richards.

      Again, I’d call that “bad planning”, and prioritizing the needs created by UCD over those of the city, itself.

      The university and the city are joined at the hip. The city exists in its current size and configuration because of UCD. A city of 65000 with a university population of 35000 is going to have to work with, deal with, plan for, accommodate, accept the impacts of the university. It is reasonable to expect the university to do better than it has in the past. It is unreasonable to expect that the city will have to do nothing.

      1. Ron

        Don:  “The city is embarking on a known amount of housing, it is not designed exclusively for students, and this process is how the impacts are addressed.”

        I guess I misunderstood your argument.  Yes, this proposal consists of a known amount.  Yes, I should have used the word “primarily”, instead of “exclusively”.  Yes, this (arguing on the Vanguard) is one way that impacts can be discussed, at least.

        Don:  “There has been a general perception over the years that Olive Drive needs help with traffic issues. It’s not this project that has suddenly created the issues there. It’s also thousands of people living elsewhere and commuting into town. And it’s an entry that’s narrow and constrained to two lanes. This new development didn’t create the problems of Olive/Richards.”

        You’re blending a couple of issues, here.  Some of the plans and funding to help address concerns around Olive/Richards were already in place, prior to the Lincoln 40 proposal. Additional funding is uncertain.

        Your last sentence is misleading.  This development will create additional negative impacts, if not addressed.

        Don:  “The university and the city are joined at the hip.”

        In some ways, that’s true.  But, they’re not equal partners.  UCD is creating negative impacts for the city (including but not limited to “using up” limited space that might be better-suited for housing that’s designed for a broader range of the city’s population).  This has already occurred, with the site of the former Families First facility.  Master leases, in which UCD takes over private housing (and is not required to pay property taxes to help offset impacts) is another example.

        If the city cannot find a way to effectively confront UCD (and/or “avoids” doing so), this issue will remain unresolved (and the need “unfulfilled”), indefinitely.  (At least as long as the “market” for international students, who can pay $42K in tuition remains viable).

         

         

         

         

         

         

        1. Mark West

          “But, they’re not equal partners.”

          You are right, they are not. The University of California is an institution created to further society’s goals for research and education. The City of Davis was founded for the purpose of efficiently supplying housing and services to residents of the region, including the students, faculty, and staff of the University of California. Complimentary, but not the same. Some people in Davis don’t seem to understand those different roles and responsibilities.

           

           

        2. David Greenwald

          “If the city cannot find a way to effectively confront UCD”

          This is the problem with your approach – you want a confrontational relationship rather than a collaborative one.

        3. Ron

          David:  “This is the problem with your approach – you want a confrontational relationship rather than a collaborative one.”

          I don’t “want” a confrontational relationship, and I don’t think that anyone is suggesting abandoning a “collaborative” approach.  (However, as you have pointed out, the effectiveness of that approach does seem to be in question, despite some limited success regarding Russell Field and the 90/40 plan.)

  9. Ron

    Don:  “Every new construction pays fees.”

    It appears that development fees may not be sufficient to offset the costs of multi-bedroom apartments, in particular.  This has been discussed at some length, on the Vanguard (and apparently by some of the commissions).  This is another unresolved issue.

    1. David Greenwald

      “It appears that development fees may not be sufficient to offset the costs of multi-bedroom apartments, in particular”

      Evidence to support this statement?

      1. Ron

        Refer to the earlier discussions in the Vanguard (regarding Sterling).  The concern did not arise from me.  A member of the finance and budget commission discussed this, as well.  (In fact, he apparently suggested that the committee examine this issue.  However, I understand it was referred to a different committee.)  Perhaps this is an issue you’d like to explore, in a future Vanguard article.  (But, it doesn’t seem that you’re interested in that topic.)

        1. Eileen Samitz

          David,

          The evidence is that the City is charging the same developer impact fee for a 2-bedroom apartment as a 4-bedroom or a 5-bedroom or more bedrooms apartment. That is ridiculous and the City is losing a significant amount of money while the developers are getting a sweet deal on these mega-dorms particularly.The mega-dorms like sterling and Lincoln40 are comprised primarily of these enormous 4- and 5- bedroom apartment “suites”.

          The Council has asked Staff to agendize this issue to address this and the fee obvious discrepancies. The City’s developer impact fees are outdated and need to be updated before any more projects are approved.

        2. Ron

          David: Not true.  I’m generally referring to the location where you can find it.  I recall that it was initiated by some residents at Rancho Yolo.  I’m not sure if the city had also been considering it, separately.

          It was pointed out that those fees hadn’t been reviewed in years.  And, that the fees are probably not being allocated fairly between new single-family houses, vs. apartments (with an equivalent/greater number of bedrooms).

          Honestly – you don’t remember that issue?  It’s been mentioned in MULTIPLE comments (and different articles). I’ll assume that you’re not interested in exploring this issue, in an article.

          Oh – just saw Eileen’s comments, regarding “evidence”. (Honestly? You weren’t aware of this?)

        3. David Greenwald

          That’s not evidence Eileen, that’s your opinion.  You have to actually do the calculations to how that there is not sufficient costs, I have yet to see that from you.

        4. Ron

          David:  It’s not Eileen’s job to do this.  She already pointed out that the city is examining this (as did I).

          I recall seeing a chart from one of the finance/budget commission members, if the fees were “equivalent”. That same individual then described specific costs which should be examined (as well as one that does not – perhaps related to storm drains. (Each house affects this differently than a unit of an apartment complex, for example. At least, that’s what I recall from the communication.)

          It *might* be your “job” to cover/explore such issues (if you’re so inclined).  🙂

        5. Howard P

          The evidence is that the impact fees charged for single family house is the same whether it is a two or five bedroom home, and that no additional impact fees are charged to a single family home if a bedroom is added on, or if a garage is turned into a bedroom.  

          Something is obviously rotten in Denmark!

        6. Eileen Samitz

          Howard P,

          Yes, I agree that the developer impact fees for single family also needs updating now as well. While there is demand for smaller houses which would be lower in price, there is no incentive for developers to build smaller houses if the impact fees are the same for a 1,200 sq. ft. 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house as a 2,500 sq. ft. 3-bedroom 2-bathroom house. This has been a complaint from the developers as well.

        7. Eileen Samitz

          David,

          The issue of the developer impact fees needing updating is not an opinion issue. Even the Budget and Finance Commissioners have concerns about this.

          The Council has concerns as well which is why it is being agendized after the Council break.

          Why would you not want the City to recover the appropriate impact fees on new development? The City needs the revenue.

  10. Ron

    Don:  “D level is considered acceptable.”

    “D” is apparently the level that Richards/Olive will deteriorate to if the development is approved (from the current “C” level during the A.M. peak), if the city does nothing to address the need for a bicycle/pedestrian overpass/underpass (which is needed to offset this impact of the proposed development).

    If the city chooses to implement a “phased” signal for bicyclists/pedestrians (instead of a needed overpass/underpass), it will further impact that intersection.  (That impact has not been studied or presented, in the DEIR.)

    1. Ron

      To clarify, I understand that the “positive” impact (at Richards/Olive) of building an overpass/underpass has apparently not been analyzed, in regard to this proposed development.  No doubt, there would still be some negative impact on that intersection resulting from this proposed development, regardless.

        1. Ron

          C’mon, David.  We both know that you’re referring to the “plan” in which UCD says”jump”, and the city says “how high” (regardless of impacts).

          The topic of today’s article discusses one of those impacts (the need for safe bicycle/pedestrian access, to/from the proposed development). Hopefully, something that won’t impact the Richards/Boulevard intersection to an even greater degree than what’s presented in the DEIR.

        2. Ron

          David:  In the long run, it’s difficult to know if developments such as this will facilitate UCD’s reluctance to build sufficient student housing on campus.  I understand that this particular proposal will destroy some existing affordable housing, and does not include any affordable replacement.

          But again, the topic of your article today is the bicycle/pedestrian overpass.

  11. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    These mega-dorms like Sterling and the Lincoln40 proposal are having no positive impact on the rental housing needs for non-students like families and local workers due to their single-room-occupancy format of primarily enormous 4- and 5- bedroom “suite” apartments.

    Also, these mega-dorms are expensive, luxury student housing which does nothing to help the vast majority students who are seeking affordable housing.

    1. Don Shor

      These mega-dorms like Sterling and the Lincoln40 proposal are having no positive impact on the rental housing needs for non-students

      Of course they do. They increase the supply of rental housing.

  12. David Greenwald

    I am posting this from a Facebook post:

    “Why is this author (referring to Eileen) on a crusade to limit increased rental stock in Davis? I am guessing she is not a renter in town faced with the extreme housing insecurity we non student renters face. Pressure must be taken off the local rental market and if UC will not build on campus we should allow infill projects.

    “While I do not disagree that UC needs to allow more housing development on campus, we current renters cannot wait for relief. I am guessing the author is secure in her own home so does not care if families and seniors who rent are displaced by low inventory and rising rents. NIMBYism is going to hurt an awful lot of Davis renters who only wish to stay sheltered in this community.”

  13. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    This seems to be a new precedent, that you are posting for other anonymous sources. I hope that this is not going to be a new practice since it goes outside of all the rules and policies that everyone else is abiding by to participate on the Vanguard.

    But in response to this comment by a anonymous poster from some Facebook page, apparently this person does not understand what my position it on this issue. Contrary to their comment, in the case of every new multi-family project that has come forward. I have advocated for there to be rental units designed for non-students (such as the author of your anonymous post), rather than just exclusively for students like the Sterling and the Lincoln40 apartments are proposing. These enormous multi-family projects need to have 1-,2- and 3-bedroom apartments which would be available for our local workers and families.

    In addition, I have been advocating for almost two years that UCD needs to provide far more on-campus housing to provide more convenient and affordable housing for the UCD students while also taking pressure off the rental housing market in Davis to allow more apartment to be available to non-students.

    The biggest Nimby in this entire equation is UCD which has 5,300 acres and needs to provide the minimum of 50% on-campus housing for its students like the other UC’s are, rather than the inadequate number of beds that UCD is proposing in their LRDP update.

    So contrary to the anonymous posters belief, I do care about the need for rental housing needs for non-students including local workers, families and seniors. That is precisely why I keep advocating for 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom traditional apartment units in these multi-family proposals which would provide housing for all, students and non-students, rather than the mega-dorms which target only students with furnished 4-and 5- furnished bedroom apartment “suites” which rent-by-the-bed.

    Please share this with the anonymous poster whom I would be happy to talk to.

     

    1. Don Shor

      These enormous multi-family projects need to have 1-,2- and 3-bedroom apartments which would be available for our local workers and families.

      29% of the units at Lincoln 40 would be 2- and 3- bedroom.
      The breakdown is as follows:
      2-bedroom: 17 units
      3-bedroom: 21 units
      4-bedroom: 84 units
      5-bedroom: 8 units.

      1. Eileen Samitz

        Don,

        The 2- and 3-bedrooms proposed at Lincoln40 do not help families and most local workers because these are furnished apartments which are single-room-occupancy, which are rented by the bed in an expensive, luxury mega-dorm complex.

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Howard,

          Rented by the bed literally. Many of the bedrooms are double occupancy so it is rental by the bed. I am not certain about the size of the bed.

  14. Howard P

    David… from a journalistic point of view, what is the difference between an ‘anonymous source’, and ‘an anonymous person’ whose communication to you, you decide to post?  I see, little or none.

    Meant as an entirely fair question…

    Feel free to reply off-line, because you Don and a few others know “exactly” who I am.

    [edited]

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Howard P.,

      I see a difference. This is a problem because normally when a poster comments on the Vanguard, I am able to see their comments and respond directly, rather than having to go though David, as is the case here. This is like playing “telephone”.

      If this situation happens again it would be best for David to direct the Facebook commentor to post directly on the Vanguard, so we can engage in dialog and resolve any misunderstandings.

       

       

      1. Howard P

        OK… have have often found that if it was between me and a single ‘another’, without needing an audience, I gave them my e-mail and took it off-line… different folk, different style… whatever works…

        1. Ron

          David:  “More and more people are posting comments away from the Vanguard.”

          Gee, I wonder why?  🙂 In any case, you didn’t actually address Eileen’s suggestion.

        2. Keith O

          He says in a comment thread that has 101 comments. LOL.

          Right, and all are comments by pretty much by the same 5 or 6 commenters who say the same thing ad nauseam on every thread regarding development.

          LOL

  15. Todd Edelman

    Supercounty (Megaregion), aided by North Korean special forces, forces Solano, Yolo and Sacramento Counties to build a dedicated express bus lane from junction of 113 to Sacramento as they laugh off tight diamond plan for Richards-80 as temporary fix. After North Koreans are defeated by a single tactical police vehicle, voters approve high tolls and gas taxes to accelerate development of higher-speed rail connected to bicycle superhighways. Cover of Time magazine, 2027: “How a region in California reduced obesity by 50%”

  16. Tia Will

    They help families if they reduce the over consumption of students in single family home rentals.”

    I swear no students have been consumed at my single family home rental property.

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