Making a Davis-Woodland Dedicated Bike Lane a Priority

A few weeks ago, a man was killed bicycling on County Road 99 between Davis and Woodland. It was just before 6 a.m. and the man wore a bicycle helmet and he had a light. But he was no match for the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on the narrow road. It is a road I have traveled by bike many times, although always during broad daylight.

The tragic death of bicyclist Willie Lopez serves as a stark reminder that our county roads are increasingly becoming urban thoroughfares that share narrow lanes with farm machinery, bicyclists and suburban traffic.

Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad recently remarked on his blog:

“This should further prioritize a dedicated bike path between Woodland and Davis.”

Two years ago marked a spike in Multiple-Casualty Incidents. As a result, a task force was created by Supervisor Mariko Yamada to determine why deaths on county roads were increasing at such a high rate.

According to her, no patterns has emerged but they were able to identify the top 20 most dangerous roadways and intersections in Yolo County and have obtained a grant to help get data on where road upgrades need to occur.

Yolo County now has a master plan for bikeways and is actively seeking to produce a dedicated bike path between Davis and Woodland.

They are also looking at an improved transportation corridor between Woodland and Davis that would help create a pathway for electric vehicles. The “e-ways” as they are calling it, would be a dedicated pathway that has a portion set aside for bicyclists and another portion for electric vehicles.

These are all steps in the right direction. There are actually two important issues that come together. On the one hand, basic safety for bicyclists who need a pathway away from vehicle traffic that travels in excess of 60 mph on narrow roads. The other of course in environmental, creating pathways for easy access for both bikes and electric vehicles, would create an incentive to use those vehicles instead of cars on the short trek between the two cities.

There is already a dedicated bike path along side I-80 over the causeway between Davis and West Sacramento. However it would be helpful there as well to have a way for electric vehicle to be able to go over the causeway and into West Sacramento and Sacramento itself.

The City of Davis is also looking to expand the accessibility of the dedicated bike path from Davis to West Sacramento.

Ken Celli wrote a letter to the editor on October 24, 2007:

“On Monday night, the Bicycle Advisory Committee voted to expedite four capital projects for inclusion in the existing Bicycle Plan, one of which would be a connector ramp from either the Pelz Bicycle Overcrossing or Pole Line overpass to the Old Route 40 bike path that parallels Interstate 80. This is the bike path that is sandwiched between I-80 and the railroad tracks. Currently, the only Davis access to this bike path is from Richards Boulevard (via Olive Drive) or Mace Boulevard. There is no access in between.

By opening up this corridor, all of North, East and South Davis can commute entirely by bike path east toward Sacramento without dangerously commingling in the rush-hour automobile traffic on Fifth Street, Second Street or Mace Boulevard; traffic that is projected to increase four-fold with commercial development on Second Street near Mace.”

The city of Davis was the first city to have dedicated bike paths, however, it is time for Davis to expand itself far reaching view into the next century. Davis needs to lead the way to help push the county to expand its bike access paths so that safety can be a high priority for all bicyclists. Just as importantly, the more people we can get out of their combustion driven cars and into alternative means of transportation, the better we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint, a stated goal of the city council.

A Davis-Woodland bike path seems like a perfect partnership project between Davis, Woodland, and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. Hopefully the Davis City Council will step up as well to make this goal a reality.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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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24 Comments

  1. sharla

    The bike path to Woodland should be a priority for the County.

    I spoke recently with a fellow who lives in Davis that has to be in Woodland on the weekends to participate in the Probation Work program at 8:00 am sharp. The earliest bus from Davis to Woodland on the weekend gets him there minutes after 8:00 am. Being late is not an option – Probation just doesn’t care that that the bus schedule does not jive with the start time for their program. So riding his bike is his only option unless he can rustle up a ride. He says that every road he has tried is frightening. The cars wiz by at high speed in what seems only inches away.

    I’m certain that there are other people in the same boat. We have a bike path to Sacramento and one that goes pretty far to Winters. But nothing to Woodland, the County seat and the location of many services for citizens in the County.

  2. sharla

    The bike path to Woodland should be a priority for the County.

    I spoke recently with a fellow who lives in Davis that has to be in Woodland on the weekends to participate in the Probation Work program at 8:00 am sharp. The earliest bus from Davis to Woodland on the weekend gets him there minutes after 8:00 am. Being late is not an option – Probation just doesn’t care that that the bus schedule does not jive with the start time for their program. So riding his bike is his only option unless he can rustle up a ride. He says that every road he has tried is frightening. The cars wiz by at high speed in what seems only inches away.

    I’m certain that there are other people in the same boat. We have a bike path to Sacramento and one that goes pretty far to Winters. But nothing to Woodland, the County seat and the location of many services for citizens in the County.

  3. sharla

    The bike path to Woodland should be a priority for the County.

    I spoke recently with a fellow who lives in Davis that has to be in Woodland on the weekends to participate in the Probation Work program at 8:00 am sharp. The earliest bus from Davis to Woodland on the weekend gets him there minutes after 8:00 am. Being late is not an option – Probation just doesn’t care that that the bus schedule does not jive with the start time for their program. So riding his bike is his only option unless he can rustle up a ride. He says that every road he has tried is frightening. The cars wiz by at high speed in what seems only inches away.

    I’m certain that there are other people in the same boat. We have a bike path to Sacramento and one that goes pretty far to Winters. But nothing to Woodland, the County seat and the location of many services for citizens in the County.

  4. sharla

    The bike path to Woodland should be a priority for the County.

    I spoke recently with a fellow who lives in Davis that has to be in Woodland on the weekends to participate in the Probation Work program at 8:00 am sharp. The earliest bus from Davis to Woodland on the weekend gets him there minutes after 8:00 am. Being late is not an option – Probation just doesn’t care that that the bus schedule does not jive with the start time for their program. So riding his bike is his only option unless he can rustle up a ride. He says that every road he has tried is frightening. The cars wiz by at high speed in what seems only inches away.

    I’m certain that there are other people in the same boat. We have a bike path to Sacramento and one that goes pretty far to Winters. But nothing to Woodland, the County seat and the location of many services for citizens in the County.

  5. 無名 - wu ming

    if there was a dedicated bike path to woodland, i would definitely ride my bike there. the county roads to winters are less trafficked, and the bike lane gets you half of the way there anyway, so when i do go on long rides, it’s usually in that direction.

    a countywide network of bike paths would be really nice. there was some talk of linking the davis paths up with some future network connecting to the vic fazio wetlands preserve and potentially some delta/sacramento river trails, which would be really cool, too.

    hopefully this unfortunate death will get the supervisors moving on it.

  6. 無名 - wu ming

    if there was a dedicated bike path to woodland, i would definitely ride my bike there. the county roads to winters are less trafficked, and the bike lane gets you half of the way there anyway, so when i do go on long rides, it’s usually in that direction.

    a countywide network of bike paths would be really nice. there was some talk of linking the davis paths up with some future network connecting to the vic fazio wetlands preserve and potentially some delta/sacramento river trails, which would be really cool, too.

    hopefully this unfortunate death will get the supervisors moving on it.

  7. 無名 - wu ming

    if there was a dedicated bike path to woodland, i would definitely ride my bike there. the county roads to winters are less trafficked, and the bike lane gets you half of the way there anyway, so when i do go on long rides, it’s usually in that direction.

    a countywide network of bike paths would be really nice. there was some talk of linking the davis paths up with some future network connecting to the vic fazio wetlands preserve and potentially some delta/sacramento river trails, which would be really cool, too.

    hopefully this unfortunate death will get the supervisors moving on it.

  8. 無名 - wu ming

    if there was a dedicated bike path to woodland, i would definitely ride my bike there. the county roads to winters are less trafficked, and the bike lane gets you half of the way there anyway, so when i do go on long rides, it’s usually in that direction.

    a countywide network of bike paths would be really nice. there was some talk of linking the davis paths up with some future network connecting to the vic fazio wetlands preserve and potentially some delta/sacramento river trails, which would be really cool, too.

    hopefully this unfortunate death will get the supervisors moving on it.

  9. Anonymous

    “Two years ago marked a spike in Multiple-Casualty Incidents. As a result, a task force was created by Supervisor Mariko Yamada to determine why deaths on county roads were increasing at such a high rate.”

    HIGH RATES OF SPEED allowed for automobiles on roads with NO SHOULDERS is a pretty clear reason for county roads to be unsafe for everyone, including those driving or riding in cars. There should be at least one road with adequate shoulders for a car breakdown lane/bicycle path even for motorists, let alone bicyclists. If you are going at a good clip, it only takes a slight swerve/overcorrection to end up in an irrigation ditch on county roads. All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists. I am also all for having a dedicated bicyle path going to Woodland from Davis that would be strictly for vehicles of the two wheel variety/small electric golf carts – so they do not have to compete with automobiles many times their size.

  10. Anonymous

    “Two years ago marked a spike in Multiple-Casualty Incidents. As a result, a task force was created by Supervisor Mariko Yamada to determine why deaths on county roads were increasing at such a high rate.”

    HIGH RATES OF SPEED allowed for automobiles on roads with NO SHOULDERS is a pretty clear reason for county roads to be unsafe for everyone, including those driving or riding in cars. There should be at least one road with adequate shoulders for a car breakdown lane/bicycle path even for motorists, let alone bicyclists. If you are going at a good clip, it only takes a slight swerve/overcorrection to end up in an irrigation ditch on county roads. All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists. I am also all for having a dedicated bicyle path going to Woodland from Davis that would be strictly for vehicles of the two wheel variety/small electric golf carts – so they do not have to compete with automobiles many times their size.

  11. Anonymous

    “Two years ago marked a spike in Multiple-Casualty Incidents. As a result, a task force was created by Supervisor Mariko Yamada to determine why deaths on county roads were increasing at such a high rate.”

    HIGH RATES OF SPEED allowed for automobiles on roads with NO SHOULDERS is a pretty clear reason for county roads to be unsafe for everyone, including those driving or riding in cars. There should be at least one road with adequate shoulders for a car breakdown lane/bicycle path even for motorists, let alone bicyclists. If you are going at a good clip, it only takes a slight swerve/overcorrection to end up in an irrigation ditch on county roads. All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists. I am also all for having a dedicated bicyle path going to Woodland from Davis that would be strictly for vehicles of the two wheel variety/small electric golf carts – so they do not have to compete with automobiles many times their size.

  12. Anonymous

    “Two years ago marked a spike in Multiple-Casualty Incidents. As a result, a task force was created by Supervisor Mariko Yamada to determine why deaths on county roads were increasing at such a high rate.”

    HIGH RATES OF SPEED allowed for automobiles on roads with NO SHOULDERS is a pretty clear reason for county roads to be unsafe for everyone, including those driving or riding in cars. There should be at least one road with adequate shoulders for a car breakdown lane/bicycle path even for motorists, let alone bicyclists. If you are going at a good clip, it only takes a slight swerve/overcorrection to end up in an irrigation ditch on county roads. All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists. I am also all for having a dedicated bicyle path going to Woodland from Davis that would be strictly for vehicles of the two wheel variety/small electric golf carts – so they do not have to compete with automobiles many times their size.

  13. Rich Rifkin

    “All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists.”

    Unless a county road is very lightly trafficked, such as Putah Creek Road (the main bicycle route used to go to Winters from Davis) is, shoulders for bicyclists are really undesirable.

    What we need is a dedicated bike lane which is separated completely from the lanes designed for motorized vehicles. The Howard Reese Bike Path, which parallels Russell Blvd all the way from Hwy 113 to Road 95A, is a good model.

    It may be more convenient and less expensive to simply make wider and better paved shoulders, but on roads where thousands of cars are zooming by at 60 mph and faster, a bicyclist will still be in danger from cars, trucks and tractors.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    “All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists.”

    Unless a county road is very lightly trafficked, such as Putah Creek Road (the main bicycle route used to go to Winters from Davis) is, shoulders for bicyclists are really undesirable.

    What we need is a dedicated bike lane which is separated completely from the lanes designed for motorized vehicles. The Howard Reese Bike Path, which parallels Russell Blvd all the way from Hwy 113 to Road 95A, is a good model.

    It may be more convenient and less expensive to simply make wider and better paved shoulders, but on roads where thousands of cars are zooming by at 60 mph and faster, a bicyclist will still be in danger from cars, trucks and tractors.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    “All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists.”

    Unless a county road is very lightly trafficked, such as Putah Creek Road (the main bicycle route used to go to Winters from Davis) is, shoulders for bicyclists are really undesirable.

    What we need is a dedicated bike lane which is separated completely from the lanes designed for motorized vehicles. The Howard Reese Bike Path, which parallels Russell Blvd all the way from Hwy 113 to Road 95A, is a good model.

    It may be more convenient and less expensive to simply make wider and better paved shoulders, but on roads where thousands of cars are zooming by at 60 mph and faster, a bicyclist will still be in danger from cars, trucks and tractors.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    “All main county roads need adequate shoulders for both motorists and bicyclists.”

    Unless a county road is very lightly trafficked, such as Putah Creek Road (the main bicycle route used to go to Winters from Davis) is, shoulders for bicyclists are really undesirable.

    What we need is a dedicated bike lane which is separated completely from the lanes designed for motorized vehicles. The Howard Reese Bike Path, which parallels Russell Blvd all the way from Hwy 113 to Road 95A, is a good model.

    It may be more convenient and less expensive to simply make wider and better paved shoulders, but on roads where thousands of cars are zooming by at 60 mph and faster, a bicyclist will still be in danger from cars, trucks and tractors.

  17. Anonymous

    Well as a Woodlander I would also like to see this path. The Woodland General plan is due to be drafted and now would be a good time to let the Woodland City Council know what they should be doing. It could be tough though, I think it has been 45 years since Mayor Flory has ridden a bike.

  18. Anonymous

    Well as a Woodlander I would also like to see this path. The Woodland General plan is due to be drafted and now would be a good time to let the Woodland City Council know what they should be doing. It could be tough though, I think it has been 45 years since Mayor Flory has ridden a bike.

  19. Anonymous

    Well as a Woodlander I would also like to see this path. The Woodland General plan is due to be drafted and now would be a good time to let the Woodland City Council know what they should be doing. It could be tough though, I think it has been 45 years since Mayor Flory has ridden a bike.

  20. Anonymous

    Well as a Woodlander I would also like to see this path. The Woodland General plan is due to be drafted and now would be a good time to let the Woodland City Council know what they should be doing. It could be tough though, I think it has been 45 years since Mayor Flory has ridden a bike.

  21. Anonymous

    If all the funding the taxpayers have paid for health care for illegals and incarcerating them and their gang banger kids were removed, this could be done.

  22. Anonymous

    If all the funding the taxpayers have paid for health care for illegals and incarcerating them and their gang banger kids were removed, this could be done.

  23. Anonymous

    If all the funding the taxpayers have paid for health care for illegals and incarcerating them and their gang banger kids were removed, this could be done.

  24. Anonymous

    If all the funding the taxpayers have paid for health care for illegals and incarcerating them and their gang banger kids were removed, this could be done.

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