Commentary: What to Do About Downtown Parking in Davis

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parking-garage-dtI read through the parking task force’s scenarios to be hammered out.  They have developed three strategies, where the main difference appears to be whether existing on-street space downtown should be paid parking or 90-minute spots, rather than the current two-hour limitations.

To be honest, I am not sure that any of these scenarios really gets us where we need to go.  As long time readers surely know, I have long favored a very basic concept and a very simple scenario.  The idea is that you provide parking on the periphery – divert traffic from going under the Richards Underpass and either turn downtown into a walking/biking only district or allow for very short-term parking on the street.

My proposal has been to put the entrance to a parking garage on Olive Dr. adjacent to the Design House.  It would then go over the tracks and consume the current parking lot by the Boy Scout Cabin.  The idea there would be to get people to turn onto Olive and get out of their cars at F and 1st streets, which would put people within about three blocks of most of downtown.

At that place there could be free trolleys and bike rentals to allow people easy access to the rest of the downtown.

When I first pitched the idea, there were a lot of naysayers, but as time has gone on, more and more leaders in City Hall and the business community like the idea.

The Enterprise had a good story on the parking task force’s decisions.  In it, Tom Sakash quoted City Transportation Planner Brian Abbanat, who suggested that the strategies would make sure parking was available to customers, who are “the highest-priority users of the downtown parking supply.”

But other downtowns have utilized a strategy that puts the longer-term parking more on the periphery and opens the street parking to either short-term customers or those willing to feed meters repeatedly.

One of the options would convert about 470 spaces to metered parking with four-hour time limits.

That accomplishes one idea, but neglects the idea of getting the traffic out of the core, which is really not well-suited for current traffic volumes.

Currently, the city meters parking at the E Street Plaza lot, and yet, for the most part, that lot is jammed with parking much of the day.

The article quotes two prominent business owners.

Alzada Knickerbocker of the Avid Reader, and a member of the task force, “said it’s important to enable customers to park more readily and for longer periods of time.”

On the other hand, Jennifer Anderson from Davis Ace, also a task force member, “believes that adding more paid parking, not just in the surface lots but also on the street, could put the downtown at a competitive disadvantage to other shopping centers in the area.”

“I believe that we as a community need to compete with our neighboring shopping centers (in the region),” she told the paper. “Sacramento and Woodland and Vacaville, none of those places have paid parking and I really believe that it’s important for our customers to feel very welcome downtown.”

The problem is that it is not clear how Davis Downtown is going to compete with big boxes around the region.  That does not seem practical to begin with.

In terms of the downtowns, Sacramento absolutely does charge for parking in the downtown area.  Woodland and Vacaville do not really have vibrant downtowns at this point.

Is Ms. Anderson suggesting that Davis Downtown is going to compete with the Woodland Gateway or the Vacaville Premium Outlets?  That does not seem very realistic, both from a space and specialization utilization.

But it does bring up an important point here, and that is this discussion seems completely misplaced.  How can one discuss the long-term parking issues of the Davis Downtown without discussing the larger plan?

For example, as currently configured, Ms. Anderson’s point seems irrelevant.  Davis Downtown is not set up to compete with any of those regional entities.  On the other hand, Davis Downtown can attract regional interest through what it does provide that is unique – unique dining experience and entertainment.

Some have expressed the desire for the downtown to become more than that, and suggested we need more retail options.

I am mixed on that view.  The development of retail seems to be outstripping the central core concept of a downtown.  I am not suggesting this is for the better, but I fail to see how a downtown can compete with the vast open areas that have been used to create the enormous retail centers in places like Woodland, Sacramento, Vacaville, West Sacramento and Fairfield.

Moreover, we should be discussing overall how we want to lay out and design the future downtown.  Do we want more of a promenade where people can walk and bike through key portions of downtown?  If that’s the case, why do you want street parking in the core, other than for very short-term needs?

I still think creating parking peripheral to the core and then allowing for easy access to trolleys and bikes and other secondary modes of transportation may accomplish much of what the downtown hopes.

But before we can decide all of this, we must decide what our downtown should look like in five, ten, twenty years of time, and design the parking system to fit those needs.

Right now, what I see is a lot of energy going to fix a system that is largely broken beyond repair.  We are going to put in meters and allow people to park longer?  Was not the entire justification for having the time limitations to free up spaces?

It makes very little sense to put long-term parking on the street.  The longer the parking, the further away people should be willing to travel to get from their vehicle to a business.

—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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50 thoughts on “Commentary: What to Do About Downtown Parking in Davis”

  1. JustSaying

    “The problem is that it is not clear how Davis Downtown is going to compete with big boxes around the region. That does not seem practical to begin with….But before we can decide all of this – we must decide what our downtown should look like in five, ten, twenty years of time and design the parking system to fit those needs.”

    I’d guess that three businesses won’t be in downtown Davis in 10 or 20 years, regardless of what kind of parking we construct: the Davis Enterprise, Davis Ace and the Avid Reader.

    Our downtown will continue its relentless march to quaintness because of changes in marketing, downtown real estate prices and competition from big box developments in nearby towns.

    We might as well embrace our inevitable future of fun food, entertainment and trinket purveyors–the sooner, the better–with the quaint promenade downtown that David envisions. Constructing large, expensive parking structures would just be stopgap measures that would get in the way of improvements that would make our downtown an inviting place for the business that will survive.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    “I’d guess that three businesses won’t be in downtown Davis in 10 or 20 years, regardless of what kind of parking we construct: the Davis Enterprise, Davis Ace and the Avid Reader.”

    That’s actually a pretty interesting point by itself.

  3. Frankly

    Step 1 – Develop a list of the type and scope of retail and other business that a city like Davis needs to have and should have.

    Step 2 – Develop a gap analysis and then an economic development plan for filling that gap.

    Within step 2, determine the parking requirements and traffic impacts, and develop a corresponding infrastructure plan using all the creativity we can muster.

    By changing roads and traffic patterns and implementing parking solutions outside of this requirements analysis, gap analysis and comprehensive design plan, we ensure shoddy and problematic city planning.

    Case in point… if Davis’s downtown is intended to be a full-service retail location, then eliminating auto traffic and store-front traffic is a non-starter. You will kill several businesses currently located downtown. If as JS comments, Davis’s downtown is destined to be a food, entertainment and trinket purveyor location, eliminating auto traffic and putting parking on the periphery would probably enhance that business. However, if we do this we need to be honest in accepting greater peripheral development as the no-growthers cannot have their cake and eat it too. City residents will require certain retail.

    A couple of semi-related observations:

    1 – Amazon.com today announced that it is getting into the online grocery business. It has been working on the model for a couple of years. A couple of years may not sound like much time for those working in government, but for a private-sector dot.com the size of Amazon.com, the grocery business should be worried. If I were the CEO of any of the large grocery concerns, I would be working furiously to implement an online-delivery service. If I were running the food coop, I would be doing the same.

    2 – Just came back from New York and Boston. The Bike Share program was just opened up in New York. Boston already had it. Davis should consider it. One idea is to station bike share locations next to periphery parking. See the following:

    New York: [url]http://bikenyc.org/?gclid=COe5stKYzbcCFYiDQgodxUgAdw[/url]

    Boston: [url]http://www.cityofboston.gov/bikes/share.asp[/url]

  4. Frankly

    [i] if Davis’s downtown is intended to be a full-service retail location, then eliminating auto traffic and store-front traffic is a non-starter[/i]

    Meant: if Davis’s downtown is intended to be a full-service retail location, then eliminating auto traffic and store-front [b]parking[/b] is a non-starter

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Based on two things, first the money put aside for the parking structure assuming that’s still available and second the potential availability of grant funding for an innovative transportation related project.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Frankly: so based on your analysis, it makes sense to make that determination before deciding on parking issues. The second point is questioning whether the downtown can be a full-service retail location. I’ll be interested in Don Shor’s thoughts on this as well.

  7. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > As long time readers surely know, I have long favored
    > a very basic concept and a very simple scenario. The
    > idea is that you provide parking on the periphery

    Years ago I was talking with the owner of a lot of retail space on the San Francisco Peninsula as one of his tenants (a store owned by a rich empty nester that tried to sell fancy $200+ dolls) was closing early and hoping he could find someone to take over her lease. He said that he felt the biggest problem most people had was that they forget that “most people are not like them” (in this case want to collect dolls that cost $300)…

    I walk, run and ride more than most people but (I’m not like David) and I would not be a fan of having to park south of the tracks to get to downtown business (the average/obese person would probably like the idea even less). It is close to a mile round trip walk from the Design House to Burgers & Brew. It sounds like Davis like to make this walk, but I don’t think that very many other people would. I can’t think of a single successful retail business where people need to walk a half mile from parking to get there (and I’m wondering if David can think of any).

    > My proposal has been to put the entrance to a parking
    > garage on Olive Dr. adjacent to the Design House

    Would you build it behind the Design House (or tear down the Design House)? My proposal would be to tear down the Design House and MHPs next to it and build apartments (that would fill up with people that would support downtown business) and build a bike/pedestrian tunnel under the tracks that came out by the train station.

    Then Just Saying wrote:

    > I’d guess that three businesses won’t be in downtown
    > Davis in 10 or 20 years, regardless of what kind of
    > parking we construct: the Davis Enterprise, Davis Ace
    > and the Avid Reader.

    I agree with him on the Enterprise and the Avid Reader, but based on my estimate of the Davis ACE profits I’m guessing that they will be here (and probably buy the Enterprise buildings and tear them down to get more parking for the stores)…

  8. Don Shor

    A healthy downtown will have a mix of specialty retail, restaurants and bars, and a couple of larger retailers that draw people much as anchor tenants do in malls. Davis Ace fills that last role right now, and the addition of the new feed store is another helpful draw. You want stores that cause people to go downtown for specific items, then shop at the attractive boutiques and buy some food while they’re there.
    Davis has that mix right now. Davis has an attractive and, by comparison with most communities of this size, a healthy downtown. The way to preserve it is to retain strong neighborhood shopping centers for the immediate needs of nearby residents, limit store sizes, and avoid large peripheral centers that draw people away from the downtown.
    [quote] Step 1 – Develop a list of the type and scope of retail and other business that a city like Davis needs to have and should have.[/quote]
    That would be an exercise in futility. There is no way to fulfill this. All you’d learn is that some people like Frankly want the bigger stores that are nearby.

    There is no reason Davis should imitate other cities with regard to product mix and shopping options. Not every city has to have every chain store. Many metropolitan areas have adjoining cities that are symbiotic, such as Arcata and Eureka. Big box and larger space-requiring options such as furniture stores are in Woodland, while Davis has a uniquely strong downtown that has charming shops with interesting products. And Davis has auto dealers, which are a regional draw.

    When you have a mix of day-use retail and evening-use restaurants, you get the healthiest, safest, and most efficient use of space. You also get the greatest sales tax revenue per square foot. When you add some residential to the mix, you get a downtown that can support all kinds of locally-owned businesses. Shoppers need to be able to drive into the downtown, park within a reasonable walking distance of the store they seek, and have some longer-term parking reasonably nearby.

    I consider the Olive Drive idea pointless. It would just be another underutilized parking structure. The parking that is needed should be closer to the destinations of the shoppers. You’re focusing on the wrong kind of parking need.

  9. Don Shor

    [quote] it makes sense to make that determination before deciding on parking issues.[/quote]

    Parking issues have been analyzed, surveyed, and talked to death. It’s time to move on something.

    Another trend to note: the biggest retailers are going with smaller footprints. WalMart is opening two of their “Neighborhood Market” grocery stores in Woodland. 40,000 sq. ft. These would be legal under current Davis code if they chose to open one here. I’m sure Target has their small-footprint CityTarget stores.
    The Big Box model is dead, killed by the internet. Collateral damage includes shopping malls and category-killer retail chains.

  10. SouthofDavis

    Don wrote:

    > When you add some residential to the mix, you
    > get a downtown that can support all kinds of
    > locally-owned businesses.

    I agree with Don that we need more downtown residential if we want to have a vibrant downtown. In addition to my idea for more housing south of the tracks (connected to downtown with a tunnel) I believe we should increase the height limits downtown so developers could build apartments and condos over retail (and parking for residents and shoppers). Unlike SF and many other cities Davis is flat and does not have the blocked view issues that other cities have when they increase height limits.

  11. Frankly

    [i]so based on your analysis, it makes sense to make that determination before deciding on parking issues. The second point is questioning whether the downtown can be a full-service retail location. I’ll be interested in Don Shor’s thoughts on this as well.[/i]

    Agree with both.

    On the second, I think the no-growthers will demonstrate their nakedness trying to answer that question. Because, even if they support parking enhancements within the downtown in support of full-service retail, the size of the downtown is too small to support full-service retail unless we are willing to expand the footprint of downtown into existing residential areas.

    We cannot easily densify the downtown (taller buildings) because the streets are narrow and there are too many politically-active NIMBYs.

    However, I will say that I encourage everyone to head to your nearest big city and go to a vibrant neighborhood with narrow streets and tall buildings. While visiting New York and Boston I was very taken by the commonality of this mix of features and attributes (I will post a few pictures later). Parking was/is non-existent in all circumstances.

    Boston is a very interesting city because it is a very small in size and it is known as an excellent walking city. In a single day you can visit most of the key neighborhoods by foot. The Big Dig was completed about a decade ago, and there is a terrific green esplanade through the middle of the downtown where the elevated freeway used to exist.

    However, don’t expect to purchase your building lumber and hardware in the city, and don’t expect to do any bulk shopping unless you travel by car to the periphery.

  12. Frankly

    [i]That would be an exercise in futility. There is no way to fulfill this. All you’d learn is that some people like Frankly want the bigger stores that are nearby.[/i]

    Don, this is bullshit. You can easily survey people for what they need and what they desire to meet their retail shopping needs. But you can certainly ignore or deny that information in pursuit of your individual desires to keep Davis limited it retail-services. But as someone that ignores or denies the facts, you cannot also claim a seat at the table of objective and unbiased dialog concerning growth and economic development.

    Regional shopping centers have limited utility in the larger retail and economic-development plan as proven over and over again in this town. Just see Westlake Shopping center for proof.

  13. Don Shor

    I think we need more downtown residential, which means increasing heights. I think we can expand downtown into nearby residential as well to some extent. Relaxed zoning would allow that possibility. Obviously you’re going to have case-by-case issues — you already do whenever there’s a redevelopment. Nobody wants a three-story building next door to their cottage, and those issues have to be resolved with staff and arbitration. It’s amazing what a little landscaping can do.
    I’m not sure who you’re calling a no-growther. If it’s me, that appellation is misplaced.

  14. Don Shor

    [quote]as proven over and over again in this town. Just see Westlake Shopping center for proof.[/quote]

    List the other shopping centers in town, and how they’re doing.

  15. Don Shor

    [quote]You can easily survey people for what they need and what they desire to meet their retail shopping needs. [/quote]
    There is no practical way to translate the results of such a survey into policies that don’t have adverse consequences. You’d have to ask: “which existing retailers are you willing to sacrifice in order to have the shopping options you have expressed a preference for?”
    If 15% of survey respondents want a large home improvement store, does that constitute sufficient demand to move forward and enable one? Or do you need 30%? 50%? Do other communities do this? Or do they just open up raw land for land developers, who then take the easiest route of developing it for national chains?

  16. Frankly

    Don, I could get behind your vision for an expanded and densified downtown. And with this, I would certainly agree that you are not a no-growther like some that would not support this, nor any peripheral development. However, the planning processes should also include assessment of the political challenges and risks for every option. I think an expanded and densified downtown is an exercise in futility unless we have politicians willing to push and lead that agenda.

    Interesting article in the WSJ yesterday about cities pushing for residential densification to combat the problem with escalating residential real estate costs. They are streamlining the permitting process for conversion of basements and garages and also the construction of studios on existing residential property. The problem is that these are 700 sq. ft. properties and appeal to young professionals… the kind of people Davis cannot attract because we don’t allow economic development on currently undeveloped land.

    This gets back to the point about assessing the realities of needs and projected needs. What is the mix of people today and how do we meet their specific needs? If we want a different mix of people and needs, then how do we migrate our city to that vision?

    Our views seem to be all over the map without a basis of analysis and vision.

  17. Don Shor

    [quote]They are streamlining the permitting process for conversion of basements and garages and also the construction of studios on existing residential property. The problem is that these are 700 sq. ft. properties and appeal to young professionals… the kind of people Davis cannot attract because we don’t allow economic development on currently undeveloped land. [/quote]

    I think if you spoke to any realtor, they would tell you that those would fill up [i]instantly[/i] in Davis. We have dozens of what the city housing folks call “garden apartments” on their roster of rental properties.

  18. DT Businessman

    What a fanciful op ed, David. Rightly or wrongly, the DPTF was assigned a specific task by the City Council to perform, which did not include flights of fantasy. Contrary to your claim, a larger plan was the foundation of the DPTF’s assignment, which is to provide recommendations that support the following Council goals (i.e. the larger plan):

    -Consider downtown as a destination, both for Davis residents and for visitors.
    -Advance the redevelopment of the downtown to provide mixed-use residential, retail and service, along with significant increase to parking.
    -Explore reconfiguration of parking and streets, maximizing utilization and convenience for customers.

    David, it is not clear to me why you willfully ignore the Council’s larger plan that the DPTF was tasked with supporting. Perhaps you can explain to your readers.

    As for your proposed Olive Drive parking structure project with visitors and employees streaming by bicycle and trolley into a pedestrian and bicycle only Downtown, the DPTF is operating in the real world with real data and was tasked with providing viable solutions. We don’t have the luxury of simply ignoring the data, human behavior, Council directives, and generally making it up as we go along. There has never been any input to the DPTF of any kind similar to what you are proposing. No “leaders in City Hall and the business community” have stepped forward to make such a recommendation to the DPTF. I checked with staff moments ago who said it was all news to them. If these leaders like your proposal so much, why have they failed to make their views known to the DPTF?

    Finally, your assertion that the DPTF has developed 3 strategies which they are “hammering out” is incorrect. The DPTF directed staff to propose strategies, which staff has done. The DPFT has yet to take action on any of the strategies. What action the DPTF will eventually take is unknown at this time and statements to the contrary are conjecture.

    This op ed has not been very helpful in fostering a well grounded discussion on this important issue.

    -Michael Bisch, DPTF member

  19. David M. Greenwald

    Don: It would only be underutilized if it was placed in on top of the existing structure. The existing structure will in fact – in my belief – cause all parking garage design/ locations to fail.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    Don: To your other comment, parking issues made be studied to death – but my proposal is to figure out what we want to do in downtown before implementing new parking strategies.

  21. David M. Greenwald

    Michael:

    I’ll do my best to address your points on my iPad…

    FIrst, I didn’t make a claim to the contrary only stated my opinion that addressing these parking issues in a tweaking manner makes little sense to me at this time. I don’t think this is a problem solved through tweaks. This is not the fault of the parking task force, it lies with city council and staff.

    Second, I don’t ignore anything, only question the timing of these proposals.

    Third, in terms of my proposal, I was under the impression you were in agreement with me here. Did I misunderstand? I understand the real world considerations, but at the same time, the proposed RDA funded garage, I think would have been disastrous.

    Fourth, disagree, I think the op-ed has done a reasonable job so far. I think we need a lot more discussion here and invite you to submit your own ideas.

  22. Don Shor

    I was under the impression that the RDA-funded parking structure was dead. All of the proposals the parking task force are reviewing, based on the Enterprise story, have to do with adjustments to existing parking options (meters, 90-minute vs 120-minute, X permits. etc.).
    Retailers will tell you that the issue that needs to be addressed is the perception that it is difficult to find a parking space near the store the customer is trying to get to. People won’t park and walk long distances to shop at destination stores. They might shop and walk into destination centers — a mall where they plan to visit several stores over a period of time. But to buy lunch, go to the bank, go to a specific store for a specific item? No. They want to park nearby.
    I think there are probably better uses for the RDA funds, whatever may be left of them, than building an edifice on Olive.

  23. SODA

    I had thought the E St lot paid parking was not very successful but your article seems to say otherwise. Data?
    I hope we don’t go to meters. I find it not hard to find parking; just takes a bit of time and then I am tempted to walk from the parking spot to several more stops, better for me and the carbon footprint!
    David knows SLO, we visited a number of times while our daughter was a student. Paid meters, hassle to find and pay for parking. I hope we don’t go there.

  24. JustSaying

    [quote]‘This op ed has not been very helpful in fostering a well grounded discussion on this important issue. “[/quote]It did foster your worthy commentary, Michael. Is there any room for prospects of a promenade area with no parking, accompanied with added parking on the outskirts (say the fire station/STEAC block)?[quote]“Nobody wants a three-story building next door to their cottage, and those issues have to be resolved with staff and arbitration. It’s amazing what a little landscaping can do.”[/quote]How did we end up approving the three monsters looming over the cottages next to Central Park?[quote]“You want stores that cause people to go downtown for specific items, then shop at the attractive boutiques and buy some food while they’re there.”[/quote]I don’t see Ace serving this role at all, based on my experience. It’s in-out-home for me. Maybe a survey would clarify Davis Hardware’s role as a draw for boutique shopping, etc.[quote]“I agree with him on the Enterprise and the Avid Reader, but based on my estimate of the Davis ACE profits I’m guessing that they will be here (and probably buy the Enterprise buildings and tear them down to get more parking for the stores)..”[/quote]To clarify: I’m not predicting the demise of any of these (except, maybe, the bookstore).

    I see both the [i]Enterprise[/i] and Ace properties as downtown walls that interfere with walks to small businesses–as well as real estate that’s too valuable for its present uses. Get rich by selling. Rebuild farther out, I’d say, like Hoffman’s and Goodyear. And, as long as Alzada wants to stick it out, she can boutique it up with more gift items and fewer books to survive.

  25. Davis Progressive

    “The Olive parking garage is a stupid idea. “

    it’s not a stupid idea, most people you talk to in the dt area like it. the only question is whether it’s practical.

  26. David M. Greenwald

    “I had thought the E St lot paid parking was not very successful but your article seems to say otherwise. Data?”

    I don’t have any data, but I do walk by there every day and see it full.

    “I hope we don’t go to meters. I find it not hard to find parking; just takes a bit of time and then I am tempted to walk from the parking spot to several more stops, better for me and the carbon footprint!
    David knows SLO, we visited a number of times while our daughter was a student. Paid meters, hassle to find and pay for parking. I hope we don’t go there.”

    I guess I never minded the parking situation in SLO. You have three options. (1) park for free in a garage for an hour and a half. The last time I went there they had additional garages and parking was easy to find. I’m headed there this weekend, so maybe I’ll look again.

    (2) park on the street using the meters.

    (3) park a little ways away for free and walk (akin to parking in old north davis).

  27. Growth Izzue

    Davis Progressive
    [quote]it’s not a stupid idea, most people you talk to in the dt area like it. the only question is whether it’s practical. [/quote]

    I thought it was David’s brainstorm, why would you have been talking to dt people about it? hmmmmmm………….

  28. Davis Progressive

    it’s not even his idea… i believe ken wagstaff, the former mayor first floated the idea like 15 years ago. it’s an idea that has been around for a long time and people are taking a look at again and i have spoken with some of those people.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    That is correct. When my wife ran for council, Ken made that suggestion to me and I liked the idea and picked it up and ran with it ever since, but the idea has been out there a long time, I’m not mine.

  30. David M. Greenwald

    Here’s a map I drew on to show why I don’t think the idea is stupid

    [img]images/stories/Parking.png[/img]

    So first, the proposal would move a good deal of traffic away from the underpass and into the garage. Obviously we would have to incentivize that.

    But look at how much space if there, you could easily put a four or five story garage in that space and it would not hinder site lines or anything.

    Also my “x” is where you would enter and look how close you would be to most of the core of downtown. The garage at fourth and G could service the northern end.

    To me it’s anything but stupid.

  31. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > To me it’s (the Olive Drive Parking structure) anything but stupid.

    I don’t think the idea is “stupid” but don’t think that many people will use a parking garage on the other side of the tracks.

    Sad to say but most people are lazy (and seem to be getting fatter and lazier every year) and just don’t like to walk very far (or ride bikes).

    Davis may be a big “bike city” but most people still drive cars. I was out on my bike this morning and at both stops I was the second bike in the bike rack while both parking lots had 20+ cars…

  32. David M. Greenwald

    SOD: It’s not on the other side of the tracks. You enter it on the other side of the tracks, but you leave the structure on F and 1st.

  33. Growth Izzue

    The best case scenario would be that it would be well utilized but what a traffic nightmare that would create. I agree with SOD, it would end up being another empty mausoleum. It would also hurt downtown businesses because of the inconvenience. I still always find free dt parking without much of a hassle, I don’t think the problem is as bad as some would have you think.

  34. EastCoastTransplant

    David,

    Love the Olive Parking idea, but as satellite parking for that train station. You want to help the environment, get people going to Sac and SF and Tahoe on the train. The lack of parking at that station is ridiculous, and it’s past time for the policies supporting limited parking there to change.

    Turning downtown into a car-free zone would be a death sentence for retail. I anticipate your “why?” question. First, past experience shows it only works for major tourist destinations. Other cities that try it see their retail die, and then undoes the decision ten years later. One example I am intimately familiar with is Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. People are generally too busy to deal with carrying dry cleaning blocks and blocks, or don’t have the time to stroll to get lunch, or just need to pick up some nails at Ace. They will be driven elsewhere to shop, by default. And yet not having to deal with cars anymore won’t draw so many new replacement customers to make up the difference. Trams and busses can make up the difference to some degree, but cost a fortune to maintain and operate. A few years after the grant money dries up towns say “why on earth do we PAY millions for a bus, when we could CHARGE millions for parking?!”

    However, that’s not to say that periphery lots are a bad idea. They are a very good idea. They will encourage drivers to avoid driving through downtown. Those that can walk, shall. If those lots are discounted, it would offset the impact from my next point.

    Parking meters, not time limits. Time limits alone don’t raise any money for Davis. I heard a rumor that Davis needs money? For potholes? Also, the free parking after 6PM is ridiculous in a college/nightclub town, at least on Weekends.

    If you want to reduce traffic congestion and accidents downtown, there are two solutions: switch to angled parking where possible, and forbid turns at critical intersections.

    Also, I know voters refused to allow the Richards underpass to be widened. That stinks. But, there’s no excuse for how badly managed that intersection at Olive and Richards is. The City went ahead and allowed developers to put hundreds of luxury college student apartment units down that road, and then did nothing to handle the increased bike, pedestrian, and car traffic coming through there across Richards. Sometimes that light turns, and nobody coming off of Olive got to go through at all. Then they let a Whole Foods into that corner lot without forcing them to build a parking structure on the parcel. Foolish. Don’t even get me started on that I-80 Richards exit deathtrap.

  35. Mr.Toad

    Building a bridge over the train tracks for access into a parking structure would add millions to the cost of the garage. Its pie in the sky from a guy that is always talking about the precarious balances of the community. So you want to save taxpayer money unless its for your own fantasy ideas.

  36. David M. Greenwald

    “So you want to save taxpayer money unless its for your own fantasy ideas. “

    Thank you for the cheap shot. Obviously it would not be feasible without grant money, which I stated earlier. So the accusation is baseless.

  37. SouthofDavis

    Mr. Toad wrote:

    > Building a bridge over the train tracks for access
    > into a parking structure would add millions to the
    > cost of the garage.

    It will also make it even less successful because very few people like to climb stairs to shop (ask any retail developer how most 2nd story retail does). I was talking to a mall developer once and he said they design the malls so you can never see from one anchor store to the other since when many people see how far it is they will get in their cars to drive (and not walk past all the high rent/sf shop space, and often decide they don’t need to keep shopping and just drive home)…

    P.S. I bet if we got to vote on a wider Richards underpass today it would pass…

  38. Mr.Toad

    In a town where you can’t get the votes for a wider underpass David wants a car overpass into a parking structure. Good luck finding grant money for such a vision.

    One other point that hasn’t been touched upon is the graying of Davis. As I get older and have more mobility issues proximity of parking becomes more of an issue for me, and i assume it does for other older residents as well. Closing off parking in downtown doesn’t serve the merchants well and will result in more lost business to the big boxes where parking is easy. I’m not suggesting that we dedicate all our space to cars either. The E st. plaza is a good example of reclaiming space from cars without impeding traffic flows.

    i wonder about the green 20 minute spaces. Seems like there are a lot of them. Maybe some could be changed to 1 hour or something.

  39. JimmysDaughter

    I really like your Olive Dr. idea. Especially the shuttle and the free bikes. It’s close enough to downtown for most people to walk. I used to park in the lot on G St., and I never once had problems finding a parking place there.

  40. jrberg

    I have an easy solution to parking in downtown. It’s called a bicycle. Need to bring a lot of stuff home? There’s a solution for that, too. It’s called a bicycle trailer. I have never circled the block on my bike looking for a parking spot.

  41. EastCoastTransplant

    SouthOfDavis wrote: [quote] I was talking to a mall developer once and he said they design the malls so you can never see from one anchor store to the other since when many people see how far it is they will get in their cars to drive (and not walk past all the high rent/sf shop space, and often decide they don’t need to keep shopping and just drive home)…
    [/quote]

    I was a mall developer. This is true even for smaller malls, on the (very old) theory that disoriented patrons wind up looking at more merchandise. It’s also why anchor stores are always mazes with lots of oddly placed mirrors and confusing signage. Anchor stores also don’t have windows or skylights, so you don’t know what time it is. Same theory applies to casinos.

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