City Seeks Additional Feedback on East Covell Corridor Plan

eccp-map

The city has been conducting outreach for an East Covell Corridor Plan (ECCP) which will be “taking a comprehensive look at the existing transportation systems and residential, retail, and community assets on East Covell Boulevard between F Street and Birch Lane Road.”

According to the city, “The goal of the project is to identify realistic improvements to the Corridor that will enhance safety, circulation, identity, and access for multiple modes of transportation.”

Specifically, the East Covell Corridor Plan goals include:

  • Improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians on East Covell Boulevard and at intersections.
  • Improve bicyclist and pedestrian access to major destinations, including the Oak Tree Plaza, nearby offices, schools, and parks.
  • Complete the network of high-quality bikeways in Davis so that all destinations can easily be reached by bicycle.
  • Provide safe crossings of East Covell Boulevard to major destinations.
  • Improve streetscape aesthetic and amenities that add identity to the corridor.
  • Maximize the ease and efficiency of using transit.

In late January, an open house was held with the purpose of sharing “preliminary recommendations for improving the corridor and receive input from the community.  The open house included various information stations where attendees could view graphics, maps, and other project information materials.  Representatives from the City and the project consultant team were available to discuss the project and answer questions.”

Over forty members of the public attended the meeting which was organized as an open house with a series of information stations.  Attendees were encouraged to visit each station where there were opportunities to provide input through interactive exercises or by providing written comments on a comment card.

The following are some of the comments received by the city:

  • I like your proposal for F Street and Covell.  I have crossed that intersection twice daily for 12+ years and both experienced and watched too many near accidents.  I like your good ideas: A: eliminate pork chop lanes/free right turn lanes.  B: extend sidewalk on S. side of Covell past Art Center. Bike path descending Covell’s RR overpass is over steep, sending speeding bikers into congested cluster of pedestrians at F Street bus stop.  It needs fixing.
  • Remove Claremont drive west of L Street.  Like light on L Street west of Covell stop.
  • Remove buffered bike lanes.  At intersections put bike lane flushed to sidewalk like the expanded curbs.  2-way turn out of Nugget Market is problematic.  Like Pole line solution.  Don’t like the left turnbox.
  • The Tree Commission would like to be more engaged and involved as the project moves forward.  The project team should include a tree arborist during design.
  • Descent from the R/R overpass in either direction is, I think, an accident(s) waiting to happen.  It is not clear to me that the project accommodates new traffic from the Cannery.
  • A lot of congestion added to an already very busy congested corridor.  Trying to go East on Covell crossing Pole Line at rush hour is almost impossible.  Cars wanting to turn North onto Pole Line from the left turn lane on Covell are often backed up into the 2 lanes going East and therefore, cars from all lanes are backed up.  The Canary traffic will add to this.
  • Elimination of free right turns at most intersections is not recommended.  Especially at F Street.  This is not the best intersection I have observed in Davis.  I bike and drive Covell daily and have never observed vehicle/bicycle conflicts or confusion as to how to proceed.  I expect that elimination of free-right turns will increase holding times and lead to more pollution.  The bike box show at Pole Line Road seems unnecessary.  If used, adjacent bicycle signals should be used so bikes can proceed through the intersection prior to the vehicles directly behind them.  J/L Street tunnel looks like best option.
  • H Street tunnel will be an even bigger problem than it is now.  Peds will need to walk longer distances across intersections so light timing is critical.  I would prefer a tunnel (either L or J/L) to a bridge at L with circuitous ramp.
  • Pole Line/Covell- consider using the ‘L’ layout the S/W corner by Carls Jr. /Pole Line.  N/W crosswalks need “safe islands” halfway across (people would use common sense when to cross.  Pedestrian signals would cause gridlock).  Improve Pole Line exit from Oak Tree Plaza by making a right hand turn lane alongside a left hand turn lane.  Consider speed bumps J and L.  J will be primary route to go downtown from the Cannery.
  • As a pedestrian, I strongly object to elimination of free right turns- I feel free right turns make it easier to cross by breaking the crossing into segments.  Also, it reduces the number of directions I need to watch, especially when crossing the main road.  Without free right turns, I now have to worry about right turning traffic coming up behind me when I cross.  Bus stop for N/B Pole Line opposite the east driveway of Oak Tree plaza is a problem- lots of jay walking because the stop is located midway between Claremont and Pole Line.  Made worse because the streetlight for this area was knocked down in an accident years ago and never replaced.  Move the stop closer to an intersection to encourage use of crosswalks.
  • Right turn lanes- removing them on J is not too bad because of the signal.  On L, though it would be tough to turn onto Covell from L and come up to speed without the lane.  A stop sign on the lane would make it safer for bikes.
  • All of the Covell bike/ped underpass designs seem to be trying to cram a large piece of infrastructure into a too small space, leading to poor design and creating brand new infrastructure that is substandard.  The only option that seems reasonable to me is the J/L Street tunnel, a design I’ve seen in other places.
  • Please consider using the approved street tree list as you move into design.
  • The elimination of the free right turns is a bad idea!  Reduces capacity when we are adding traffic.  Increasing conflict between bikes and peds with right turning cars.  Current configuration shortens the crossing of Covell Blvd. main roadway.  Longer ped x-ing will mean more signal time for peds, less for cars.  The proposal for a bike path on the west side of Pole Line Road will create a new crossing at the north end of the new path.
  • Best= West L Street tunnel
  • The F Street intersection “problems” will only increase if the turn “cutoff” is closed, requiring sharp turn into traffic.  Maybe better to limit left turn onto F southbound onto F from Westbound Covell.  Problems in only major am and pm related to North Davis Elementary and High School.
  • Overall a good plan.  Separated grade crossway at L Street and improving the entrance and exit to Nugget Market on Covell must be a priority.  It will be great to have off street bike paths on the North side of Covell and the west side of Pole Line.  Signal synchronization will be key to managing traffic when Cannery is built.  Please address lights triggering when only cyclist is at a traffic light.  Currently none of them work.
    • I live on Renoir Ave. and for years, on a regular basis, our neighborhood has a growing problem of a significant number of speeding drivers cut through Green Meadows neighborhood from Covell to Matisse onto Renoir particularly in the mornings.  Some of these drivers have young children which I can imagine might be in route to Montassauri grade school on Renoir near Picasso.  These Green Meadows streets are narrower and this leaves less room for passing cars, particularity speeding ones.  We also have a problem of illegal parking on one side of the street often.  Although signs are posted, it would be helpful to have some evening parking violations tickets issued by the police on a regular basis to discourage parking violators.

In addition to comments, the city asked attendees to prioritize improvements from most to least desirable.

eccp-prioritization-plan

Here is the rank order:

  1. H Street Tunnel Replacement (2.28)
  2. Separated Crossing on East Covell Blvd. (3.71)
  3. L Street Intersection Improvements (5.26)
  4. J Street Intersection Improvements (5.32)
  5. Signal Innterconnect and Coordination (6.28)
  6. Oak Tree Plaza (6.29)
  7. East Covell Blvd. Shared Use Path (6.5)
  8. East Covell Blvd. Buffered Bike Lane (6.59)
  9. F Street Intersection Improvements (6.79)
  10. Birch Lane Shared Use Path  (7.29)
  11. Pole Line Shared Use Path (8.73)
  12. Pole Line Free Right Removal (9.43)
  13. Median Improvements Along Covell (10.0)
  14. Claremont Cycle Track (10.92)

The process is going to move forward, but the city would clearly appreciate additional feedback.

—David M. Greenwald 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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7 Comments

  1. growth issue

    The city needs to adjust traffic lights to keep the flow of traffic on Covell more fluid. It seems like everytime I travel Covell I end up stopping at way too many lights. The lights are set up to give too much attention to side streets instead of keeping Covell flowing. I’ll often see 15 to 20 cars waiting at a light so one or two cars can proceed from a side street and it takes a longer time then needed to turn green. If the city is truly concerned about carbon that might be something they need to look into.

    1. Frankly

      I agree with this. And the lights with crappy passive infrared detectors that change when there is nobody there to cross.

      I think Davis has the worst-tuned traffic lights of any city. And I think it results in irritated drivers and probably more safety issues because of this.

      Where ever possible we need tunnels and overpasses for pedestrians.

      1. David Greenwald

        While I agree that Davis’ lights are poorly sychronized (one of the reasons for the needed change on Fifth), tunnels and overpasses seem like an expensive solution.

    1. Robb Davis

      FWIW – I went to this forum and appreciated the diversity of conversation. Lots of local residents and people who use the corridor. A variety of perspectives (note above the comments on “free right turns”–not all of which I agree with but interesting to see).

      My top priority was also the top vote getter: replace/improve the H Street tunnel. In over 3 years of sitting on the BAC and talking to parents whose children use it, the H Street tunnel rises as the worst piece of biking infrastructure in the city. I was glad to see others agree.

  2. growth issue

    Another concern I have is I hope the city stays away from speed bumps except where only absolutely necessary, maybe around schools only.

    Also, keep the right hand turn lanes in place.

  3. donna lemngello

    KEEP THE RIGHT HAND TURN LANES, no exceptions. This is a good piece of infrastructure, very expensive to change and would be a step backward to remove them, not an improvement. Spend the money on improvements, like adding bike paths and sidewalks where there are none. And yes, the H St. tunnel is so in need of flow improvements.

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