The city of Davis, concurrent with the Cannery development project, commissioned a $25,000 East Covell Corridor Plan (ECCP) in late 2012. Interestingly enough, East Covell is probably the least “Davis” street system we have, but the city sought “the perspective of a consultant that could offer a nontraditional and expert opinion of optimal transportation design solutions that specializes in active transportation.”
Staff would contact the Dutch Cycling Embassy – a public-private network that serves as an “intermediary between the demand for Dutch expertise and the Dutch parties that can deliver this service.”
Consequently, the city of Davis was connected with the firm, Mobycon, based in Delft, Netherlands, and specializing in active transportation.
Staff writes, “In addition to the evaluation and prioritization of ECCP’s recommendations, Mobycon’s third party analysis also included research and findings regarding the types of bicyclists and their primary and secondary destinations along the corridor.”
The study area consists of the Covell Boulevard corridor between F Street on the west and Birch Lane on the east. It considers access and circulation to public facilities near the corridor including schools, parks and shopping.
Among the more interesting findings is the disconnect between Davis’ bicycle mode share and Davis’ street and bike path layout.
From the Mobycon report: “Although the City of Davis focused on implementing good cycling facilities for many years, the network structure for the City of Davis still seems oriented around the car: the grid-based structure, often with meandering residential streets within it, make up for good car accessibility and traffic flow. The relatively wide streets, the smooth asphalt and the proximity of parking to destinations do little to encourage other transportation modes over cars.”
In another section, the report notes: “Davis’ bicycle network is very extensive and finely meshed, with a variety of on- and off-street facilities aiming at connecting the main activity centers to resident and mixed-use neighborhoods. The bicycle share is extraordinarily high for American cities, and is on par with some Danish and Dutch cities. Cycle distances are rather short and destinations are mostly accessible by good cycle facilities.
“There is however room for improvement. The city of Davis has a few major barriers in its layout preventing short (direct) or safe (crossings) trips by bike. These are the highways, the railways and the main arteries. East Covell Boulevard is one of them. A good bike network ensures that trip distances by bike are shorter than by car, thus stimulating the use of the bike. Shortcuts through neighborhood streets (no dead ends for bicycles) and under- or overpasses across barriers like railways or highways help shorten these routes.”
Staff notes, “Mobycon has divided their recommendations into two categories: The ‘Now’ category that prioritizes recommendations that should happen in the near term and the ‘Wow’ category that prioritizes recommendations that should be considered long term.”
The following tables were developed by staff to illustrate the Mobycon recommendations.
The staff will take input from the public and council and return in October with a final presentation and report of the East Covell Corridor Plan, outlining staff recommendations and implementation timelines.
—David M. Greenwald reporting