Guest Commentary: Can Staff and Council Fix Richards Blvd?


Richards TunnelAre Staff and Council Up to the Task of Fixing the Richards Blvd-Olive Drive Traffic Mess and Managing Future Traffic Problems Arising from the Proposed Nishi and Mace Developments?


By Alan Pryor

On Tuesday, Council approved Staff’s proposal for “improving” traffic flow through the Richards Blvd. – Olive Dr. intersection. This approval was given despite the fact that there was absolutely no baseline modeling of the impact of the proposed changes or any review by the Bicycling, Transportation, and Traffic Safety Commission (BTTSC). This inadequate, incomplete, and unfair traffic management plan will probably force Dutch Bros Coffee out of business while handing the Patels’ motel/restaurant property on Richards Blvd a sweet early Christmas present. More importantly, this proposed and approved project calls into question the ability of Staff to adequately analyze and solve traffic management problems in the future that may arise from the Nishi or Mace projects


David Greenwald’s article in the Vanguard on Wednesday (Council Pushes For Changes To Richards, Working with UCD; Examines a Possible Olive to L St Connection) reported on the Tuesday night City Council agenda item in which Council approved spending $180,000 for restriping and bollard installations on Richards Blvd and West Olive and the purchase and installation of new traffic signals along First St that would have communications capabilities. Staff claimed these physical changes on Richards and Olive and the street signal operational improvements on First St would allow the signals to be synchronized and sequenced and result in greater traffic flow efficiency. David’s primary focus in his article about this agenda item, however, was about the somewhat tangential comments made by the Council about the need for improved access to Nishi if that development project is to go forward subject to a June 2016 vote.

Looking at the actual roadway changes approved by the Council on Tuesday, though, there are serious questions about whether any improvement in traffic flow will ever be realized by these band-aid changes. This is because Staff failed to provide any objective justification for the project and, continuing their recent practice, Staff did not bring these proposed changes to the Bicycling, Transportation, and Traffic Safety Commission for review before bringing them to Council.

For instance, Staff failed to provide any modeling of the expected outcome of the currently proposed roadway changes in terms of improvements in traffic flow. Further, Staff falsely claimed they did not have any baseline data upon which to base the modeling requested by Council. Additionally, there is clearly a disproportionate impact of these proposed changes on affected businesses on Richards Blvd with some clear winners and losers selected by Staff’s design. The willingness by the Council to embrace these most recently proposed traffic control measures proposed by Staff without questioning deficiencies and ambiguities, as also evidenced by Council’s approval of the Conference Center traffic study and MND, calls into question whether or not Council has the willingness and capabilities to objectively analyze future complex traffic problems and quantitatively evaluate different solutions that will certainly arise from any future business center development at Nishi and Mace.

Before discussing the specifics of this most recent ill-advised traffic control project approved by Council this past Tuesday, however, I first want to state that I am generally in favor of the proposed Nishi project and my objections to the processes recently employed by Staff and their lack of transparency seen in their recent traffic-related proposals to Council do not reflect any underlying or fundamental discontent with the Nishi project as some have suggested. In fact, I think the Nishi Sustainability Report was state-of-the art and one of the best I have ever seen. I am supportive of the projected economic analysis of the project even though it showed an insignificantly minor negative impact on City finances. I do believe the overall benefits to the City will be substantial in terms of alleviating UCD-driven housing shortages and providing needed R&D space for new ventures.

But all of these benefits will be overshadowed if a potentially huge traffic problem results from the project as I believe will be the case without adequate review and oversight of the proposed Nishi traffic plan. It is absolutely critical that Staff and Council manage the apparent and obvious traffic-related problems that will arise due to the Nishi project in a professional, quantitative, and expedient manner. Unfortunately, based on recent past performance by Staff and actions by Council, this does not at all appear to be the likely outcome.


The striping and street configuration changes proposed by Staff and approved by Council on Tuesday are as follows

1) Restriping – Staff proposed restriping the approaches to the intersection and intersection crosswalks and claimed it will make it more clear where vehicular and pedestrian/bike traffic should flow through the intersection thus increasing traffic throughput without jeopardizing safety.

2) Bollard Placement on Richards Blvd – Staff proposed to install traffic bollards on the Richards median to only allow left hand turns from Richards into the parking lot entrance of the Patels’ property including Cafe Italia and their motel and left turn exits out of the same lot back onto Richards Blvd heading into the tunnel. But no left hand turns into and out of Dutch Bros Coffee, In ‘n Out Burger or the Shell gas station will be allowed from Richards Blvd. Staff claims eliminating these left hand turns for these three businesses will mean less disruption of traffic flow on Richards Blvd but does not explain why allowing similar left hand turns into and out of the Patel property will not similarly disrupt traffic.

3) Bollard Placement on Olive Dr – Bollards will also be installed for a short stretch along West Olive Dr to prohibit any left hand turns into and out of Dutch Bros Coffee onto Olive Dr.. Staff did not make any claims to justify sealing off Dutch Bros Coffee in this manner but it is abundantly clear that the measure is designed solely to reduce traffic into and out of the Dutch Bros drive-through by functionally restricting traffic flow.

These proposed changes are graphically shown in the following image from the Staff report to Council.


4) New Traffic Signals on First St – Staff additionally proposed to completely replace all traffic signals along First St that have apparently lost communications capabilities over the last 4 years. Staff claims this will allow the lights to be synchronized and sequenced again because the existing equipment has lost that functionality over the past 4 years. Staff did not explain why this equipment has not been maintained to date and the situation allowed to deteriorate for so long.


1) Recent traffic management analysis and proposals by Staff attempted to completely avoid any oversight by the Bicycle Traffic and Transportation Safety Commission (BTTSC).

This failure by Staff to submit the most recently proposed traffic changes to the BTTSC for review prior to submittal to Council is the 3rd time within several months that Staff has attempted or actually prevented review of Richards Blvd – Olive Dr traffic-related matters by the Bicycling Transportation and Traffic Safety Commission (BTTSC). This can hardly be by accident and it is thus becoming abundantly clear that this is a conscious decision and effort on Staff’s part to avoid all transparent review of these Richards Blvd -Olive Dr. traffic-related matter matters by the BTTSC. The actual motives for these specific Staff actions are unknown but could be explained by the fact that some City employees have recently reported that some senior City Staff are not in favor of ongoing Commission review activities and are actively attempting to minimize Commission influence in City decision-making processes. Staff actions in recent Richard Blvd-Olive Dr traffic management proposals are consistent with those assertions.

As an example, Council initially approved the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the Richards Blvd. Conference Center without any input by the BTTSC on the traffic impacts or the efficacy of the proposed roadway changes. Indeed, the Conference Center proposal was not reviewed by ANY City advisory Commissions whatsoever which is unheard of for a project of that size in Davis. This decision by Staff was clearly shortsighted. Perhaps such a review by the BTTSC may have provided insight into the shortcomings of Staff’s analysis in the MND that could have otherwise avoided the lawsuit now obstructing this particular project – and potentially overhanging and adversely impacting a Measure J/R vote on Nishi next year. Indeed, the plaintiff in that recent lawsuit repeatedly mentioned to the Council that the failure of the City to have the project reviewed by all applicable Commissions was one of the reasons for his opposition to the project.

Subsequently, despite Staff presentations to and review of the Nishi Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) by every other related advisory Commission in the City, the Nishi DEIR was NOT initially scheduled to be reviewed at all by the BTTSC. This was despite abundant time in the review process for this to be scheduled and the importance of traffic management to the eventual viability and success of the Nishi project. It was only after a public protest at the October 8 BTTSC meeting alerting Commission members of this intentional oversight that the Commission scheduled a special meeting on October 27 to review the project. At that special meeting, the BTTSC resoundingly rejected support of the Nishi project’s DEIR as otherwise requested by Staff. Instead, Commission Minutes for the special meeting noted the following motions and comments:

Motion (Mitchell, Watterson): Project must commit to a minimum of two entrances / exits: Olive

Drive and UC Davis.

Motion carries, 5-1 (Skeen dissenting: No cure for Olive Dr. intersection).

Motion (Berg, Skeen): Description of road configuration is highly desirable and should be

incorporated to help mitigate traffic impacts.

Motion carries, 6-0.

Motion (Watterson, Berg): Another, more extensive and inclusive study should be done as part of the EIR combining the cumulative impacts of the Nishi Downtown / Gateway and hotel conference center on Richards Blvd and Olive Drive between the WB I-80 off ramp and proposed Nishi Downtown /

Gateway entrance.

Motion carries 6-0.

Motion (Renaud, Skeen): Project is NOT (emphasis added by author) consistent with staff recommendation #1

Skeen: Question validity of numbers.

Berg: We don’t know what will actually happen to Richards.

Renaud: Transportation Element is alternative transportation focused. Project reality is a substantial increase in vehicle miles traveled.

Berg: Too many uncertainties.

Watterson: Would like to see more detailed schematic on multi-modal operation.

Motion carries (5-0-1, Berg abstention)

(Authors Note: Staff recommendation #1 was a broad statement affirming support for the traffic plan for the project. The recommendation was prepared by Staff and verbally submitted to the BTTSC along with a request for its approval. The actual text of this Staff recommendation was not part of Staff’s online report or the online minutes for the special meeting so the exact text of the Staff recommendation is not available).

Motion (Renaud, Mitchell): Project does NOT (emphasis added by author) appropriately meet Transportation Principle approved for Davis Innovation Center(s).

Mitchell: Too vague without commitments and more detailed plans.

Motion carries (6-0)


Unfortunately, this pattern of Staff circumventing BTTSC review of their traffic-related proposals continued with Staff’s most recent proposal for the Richards Blvd-Olive Dr. changes approved by Council on Tuesday in that this proposal was also NOT vetted or reviewed by the BTTSC at all prior to submittal and approval by Council.

These continued instances where Staff intentionally does NOT inform or consult with the BTTSC about very important and far reaching proposed traffic-related changes in Davis is very disconcerting because it prevents complete transparent disclosure, review, and oversight of all major traffic-related projects in the City. Presenting Staff and developer-generated proposals directly from Staff to the Council has never been the “Davis Way” which demands full citizen engagement. The acceptance by the City Council of this newly formulated practice and strategy to circumvent full and transparent review of these traffic-related matters by the BTTSC will invariably lead to the question by voters, “What are they trying to hide?” and almost certainly adversely affect any vote on Nishi next spring.

2) The proposal for the striping, bollard placement, and signal replacement was prepared by Staff and approved by Council without the benefit of any modeling or independent review by qualified traffic engineering professionals of the impact they will have on traffic flow through Richards and the adjacent downtown core area.

At the most recent Council meeting last Tuesday at which these roadway and signal changes were approved, Councilmembers Brett Lee and Robb Davis at least asked the question of the City’s Chief Traffic Engineer, Roxanne Namazi, if any modeling or review of these proposed changes had occurred so that Council may later assess the success or failure of the proposed changes in reducing traffic congestion. After an uncomfortably long silence, Ms. Namazi confirmed that such a modeling study had not been done but stated that modeling the traffic flow would not be possible because no baseline conditions had been established against which to compare post-change traffic improvements. This statement by Ms. Namazi was demonstrably false, however. One only has to look at the traffic study for either the Conference Center or Nishi to see that traffic counts have already been made for all nearby affected intersections which could have as easily served as a baseline for analyzing the impacts of this approved project just as it was used in the Conference Center and Nishi projects. Council should have demanded that appropriate traffic modeling be performed to model the efficacy of Staff’s proposed changes. Failure to do so calls into question the ability of Council to effectively manage traffic growth in the City by instead relying on back-of-the-envelope guesses by Staff. This is no way to manage a growing City with developing and increasing traffic problems.

3) These roadway changes proposed by Staff and approved by Council disproportionately benefit the Patels’ existing motel and restaurant property while severely adversely affecting other major businesses at the Richards Blvd – Olive Drive intersection.

Any casual observer can easily see that the bollard placement on Richards Blvd and Olive Dr. functionally prevents any easy access to Dutch Bros Coffee and drivers seeking their daily brew from Dutch Bros Coffee will only be functionally able to gain access from Richards Blvd when heading from downtown to the freeways. This is because not only are left hand turns into and out of Dutch Bros Coffee from Richards Blvd going to be prohibited because of bollard placement on Richards Blvd, but also because the bollard placement on the Olive Drive median also prevents left hand turns into and out of the Dutch Bros drive-through from Olive Ave. Staff and the Council have made it abundantly clear in past meetings that they do not like the existence of Dutch Bros Coffee on this corner and these approved traffic flow changes will almost certainly assure that their drive-through business will dry up and probably put them out of business in short order.

It seems hard to imaging a more discriminatory pattern of traffic management could be proposed that favors the small volume of traffic going into and out of the Patel’s existing restaurant and motel while almost completely cutting off Dutch Bros Coffee from their customer traffic and restricting access to the Shell gasoline station and the In ‘n Out Burger franchise. If I were the owner of the Dutch Bros Coffee outlet and were a litigious sort, my lawyer would be drawing up the lawsuit as you read this article.

4) Council authorized a total expenditure of $180,000 for this project of which the striping and bollard placement could potentially have a very short useful lifetime. This is because the investment will be scraped during the construction of either the Conference Center or Nishi based on currently proposed traffic solutions for those projects.

It is hard to justify this $180,000 temporary fix that presumably will be abandoned and completely redone when (if) the Conference Center or Nishi is actually built (possibly beginning as early as next spring if the Conference Center lawsuit is resolved). Indeed, it is possible the project may not even be completed by then as Staff claims they need a minimum of 3-6 months to implement the changes. The only possible reason I can see for Council’s action is that they are attempting to put lipstick on the Richards Blvd. pig to try to pretty it up before a planned 2016 Nishi ballot. This is a very dangerous game, however, because the risk is that project implementation does not go smoothly and traffic is snarled due to construction snafus right when Davisites are going to the polls in June to vote on the Nishi ballot. Such traffic events could easily turn-off enough voters to make the difference between success and failure of the ballot initiative.

In summary, this project demonstrates a complete lack of transparency and quantitative thinking by Staff and proper oversight by Council. These shortcomings do not bode well for the quality of future proposed traffic management changes in Davis and could potentially adversely affect the Nishi ballot measure in June.


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

32 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Can Staff and Council Fix Richards Blvd?”

  1. Barack Palin

    Personally I think staff has done about as good of a job with the striping improvements as they could have when you consider what they had to work with.  I like the left and right hand turn lanes and bollards coming out of Cafe Italia because you had no other option when trying to go left out of that parking lot without crossing a busy Richards.  Now as for In and Out, Shell and Dutch Bros. there was and still is always the option of going through Olive in order to turn either way on Richards which is safe and traffic light controlled.

  2. Barack Palin

    Bollards will also be installed for a short stretch along West Olive Dr to prohibit any left hand turns into and out of Dutch Bros Coffee onto Olive Dr.. Staff did not make any claims to justify sealing off Dutch Bros Coffee in this manner but it is abundantly clear that the measure is designed solely to reduce traffic into and out of the Dutch Bros drive-through by functionally restricting traffic flow.

    If someone from the north side of the tunnel wants Dutch Bros. coffee and wants to go back under the tunnel all they have to do is enter from Richards and exit on Olive and make a left at the light.  If they want to to leave Dutch and go right on Richards all they have to do is enter on the Olive Drive side or enter on Richards and leave on Olive Drive.  I don’t see this as a problem.

    1. Alan Pryor

       If they want to to leave Dutch and go right on Richards all they have to do is enter on the Olive Drive side

      To enter Dutch Bros from Olive one would have to head west on Olive (from Richards) and make a U-turn somewhere and then make a right hand turn into Dutch Bros while approaching Richards. That U turn on Olive is almost impossible given the narrow width with cars and trucks parked on both sides of the street. The bollards on Olive make no sense UNLESS you are trying to choke off Dutch Bros. traffic by preventing left hand turns into their drive-through. BTW – I don’t drink coffee and have never patronized Dutch Bros so I have no skin in this game.

      1. Barack Palin


        Yes, you make a good point.  I do understand why they would want the bollards there, so traffic won’t back up onto Richards while waiting for someone to make a left hand turn into Dutch Bros.   Just an idea, maybe a roundabout could be installed somewhere close on West Olive if there’s room? Or maybe a keep clear sign painted on the road so cars can make a left into Dutch Bros. without bollards?
        That busy corner is a terrible place to have a drive through coffee business from a traffic mitigation standpoint.

        1. Barack Palin

          Thanks Matt, I didn’t know that, I don’t frequent that street too often.  So if people want Dutch Bros. they can obviously make it work.  If not then oh well, the proposed improvements should help mitigate some of the traffic problems and if a corner coffee drive through loses a little business at the benefit of the greater community then so be it.

    2. Matt Williams

      Barack Palin said … “If someone from the north side of the tunnel wants Dutch Bros. coffee and wants to go back under the tunnel all they have to do is enter from Richards and exit on Olive and make a left at the light. If they want to to leave Dutch and go right on Richards all they have to do is enter on the Olive Drive side or enter on Richards and leave on Olive Drive. I don’t see this as a problem.”

      The logistics BP has laid out make sense to me.

  3. Tia Will

     The actual motives for these specific Staff actions are unknown but could be explained by the fact that some City employees have recently reported that some senior City Staff are not in favor of ongoing Commission review activities and are actively attempting to minimize Commission influence in City decision-making processes.”

    If this is the case, I see this as a clear, and unwarranted departure from the usual Davis process of vetting major processes and changes through the relevant commissions. Having lived in many different communities, I see this citizen engagement as one of the most valuable aspects of our public life in Davis. The engagement of informed citizens is valuable in providing a broader range of insights than are available to City staff who are limited in their time and resources. Our commissions provide us with input from those who are willing to use their own time and energy to provide alternative perspectives.

    I think that beyond the current issue of the efficacy and or “fairness” of the current proposal, the bigger issue involves our upcoming City Council elections. I consider the issue of whether a candidate favors commission in put with its likely introduction of more transparency and a broader range of options should be a major consideration in making our selections.

    1. Robb Davis

      The actual motives for these specific Staff actions are unknown but could be explained by the fact that some City employees have recently reported that some senior City Staff are not in favor of ongoing Commission review activities and are actively attempting to minimize Commission influence in City decision-making processes. 

      There are some important elements that merit response in Alan’s piece concerning actions the City Council took on Tuesday to fix the problems in the Richard’s corridor.  I do not have time this morning to discuss these but there are a number of key omissions that, if addressed, could round out the picture of the full array of things that are in the offing.

      But, I simply cannot let the above gratuitous slap at senior City staff go unaddressed.  I am also shocked that Tia simply accepted it whole cloth in her response.  So, let me say categorically, the most senior City staff: Dirk Brazil, Mike Webb, and Kelly Stachowicz are fully committed to the City Commission processes, are personally involved with a variety of Commissions, and have been encouraging a broader array of issues to be brought to these Commissions than in the past.  Indeed, a frequent topic of conversation I have with the three concerns how to find time in tight Commission agendas to add important discussion items.

      If anyone doubts the City Council’s commitment to participating in and fully supporting the Commissions please contact me so I can give you a rundown of how many nights I and my colleagues were out this month attending such meetings and doing the work of supporting and benefitting from Commissions and various city Committees (including the URAC and the CCEAC).

      Finally, to Tia’s point, the two incumbents most likely to run for City Council next year (Brett has announced, Lucas has not) are the two most dedicated members of the City Council in terms of their participation in and work on behalf of commissions.  In addition to attending nearly all Commission meetings to which they are assigned, they also spend countless hours interviewing potential candidates for ALL city commissions.

      I deeply resent the implications of the article and the comment on this matter.  They are wholly unmerited and in very poor form.

      1. ryankelly

        I don’t get to elect commissioners – they are appointed from a small group that apply for positions.  I find the input from commissions helpful at times in clarifying issues and offering suggestions, but the Council not following their recommendations every time wouldn’t be an election issue for me.  I think our present Council members are very hardworking and thorough in examining the issues put before them.  I believe that they value input from commissions.  The Commissions can be part of the solution, if they want, but should never be part of the problem – a source of conflict.

      2. Anon

        Thanks Robb, for expressing your distaste for the negative implications of this article.  The criticisms in this piece by Alan Pryor could have been articulated without the unnecessary character assassinations – which makes the entire article less credible.

        However, it is important to include commissions when considering projects.  I am at a loss as to why the DEIR for Nishi was not brought before the BTTSC.  Can you explain that Robb?

        1. Robb Davis

          As Alan makes clear in his article, Anon, the DEIR was brought before the BTSSC.  Alan’s criticism, I believe (correct me Alan if I am wrong) is that it was not originally scheduled to come before them.  However, it is important to note that it did, in fact, come before them at a special meeting.  Why was it not originally scheduled?  I am not certain but it may have something to do with the fact that this commission had two extended discussions about the MRIC DEIR (which was much more complex and came out at the same time), they only meet once per month, and they have other critical agenda items and limited time each month.

          What I do know is that when a member of the public contacted me with concerns about this fact and I contacted staff about it they expressed a willingness to have the BTSSC speak into the DEIR and only wondered how it could be done logistically.  When the BTSSC asked to engage it a special meeting was arranged (on the same night as a CC meeting so I could not attend).

          Further, in the most recent BTSSC meeting (Brett and I were there but I don’t think Alan was), Commissioner Mitchell moved that the BTSSC agendize a discussion on the project design elements of the Nishi project to proactively provide input into design features related to transportation and connectivity.  I encouraged an uncertain BTSSC that this would be a helpful discussion and the motion passed.  The BTSSC will, therefore, provide specific input on internal circulation and connectivity concerns related to Nishi.

          Finally, I will note that any commission can agendize items of interest to them even if staff does not bring it to them.  The BTSSC decision exemplifies this as do many agenda items brought to the FBC this year.

        2. Matt Williams

          Anon said … “I am at a loss as to why the DEIR for Nishi was not brought before the BTTSC. Can you explain that Robb?”

          The BTSSC conducted a Special Meeting on Tuesday October 27, 2015 in which the only agenda item other than public comment was “Draft Environmental Impact Report (“DEIR”) for the Proposed Nishi and Downtown/Gateway Innovation District (City Staff)” (see ). Public comment was taken at that meeting from Alan Pryor, Alan Hirsch, Rodney Robinson, Tim Ruff and myself.

          The minutes of that meeting have already been posted on the City website (see )

      3. Alan Pryor

        I welcome any clarification of the traffic changes proposed for the Richards Blvd -First St corridor. I am simply reporting what I gatherd from the Staff report and presentations to Council. If I incorrectly reported a misunderstanding on my part then a correction would certainly be warranted and helpful to Vanguard readers.

        With regard to the view of Senior Staff towards Commissions, I am simply repeating what was told to me by two 20 year+ employees based on their 1st hand conversations with Senior Staff…I hardly call that a “gratuitous slap” or “character assassination” especially since I named no names. And why would anyone be surprised if this topic of conversation came up again. There have been at least two broad discussions in town that I am aware of over the past 20 years about whether we have too many Commissions in town and whether or not these serve a useful purpose. It seems that Senior Staff is having that conversation amongst themselves again. Is it so “wholly unmerited” and in “poor form” to question whether this is, in fact, occurring now.

        The evidence seems to indicate something is going on because  Staff did not voluntarily bring either Nishi or these latest proposed Richards Blvd changes to the BTTSC. Nor did I hear any Council members complain about the lack of BTTSC input or request their input when the most recent Richards Blvd changes were discussed before the Council.

        Further, Staff did not bring the Conference Center matter to ANY Commissions at all before running it before Council. Imagine that…a $40m+ project which goes straight from the Planning Commission to Council in a 45-day period during the dead of summer without ANY Commission review. Nothing like that has ever occurred in Davis before. The only one who defended getting Commission input at the Council meeting at which the Conference Center was approved was Brett Lee who clearly stated he saw value in Commission review of that project and did not see any harm in taking a few extra months to run it by affected Commissions. In contrast, Robb Davis expressly stated from the dais after hearing public comments criticizing the lack of Commission oversight of that project that he did not want to send it to any Commissions because it would “slow the project down”. That does not sound to me like a ringing endorsement of the value of Commission input.

        1. CalAg

          Robb Davis expressly stated from the dias after hearing public comments criticizing the lack of Commission oversight of that project that he did not want to send it to any Commissions because it would “slow the project down”.

          I’m getting the distinct impression that Nishi is trying to race MRIC to the ballot (with a little help from their friends). That would explain some of the process aberrations.

          1. Matt Williams

            You are mixing apples and oranges. The alleged process aberrations you refer to have happened in the Hotel/Conference Center process. To date no process aberrations have been alleged regarding the Nishi process.

            With that said, is it your position that there are process aberrations in the Nishi process?

        2. Robb Davis

          Alan you are taking one comment, about one project, and arguing that it is the norm of my behavior and attitude towards commissions.  I disagree.

          I do not want to imply that your comments in the article about Richards Blvd are wrong, just incomplete.  Again, running between meetings today I do not have time to provide a full set of details but may try to do so over the weekend.

          Three, anonymous comments from staff about senior staff are not helpful, especially when I provide clear testimony that this is not the case among the most senior staff who set the tone for all of staff.

          CalAg – Please describe one genuine “process aberration” in the Nishi process.

        3. Alan Pryor

          Alan you are taking one comment, about one project, and arguing that it is the norm of my behavior and attitude towards commissions.  I disagree.

          Robb, you are correct in this observation. I admit my comment was a bit of a dig at you and a defensive over-reaction on my part to the stinging criticism in earlier posts… sometimes I do get a bit thin-skinned in these back and forths posts.

          At least from my viewpoint, I think that you and Brett are clearly the CC members most actively involved in Commission meetings. I’ll often see one or the other of you two quietly listening at Commission meetings in which you are not even the Council liaisons. You guys really are to be commended for the absolutely huge amount of (unpaid) time you spend at it to become as knowledgeable as possible about issues of importance in the community.

          That said, I rechecked my sources and they indicated I fairly reported the gist of what they heard in certain Staff meetings.

      4. Tia Will


        If this is the case”

        Looks like you missed this phrase at the opening of my comment. I accepted nothing. I was pointing out that I believe that the commissions should not be bypassed, not making a comment about whether or not that is occurring.

  4. Michael Harrington

    Alan, your article is spot on and very well researched and written.  These same staff are the ones who fought restriping  Fifth Street for 15 years, allowing many years of horrible accidents.

    Whose idea was it to allow Dutch Brothers there? Someone should pull the permits and see how it happened.

    1. Alan Miller

      Whose idea was it to allow Dutch Brothers there? Someone should pull the permits and see how it happened.

      Dutch Bros. simply took over the coffee stand from Cafino that was much less successful.  Who would have know in advance the runaway success of Dutch Bros.?  A successful business is a great thing, but the runaway success could not have been predicted in advance.  I fail to see the value in seeking to blame someone for this.

  5. ryankelly

    I agree that this has the feel of the 5th Street battle.  So I will expect that nothing will be attempted until all parties are satisfied, say in 10 years or so.  I personally would like the City to try it out and see if it will help.  Everyone needs to understand that this will never be a free flowing intersection and any improvements will only result in more people taking that route (now that it is better) and causing gridlock again.

    A drive up coffee place has been there for decades.  Dutch Brothers took over from Cafino(?), which was operating when Mike Harrington was on the City Council.

  6. Michael Harrington

    Dutch Brothers is well known for long lines at their coffee shops.  They buy or lease tiny lots and use public streets for their customers to park in while waiting their turn.  What happened was completely and easily predictable for anyone in the profession of traffic and urban planning

    Cafino never had those lines, and Dutch Brothers bought the chain’s stores.

    The City should have stopped the street blocking long ago.  At a minimum it’s a public nuisance or worse.

    Now they want to add the Hotel Conference Center while pretending it will have little impact on that traffic area?

    So far the City and real parties (owners) refuse to use the well-accepted confidential mediation process to try and resolve the litigation.



    1. ryankelly

      God forbid we have a successful business in town.

      Instead of just complaining and blaming, step up and give your suggestions.  Your determination to control this process by forcing a confidential settlement is distasteful.

  7. Barack Palin

    So so far the City and real parties (owners) refuse to use the well-accepted confidential mediation process to try and resolve the litigation.

    And I hope they never do.

  8. ryankelly

    Just got this notice –  “Due to the annual running of the Turkey Trot, traffic delays are expected this Saturday, November 21, between 7:30 am and noon. The Davis Police Department is asking motorists to plan ahead and explore alternate routes around the impacted areas.”

    MH response – “Who approved this?  Let’s pull the permits and see who is to blame.”

  9. Michael Harrington

    Robb Davis:  I think that there has been a staff plan, with CC complicity, to not take the mess at Richards and Olive to City Commissions.   And the “approval” by the HRMC for the HCC was misrepresented to the public and the CC.

    But on August 25 I pointed out to the CC how the HRMC and the Traffic Commission were not given this project, and the CC went ahead anyway on 9/15 knowing those omissions, and rushed to approve the HCC anyway.

    So Alan, don’t just blame staff;  the CC is part of the problem here.  They don’t hold staff accountable.  Haven’t since I was on the CC, and I don’t see any signs yet that the Wolk or Davis CCs will do anything, either.

    1. Robb Davis

      I strongly disagree with you on the comment (see my comment on BTSSC meetings above) and reject completely the notion that we do not hold staff accountable.  Please review the meeting about the traffic study and the questions I asked about it.  I left the meeting satisfied that the traffic study was done correctly–using state of the art modeling approaches–and yielded results that showed that the additional impact of the hotel conference center were minor.  I would encourage everyone to watch that discussion.

      Your self-serving comment about no one holding staff accountable since you were on the CC is pure rubbish.

  10. ryankelly

    Who decides which commission should look at a project – the commissions  or the Council? Couldn’t the commission go ahead and weigh in or does it need to be asked by the Council to look at it?  If the Council feels that it has enough information, is it obligated to send projects through all or some of the commissions?  How long would the commission take to give their feedback?

  11. jrberg

    A small clarification:  The correct name of the commission is the Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC).  Parking and pedestrian issues are also included in the commission’s charge.

  12. Michael Harrington

    Robb: The city’s traffic study used an old model that produced the answer they wanted. Did you read what I submitted ? If there is no process for a settlement mediation then we just go to a hearing on the merits and you can read the details in the courts decision. I’m not wasting my time on this and I am confidently paying the attorney and expert. The City’s HCC traffic analysis is completely subpar, and the MND violates the law. That was clear on 9/15 at the CC vote.

  13. Michael Harrington

    Robb: I always post using my name and I am used to being fully accountable whether in law, business, or these local political things I volunteer my time and money for.  When I say that these recent business development projects are being rushed and lack adequate commission review, and the CC endorses that process, then there you have it.

    But all of this will play out in court in the coming months and we will have an independent judiciary make the decision.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for