By Corey Solliday
As a downtown employee who commutes from Winters I follow the ASUCD University Housing Survey closely, and every year the results continue to amaze me. In 2015, the survey took place in the months of October and November and concluded a total vacancy rate of 0.2 percent in this town. That is, of 8,143 units surveyed there were 16 — literally, 16 — units available in the city of Davis. In 2014, there was a 0.3-percent vacancy rate, and in 2013, there was a 1.9-percent vacancy rate.
Due to its proximity to my work, I can’t help but follow what has been going on with the Nishi Gateway project that is on the ballot in June. The 440 multi-family units represent a much-needed pressure valve for a rental market that is one of the most constricted in the country.
A healthy vacancy rate is considered to be 5 percent; that is the rate when rents stay level. Because of our much lower vacancy rate, the average rent in Davis increased 7 percent from 2013 to 2014 and another 5.3 percent from 2014 to 2015. The ideal location of Nishi as well as the newer units will bring much-needed supply.
The ASUCD survey this year was notable in that studio apartments and four-bedroom apartments had no units available, a real-world example of a 0-percent vacancy rate. Nishi will include 44 studio apartments as well as 132 four-bedroom apartment units filling our housing needs that are most in demand. I encourage people to take a look at just how bad our rental market has become and vote yes on Measure A.
Yes on Measure A Fixes Richards Boulevard
From Measure A Campaign – One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from Davis voters about the Nishi Gateway is, “What does Nishi do about traffic?” It’s an important question, and one that was extensively examined during the eight years of collaboration that led our City Council to placing Yes on Measure A on the June ballot.
If Yes on Measure A passes, $23 million of private capital will be dedicated to improving Davis’ infrastructure, with a majority focused on fixing Richards Boulevard and Olive Drive.
There will be an additional left hand turn lane onto Olive Drive from Richards Boulevard. Olive Drive will be expanded to encourage campus traffic to bypass Richards, leading to a new access point between campus and the Nishi site (you can see the bypass road on the included map). This has the opportunity to reduce commute times for bikes and vehicles commuting between South Davis and the UC Davis campus. People living and working at Nishi will never have to go on Richards at all if their destination is the campus. Far from causing gridlock, the investments behind Yes on Measure A are a key part of the solution to alleviating gridlock. Finally, our city can make it possible to divert cars away from the Richards underpass bottleneck, and it is doing so with substantial private investment.
n addition, this second access point means that double-decker Unitrans buses will also have a direct path between campus and South Davis – which is currently not the case. These buses will further help keep students and faculty out of cars.
Due to the implementation of the new diamond intersection on the I-80 interchange, cars coming off I-80 west will no longer have to attempt what every Davisite knows to be a dangerous and incredibly cumbersome weave merge onto Richards, and bicyclists and pedestrians will benefit from this and other improved safety features.
To learn more about how voting Yes on Measure A will benefit the City of Davis, visit www.YesOnA.org.