Readers noted in comments to yesterday’s article that, while Lincoln40 is proposing to have 473 total bedrooms – some of which will be double occupancy to push the number of beds to 708 – they are only proposing to provide 239 parking stalls.
As one person wrote, “I’m a bit curious why they propose 485 beds, but only offer about half of that amount for parking. Where do they expect the rest of the cars to go? Park on Olive??”
Another responded, “Good question, and these developers are apparently going to wave their magic wand and reduce the car usage to half. This will result in the cars parking in other areas near this enormous project and imposing those parking impacts there. I’ll bet that they will try to charge a parking fee to increase their profit margin even more while eliminating all affordable housing. It is astonishing that City Staff would even consider any of this.”
Later they added, “Lack of availability of parking on the streets will simply set up a situation of competition for parking spots on the street spilling out beyond to other areas. How does Lincoln40 plan to control the number of cars from its residents when they are providing only half of what is needed for that number of residents?”
The problem with this discussion is that it is not informed with actual data on student driving patterns. Anecdotally, I have often noted that when we first started the court watch internship program in 2010, most of the students had their own cars. Now more than half do not have a car in town at all.
While it is certainly true that these will not be 100 percent student housing, primarily it will be.
Given its location, Lincoln40 will be ideal for students to walk or bike down Olive, hit up with the bike path on the west side of the street and easily get onto campus without having to get into a car or go under the congested Richards underpass.
The parking allotment allows for about one in every three residents to park their vehicle on site. That calculation seems to be right in line with current campus mode shares.
Fortunately, we do not have to rely on just anecdotal evidence here to back up the claim. We have data from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Their most recent Travel Survey is a year old now, having been released in September 2015, but we suspect that the patterns captured have not changed significantly in a year.
On overall mode share, their survey found, “On an average weekday, about 85.4 percent of people physically travel to campus (approximately 36,205 people, including those living on campus). Among these, 46 percent bike to get there, 7 percent walk or skate, 24 percent drive alone, 5 percent carpool or get a ride, 17 percent ride the bus, and 1 percent ride the train.”
That shows just 30 percent of 36,000 who traveled to campus used a car, either driving alone or in a carpool. That number is right in line with the parking space allotment.
The survey also calculated the average vehicle ridership. Again, the notable change has been that more and more students do not drive cars.
As they explain: “Average vehicle ridership (AVR) is a statistic calculated at each UC campus that represents the ratio of the number of people arriving on campus to the number of personal vehicles brought to campus. If everyone drove by themselves to campus, the campus AVR would be equal to one. Values greater than 1.0 indicate more carpooling or the use of alternative modes of transportation. The official 2014-15 AVR for non-student employees living off-campus is 1.61 person-arrivals per vehicle-arrival… The AVR for the entire campus community is 3.23 excluding on-campus residents and 3.77 including on-campus residents. This means that for every car coming to campus, there are an estimated 3.77 people coming to campus or telecommuting.”
But the statistics are actually even more stacked when you compare the outside Davis with the within Davis contingent.
Those who live outside of Davis are most likely to drive at nearly a 1 to 1 ratio. However, those who live within Davis are most likely to use other mode shares. For every person who drives, there are 7.25 people coming to campus, for those within Davis.
As we know from last week’s article, the number of Zipcars in town have increased in just four years from four to 15, demonstrating the shifting usage of personal vehicles especially by students.
The bottom line here is that the close proximity of the university to Olive Drive, combined with the availability of buses and Zipcars to augment pedestrian and bike transportation, greatly reduces the need for students to have their own cars to park off campus.
That, combined with the increased costs of tuition and coupled with rising rents, makes car ownership a sizable monthly expense – a luxury that many students simply do not need and cannot afford.
It seems likely that the developers, experienced apartment builders and owners, would have calculations to determine the need for parking spaces – and should they underestimate the needed supply, they have alternative means to reduce the number of cars needed to park in stalls.
As others pointed out, it is not as though there are convenient alternative locations to park one’s car near the apartment complex anyway.
—David M. Greenwald reporting