For a number of months we have had a long and sustained community dialogue on growth as well as the interaction between university growth ambition and city land use policies.
While the community, at least as embodied by the commenters on the Vanguard, has weighed in, this is the first time that the council weighs in on these matters.
For the council, a common thread is that of sustainability. As they note in their draft, “How is the community vision sustained in the face of growth whether it is in the City or on the UC Davis campus? Sustainability includes sustaining the fabric of why residents, students, and businesses have been attracted to Davis for generations.”
The community vision has been included in a number of features, including the value of open space, conservation of agricultural land, and reduction of carbon footprint (the draft document goes further).
The framework breaks down a number of topic areas where the city expresses its objectives and then its preferences.
While this is primarily an opinion column, my intention here is to present the city’s objectives and preferences first and then, at a later point, drill down further. While we can quibble or even outright disagree on various objectives and preferences, having this articulated gives us the avenue for further discussion and, therefore, this is a helpful first draft.
- Accommodate anticipated Campus and City growth
- Promote diversification of housing stock to accommodate full breadth of community needs (workforce, affordability, seniors, students)
- Move towards healthier vacancy rate (currently 0.2%)
- Ensure safety of rental housing stock
- Account for impacts of UC Davis enrollment growth on City
- Request UC Davis commit to more aggressive accommodation of on campus housing commensurate with anticipated growth and to balance community-wide housing needs (such as: 100% of first year students and 50% of student population, or more desirable vacancy rate of X% translates to Y units)
- City to continue to pursue consideration of all infill and apartment housing proposals within the City (with emphasis on student oriented housing proposals within 2 miles of campus in order to facilitate ease of access)
- Acknowledge that existing City multi-family units exist to support both off-campus student AND workforce housing
- Encourage UC Davis higher density (4-5 plus stories) on- campus housing to maximize land efficiency
- Encourage UC Davis inclusion of additional on-campus housing opportunity sites while recognizing the value of “unprogrammed” shared community space on campus
- Eliminate master leases of apartments by UC Davis within the City
- City to revisit Nishi proposal with consideration of increasing housing option onsite
- Seek UC Davis support in development and implementation of City rental inspection program
- Jointly develop monitoring program with annual progress reports on housing unit production
Nonresidential/ commercial space
- Increase availability of limited supply of commercial/R&D space within City for private companies
- Reduce impact of property tax base by UCD owned/leased space within City
- Ensure inclusion of both current space needs and anticipated growth of campus office/R&D space to be accommodated on campus in the LRDP
- City to provide statistics on location and amount of UC Davis owned/occupied space within the City and accounting estimates of the property tax impacts to the City
- Explore opportunities for City/UC Davis collaboration on how best to gauge and accommodate spin-off business space needs stemming from on-campus research
- Proposals to convert existing commercial spaces to housing only should be evaluated with strong consideration of a third party commercial viability study pursuant to City Council policy
- Secure greater safety and efficient circulation on the Richards/Olive corridor and other key inbound bike/ped access points to campus
- City to pursue next steps for prioritization and implementation of the Richards/Olive Drive Corridor Plan, including pursuit of funding
- Request that UC Davis evaluate full range of circulation assumptions and analyses related to flow of traffic from I-80 and City to campus for both existing and proposed campus growth (e.g. transit only access at First and A)
- Evaluate options to route vehicle trips to and from campus away from Richards/Olive and to alternatives such as Old Davis Road and Hutchison. Partner with Caltrans to assess ideas such as reader board directory signs and real-time congestion monitoring and routing, including pricing access to downtown via Richards undercrossing of UPRR using dynamic pricing options
- Request that UC Davis evaluate alternative connection configurations at Russell/Howard Way and Russell/California and Orchard Park/Russell Avenue for “right in/out only” (except for transit)
- Seek UC Davis participation in payment of fair share transportation impact fees associated with utilization/impacts on City circulation network for projected growth as well as existing planned City projects (such as Howard Reese Pathway re-alignment, Anderson Road corridor improvements, lane addition at Richards/Research Park, Russell Boulevard bicycle connection, etc…_
- City completes Complete Streets restriping on 5th Street east of L Street to improve cyclist access along the entire corridor
Alternative Mode Share/Transit
- Maximize opportunities for increasing alternative mode share for transit and bicycles
- City and UC Davis to continue with implementation of regional bike share system via SACOG
- City and UC Davis to commit to greater utilization of car share programs (such as Zip Car) and associated infrastructure (such as dedicated parking) to reduce need for individual vehicles
- Commit to undertaking full review of Unitrans routes and scheduling to assure service to newer/most heavily used sites and to create a year-round City/Campus bus service with clear access to downtown (per City’s Parking Recommendations)
- Assess transit stop improvements/mitigation and interest in transit shelters and other amenities
- Reduce impacts of parking demands on Downtown Davis and City neighborhoods
- City to continue with implementation of Downtown Parking Strategy—with stepped up time enforcement using new license plate readers and consideration of paid parking in the core.
- Support UCD plan to not significantly increase on-campus parking
- Examine joint options for long-term car storage in and around the City
- Evaluate opportunities and constraints of UC Davis inclusion as the City considers Broadband
- Evaluate impacts of office space needs on campus in light of high-speed broadband access in the City
- Define City/UC Davis interests in and benefits from high-speed broadband in the City and potential University contributions
City/Campus Joint Planning Opportunities
Identify opportunities for coordinated/joint planning on City/Campus edges and corridors either as part of the LRDP or as separate efforts, such as:
- Russell Boulevard Corridor
- First and A
- 3rd and A
- LaRue/Anderson, Russell intersection (protected intersection/alignment/eliminate free right turns)
- Russell bike/ped path beyond Arlington
- A and Russell bike connectivity options
- Assess opportunities for improved lighting at City/UC Davis edges and transitions
- Broadband (define City/UC Davis interests in and impacts/benefits from high-speed broadband in the City and potential partnerships)
Request that UC Davis include evaluation of potential future bicycle/ped/transit/vehicle connection to the Nishi site in the LRDP and EIR
- Evaluate as an equal weight alternative
- Utilize land use assumptions from the last Nishi project proposal
Recognizing the community interests expressed in preserving the physical and cultural attributes of the Russell Fields as a key City/Campus edge and ”shared community space”, request that UC Davis withdraw the proposed conversion of field areas to housing from the LRDP and shift housing units to other areas of campus.
In a future column, we’ll carve into these topics more deeply. For now, there is a lot to digest and I look forward to seeing the community discussion that develops around them.
—David M. Greenwald reporting