Sunday Commentary: If It Is Traffic That We Are Worried About…

A comment that caught my attention from the recent discussion on Sterling was that someone noted a meeting took place at 5:30 on a weeknight and it “took me 25 minutes to get from my home in East Davis… to this building.”

The commenter noted, “And the cars coming in the other direction were even more dense – they were pouring out of the structure at UCD.”

As someone who lives in South Davis near the far southeast corner of the city and works in downtown, I have noticed that traffic has gotten increasingly bad during peak hours.  This, despite the fact that there has really been minimal residential growth in the last 15 years.

The message from the commenter is that traffic is a reason not to build developments like Sterling – but I’m not so sure that is an accurate assessment.

The EIR for Sterling of course found, “The majority of the study intersections and roadway segments were determined to result in less-than significant impacts with the addition of project-generated traffic.”

The EIR adds, “Should the project result in increased congestion in the Core Area, the City has determined, through the adoption of the above-referenced General Plan LOS policies and thresholds and General Plan EIR, that this congestion is acceptable in the Davis Core Area. As such, the traffic analysis contained in the Draft EIR has properly applied all applicable traffic thresholds of significance to the project study area, and all potentially significant traffic impacts have been disclosed, and where appropriate, mitigated to the greatest extent feasible.”

Of course, the neighbors do not buy into these traffic findings, but I think projects like Sterling have the potential, at least, to reduce rather than increase traffic in the long run.

That sounds counter-intuitive, correct?  But I think we need to start understanding better the dynamics of traffic.

Sterling Apartments would be somewhere between 1.5 and two miles from campus, depending on how you measure it.  About 45 percent of undergraduate students live within 1.5 miles of campus and nearly 70 percent of them live within two miles of campus.  But overall in the campus community, just 32.5 percent live within a mile and a half, and just over half live within two miles.

While a healthy number of students still live near campus, what kills this number is the extremely low percentage of faculty and staff who live within two miles of campus.

That means, on a given day, faculty and staff are commuting to campus – by car.  As the university increases in size, that’s more cars clogging local roads.  We see this on the major arterials and the route from the freeway to campus, which is literally jammed during peak hours.

We also know from the most recent UC Davis Travel Survey what happens when people live closer to campus and what happens when they don’t.

When students live between one and 2.9 miles from campus – they are not driving to campus.  Just 12.2 percent drive alone and another 2.8 percent carpool.  How are they getting to campus?  Over half of them bike and 30 percent take the bus.

Sterling may seem far from campus, but it really isn’t.  At that distance, a vast majority are not using cars.

The bottom line here is looking at travel patterns, and these are not just one year findings – I looked at past surveys and found similar results.  They are robust and consistent across time.  Even building within two to three miles from campus, most students – the vast majority – are not driving to campus and thus are not contributing to the congestion.

Based on that, if you are concerned about traffic congestion, we need more student housing near campus and not to force students to live outside of town, where they nearly all drive.

As the chart shows, by three to five miles from campus, 42 percent use cars either alone or in carpools.  By five miles it is up to 80 percent.  The scary thing is that, while most people still live within five miles of campus, there is a population of 7000 in the university community that live 10 miles or more from campus, and not surprisingly 80-plus percent of those drive in one way or another.

There are a few other points that have been raised that would be better discussed with some data.

There has been a lot of talk about the number of parking spaces at Sterling.  Based on the recent travel surveys, I believe there is actually too much rather than not enough parking at Sterling.

Right now the student version of the project has 540 beds served by 348 parking spaces.

As we show above, at the distance of Sterling, only 12 percent of all students drive alone, and another 2.8 percent carpool.  That comes to about 15 percent.  That helps with traffic impacts during peak hours, but is silent on the issue of how many people simply store their cars but do not drive to school.

The UC Davis Travel Survey has an answer and it finds that just 42.7 percent of undergraduates have “access to car.”

The parking lot would allow for 64.4 percent of the residents to have a vehicle.  That is well above the 42.7 percent of undergraduates who have access to a car, according to the latest surveys.

At that rate, the parking lot would only need 230 spaces.  That gives the parking lot over 100 spaces of fudge factor, which seems more than enough for the lot.

There have been anecdotal stories that some apartment complexes have not planned for enough parking, but unless we can analyze them with hard numbers, it is difficult to assess that.  The trend overall seems to be that fewer students are driving and have cars.

There are concerns about the fact that Unitrans is not expanding their service based on Sterling.  Again, numbers are helpful.  At the Sterling distance, roughly 30.6 percent use the bus.  If Sterling holds 540 students, that would project to about 165 student riders from Sterling.

Of course they don’t all get on the bus at once.   According to the staff report, “The Sterling Apartments project is within an area of the City of Davis designated as a TPA (Transit Priority Area) by the SCS.”  It is close in proximity to transit and there are buses with service at intervals no longer than 15 minutes.

Some have argued it is absurd to believe that more service won’t be needed – but the problem is that the argument is being made without taking into account rideshare or the fact that not everyone gets on the bus at the same time.

Unitrans should have metrics to be more precise than we have been here, but it seems pretty clear that 165 students spread over a period of even a few hours should not tax their system.

Finally, while the focus has been on student housing – for good reasons, with a low 0.2 percent vacancy rate and increasing enrollment – the biggest contributor to traffic congestion is probably faculty and staff – each of whom live further from campus and many of whom cannot afford to buy housing in the Davis market.

My purpose in this is not to advocate for housing but rather to point out that, if traffic is a concern, the biggest problem right now is that we have an increased number of people coming to campus and more and more that are not living in Davis.  When people live in other communities, they are far more likely to drive rather than bike or take a bus to campus.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Matt Williams

    David Greenwald said . . . “The UC Davis Travel Survey has an answer and it finds that just 42.7 percent of undergraduates have “access to car.”

    The parking lot would allow for 64.4 percent of the residents to have a vehicle.  That is well above the 42.7 percent of undergraduates who have access to a car, according to the latest surveys.”

    I can’t help but wonder what proportion of the 42.7 percent is actually access to a friend’s vehicle.

  2. Ron

    If student housing is located on campus, there’s no need to commute through an already-congested city by bike, bus, or car.

    I recall that every year, there’s accidents on campus between bicyclists, primarily at the start of the new academic year.  (Presumably, due to inexperience and perhaps because we’re generally less concerned with safety, when we’re younger.)

    Purposefully locating student-oriented housing far from campus will ensure that students (some of whom don’t have significant cycling experience) will be thrown into the traffic “mix” that already exists, with cars, buses, pedestrians as they travel through the central part of town to reach campus.  And, this “commute” can occur several times/day for each student, between classes.  Already, it’s not uncommon to see some pretty reckless bicyclists, including those who ride at night without lights, etc.

    Instead of collisions between bicyclists on campus (which don’t usually involve significant injuries), I wonder if this new “policy” of encouraging/approving student-oriented housing throughout the city will result in more collisions between bicyclists and existing auto traffic and pedestrians.

    Of course, Sterling (and other proposed developments) will likely generate significant auto traffic that’s not necessarily destined for campus, either.  (Hence, the large number of parking spaces that are still needed, etc.) All of which will be added to the existing “mix” of traffic.

    Bottom line, bicycles are part of traffic, not separate from it. And this creates impacts, as well. (Including safety concerns.)

    1. Don Shor

      I wonder if this new “policy” of encouraging/approving student-oriented housing throughout the city will result in more collisions between bicyclists and existing auto traffic and pedestrians.


    2. Matt Palm

      If student housing is on campus they will be driving a lot more to get to groceries, Target, etc.

      housing in town within a mile or two of campus offers a balance of access to all these things.

  3. Ron

    I stand corrected.  I had “assumed” that collisions between bicyclists on campus don’t normally result in significant injuries.  However, the following article (from the Aggie) is the first one that popped up, via an Internet search:

    Don: Yes – “new” policy. (I suspect that you already know this.)

    Specifically encouraging student-oriented housing up to 2 miles from campus is part of the language that was created by the council’s LRDP subcommittee. (2 miles from the campus in any direction encompasses most of the city.)

    A chart showing the location of apartment complexes is not the same thing.

    1. Howard P

      Let’s see… broken collarbones, femurs, ulna’s , head injuries (college folk are ‘too cool’ to wear helmets)… yeah… freshman year @ UCD saw/read about the carnage… subsequent years, I walked during the first two weeks of fall quarter… by then people either figured it out, or were “Darwinized”… that was the 70’s.

      Parts of the problem… too many kids were driven to school growing up… when you’re 17-20 (particularly if male) you feel like you are immortal… bicyclists and pedestrians believe that they are superior to those in VM’s… some also believe a painted stripe on the road serves as an impenetrable K-rail… some do not have enough knowledge of Newtonian physics to understand who loses in a crash between a bike and a car.

      Also, too many car drivers thinking “might makes right”… etc…


      1. John Hobbs

        Also, too many car drivers thinking “might makes right”…

        Very presumptuous statement. When car meets bike. or the other way round, I would wager less than 1% of car drivers had any such malicious intent.

        1. Howard P

          Presumption based on observation of who “assumes” r/w… extensive observations… none of the egregious examples resulted in a crash, but their were indeed many ‘close calls’… your experiences may be different… was speaking to mine alone… but I did experience/observe them…

          You may be correct, my overstating, based on my own experience as a bicyclist for 55 years, MV driver for 46… but it has indeed been my experience, and that of others I trust as truthful…

        2. Howard P

          Actually, was thinking more oblivious and/or callous, rather than malicious/malevolent…

          Can’t think of ANY time a MV driver “gunned it”…

          Yeah probably could have chosen my words better in the previous post…

  4. Eileen Samitz

    The more UCD on-campus housing there is to accommodate the students the less they are impacted and inconvenienced by needing to commute to get to their classes daily. The other benefits are less traffic and impacts on the City and less and risk of them getting injured from bicycling accidents (i.e. bicycle vs car, bicycle, pedestrian, road obstacle, etc.). Even the students are advocating for more on-campus housing and one reason is due to the current necessity for them commute in winter and other adverse weather. Night time commuting by bicycling is more risky regardless of the weather due to decreased visibility by bicyclist and vehicle drivers.

    1. Richard C

      The more UCD on-campus housing there is to accommodate the students the less they are impacted and inconvenienced by needing to commute to get to their classes daily.

      Yes.  I think about this every time I pass by the derelict and fenced off Orchard Park site.  Just think of the student housing that could be accommodated on that site by building 4 story structures similar to what is in West Village.

  5. Keith O

    What I find funny about this whole argument is some of the same people who are now advocating for campus housing are the same exact people who fought campus housing when UCD wanted to build on the Russell Fields which is on campus.

    1. Ron


      That may be true, to some degree.  However, it’s a simplification to note this without acknowledging that there’s a lot of other locations on campus to locate housing.  (If that wasn’t the case, I suspect that many would have had a different position.)  Also, many students were concerned regarding the loss of that field.  In the end, it seemed that student activism was key to saving Russell Field.

      I viewed the effort to save Russell Fields as more of a “request” from students, neighbors, and the city as a whole.

    2. Colin Walsh

      I would like to refresh your memory of the diversity of people organizing to save the Russell Blvd fields. It includes community members, the Davis City Council, UCD alumni, athletes, other students and ASUCD, among others. For the most part advocacy to save the fields was simultaneous to advocacy for locating increased student housing in the many other available locations on campus.

      Students deserve both housing, and athletic fields that are centrally located and accessible, and both can happen.

  6. Colin Walsh

    When citing the Campus Travel Survey, it is important to note the following paragraph from page 1

    The 2015-16 survey was administered online in October 2015, distributed by email to a stratified random sample of 27,459 students, faculty, and staff (out of an estimated total population of 43,983). About 14 percent (3,789 individuals) of those contacted responded to this year’s survey, with 11.5 percent actually completing it. For the statistics presented throughout this report, we weight the responses by role (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, Master’s student, PhD student, faculty, and staff) and gender so that the proportion of respondents in each group reflects their proportion in the campus population.

    In short, the survey was sent by email to a “stratified random sample,” but the answers are self reported without any verification and those that chose to return it self selected to do so. Those responses were weighted by gender and year, etc., but that leaves significant possible bias in the results.

    For example, is someone more likely to over report riding a bike because they feel like that is the right answer, and more likely to turn it in because they feel good about it? Is it possible that people who drive, feel social pressure not to, so they under report it and are less likely to turn in the survey? Or is the opposite true, are people who drive regularly more likely to over report and turn in the survey because they are frustrated with parking limitations? In reality both can be true and still skew the survey. The survey leaves a lot of questions

    In short, this survey has limitations. The respondents are a non randomized sample of less than 9% of the surveyed population. How this survey is applied should be similarly limited and this article probably goes to far.

    1. Matt Williams

      Colin, almost anything is possible.  How would you modify the survey in order to address the concerns you have voiced?  Or would you simply throw the survey in the circular file?

      1. Colin Walsh

        Considering the bias that can be introduced by the methods used in the Campus Travel Survey it is not a reliable source to support the conclusions drawn in this article. Further, we do not even know the questions asked. How questions are asked can also introduce significant bias in survey results. Clearly a post on a blog is not a proper place to design a more accurate survey.

        1. David Greenwald

          Any survey is going to have its limitations. But the beauty of this analysis is that the survey wasn’t designed with this purpose in mind – in fact, it’s fairly straight forward and reliable year after year. If you go to the survey, you can see the questions that were asked. Finally, it’s not like the results are less than believable – most students use transportation other than cars to get to school, the closer you are to campus, the less likely you are to drive. With any survey there is a standard error. Beyond that – not sure what there is to dispute here. I simply applied those results to this analysis.

      2. David Greenwald

        Another question is this: the survey is designed by researchers and graduate students who study these questions professionally, while any study is of course subject to scrutiny and can be revamped, I’m not sure why anyone here would have more expertise on these subjects than the people who designed them in the first place.

        1. Colin Walsh

          David, nothing you have said overcomes the 2 points I pointed out where bias can be introduced in the process used in the Campus transportation survey. The survey participants self report their use, and the survey participant self select who turns in the survey. Either of those alone could introduce bias. You have said it yourself about the way you are trying to use it, the survey “wasn’t designed with this purpose in mind.”

    2. Matt Palm

      Colin, this survey has been used in multiple research projects published in the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Its valid.

      1. Colin Walsh

        Matt,  No one is arguing validity, the question is application. Please explain how you adjust for the bias introduced by self reporting and self selected participation both are likely to skew the results.

        1. Colin Walsh

          Matt what bias do you think was introduced by “Offering a chance to win a desirable prize…  TAPS allocated $1,500 for incentives in the form of 20 $50 Visa gift cards and a grand prize of an Amazon Fire tablet to participate in the survey?”

        2. Matt Williams

          Colin, unless a source has been proven to be definitive, the question of application exists with all sources.  That is why a duly diligent evaluation of an issue should use multiple sources (ideally more than two) so that the process of “triangulation” can be used to show the interrelationship and interaction of the sources.  Multiple source triangulation is often used as a tool for effective bias adjustment.

          One of the regularly occurring problems with many of the arguments made by some Vanguard posters is that the poster strongly (and often unilaterally) argues that his/her opinion/position should be considered definitive.

          Another of the regularly occurring problems I have with many Vanguard comments is the use of the words “I wonder . . .” as a method for questioning information provided from sources that are not consistent with the poster’s  world view.  “Wondering” about sources would have much more credibility if the wonderer followed the triangulation process and presented other sources that could/would illuminate the interrelationship and interaction of his source and the source provided by another Vanguard poster.

          Since I am on a roll, a third problem that crops up in the Vanguard is the use of one or more versions of the expression “I’ve been told . . . ” as a way to throw into the conversation a piece of information that the poster has no intention of backing up with any source corroboration.  Replacing the words “I’ve been told . . . ” with the words “I believe . . . ” would be a much less disingenuous rhetorical device.  An alternative would be to reference the source name, for example “Governor Brown told me . . .”

          I believe discussions on the Vanguard would be much more active and informative if the frequency of those three problems was drastically reduced.  I look forward to hearing triangulated thoughts this from other posters.

      2. Howard P

        Well, if someone doesn’t insist on it being accurate beyond a significant digit it probably is good within +/- 5-10 %… which is probably good enough for most realistic purposes.

        The ‘guilt thing’ (over-reporting bike/transit because you believe you should behave differently), is arguably in play…

        Still, it’s kinda’ like wetting you finder, holding it in the air… gives you a general sense of which way the wind is blowing, and how hard.  If you need a detailed “wind rose” with velocity down to a given mph, azimuth to within 5 degrees, you need other tools…

  7. Delia M.,

    If one is raised in a place like the Netherlands, for example, one rides a bike in all kinds of weather. Real barriers exist to separate pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles. People respect pedestrians and bicyclists. Mass transit is clean, and affordable.

    Davis could have very safe bike lanes if they were really a priority.

    1. Ron

      America (even the “People’s Republic of Davis”) is not the Netherlands, so far.  (I always liked that nickname.)  In any case, it’s sometimes difficult to create real barriers on existing streets (and doing so can further impact traffic movement, especially in busy/core areas, where space is already limited).

      If Sterling is approved in some form, the city should probably move forward with the proposal to create separate bike lanes on Fifth Street, from L Street to Pole Line (near the development).  (Thereby eliminating a regular traffic lane.)  Still not sure exactly how/where bicycle traffic will move from the south side, to the north side (to flow with traffic, on the way to campus).

      Also still wondering how this would impact the driveway into the post office, as well.

      Bottom line:  Encouraging/apporving student-oriented developments relatively far from campus facilitates bicycle commuting through the city, and adds to the “mix” of traffic that already exists – creating impacts and safety concerns.  There’s really no way around this fact.  (Not to mention the auto traffic created by the development, also added into the existing mix.)


      1. Ron

        Also still not sure where the “north side” bicycle traffic (on Fifth Street, to flow with traffic on the way to campus) would cross again onto the “south side”, to access the campus.  (In any case, it seems that lots of street crossings would occur.)

        I suspect that it would be something to see, at least.

        1. Howard P

          Ron… it’s called a left turn movement… one looks, signals, merges with traffic to the left, then waits in the middle of LT pocket.   I’m a newbie to that technique… only have executed it since ~ 1972.   Did it on Fifth Street between L and B long before bike lanes/street diets, etc.  Surprisingly, it works… always has…

        2. Ron


          Yeah, I guess we’ll see how that works out with large numbers of inexperienced/young bicyclists from Sterling, if it’s approved.  All mixing with auto traffic (which will be further squeezed).

          Howard:  ” . . . one looks, signals . . .”

          Uh, huh.


          1. Don Shor

            large numbers of inexperienced/young bicyclists from Sterling

            There are already numerous apartment complexes with hundreds of residents in the vicinity of Sterling, populated largely by student-age bicyclists. There are similar densities of apartments and bicyclists in South Davis near Richards, in North Davis near Covell and Antelope, and in West Davis near Lake. This is an increase in the number of bicyclists, not something new to the area.

        3. Ron


          Can you remind me how many bedrooms (and expected increase in bicycle commuters) would result from Sterling? (Also – the number of parking spaces for cars that will be needed for purposes other than daily commutes to campus? And, the amount of other motor vehicle traffic expected, which doesn’t necessarily rely upon having a personal vehicle?)

          1. Don Shor

            Can you remind me how many bedrooms (and expected increase in bicycle commuters) would result from Sterling?

            I’ll do that right after you remind me how many bicycle commuters already live in East Davis near or past Fifth Street.

        1. Ron

          Delia:  I survived some fairly risky “transportation practices” without much injury, when I was younger.  Lots of people do, lots of people don’t.  (Often, due to luck alone.) But, I’ve witnessed bicyclists around Davis (who appear to be students) who don’t seem to have a grasp of the dangers, and do things I’ve never done (at least, not on purpose). (Unfortunately, the same is true for motorists who are already “in the existing mix” of traffic.) In addition, we all make mistakes – regardless of how careful we are. Those in cars usually survive mistakes better than those on two wheels (or legs).

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron, you appear to be describing the every day risks of living life in the society we live in.  Are you saying that an individual should not have the free choice to incur those risks if he/she so desires?

        3. Ron

          Matt:  “Are you saying that an individual should not have the free choice to incur those risks if he/she so desires?”

          My, what a thoughtful question.  Would you like to ask a real one?  (Such as, why some are constantly advocating that student housing be located in locations which increase risks and other impacts, when better alternatives on campus have not been fully addressed/settled?)

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron:  Once again, thanks for stating “your” position/opinion on student housing. The question was a “real one.” It asked you to expand your consciousness beyond the boundaries of your prejudgment.

  8. Delia M.,

    Possibly vehicle drivers are just as inexperienced, especially if they are used to driving in a large aggressive city. Bicyclists and mv drivers need to learn how to slow down when they first move to Davis.

    That said, not sure where you all should put more housing, but my bottom line that forced me to leave my beloved Davis was the cost of rent. If rent or a mortgage payment or an affordable housing payment was even slightly affordable, I would not have moved.

    1. Ron


      Anyone who thinks that the type/level of housing being proposed will put even a dent in the cost of housing is fooling themselves.  (The cost of housing is rising everywhere – not just in Davis.  However, I realize that surrounding communities have historically been less expensive.)

      Again, it seems that the “slow-growthers” are leading the charge to put MORE student housing on campus (including apartments).  (That message seems to be lost/ignored, to those who advocate that the city do this, instead.)  UCD is creating most of the demand, via its pursuit of more “profitable” international students.

      Yes – I think we all agree that everyone should drive/ride (and even walk) “carefully”, in the midst of traffic. And yet, that sound advice often seems to be disregarded.

  9. Delia M.,

    So the cost of housing is rising in many communities in CA because CA is a wonderful state. But there are also nice safe communities with affordable rents and mortgages. Just because other Bay Area cities and other college towns are getting very expensive, it doesn’t mean you all have to cave to the greedy people. I chose to make my retirement payments stretch farther so I moved.

    1. Ron


      I see/understand that point.  Not sure that it always comes down to “greed”, but that’s sometimes part of it.  There’s no way that I can afford my original home town, anymore (let alone the home I grew up in – which wouldn’t be looked at twice, elsewhere).

      Maybe someday, pressures to grow/develop will stabilize (along with prices).  (I actually don’t understand some of the “appeal” of California, compared to other areas. Especially since constant growth/development is not “improving” everyday life.)

  10. Alan Miller

    I’m sure the good folks at (Traffic Analysis Company) would have a good laugh at the logic, but the basic premise that if you don’t have housing stock with rising enrollment, commute traffic will increase, as well as VMT.

    Anyone who thinks that the type/level of housing being proposed will put even a dent in the cost of housing is fooling themselves.

    I will not until the vacancy rate drops above (rounded to nearest percentage point) 0%.  There will doubtful be no decrease in rent, but the current rent hyper-inflation may taper.  With current City and U planning, that end to rent hyper-inflation is currently infinity years in the future.

    We are really screwing students.

    We being City and U combined.

    1. Ron


      To some degree, surrounding communities provide a built-in safeguard against rising rents.  (However, rents are rising everywhere, partly as a remnant effect of the housing crash.) In any case, some associated with UCD (including students) will choose to live in surrounding communities based upon cost, the ability to have one’s own small apartment (or share with others that they know), and availability of parking, regardless of what’s built in Davis.

      Regarding VMTs, that is probably true, especially in the absence of a Google-like shuttle system (or something like it).  (Actually, that might work well within Davis, as well.)

      In the long run, there’s only one way to eliminate VMTs (and impacts/risks associated with bicycle commuting through a congested city).  And that’s for housing that’s specifically designed and marketed for students to be located on (or very near) campus.  On-campus housing also provides an opportunity for UCD to control rents, as well.

      If Sterling was designed as a “normal” apartment complex (e.g., 1-3 bedrooms, without separate bathrooms), it would appeal (and be affordable to) students, working professionals, families and others, in the long run.  (Of course, it would be better if steps were taken to ensure that it also counts toward our next round of SACOG fair share growth requirements.)

      It’s really about sound planning decisions, for the city as a whole (including students and others).  (The same basic reason that Trackside is not the best place to put a dormitory-like structure, even though it’s closer to UCD than the proposed Sterling development.)


    2. Howard P

      A shuttle is still VMT… perhaps more efficient, but if demand driven, still similar… Uber and other options are still VMT.  Uber, etc., are arguably SOV’s, unless driver and passenger were making the same trip, regardless…

  11. Todd Edelman

    Hi! OK, so:
    * Forty years ago, the now great cycling cities of the Netherlands had very similar challenges about “limited space” and made a decision to take that space for bikes! It helps to start the grassroots campaign with a name such as “Stop the Child Murder” – which is what they did there – rather than “Street Smarts” which is what we do in Davis, with deceitful – or just delirious – messaging such as “Your helmet creates a safe zone”.  About forty years ago the cycling modal share – which needs to be seen as an indicator of the overall mobility design in an area – was not that much lower in Davis than some towns in the Netherlands. They’ve gone up in share there, slowly and steadily, with a goal of perfection and a profound lack of patronizing comments in discussions.
    * Howard P: “Vehicular Left Turns” such as you describe have never, ever been a successful tool for increasing cycling modal share. Even if they are statistically relatively-safe, they simply don’t feel safe to many people — and while we’re on the subject of subjectivity, please consider that your comments as someone who has been riding a bike in traffic for many decades is not really a valid method for getting more people to ride bikes and feel that it’s safe.
    * Two miles is nothing, if there is separated infrastructure. Again, from Sterling this would be two routes with two arterial crossings each, though the safety at those junctures could be pretty darn good with a mature and responsible design and investment.
    * David, I really appreciate that you have some logic etc. behind your suggestion of having fewer cars stored at Sterling. But still, basing this on what students already have is not a way to make the situation better, is it? This is a discussion that has no clear answer. There is, however, a discussion that has an answer that seems to have a fair bit of consensus herein (this discussion): That Davis has an absurd vacancy rate and huge need for housing BUT it’s still okay to prioritize these “230” private vehicle storage spaces over housing for maybe 150 people? (Or even more if the original size is kept, again without the parking)? No one’s really directly responded to this point, perhaps a existential dilemma, yes? If you honestly feel that this is good and proper – and cannot imagine, for example, a rigorous program of carrots and sticks to keep people who live at Sterling from black-parking a car where they’re not supposed to – please just say so: “I’m ____________, I read the Davis Vanguard, and I agree that even with our city’s extreme housing scarcity it’s still fine to build parking instead of housing.”
    – With love from extremely low – perhaps 25% of the City’s goal for this year – bike modal share Green Meadows/La Buena Vida, along the eastern automobile gateway and cycling-unfriendly route to points north.

    1. Howard P

       “Stop the Child Murder”

      Davis has had folk crying that out for years (like 25 years), but parsed it as “how many children must die?”

      Pretty much 98% of bicycle or ped deaths in Davis or environs, in the last 25-30 years, had nothing to do with traffic volumes, bike or ped facilities, etc.  Almost all could be characterized as “stupids” by either the perp or the victim… due to impairment, MH issues, criminal acts, inattention/distraction… and I’m being generous in giving 2% to actual design or other factors…

      1. Howard P

        BTW… can’t recall the death of a child, due to collisions/crashes, in Davis, in 30 years… there were one or two serious injuries in that time, but no deaths that I recall… one that I know of (serious injury), was due, in large part, to the child not having a bike helmet on that day …usually wore, but not that moment… the crash was a ‘glancing blow’, the injury occurred when the child hit a curb with his head…

        There is not really ‘carnage’ on Davis streets… don’t think that rate will change with additional DU’s/MVs… adult or child…

      2. Todd Edelman

        Umm…. references for this 1 or 2% caused by lack of facilities or number of cars above one… at least two, which I think is the lower threshold of “volume”?


        1. Howard P

          You are correct, Todd… if there were zero MV’s in Davis, there would neither be any MV/Bicycle  collisions, of any severity, and that would apply to MV/Ped collisions as well.  I truly had not thought of that possibility.

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