City Awarded $3.54 Million for Bike/Ped Connection from East Olive Drive to Pole Line Road


Safe Routes to School Improvements for Montgomery Elementary

(From Press Release) – On October 18, the California Transportation Commission awarded the City of Davis $3.54 million to design and construct a bicycle and pedestrian bridge connection between the US40 multiuse path (along East Olive Drive) and the Pole Line Road overcrossing. The grant award will also fund safety improvements around Montgomery Elementary School. The total project cost is estimated at approximately $4.5 million, including local funding contributions.

The project emerged from the City’s recently completed Walk Bike Audit Report that identified infrastructure safety needs for the City’s eleven elementary schools and three junior high schools. The designated Safe Route for Montgomery Elementary School from East Olive Drive is currently over 2.5 miles, requiring students and parents to cross the congested Richards/Olive Drive intersection during the morning commute. The new connection will reduce that distance to 1.2 miles, primarily using off-street multi-use paths.

“The award from the state allows us to construct this missing link of safe bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure. It is critical to provide additional transportation options for the difficult-to-
access Olive Drive neighborhood. This is yet another example of the City working with our regional partners, including SACOG, to leverage our local dollars multiple times over to achieve real and tangible community benefits,” said City Councilmember Lucas Frerichs.

While the new bridge will improve neighborhood connectivity to Montgomery Elementary and other destinations such as shopping, employment centers and parks, it will also improve access to the downtown and south end of the UC Davis campus. This project is one of several planned in the Richards Blvd/Olive Drive Corridor Study to improve overall connectivity between and through the neighborhood. Other key endeavors include the Richards/I-80 interchange reconfiguration, and a bicycle/pedestrian connection between Olive Drive and the downtown train station.

“Solving the longstanding connectivity challenges caused by the freeway and railroad infrastructure is important for the Olive Drive neighborhood and provides substantial benefits for the entire community as well. Everybody wins”, said Mayor Robb Davis.

The City submitted the grant application in Summer 2016 to the California Transportation Commission’s Active Transportation Program, which is administered by Caltrans. The program’s purpose is to encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking. Just missing the cut in 2016 due to program competitiveness, the City and our partners persevered and the project was selected in the 2017 Augmentation Cycle resulting from additional funding from Senate Bill 1, which increases statewide fuel taxes.

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

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


  1. Todd Edelman

    This is great news! We’re going to have to put a lot of pressure on the City to not build anything that resembles the archaic concept in the illustration above.  I am happy to explain what the problems are.

    (Related: Unless there’s been a new hire in the past several weeks, the City has been without a Senior Civil Engineer for transportation for close to six months.)

    1. Alan Miller

      why funnel people away from UCD and downtown?

      Is this a joke?  Improving connectivity in multiple directions does not funnnel people away from anywhere.  Your solution to transportation problems is to make people take a dangerous and lengthy trip through downtown so they might be inspired to stop and buy something?  C’mon!

  2. Ron

    This would strengthen the argument for a more traditional, family-oriented complex at Lincoln 40 (instead of exclusively student housing, in the form of a megadorm).  It would also strengthen the argument to build an Affordable complex, on-site.

    Otherwise, this overpass is built for what – 6 kids going to school?

      1. Ron

        Don’t know how many.  It was a sarcastic comment.  Do you know? Is it maybe 10?

        Given the proposal being considered, how many more children are expected to live on Olive?

        How many families/children will be displaced by Lincoln 40 (and perhaps other, future megadorms on that street)?

        Honestly, don’t understand the priorities, here. Given the city’s apparent plans, an overpass is needed in the OTHER direction, toward town and UCD. Unfortunately, that’s not funded.

        1. Ron

          Thanks, David.  He’s buried there?  (Sorry for that.)

          According to the website, the Ceasar Chavez complex has 52 units. I guess we don’t know how many children live there, and would ride their bikes to Montgomery School.

          Given the $3.5 million cost, is that really a wise use of funds?  (Even if Davis doesn’t have to “directly” pay for it?)

          This strengthens the argument to include MORE family-oriented housing, on Olive. (Not a large-scale megadorm, with no Affordable housing.) (The terms “white elephant” and “bridge to nowhere” otherwise come to mind.)

        2. David Greenwald

          “This strengthens the argument to include MORE family-oriented housing, on Olive.”

          Not really.

          there are enough that there is a crossing guard each morning at the Richards-Olive Intersection.

          You state that you don’t understand the priorities here.  Well this is grant funding that pays for one piece of a much larger picture.  That grant just happened to come in first.

    1. Howard P

      Just can’t see any kids using it to go to Montgomery… far too much out of direction travel for an elementary aged student.  Some using it to Holmes, maybe… to DHS, not likely.

      Actually having trouble envisioning who the users would be…


      1. David Greenwald

        A whole bunch of kids bike/ walk down Pole Line from 8th St to Montgomery each day. A lot of them go with their parents and used to go to Valley Oak. I used to see them every day because we took my youngest from Montgomery to Valley Oak at noon. That appears to be further.

    2. Alan Miller

      This would strengthen the argument for a more traditional, family-oriented complex at Lincoln 40

      Let’s not get political on this, bringingin in outside issues.  This is a great alt-transportation connection on multiple levels, no matter who lives at Lincoln40.

      Otherwise, this overpass is built for what – 6 kids going to school?

      That’s ludicrous.  This isn’t about the funding source being for safe-routes, it’s great for everyone.  And six?  C’mon!  There are many more children on Olive Drive.   I don’t need a study to tell me that.

  3. Howard P

    Wonder how many trips/day (average including inclement weather) they estimate this will be used for?

    Will be interesting to see the 50% design… and how it meets ADA requirements…

  4. Ron

    From article:  “The total project cost is estimated at approximately $4.5 million, including local funding contributions.”

    Who is paying for the “local funding contributions”?

  5. Sharla C.

    This is good news, despite the complaints of naysayers here.  Now they need to consider closing the Olive Drive off ramp to further improve safety along that street.  This will provide access to schools, shopping and will make it easier to go to the new brewery on my bike.

  6. Alan Pryor

    Even if the City cost is only $1M out of the $4.5M total cost, this does seem to be an extraordinary large expense to accommodate what I would expect to be a very few number of users. $1M would fill a lot of potholes and pavement cracks which I suspect represents a greater danger to kids on our Safe Bike Routes to School map.

    I’d like to see the engineering and estimated bike count justification for this. I agree that it appears to be a “bridge to nowhere”.

    1. darelldd

      It is the only way to connect to the HWY 40 bicycle commute corridor without riding through the Richards intersection or the Mace overpass. This will help connect “a bunch” of children with their school, and it will help bicycle commuters. It isn’t a bridge to nowhere, it is a bridge to some of our most amazing bike infrastructure that can’t be accessed except from two relatively terrible locations (it is otherwise bound by the RR and the freeway).

      1. Ron

        darelldd:  Normally, I support such improvements.

        But, in this case, it appears to be somewhat of a taxpayer subsidy for Lincoln 40, even though the proposal does not include families or Affordable housing.  (And, I understand that this isn’t the “only” bicycle/pedestrian overpass that will require a taxpayer subsidy, for that development.)

        If that’s not the case, then I would question spending $4.5 million for a “bunch” (maybe 20?) young children to (possibly) bike to a relatively distant school.  Seems like that’s what some are “arguing” for, perhaps to deflect attention from the real reason for the susbsidies.

        And again, this is not the only taxpayer-funded overpass that’s needed for the Lincoln 40 development.  (Understood, that if both of the overpasses are built, it might help a few bicycle commuters who pass through, as well.)

        1. Ron

          I would add that if bicycle commuters (from outside of Olive) are hoping to use this, the overpasses will have to be built in a manner which facilitates such use.  (In other words, both overpasses and routes would have to be designed well enough to be appealing, compared to alternative routes.)  Of course, well-designed structures might cost local taxpayers more, as well.  (Some have argued for a tunnel, instead of the other overpass that’s needed.)


      1. Ron

        Gee, David.  How “generous” of them, with state taxpayers footing the majority of the cost to make their development viable.

        What about the “other” unfunded overpass (or underpass) that’s needed for this development? Who is paying for that?

  7. Todd Edelman

    This creates a great connection between central South Davis and campus providing the Richards-Olive intersection is done right. A huge distance with very few intersections.
    The design in the illustration is perfectly ADA-compliant, but terrible for cycling due to its tight turns: It will make some people stop when going up and have to walk their bikes, and while slowing down while going down can be safer, there’s no reason for speed to be reduced. This just needs to be wide and straight with good drainage and lighting. There is plenty of space for a direct run oriented towards the West from the Pole Line bridge down to Old 40 landing a bit east of the current loop.
    I suggested this to Public Works months ago and the only response I got was that the illustrated ramp is just a concept.

      1. Todd Edelman

        I undersold it, actually.
        It creates the best corridor towards campus also from areas to the north — on and to the east of Pole Line, e.g. for Sterling – I mentioned this many times during the discussions herein about that project.
        It’s a fast alternative to campus that bypasses Downtown (I think 3rd St. should be a bike-priority route but that will take some time to sort out…)
        It will work in aggregate with the future new UPRR crossing at Lincoln40.
        It creates a new route so that a trip to and through this area doesn’t always have to be on the same path.
        It gets people from all the housing on east Olive to Safeway not quite as directly but probably more safely than now as it’s not clear how much of an improvement Richards will get – right now the design is a poorly-conceived as what’s in the illustration above (including the ridiculous Davis Gateway nonsense…)

        1. Howard P

          That makes sense… what I reacted to was,

          a great connection between central South Davis and campus…

          I see the area from Drummond, and to the east, central south Davis…


        2. Howard P

          Yet, Todd, I remain more than a bit skeptical of regular trips accommodated.  Particularly for K-12 students…

          More info needed… hopefully the City will provide good ‘guesstimates’… use potential and design concepts… will take time…

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