Student Housing at Nishi: Sound Planning for Much-Needed Housing

By Don Shor

On June 5th, Davis voters will be asked to vote on Measure J to approve the Student Housing at Nishi project, which will provide much-needed housing units.

With a 0.2% apartment vacancy rate, Davis is desperately in need of new rental housing. Over the last 15 years, there has been almost no additional rental housing units built, even though our population has continued to increase. I have been hiring young adults for nearly four decades at my retail nursery and have been dismayed to watch the increasingly adverse impact of our shortage of rental housing. We need to increase both private and public rental housing stock. The present market harms those who can least afford it.

The university’s commitment to housing 48% of their students is a good start, but that is it, only a start. Small projects approved by the city council help keep the rental market from getting worse from where it is; however, with Student Housing at Nishi we can finally bend the curve upward on apartment vacancies.  This project would help stabilize the housing market by providing Davis renters more choices, thus opening up more options for all demographics.

I have been working with the project partners on the plant selection, layout, and management plans for the urban forest proposed for the Nishi site.  John Whitcombe and Tim Ruff, the project partners, have pledged to plant over 700 trees in a long barrier parallel to the freeway—a typical freeway planting would have about 1/6 that many trees.

An additional 1300 fast-growing shrubs will fill under and around the trees in order to maximize mitigation during periods of atmospheric inversion. These trees and shrubs have been selected for longevity, fast growth rate, pest resistance, and species diversity. California native species will be utilized extensively. All of these plants are drought-tolerant, and all of the irrigation will come from a well on site: no city water will be used for the urban forest.

Although this planting is functional, I am still cognizant that this is the gateway to our city, so I made sure to include plants with seasonal color and attractive foliage. There will be lots of flowers, fall color, and winter berries. This forest will be great for songbirds, bees, other beneficial insect and will be a phenomenal wildlife habitat in general. In addition to cleaning the air, the Nishi Urban Forest will be an asset, not just to those who live in Nishi and Solano Park, but to the whole community.

Residents of Nishi will be protected by five layers of foliage intercepting pollution:

  1. CalTrans property, where we hope to do additional planting of native species to augment the live oaks and cork oaks presently on site.
  2. 30’ deep shrub zone
  3. 70’ of tiered tree plantings
  4. Parking lot tree canopy
  5. Landscape plants around the residences

This planting will be far more extensive and carefully designed than any typical freeway frontage landscaping. It represents a significant commitment of land and resources to the benefit of the residents and the city as a whole.

Testing done at the end of Olive Drive, on a site selected by the EIR research team, showed—as expected—the site presents some air quality issues. That being said, every possible mitigation has been implemented in the design of the project:

  • Housing will be built as far away from the freeway as possible, on the north side of the property
  • The extensive urban forest is being designed to trap and remove pollutants and particulate matter;
  • Landscaping of the parking lot and buildings will further reduce pollutants;
  • Interior filtration systems are included in all units

There is a considerable body of research on the benefits of planting trees and shrubs to reduce pollution. Regulatory agencies, including the state air resources board and the EPA, recommend vegetative barriers to filter air from nearby roads.

We know that trees and shrubs, planted at a high density, can significantly reduce particulate matter. Leaves, small branches, and even the bark act as filters to trap and sequester particles. Studies have shown that certain types of leaves and needles are especially effective because of increased surface area or resinous coatings that remove even more pollution as air passes through the plant canopy. This requires careful plant selection of species that are adapted to the region, which Student Housing at Nishi has done.

The critical shortage of rental housing in Davis is a magnitude of the overall trends throughout California. Increased density and smart growth principles will bring residential developments right up next to freeways and busy roadways. Concerns about auto emissions and fine particles need to be addressed everywhere. Along I-80 in Davis we already have apartment complexes abutting the freeway, including the affordable housing project at New Harmony where families live. There are even playfields wedged in between the Pole Line overpass and the freeway.

At Nishi, the risk threshold has been reduced as much as possible. Once again, Davis can lead the way in planning—this time to a healthier, safer model for urban infill near roadways. This model can be adopted and adapted to projects anywhere people live and work along busy roadways. The project partners are committed to providing the best mitigation possible. As a plant professional with long roots in this community, I am committed to making this urban forest model work for current and future generations.

Because of the pressing need for housing, and the exemplary nature of this project, I urge a Yes vote on Measure J.

Don Shor has been a local nursery owner since 1981.


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69 thoughts on “Student Housing at Nishi: Sound Planning for Much-Needed Housing”

  1. Tia Will

    Don

    I just want to express my appreciation for both your article and for the collaboration between you and the developers in addressing the air quality concerns of the Nishi site.

  2. Craig Ross

    This issue is largely a distraction.  The idea that a new facility, state of the art with mitigation’s is somehow dangerous to people residing there a year or two is ludicrous.  We have housing up and down the I-80 corridor.  Is there any evidence of health impacts?  No, this is a way to create a wedge issue and stop housing that certain people don’t want for various reasons.

    1. Tia Will

      Craig

      Except for those who truly believe it is a problem of which, after many, many conversations on this issue, I believe there are genuinely a few. I do not share their concern, but that does not mean they are not sincere.

  3. Jeff M

    Very good and informative article that will no doubt send the Nishi opponents back to their planning cave to gin up more unfounded voter fear about the project.

    1. Ron

      It’s a lot more likely that some have grown weary of repeatedly pointing out the shortcomings of the arguments put forth, and have simply moved on (e.g., refrained commenting much on here, and/or moved to the other blog).  Especially regarding air quality, it seems.

      1. Craig Ross

        Actually Keith, if you want to be objective you would realize that no one is commenting on Nishi – anywhere.  There are very few letters to the editor of the Enterprise.  The “other blog” gets no traffic and less comments.  The arguments against Nishi are played out.  Only Colin Walsh and his merry men (and women) seem engaged on this.

      2. Ron

        Craig:  The other blog (Davisite.org) controls comments much more tightly, than the Vanguard does.  (Perhaps a reason that there are fewer comments, there.)

        The Vanguard is a good place for those who want to engage in endless, repetitive arguments (ultimately leading to personal insults, distortions of arguments, and blatant attempts to antagonize those who disagree). In other words, it’s politics at its worst. Which might even be the bigger reason, that some avoid commenting on here. I suspect that any comment made after this one will provide a perfect example, of that.

        1. Craig Ross

          “Controls comments” meaning – “has no comments”?

          The Vanguard is a good place for those who wish to have a vigorous debate/ discussion on a variety of important issues.  It is not for the feint of heart however.

        2. Ron

          O.K. – your comment did not provide a perfect example, regarding that.  But again, many of the same arguments have already been made repeatedly (and not resolved).  At a certain point, there’s no use repeating them, on here. (For some, it may have nothing to do with being “feint of heart”.)

          For sure, the Vanguard is no longer hearing from some.

          And yes, by controlling comments, it does discourage some. And yet, a variety of viewpoints have already been presented (e.g., via articles), on that blog.

        3. Alan Miller

          I suspect that any comment made after this one will provide a perfect example, of that.

          Well, that’s just because everyone here is a poo-poo head.

          Did that fullfill your prophecy?

        4. Craig Ross

          That’s the nature of political debates – there are key points each side makes and when you have repeat combatants, the arguments are repetitive.

        5. Ron

          Keith – no sock puppets, on the other site.  (Actually, I don’t think there’s any puppets left on here, either.)  Not even an “evil twin”, at this point.  🙂

          Regarding the technical aspects of air quality, it seems that most of us are not experts. But from what I’ve seen, the science is incomplete (and we’re left with largely political arguments on this site, from development supporters or actual participants). However, Todd seems to make some relevant counter-points.

          If this proposal fails again, it will be due to the rushed/incomplete process (e.g., regarding fiscal issues, air quality, lack of access agreements, etc.).  But, it will be blamed squarely on the “slow-growthers”.  (The Vanguard will go ballistic, if this occurs.)

          1. David Greenwald

            My view at least at this stage: if the proposal fails, it will be due to lack of voter turnout.

          2. Don Shor Post author

            But from what I’ve seen, the science is incomplete

            Science is never complete. Further testing would just give more results that would need to be interpreted, and then that data would need to be assessed as to the hazard and risk as measured against regulatory guidelines. There is not some clear or well-defined threshold below which housing would suddenly be deemed safe. It would be very difficult to select someone to do the testing at this point, and the expense would probably not yield the clarity of outcome I think you are seeking.
            Risk is relative and we all have different risk thresholds. Regulatory agencies can set X number of increased cancer incidences per X million for a particular exposure. We can assess how likely it is that we could achieve significant reduction to get below that projected incidence level. But there are lots of variables included even in those thresholds; it is assumed that they are from exposures over a lifetime, for example, and it is reasonable to assert that residency at Nishi will be typically short duration.
            So it is not unreasonable to say that the risk is low with all of the mitigation that is included in the baseline features. I’m not sure what you think would be revealed by further testing that would negate that.

        6. Ron

          David:  Perhaps the turnout would be better, if a proposal arose that (more) folks could get excited about.  There’s been countless comments on here, regarding the inferior nature of this proposal (e.g., compared to the first). With most of those comments coming from what I (semi-derisively) refer to as the usual “growth people”. Everyone on the council has apparently made similar comments.

          Some (including you) quickly blame Measure R, for that. But really, it seems more likely that the current proposal is an attempt to salvage the applicable sections of the old EIR, and perhaps to obtain approval before possible changes to the council makeup, itself. (And essentially, to move as quickly as possible, since time is money.)

          Now, if access could remain through UCD (for a university-oriented) mixed-use development, that might win the day.  (Assuming that air quality is addressed, as recommended a long time ago.)

          1. David Greenwald

            I’m speculating on turnout, but I think it’s more of a macro issue, not race specific. There was record turnout in 2016 even though the races locally weren’t interesting. The driver was Bernie Sanders for the most part.

        7. Keith O

          “(Actually, I don’t think there’s any puppets left on here, either.)  Not even an “evil twin”, at this point.” 

          I think you’re wrong here, I have my suspicions.

      3. Alan Miller

        It’s a lot more likely that some have grown weary of repeatedly pointing out the shortcomings of the arguments put forth, and have simply moved on (e.g., refrained commenting much on here, and/or moved to the other blog).

        I can think of one exception to that observation . . .

        1. Ron

          O.K. – Alan’s comment provided a much better example, of what I was referring to (e.g., regarding attempts to antagonize). (I knew that someone would, but thought someone else might beat him to it.)

          Thanks for helping to prove the point.

        2. Alan Miller

          > Thanks for helping to prove the point.

          That wasn’t my point, but your assumption that it was my point, was my point.

          So thank YOU!

      4. Don Shor Post author

        If there is some aspect of the air quality issue and the mitigation measures I’m describing that you’d like to discuss, I’m happy to do that.

        1. Ron

          Don:  Thanks, but I’ve already presented some of the counter-arguments in the past (based upon what I’ve learned from others, including Dr. Cahill’s letters), even though this is not an issue that I’ve paid close attention to.  And yet, I was the only one remaining on the Vanguard who was willing to do so. That turned into an extremely lengthy exchange, with you and other supporters of the development. Truth be told, I’ve noticed that there appears to be some unanswered questions on both sides of the issue. It’s unfortunate that it has become a political debate, before the science has even been completed and professionally analyzed.

          Before engaging in a political debate (again), we probably should start with the recommended on-site air quality study, as recommended by the only professional (regarding air quality) in this debate.

          Have to say that I was amused by Tia’s comment above, in which she thanked one member of the development team (you) for collaborating with other members of the development team to “address” this issue.  (My “laugh-for-the-day”, as she might say. Yeap, I’m coming dangerously close to making my own semi-insulting comments, which is a place that I don’t really want to go.)

          1. Don Shor Post author

            we probably should start with the recommended on-site air quality study, as recommended by the only professional (regarding air quality) in this debate.

            The study that was done on the edge of the property was on a site selected by a professional, working with the project developers, as being comparable to testing further into the site. Dr. Cahill doesn’t agree, apparently, but he’s not the only professional who has weighed in on the topic. Using the Bay Area air district standard and those test figures, the goal would be to reduce the particle matter by 50 – 60% or so to get the air quality down to their regulatory threshold. The exact reduction in particle matter on any given day will depend on the wind direction and wind speed, but it seems very likely that significant reduction in particle matter by means of several layers of vegetation, along with internal air filtration, is very achievable. In my opinion, there are many aspects of the science that won’t be answered by another round of testing. Air flow through vegetation is a complicated subject. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some broad principles to work with as to how to design a tree buffer, and that is why the EPA and air quality board now recommend vegetative barriers to mitigate air quality problems.

        2. Ron

          Don:  At one point, I recall you stating that there weren’t any standards, regarding air quality.  (Turns out that wasn’t the case.)

          Regarding debating the technical aspects, you probably should do so with someone like Dr. Cahill.  Have you approached him, regarding your questions (or, asked him directly about the adequacy of the proposed mitigations)? If so, what did he say?

          A conversation like that would ultimately be much more useful than attempting to engage me, regarding an issue that I’ve only casually followed. (It would also be more useful than “collaborating” with other members of the development team, regarding the science behind the issue.)

           

           

          1. Don Shor Post author

            At one point, I recall you stating that there weren’t any standards, regarding air quality. (Turns out that wasn’t the case.)

            There aren’t for the air quality district that includes Yolo County. In spite of them not having jurisdiction, the standards set by the Bay Area air quality district are being used for discussion purposes.

            Regarding debating the technical aspects, you probably should do so with someone like Dr. Cahill. Have you approached him, regarding your questions (or, asked him directly about the adequacy of the proposed mitigations)? If so, what did he say?

            I have had a casual conversation with him and wouldn’t want to try to describe it here in any detail. But it was mostly about what kinds of trees worked best. It was useful.
            I don’t actually really have any questions. For vegetative barriers, there is lots of other research available. He did the wind tunnel studies that showed the efficacy of two types of evergreens, and then a field study that had much lower measured reduction. That was a single row of redwoods. It gave me some insight into the relationship of leaf area index on efficacy, which led to other research studies. There was also a study done here near Willett Elementary that was useful, and has a great literature review.
            The other advisers to the developers focused on the risk assessment and the general discussion of air quality trends.

  4. Todd Edelman

    The photo above is not representative of I-80 with its green barrier in aggregate, and in regards to the Flora de Shora itself, I’d like to know when it’s going to thicken up like that. Perhaps some student can develop a It’sThickeningUp App?

    a typical freeway planting would have about 1/6 that many trees.

    OK, but ze bar, she’s is-a so low, non?

    This forest will be great for songbirds, bees, other beneficial insect and will be a phenomenal wildlife habitat in general.

    Is Don an expert on this? Given all the noise, not to mention the gases and particles? How will the whales hear each other? What it suggests is that there may be a resulting road kill problem.

    Interior filtration systems are included in all units

    THIS is actually the key part. The plants will do their bit but in the end the interior air quality has to be consistently – based on annual inspections – be free of 95% of ultrafine particulates (0.1 microns and under) – this is something currently not possible under lab conditions in a completely sealed building, possibly even over-pressured. In other words, to even approach the mandated efficacy, the windows have to not just be closed, but not be able to be opened. Google around and you’ll see that no one advises that residences are designed that way. IF the windows can be opened, they will be opened, and in between inspections the ultrafine particulate level will be too high, at least on or shortly after more polluted days. Students may do their best to close windows when it SEEMS less polluted, but inevitably windows will be left open. Inspections for air hygiene – like the ones for cars – are made to determine if e.g. mechanical equipment needs to be tuned up or that software needs to be updated to be more reliable. So students opening windows is similar to either individual hotrodding of vehicles in-between smog checks, or corporate-cheating like what VW did with its Diesel-powered products.

    I want people to live safely at this location — and I’ve not even mentioned noise issues. But I don’t think this can happen even with the thickest passive greenery and science fiction technology based on full human compliance.

    I-80 is the elephant in the china shop, and its attack on us via gases, particles and vibrations will not end until we take it seriously.

    1. Don Shor Post author

      The photo above is not representative of I-80 with its green barrier in aggregate, and in regards to the Flora de Shora itself, I’d like to know when it’s going to thicken up like that. Perhaps some student can develop a It’sThickeningUp App?

      The species will mostly grow 3 to 7 feet a year. With voter approval the builder would have a couple of years head start for plant growth before they even begin construction of the residential units. Focus should be on fastest, densest growth of shrubs as close to the point source as possible, as those provide maximum mitigation of particulate matter during periods of atmospheric inversion when wind speeds are low. Species is less important in that situation; just consistent density. But the species selected for the second-tier plantings of trees will grow very rapidly as well, especially with seasonal fertilizer applications.

      a typical freeway planting would have about 1/6 that many trees.

      OK, but ze bar, she’s is-a so low, non?

      Not in my opinion. This is a much more substantial commitment of land and plantings than you normally see in any roadway or freeway development.

      This forest will be great for songbirds, bees, other beneficial insect and will be a phenomenal wildlife habitat in general.

      Is Don an expert on this?

      Depends on your definition of expert. I did study wildlife biology and ecology, and have researched and written articles on the topic. It doesn’t take much to have expertise on providing suitable habitat, food sources, nesting sites, and cover for beneficial organisms. It is a common interest of gardeners, so I advise on it regularly.
      There is a very similar habitat just west along the freeway where I-80 and 113 merge. I haven’t noted any particular roadkill issues there.

      1. Todd Edelman

        OK, thanks, yes. You know your flora and fauna.

        My experience tells me that the interior air hygiene equipment will not add enough to meet the EIR requirements. A location that’s just under the 95% PM 0.1 requirement is relatively healthy, at least in the urban context. But that’s not relevant here as the requirement is 95%! It doesn’t take much to understand that it will not be possible for housing at Nishi to receive certificates of occupancy AND to maintain compliance — IF the testing is thorough.

        1. David Greenwald

          I don’t believe “EIR requirements” is an accurate account. The EIR doesn’t have the authority to require anything. It suggests mitigation measures to reduce the impacts. But an EIR is a disclosure document, not a regulatory one. Regulations are contained within the BPFs and the DA.

        2. Todd Edelman

          Thanks, that’s interesting. The baseline project features are established, concrete, vote-triggering sometimes…  BUT the development agreement is, by design, dynamic?

          So have I missed something in either of these for Nishi which doesn’t uphold the EIR suggestion?

    2. Tia Will

      Todd

      I-80 is the elephant in the china shop, and its attack on us via gases, particles and vibrations will not end until we take it seriously.”

      With this I agree. And we will not be “taking it seriously” until we decide to seriously address the issue of decreasing the number of cars on it.

       

  5. Alan Miller

    If the anti-Nishi folks can come up with funding to bulldoze all structures and relocate all those housed on Olive Drive, and within 1000′ of a highway or railroad in Davis . . . then I will join them in voting against Nishi based on the air-quality issues.

    Otherwise . . . not so much

    1. Jim Hoch

      Don’t forget Putah Creek. Based on rising sea levels we could get ocean going ships to the Port of Davis. Cargo ships are known polluters.

  6. Jeff M

    I was thinking about this toxic-air-from-traffic-proximity meme and how it would impact development in many other places if it became a standard.   It is really funny if you think about it.   In my business every commercial property will require an environmental assessment… TSA, Phase-1, Phase-2, etc.   However, it covers soil, ground water and building materials.   If these reports had to start measuring the toxicity of the air blowing around the place from automobile exhaust the result in land-use restrictions and/or restrictions because of the lack of efficient and affordable mitigation would be fantastic… I am thinking there would be no more building in many parts of LA!   Watt Avenue!? Beijing!?  Forgetaboutit!

    And what about the science on the dangers of particulate matter from farming?   I can see the Davis NIMBYs going for that one too except that many of them already live on the periphery and would not welcome potential new restrictions for their property use.

    Maybe we need further assessment of the health problems caused by a toxic political environment?

    1. Todd Edelman

      Some pagans believe that we’re actually born with all the pollutants that have the potential to kill us inside our bodies and souls, and that more or less of them are assigned to attack us depending on how funny, warm and honest we are.

      1. Jim Hoch

        Thank you, now I understand. You need to avoid being “funny, warm and honest” because of the possibility of internal attack?

         

         

        1. Jim Hoch

          I thought they were just into getting rid of the “engrams” with “E-Meters”? I lived across the street from the Scientology Celebrity Center a long time ago.

      2. Alan Miller

        more or less of them are assigned to attack us depending on how funny, warm and honest we are.

        I’m not clear if we get attacked or avoid attack by being funnywarmandhonestornot.

  7. Ron

    Me to Alan:  “Thanks for helping to prove the point.”
     
    Alan to me:  “That wasn’t my point, but your assumption that it was my point, was my point.”
     
    So thank YOU!

    I’ve almost forgotten what the point was (in that particular thread), but doesn’t really matter.  You’re still one of the more entertaining voices, on the Vanguard.

    Perhaps the point was, “where is Howard”?? 🙂 (And – do I actually miss him?)
     

      1. Ron

        Well, one out of three ain’t bad.  🙂 (Perhaps even two, at least some of the time.)

        I recall a Seinfeld episode, in which one of the characters noted that it’s “not a lie, if you believe it”. (Something like that.)

  8. Tia Will

    Ron

    and blatant attempts to antagonize those who disagree).”

    which is a place that I don’t really want to go.)

    I was going to let the first statement go as a typical example of doing what one accuses others of without comment, however, since you dragged me into this by name…. Why go somewhere that you state you do not want to go?

    1. Ron

      O.K.  But, your first comment in this article (above) was pretty weak (in which you thanked one member of the development team – Don – for “addressing the issue” by collaborating with other members of the development team). If you can’t see the humor in that, then you’re probably hopelessly biased, yourself. (I honestly believe that you are biased, since you also consistently ignore the on-campus alternative, when discussing traffic).

      Note Don’s response above, when I subsequently asked him if he discussed the issue and the adequacy of the planned mitigations with Dr. Cahill (instead of attempting to engage me):

      “I have had a casual conversation with him and wouldn’t want to try to describe it here in any detail. But it was mostly about what kinds of trees worked best. It was useful. I don’t actually really have any questions.”

       

       

      1. Tia Will

        Ron

        It was a statement of appreciation, not a  “commentary” or “point”. I cannot fathom why anyone would feel the need to say anything at all about it. Except perhaps as “an attempt to antagonize”.

        1. Ron

          Yeah, but it demonstrates bias.  (And actually, I was kind of hoping that you wouldn’t see it.)  I thought you didn’t look at this stuff after 6:00 p.m., anymore?  🙂

          I do respect you and your comments, overall.  But, in addition to what I’ve already noted, I’ve also seen you engage on this issue in the past (e.g., with Roberta), in which your arguments did not address some of the points brought up.

          I would have liked to witness your exchange with Dr. Cahill, as well. (I’ve heard your side on the Vanguard, regarding that exchange.)

          And again, I’m not totally sure what to think of the air quality issue.  (I’ve always been primarily concerned about the fiscal impact, especially without an innovation center component.) In any case, we primarily hear from supporters of the development on the Vanguard, at this point. 

          One might argue that the air quality issue also helped “create” the other blog. Especially after the attempt was made, to first engage on here.

        2. Alan Miller

          > Especially after the attempt was made, to first engage on here.

          Yeah, it was all snuffed out by the Vanguard censors.  They never let anyone speak here.

          In other words, people wrote disagreements here?  Oh, my, I believe I have the vapors.

          There, on that other blog, you can safely talk only to people who agree with you.  What a wonderful world it must be.

  9. Tia Will

    Ron

    it demonstrates bias.”

    I don’t see why you believe my comment demonstrates “bias”.I appreciate the efforts of all who engage openly and honestly for what they see as the betterment of our community.  Do you also feel that my comment in response to Craig that some members of the No on Nishi campaign are genuine in their health related concerns also demonstrates bias?

    I would have liked to witness your exchange with Dr. Cahill, as well.”

    There was not much to witness. The moment that I mentioned the information the epidemiologist had conveyed to me, he shrugged and changed the topic. Now there could be all kinds of reasons: we were at a political/social event, he may not have enough knowledge to have a serious conversation about it ( just as I do not about air pollutants), he may not have been interested, he may  not have wanted to discuss it with me in particular. But of note, he did not give a reason, nor ask for more information at another time which conveyed to me the message that he was not open to further conversation on any but his own message.

    ” I’ve also seen you engage on this issue in the past (e.g., with Roberta), in which your arguments did not address some of the points brought up.”

    My comments will never address all of the points that are brought up. I try to be as precise as possible about the extent of my expertise, what experts I have consulted when outside my area of expertise, and in which areas I do not have enough knowledge to comment.

    1. Ron

      Tia:  Perhaps it depends upon how one views the sufficiency of addressing the air quality issue by “collaborating” with other members of the development team, while simultaneously not really engaging the primary critic regarding the issue (who happens to be the only one who has expertise and has weighed in, regarding the subject).

      Again, quoting Don (in reference to his exchange, with Dr. Cahill):

      “I don’t actually really have any questions.”

      Really?  I would think that Don would have a lot of questions, for Dr. Cahill. I know that I would, if I was in Don’s position.

      However, I realize that Dr. Cahill may not be the best political debater/socializer, regarding the issue.  Many scientists fall into that category. (Which can ultimately be unfortunate for those seeking the truth, regarding an issue that’s been subsequently politicized.)

       

      1. Ron

        And – if I’m not mistaken, even you (Tia) have stated that the recommended on-site air quality study should be performed.

        Roberta was noting this recommendation, even before the latest version of Nishi arose.  (However, I didn’t take it seriously, as I didn’t expect “son of Nishi” to arise so soon after the first failure. And, I figured that the city would not be so stupid, as to ignore that recommendation before placing it on the ballot.)

        The entire, shortchanged process stinks this time around, right down to the purposeful disregard of air quality, negative fiscal projections, and other issues.

      2. Don Shor Post author

        Again, quoting Don (in reference to his exchange, with Dr. Cahill):

        “I don’t actually really have any questions.”

        Really? I would think that Don would have a lot of questions, for Dr. Cahill. I know that I would, if I was in Don’s position.

        No, not really, because his research is published. I can read it. There are also lots of other researchers focused on the efficacy of vegetative barriers and freeway pollution. I find it pretty easy to separate Dr. Cahill’s political positions from his research. There are others with greater expertise in risk assessment. I disagree with his political and planning positions on this issue, but found his research useful.

        1. Ron

          If I were in your position, I would seek his guidance regarding the site in question and the proposed mitigations (vs. his research, in general).

          I’m not aware of any political positions that Dr. Cahill has, but it would be a breach of professional ethics if a scientist allowed such positions to influence research.  (And, it’s a smearing of reputation to imply it, if not true.)

          The bottom line is that if you think Dr. Cahill is a “quack”, then you probably should be seeking guidance from someone with similar expertise. (Actually, not you per se, since you have no expertise regarding air quality studies, as well as an inherent conflict of interest as a member of the development team. And, have repeatedly/essentially stated that the needs created by UCD outweigh any other concerns, as demonstrated by those who you hire.)

        2. Alan Miller

          I’m not aware of any political positions that Dr. Cahill has, but it would be a breach of professional ethics if a scientist allowed such positions to influence research.

          Have you considered a career in comedy?

          Or a career in irony?

      3. Alan Miller

        Many scientists fall into that category. (Which can ultimately be unfortunate for those seeking the truth, regarding an issue that’s been subsequently politicized.)

        Even more unfortunate are those that believe science itself is some ultimate truth, and that scientists are respectable people just because they are ‘scientists’. Science is nothing more than the ability to repeat an experiment when it is done well to prove something in isolation via duplication.  Scientists themselves are fallible, biased human beings, some of whom know stuff.

        1. Ken A

          In Davis most people only “support science” if the scientists tell them what they want to hear.  If a scientist says any development in town near a road will kill kids with a “toxic soup” they are brilliant (while any scientist that says development is fine with little or no health risks is a paid off guy spreading “fake science”).  Scientists that say everyone needs to ride a bike or get an electric car to stop climate change is brilliant (but the guys that say we need to replace coal fired power plants to stop climate change are paid off guys spreading “fake science”…

  10. Ron

    Alan:  “Especially after the attempt was made, to first engage on here.
     
    Yeah, it was all snuffed out by the Vanguard censors.  They never let anyone speak here.
     
    In other words, people wrote disagreements here?  Oh, my, I believe I have the vapors.
     
    There, on that other blog, you can safely talk only to people who agree with you.  What a wonderful world it must be.”

    No – it just resulted in a dead-end, on here.  I haven’t engaged, on the other site.  And again, air quality is not something I’ve come to a definitive conclusion on.  (Especially in the absence of the recommended on-site study, followed by analyses by those who hopefully have expertise, and do not have a stake in the proposal.)

    Going back to my original point, the Vanguard is primarily occupied by (infested with?) development supporters, at this point. And, that’s unfortunate for those seeking an objective analyses regarding air quality (or any other issue related to the development). Ultimately, this is also unfortunate for the Vanguard, itself.

    1. Alan Miller

      the Vanguard is primarily occupied by (infested with?) development supporters

      Actually, it’s infested with c—roaches.  I myself am a giant talking c—roach who wears an Alan Miller mask at City Council meetings.

      Goodnight

      [edited]

      1. Alan Miller

        Oh Kayyyyyyy . . . I was wondering why that comment was awaiting moderation.  Apparently the Vanguard automatic filter includes the c**k in c**kroach.  Next time I’ll say p*n*sroach instead, or next time we are discussing airlines I’ll use the term p*n*spit.

  11. Don Shor Post author

    Quote from Roberta Millstein in an article today:

     

    Questions have also been raised about whether the promised mitigation will do what it is supposed to do; for example, Dr. Thomas Cahill has pointed out that the tree screen will be much less effective because the freeway is elevated adjacent to Nishi….”

     

    With respect to the mitigation of the elevated freeway portion of the Nishi project:

     

    The elevated portion is to the southwest of the site.

    From Dr. Salocks presentation, referencing the actual wind rose pattern:

    — Worst case scenario winds (SW) occur very infrequently (5% of the time).

    — Elevation of the freeway at Nishi enhances the dispersion of traffic-related pollutants.

    Southerly and northerly winds have higher winds speeds, which cause greater dispersion of traffic-related pollutants and reduce downwind air concentrations.

     

    There are already some mature trees along a portion of the elevated freeway.

    The urban forest planting will wrap around toward the north at its west end, further in from the property edge.

    The trees selected for the freeway end of the project are among the fastest-growing.

    At lower wind speeds, air backing in to the site will have the furthest distance to go to reach the residential areas, passing through multiple layers of vegetation. Higher density plantings are very effective at low wind speeds. Keep in mind that this project will have far more (about 6x) than the typical number of trees and shrubs of a freeway planting.

     

    Bottom line: the elevated freeway actually presents less concern due to the true wind direction pattern and the greater dispersal, and the elevation has been factored in to the urban forest plant selection and design.

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