My View: Parking Issues Should Be Re-Examined in Light of Data on Student Driving Patterns

These days it seems that parking is one of the more interesting and surprisingly polarizing issues in this community.  On one side are those who argue that we should reduce the number of parking spaces in order to encourage people to find other means of transportation.

On the other side are those who argue that it is not the job of planners and local government to socially engineer driving.  All we do by limiting on-site parking spaces is push residents into commercial spots or residential streets.

This debate played itself out at the Planning Commission hearing on the EIR for the University Commons project.

Commissioner Greg Rowe for instance, already noted that there was another project – Davis Live – which had a relatively low number of parking spots for the amount of expected residents.

He said that Davis Live “is really an experiment” with 71 units and 71 parking spaces.  “I’m really uncomfortable going forward with another project that just assumes one parking space per unit for residences.”  He would rather wait to see how it works for Davis Live.

Herman Boschken also had parking concerns: “Where are they going to park?”  He argued that students are going to “insist on bringing a car anyway, whether they use it or not.”  He suggested that they look at alternatives with off-site parking, which he didn’t see anything in the proposals.

On the other hand, Emily Shandy said, “I don’t share your concerns about the lack of parking.  I think we as a community need to move away from parking and away from driving in our own cars by ourselves all the time, to get everywhere.  One of the ways that the city can encourage that shift to  happen is to start making parking less convenient.”

Todd Edelman, a commission on the BTSSC (Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission) has argued for the low parking alternative “as part of a city goal to reduce GHG emissions and vehicle use.”

Mr. Edelman suggests that the low parking alternative should look into what “what would happen if there were more housing in the same footprint, replacing not only residential parking but also retail parking in both structures and at surface.”

He argues: “This would result in hundreds more people living closer to their destination then they currently do. This would decrease VMT, an argument familiar to those that supported the ‘Nishi 2.0’ project and others. Decreasing VMT is a topic mentioned throughout the DEIR.”

He adds, “Less parking should mean more housing.”

My problem with the discussion at the Planning Commission is that it was not informed by data on student driving patterns.

Fortunately we have some decent data on student driving habits which should inform our discussion of parking for a student housing site.

Every year, UC Davis does a travel survey and the nice thing is that we can track the results over time.

From the 2017-18 UC Davis Travel Survey, they found that roughly 50 percent of students have “access to a car.” That number dips to as low as 48.5 percent of all undergraduates.

So we actually have good reason to believe that the number of students who actually have a car in Davis is lower than those numbers.  For one thing, keep in mind, that the question simply measures access to a car.  It is not necessarily assessing car ownership.

For another thing, we know that people living in Davis have far less access to cars than people who live outside of Davis.  While this measure includes both students and employees, it is nevertheless instructive.  Of those surveyed, nearly 95% of those living outside of Davis have cars versus 53% who live within Davis.

We also know that as you get closer and closer to campus in terms of where students live – the higher percentage use means of transportation other than a car.  Those who live across the street from campus are almost never going to drive to campus.  Anyone within a mile from campus – just 2.2 percent drive alone or in a carpool as oppose to 76 percent bike and 17 percent walk.

Once you get outside of 5 miles from campus – the percent who drive to school goes way up – upwards three-quarters of all students drive alone and over 90 percent drive alone or in carpool.

The concerns expressed about the lack of parking seem to assume that most students have vehicles and will attempt to find ways around restrictions on parking.  But these data suggest that it is more likely people will self-select.  Those with cars, intending to bring their vehicles to town and drive onto campus are far more likely to live further from campus.

While providing people without vehicles a place to live close to campus would seem to be a great service.

Not only do students not drive or have vehicles, there is a sizable percentage that do not even have licenses.

According to the survey 80% of all students have a driver’s license.  That number starts going up as soon as students become sophomores and start living off campus.  But even among seniors about 9.3 percent of all senior and then 17 percent of graduate students – perhaps many of whom are international students – do not have driver’s licenses – which means they not only don’t drive, but they can’t drive.

Overall access to vehicles increase as students get older with almost no freshmen having access to car, but that number rising to 54% of juniors and 63 percent of seniors.

Looking at past surveys suggest that while these results have been relatively table over time, there has been a gradual reduction in the driving patterns of students.

Ten years ago in the 2008-09 survey they found that two-thirds of students had access to a car, including 62 of undergraduates.  The big drop was the number of people with access to cars who live in town fell from 68 percent in 2009 to 53 percent a decade later.

Even in the 2013-14 survey, we see that access to cars had fallen markedly.  In that survey, they found only 48.9 percent of students and 44.1 percent of undergraduates with access to a car.  And only 51.5 percent of those who live in Davis having access to a car.

The data over the last five years or so show that these levels, while they fluctuate paint a similar picture – less than half of undergraduate students have vehicles, but those numbers rise by the time they are seniors to around 60 to 65 percent.

Of those people who live in town are much less likely to have access to a vehicle.  That number is nearly near half the number who live outside of Davis.  And those who live within a mile of campus are highly unlikely to drive to campus.

That suggests that having low parking apartment complexes near campus should be feasible.   Students with cars will self-select to places that are more amenable to parking their vehicle while students without cars can find places close to campus where they don’t need cars.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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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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77 Comments

  1. Ron Oertel

    Should probably keep in mind that University Mall still has a commercial element, supposedly to serve more than just those living above  it.

    The survey is “self-reported”.  If one is going to present something like this, the complete methodology (or a link to it) should be presented.

    Students drive to other places than campus. Some may have cars, and not drive much at all. 

    Also, 100% actually have access to a car, via their own cars, short-term rentals, Uber, Lyft, etc.  As do 100% of their visitors. So on the face of it, the survey is 100% incorrect.

    Now, if one wants to argue that students (on average) have fewer cars than others, that’s probably correct. But the survey is not entirely useful.

    In any case, I’m glad to hear that others are finally admitting that University Mall (Commons), as well as the other proposal on Olive are student housing. Too bad that there’s no safe and efficient way for pedestrians and bicyclists to get across their (respective) busy streets, to campus. And, without significantly impacting other traffic.

      1. Robert Canning

        Here’s a brief synopsis: the web-based survey is conducted annually. This year an invitation was sent out to almost 18,000 individuals (faculty, staff, students). It is stratified on a number of variables. Over 4,600 individuals responded at least in part to the survey. You can find the whole section on methodology in the manuscript.

        You seem skeptical of “self-reported” data. I’m curious why?

        1. Bill Marshall

          It also has year to year consistency that lends credibility to the study.

          As to actual (absolute) #’s, not sure… as to ‘trends’, definitely… and,the trends are more important, in my view, than the absolute #’s…

          Appears to be cyclical… had the same methodology been used in the mid-70’s, strongly suspect that the car/availability #’s would have been much lower… as they would have been @ DHS, as well… then, a crescendo… now, apparently a retreat… cyclical.

          Like the economy, which “drives” many of those cycles… particularly as to whether mommy/daddy can provide a car to junior/junior miss for their personal use… I felt lucky that I had a Schwinn Varsity 10 speed for my years in college @ UCD… no car until I graduated from UCD… then it was an older Datsun hatchback that had been in a wreck… all I could afford… even with a parent helping with the purchase via a personal loan… which was a ‘stretch’ for me and my parents…

        2. Ron Oertel

          Robert: “You seem skeptical of “self-reported” data. I’m curious why?”

          If you have to ask that question (in addition to the “type” of questions asked in a survey), I’d suggest you don’t understand inherent weaknesses of studies. Either that, or you’re not acknowledging them here.

          Again, I’d start with the EIR and traffic studies, rather than something irrelevant.

          The study is already 100% inaccurate, regarding “access to cars”.

        3. Ron Oertel

          By the way, Robert:  Aren’t you the same guy who claims that customers and businesses (downtown) aren’t concerned about maintaining adequate parking?

          Pretty sure that I can refer you to a couple other surveys, which show otherwise.

          Would you care to “critique” those?

        4. Alan Miller

          You seem skeptical of “self-reported” data. I’m curious why?

          Why are you skeptical of his Skepticism?  Self-reported data is by definition inaccurate – that’s a basic tenant of statistics.

        5. Rik Keller

          Greenwald stated “ It also has year to year consistency that lends credibility to the study.”

          Actually in 2016, there was a big change in the methodology and the authors state that certain key data since then should not be compared to previous years.

    1. Robert Canning

      Ron says: “Too bad that there’s no safe and efficient way for pedestrians and bicyclists to get across their (respective) busy streets, to campus. And, without significantly impacting other traffic.”

      I’m curious how you know this?

      1. Alan Miller

        Russel and Anderson is a clusterf*ck at times.  That doesn’t mean it is unsolvable.  I would like to see the solution spelled out.  Apparently it isn’t.  The advantage of building a massive complex is money to solve city infrastructure issues, most certainly existing ones nearby plus ones modeled to be created by the complex.  If that is addressed, fine.  If not, NOT FINE.

      2. Richard McCann

        I often cross that intersection on foot (when I’m running) and I haven’t found it to be particularly dangerous. The easy solution is to set it up like Russell and Sycamore. That’s even less challenging.

        Regardless, as I pointed out before, there should be almost no net impact on pedestrian crossings there because most of the students living in U Mall will have effectively “moved” from housing further north in Davis.

        As for self reported data bias, having year to year stability in answers is a good indicator that the data is fairly reliable.  So we can use this data for planning purposes. It’s unlikely to be wildly off. And for “access to cars” that always excludes vehicles for hire, e.g., Uber & Lyft.

        And I can be skeptical of skeptics who are only being skeptical as a means of confusing the argument for their own ends. Climate change skeptics fall into this category. These skeptics never change their minds even when evidence is presented that strongly counters their skepticism. And we see too much of that from several commenters here.

  2. Ron Oertel

    Commissioner Greg Rowe for instance, already noted that there was another project – Davis Live – which had a relatively low number of parking spots for the amount of expected residents.

    He said that Davis Live “is really an experiment” with 71 units and 71 parking spaces.

    How many parking spaces per residential unit are proposed for University Mall?

    Also, how many parking spaces are proposed for the commercial component, collectively or per-store?

    Also, has there been any consideration of resulting back-ups onto city streets, as residents, customers, and visitors enter a parking structure with an inadequate number of spaces? And, how that might “interact” with the vast increase in bicyclists and pedestrians attempting to cross Russell?

    Sounds like this intersection will be yet another good one to watch for its entertainment value, alone. Good thing that Russell is not a major thoroughfare. (Oh, wait!) 😉

    By the way, won’t Davis Live add crossings to that intersection, as well?

  3. Ron Oertel

    Forgot to mention deliveries, for (both) the residential and commercial units.  Which will also interact with this mess.  (Hopefully, they will still have loading docks/drop-off points.)

  4. Rik Keller

    The Vanguard seems to be implicitly admitting  that the project will be student-only. 

    One note about the survey: it only covers trips to campus. So student trips (and mode split) anywhere else and for which they may be using cars are not included.

  5. Matt Williams

    “All we do by limiting on-site parking spaces is push residents into commercial spots or residential streets.”

    I believe Franklin Delano Roosevelt captured the essence of the parking debate when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    (A) Fear that students who express a willingness to live in non-auto-centric housing both in word and action are not honest in their expressed desire to (1) reduce their personal carbon footprint, and (2) not spend valuable dollars on the monthly rental of automobile parking space.

    (B) Fear that nearby residential streets will be over-run with freeloader students looking to get free parking for the cars that result from Fear (A)

    (C) Fear that the City will be unable to come up with a reasonable method for eliminating the chances of Fear (B) happening.

    Instead of being paralyzed by Fear, perhaps we should embrace the possibility (dare I say reality) that enough UCD students care enough about Climate Change and their own fiscal well being to see the merits in living a car-free life while pursuing their education at UCD.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Matt:  ” . . . that enough UCD students care enough about Climate Change and their own fiscal well being to see the merits in living a car-free life while pursuing their education at UCD.”

      Perhaps with support (or lack therof) for ARC (and its 4,340 parking spaces) serving as a “litmus test” regarding this theory?

    2. Alan Miller

      “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

      There is also reality, that A-C all come true.  Knocking concerns as fears is hardly an argument.  Instead, the concerns should be addressed.

      I’m in favor of the project, overall, and I think this is a spot for students without cars — and I think that argument of reduced parking falls flat most everywhere else off campus.  But that doesn’t mean trust what the developers are asking for.  It means model the effects, and require as part of the development that the effects be mitigated.  On something this size, might be good to have a second opinion on the effects.

  6. Tia Will

    those who argue that it is not the job of planners and local government to socially engineer driving.”

    I find this a very peculiar argument. Decades ago, planners and local governments along with regional and national planners made a decision they would never have called “social engineering” but had that precise effect. They decided to focus our national efforts on the individual automobile and systems of roadways to support that choice. Ever since we have essentially abdicated to that planning decision even though other countries/regions chose differently with some very beneficial results as anyone who has visited Europe or Japan can tell you. Instead, we pretend there is no other possible planning choice and deride any suggestions as “social planning” as though that is not affected by infrastructure choices and planning.

    One of the ways that the city can encourage that shift to  happen is to start making parking less convenient.” 

    While I am probably closest to Ms. Shandy’s philosophic point of view, I prefer incentives rather than disincentives whenever possible. I would like to see the city devote more money ( perhaps some of that $50k/parking space) to a more robust inter and intra-city public transport system.

    1. Alan Miller

      other countries/regions chose differently with some very beneficial results

      Yeah BUT.  The difference is those countries invested Hundred$$$ of Billion$$$ into rail transportation and connecting services, while the US built highways.  Know-nothing planners who are cow-tow-ing with developers are trying to say we can ‘dis-incentivize’ auto use by inconveniencing people.  NO NO NO — you need to build AWESOME public transportation, so people have an alternative.  Making parking sh*tty doesn’t incentivize anything.

        1. Darell Dickey

          In fact if done correctly, disincentives actually MAKE money. Money that can be put into the incentives.

          But money means nothing if we externalize so much of the costs of doing the stupid stuff. Like driving alone in a huge gas car.

          1. Don Shor

            I don’t see this particular project as even being a form of disincentive for the demographic at which it is aimed. Every year several thousand young adults arrive here as freshmen informed that

            Students living in the residence halls are not eligible to purchase or display campus parking permits. Residence hall students may not bring a car to campus and instead are expected to utilize public transportation, bike or walk.

            Most of them are expected to then move into town for their subsequent years. The market will take care of this: for those who have adapted to life without cars, the housing above the stores in the University Mall may be quite appealing. They’ll be right across the street from campus, with amenities very close at hand. For those who want a car, this will not be a desirable place to live. Residents of Cuarto, right down the block, don’t get parking permits and are expected to live without cars. Unitrans can take them anywhere in town they want to go.
            This isn’t a big deal and I really don’t see why it’s being made into such an issue for this particular project proposal. I think the parking issue here is trivial. There will be a few hundred more students living in a neighborhood that already has many hundreds of students.

      1. Darell Dickey

        Right you are, Alan! But that is not all that they did! Those places also SAVED a much of money by removing lanes and roads for private autos and parking, and all those other things that we continue to spend money on because, cars! Those countries used both the carrot AND the stick to great advantage. And here? This is where the status quo rules, and we don’t much bother with trying either way to move the needle.

        So I agree that those places invested in the mass transportation that was (is) needed. But don’t lose sight of what they STOPPED investing in. We must do both, or we’ll just keep getting more of what we’ve got.

        1. Ron Oertel

          One of the biggest incentives is already offered by government employers in downtown Sacramento, in the form of subsidized public transit.

          A “stick” is already in place there, as well (in the form of limited/expensive parking).

          Works exceedingly well, from what I’ve seen. (But, it doesn’t stop people from owning/using cars for purposes other than commuting to work.)

      2. Tia Will

        I agree with your comments as written. It is my position that we should be learning from other systems how to build those awesome networks and making a devoted effort to making a transition from the mistaken and deleterious choice that was made by our previous planners to more efficient ways to move people from one location to another.

        Since I am not a transportation designer, let me present a medical model. Let’s say a Swiss pharmaceutical company designs a drug that cures, not alleviates or manages, both types of diabetes. Would it be rational for our drug companies to double down on insulin because 1. We have already invested so much money into different types of insulin and insulin pumps so its too late to change. 2. People are used to their insulin and will have to accept a new treatment model. 3. It will put us out of business 4. It will put out of business those who deal with the progressive organ failure caused by diabetes.

        While the last two objections are true, they must be weighed against the benefits of freeing the entire population from the scourage of diabetes.

         

         

      3. Richard McCann

        Yes it does. It incents voters to elect officials to change the transportation mode offerings. Without creating more inconvenience for driving, there will be no political will. So social engineering of this type is a necessary (but not sufficient) ingredient.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Carrot AND stick are most effective… BOTH incentives and disincentives… either one alone, not so much… at least that has been my experience… others’ experiences may vary (std. disclosure)…

  7. Ron Oertel

    By the way, has anyone ever considered that services such as JUMP (electric bicycles) actually create VMTs (and greenhouse gasses), via the vans that pickup and drop-off those bicycles?

    And, that turnover is likely higher in student housing (vs. other types of apartments), thereby creating more VMTs (and the need for space) to accommodate and unload moving trucks?

    1. Bill Marshall

      You forgot the VMT and carbon footprint of the ‘jump’ vehicles themselves, all the GHG created by creating the materials, getting the materials to the factory, all the GHG generated by those breathing, that use those bikes, all the GHG generated in growing, transporting the food that those riders need to use their energy, etc., etc…. you just are looking at the tip of the (melting?) iceberg…

      And all the GHG generated by supplying the energy to power your computer (and to manufacture, transport it) to posit as you do… not to mention , clothe you, feed you, keep you warm, light your home (we won’t even go to what it took to build your home, the streets, the utilities in those streets… and, if you own more than one property, double the latter).

      Think…

      1. Ron Oertel

        Just pointing out that JUMP bicycles are directly and continuously supported by vans. Hadn’t thought about it, until I saw one.

        Betcha that most of those riding them think they’re doing the earth a favor, and incorrectly believe that there’s no VMTs to maintain that service.

        1. Darell Dickey

          >> Hadn’t thought about it, until I saw one.

          Betcha that most of those riding them think they’re doing the earth a favor, and incorrectly believe that there’s no VMTs to maintain that service. <<

          I’d hesitate to assume that “most” of any subset of people think in a way similar to you (though it seems that we are all tempted to do just that). I’d also hesitate to imply (?) that if people *are* ignorant of the support vans, that those people are wrong to assume that they’re doing the earth a favor by riding instead of driving. A few efficiently-used vans in place of  thousands of individual car trips (and parking!) is a significant step forward.

          I did not realize that there were people who assumed that the bikes would just stay maintained and properly positioned all by themselves…  For sure I’d like to see more bikes with trailers used in place of the vans (other locations do this), but we’re still ahead of the game.

          In the end, it appears to me that most JUMP users are just trying to get somewhere in an efficient, convenient and inexpensive (even fun!) way. This is part of the *incentive* to do the right thing that needs to happen at the same time as the “stick” is employed in order to shake up the status quo a bit. So for those who are worried that all this talk of reduced parking is not being balanced with incentive… here we are. It is going to take both to realize meaningful change.

        2. Ron Oertel

          “I’d hesitate to assume that “most” of any subset of people think in a way similar to you . . .”

          I’m going to call that “unfortunate”. 🙂

          “I did not realize that there were people who assumed that the bikes would just stay maintained and properly positioned all by themselves…” 

          A different point, vs. maintaining a fleet of motor vehicles to go out and pick up / deliver bicycles for customers “in the field”.  Which isn’t a factor, regarding “regular” bicycles. (Or cars, for that matter – unless they break down.)

        3. Richard McCann

          “All of which increase, as more development occurs.”

          Since development SOMEWHERE is inevitable so long as the population is growing and we have no local control over population growth, then we have to ask the question: From on overall regional and global perspective, is it better to have that development happen in jurisdictions that exercise more control over the environmental impacts? Since Davis does this better than just about any other community, then Davis is where this development should happen.

      2. Alan Miller

        All of this is good thinking on everyone’s part here . . . talking about not just the immediate impact, but the chain of impact.  This very quickly devolves into incredibly complex and expensive calculations, surveys, and comparisons.  If anyone here thinks they can do an accurate chain-of-impact by blogging their thoughts, ain’t gonna happen.

        1. Bill Marshall

          If anyone here thinks they can do an accurate chain-of-impact by blogging their thoughts, ain’t gonna happen.

          Absolutely true… and simplifying down, is BS, as well… as if the chain doesn’t even exist…

        2. Ron Oertel

          Yes – as is any assumption that such impacts wouldn’t apply to renters, or discounting the impacts of services like JUMP bicycles (which are directly supported by van pickup), vs. “regular” bicycles – which are not.

          As is ignoring the more frequent turnover of student housing, vs. regular housing.  Probably moving in/out, at the same time (with moving trucks). (Creating a need for sufficient space to park them.)

        3. Tia Will

          I hope no one here thinks they are creating a “chain of impact” by blogging our thoughts. I think most of us are probably quite aware the most we are doing is presenting our perspective and hoping to gain the perspective of others. To what end? For me that would be that either I, or someone else sees an issue just a little differently than they did previously. In my experience, this can be the first step to actions that make real change. It’s slow. It’s messy. But it is truly the only way positive deliberate change is ever made.

    2. Darell Dickey

      Has “anyone?” We’ll have to go with yes on that one, Ron.

      There is NO form of transportation that is “perfect.” Yes, the JUMP system relies on some extra gas VMTs. Our goal is not to find the perfect form of transportation (since it doesn’t exist) it is to find the *best* that we have, or can come up with for the task at hand. And if the JUMP system replaces 1,000 cold-start, short vehicle trips with a small-footprint, low-consumption device like a mild e-bike, then we can forgive a couple of vans running around with warm engines to keep the system on track and in good health.

      The system can be improved for sure. But as it stands now, if every JUMP trip were instead taken by a gasoline car, those van miles are just a rounding error, lost in the noise.

      So yes, some of us think about all these aspects of travel, but please don’t let the JUMP van trips keep you up at night. Instead celebrate how many cars have not cold-started in order to drive a mile or two, only to be restarted cold later to drive that mile or two back home.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I’d compare the impact of JUMP to “regular” bicycles, as noted above. I’m not sure that they’re replacing cars, or how much of the impact thereof. But again, I never previously thought about the vans that are used to pick up the JUMP bikes. (I think I saw one drop a bike off, as well.)

        Of course, all of this probably pales in comparison to the road maintenance that is needed for bicycles, cars, vans, trucks, etc. Now, if they could only find a way to accomplish this with solar-powered bicycles, we’d be set!

        Truth be told, I don’t have a lot of hope for addressing greenhouse gasses, unless population is stabilized worldwide. (Along with more-friendly environmental practices.)

        1. Darell Dickey

          In other JUMP locations, much of the service and redistribution is done by a JUMP bike pulling a large flatbed trailer. There are many aspects that can be improved, but there really is hope of addressing greenhouse gasses. We start by betting out of the rut of transportation=private car. Most people still think that going *anywhere* outside of the house equals driving.

          The JUMP rides are not all replacing car trips, as you suggest. But those JUMP rides are for SURE replacing some. And that some is more than the van trips that they generate. Many folks are simply ABLE to get somewhere (and spend money in town?) because of the JUMP system.

      2. Bill Marshall

        As typical, good points, Darell… cold starts, both for energy use, and ‘aging’ of a motor vehicle are problem #1 with the internal combustion engine… as far as vehicle ‘wear and tear’, I kinda’ remember that studies showed that on a trip from say, Davis to LA well over half the ‘wear and tear’ occurred in the first 25 miles of that trip.  Cold engine, oil hasn’t been circulating, and is more viscous due to temp, cold tires (lower pressure, more friction), etc.  Engine efficiency (and better mileage) increases dramatically @ ~ 55 mph, on longer trips… much less for ‘cold starts’ and slow speeds…

  8. Ron Oertel

    From article:    “But these data suggest that it is more likely people will self-select.”

    Maybe so.  And, those with cars will remain (disproportionately) in mini-dorms.

    Who was it that said “for every action, there’s a reaction”?

      1. Bill Marshall

        Nah… he just claimed credit for it… Dolly said it… during the sacking/burning of the White House… she was right… see Battle of New Orleans… US ‘whupped’ the British, even tho’ the battle happened after the treaty was signed… [no e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, CNN/Fox, etc., then]

    1. David Greenwald

      Parking was a big issue for the EIR at the Planning Commission. If this goes before the Social Services commission, then maybe Affordable Housing becomes the big issue covered.

  9. Todd Edelman

    Clearly, City policy has to be more precise about “cars” and “parking”: The latter can mean parking on site, off site, all the other places a space is needed due to induced demand, etc. The former actually describes a function, not a type of transportation vehicle — after all, what’s the difference if their objective is the same for the same trip? In other words, “car” is a kind of marketing term such as “you need a car!!”.

    In my earlier comments I discussed the lack of a proper formal basis for a responsible EIR which would recognize that Davis Commons is in a core City-Campus district. Even if that part’s not solved, there’s still the issue of creating positive disincentives to City-Campus travel by private automobile, a typical example of which is the impossibility for people who live on campus to get a permit for a lot in addition to their’s… and in the Davis Commons case it should mean the same: Any cars with any agreed-to parking here should not be allowed to park in campus lots.

    Unfortunately I am doubtful that this will be required by the City Council. Instead we have Planning Commissioners huddled together in the dark, scared of a lack of parking.

  10. Ron Oertel

    “we have Planning Commissioners huddled together in the dark, scared of a lack of parking.”

    They are “scared” of the impact on surrounding streets/intersections, neighborhoods, and the commercial component of the mall itself.  In other words, they’re doing their job.

    It’s not about convenience or promotion of cars for residents of the mall, itself. It’s about ensuring that developments address the impacts they create. (Which seems to have “fallen out of fashion”, on this blog – sometimes with the misdirected support of bicycle advocates).

  11. Robert Canning

    Yesterday I asked Ron O why he was skeptical about the ITS study of travel to campus. In particular I wondered why he is skeptical about self-report data.  He responded by saying: “If you have to ask that question (in addition to the “type” of questions asked in a survey), I’d suggest you don’t understand inherent weaknesses of studies. Either that, or you’re not acknowledging them here.”

    First, it was an honest question. I don’t know (or make any assumptions) about what you know or don’t know about survey data and questionnaires. So I asked.

    Second, I know quite a bit about survey data and self-reported questionnaires and their strengths and weaknesses. If you want to know what I know in this area I suggest you contact me directly at rdcanning@gmail.com and ask, rather than snark at me on the Vanguard.

    Looking at the methodology of the ITS study, I would have to say it is pretty well designed for what it is. Simply because the data is self-report does not make it unreliable or not valid. It depends on what the goals were and what the limitations are. Any good study has limitations and they should be stated. It is also true that when data (in this case a table) from a study is taken out of the study and used for a different purpose, then one has to be careful.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Again, the survey is (already) 100% inaccurate, regarding “access to cars”.

      We can analyze the questionnaire further, if you’d like.  But, it’s not a planning document.

      Perhaps you’d also like to discuss the surveys/petitions that were circulated regarding concerns over lack of parking downtown, and the similar concerns that would arise at a mall.

      I recall that you’re not much of a “believer” in those surveys/petitions.

      1. Robert Canning

        Ron, I’m not much of a believer in bans on parking meters. I believe that paid parking can resolve some of the problems that are current in downtown Davis. A well-designed paid parking program would improve the availability of parking and cut-down on the amount of time it takes to find a spot. It would reduce the amount of “churn” and have secondary effects of making downtown safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

        I am not against car ownership or usage as you have implied here and elsewhere. I believe, based on what I have read about parking and traffic here and elsewhere that Davis could have a thriving downtown even if we changed how streets are designed and used by all modes of transportation. I liked some of the presentations about parking and street design presented by the Downtown Plan’s consultants. How about you, did you like what they had to say about parking and traffic downtown?

      2. David Greenwald

        “Also, 100% actually have access to a car, via their own cars, short-term rentals, Uber, Lyft, etc.  As do 100% of their visitors. So on the face of it, the survey is 100% incorrect.”

        Ok, but that’s not how they defined access to a car, so you’re point is flawed.

        As defined: “Car access reflects those respondents who indicated they have the option to drive alone to campus.”  Which squares nicely with the need for parking spaces.  You’re a technical point but it is not taking into account how the question was assessed.  And that renders your point flawed.  Moreover, you’re then using it to try to discredit the entire survey, which is problematic at best.

        1. Ron Oertel

          As defined: “Car access reflects those respondents who indicated they have the option to drive alone to campus.”  Which squares nicely with the need for parking spaces.

          The option to “drive alone to campus” does not translate into parking requirements for an off-site development.  No one is arguing that students living across the street from campus would drive there.

          But, even that wording (regarding the “option”) is 100% inaccurate.  100% of them have that “option”.

          I’d suggest not digging the hole deeper, regarding your apparent belief that this survey should be used as a planning document to determine the number of parking spaces at an off-campus development.

          1. David Greenwald

            Of course it does reflect the need for parking requirements – those without access to a car as defined by their study, do not need a parking space.

        2. Ron Oertel

          You’re now returning to the original, flawed statement.

          It’s bordering on absurdity, and is going in circles.

          It’s not a planning document.

          I’d suggest broadening your discussion to other sources, which have also analyzed this issue.

  12. Robert Canning

    Yesterday, responding to a comment I made about the ITS survey Ron said: “By the way, Robert:  Aren’t you the same guy who claims that customers and businesses (downtown) aren’t concerned about maintaining adequate parking? … Pretty sure that I can refer you to a couple other surveys, which show otherwise. … Would you care to “critique” those?”
    I don’t think I’ve ever asserted that businesses and customers downtown aren’t concerned about maintaining adequate parking. Maybe you could reveal where I said that.

    I have made a number of comments here and in other venues about the parking survey of downtown businesses conducted a few years about by Davis Downtown. I won’t repeat them here but suffice it to say it was, in my opinion, a self-serving survey with poor design, confusing graphs, and startling conclusions. If you rely on that survey to prove much of anything other than the downtown merchants want a parking garage, I think you are kidding yourself.

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      At the very least, I’d suggest that it’s also a concern for customers (including those concerned about the continued viability of downtown as a commercial district).

      Also a concern regarding the mall.

  13. Rik Keller

    Greenwald stated “ My problem with the discussion at the Planning Commission is that it was not informed by data on student driving patterns. Fortunately we have some decent data on student driving habits which should inform our discussion of parking for a student housing site.”

    And then went on to discuss survey data that only  looks at student trips to/from campus.

    This is very strange, because the EIR from the project itself provides some data on student travel behavior. For example, there was a travel study done for Sycamore Lane Apartments, adjacent to the site. For residents there, ~30% of all trips in peak hours were made by car. Since the  Travel Survey stated that driving alone trips to campus occur at a much lower rate—at 13.6% for from Davis-resident undergrads—that tells us that trips to non-campus locations by students have a much higher likelihood of occurring by car.

    To really get a handle on student driving habits you need to look at much more than the trips to campus.  Anyone have any data on number of parking spaces and parking usage for Sycamore Lane Apartments?

    1. Rik Keller

      The article states “ The concerns expressed about the lack of parking seem to assume that most students have vehicles and will attempt to find ways around restrictions on parking.  But these data suggest that it is more likely people will self-select.  Those with cars, intending to bring their vehicles to town and drive onto campus are far more likely to live further from campus.”

      Just look at the number of parking spaces due Sycamore Lane Apartments, adjacent to the proposed project site. That should provide an idea of car/parking demand.

  14. Ron Oertel

    Richard:  “Since development SOMEWHERE is inevitable so long as the population is growing and we have no local control over population growth, then we have to ask the question:”

    And, here’s the question:  Why do some mistakenly assume that the population is growing, and also claim that there is no local control?

    “There may be no housing shortage.

    The school’s semi-annual forecast has a relatively upbeat outlook for the state’s real estate market in 2020. After that, says Chapman economist Jim Doti, he sees a chance of “severe weakness” for the state’s real estate markets as demand for housing dries up as California’s population growth comes to a near halt.”

    https://www.ocregister.com/2019/12/10/chapman-forecast-is-californias-housing-shortage-a-mirage/

    If you’d like, we can also go through the “regular exercise”, which shows that demand for college education is expected to drop, as well. (And yet, some are touting an unfunded satellite campus for Sacramento State in Placer county, as a “reason” to build another 8,000 homes there.)

    1. Ron Oertel

      And of course, those 8,000 homes will be built over the objections of many residents, there.  (I can post articles regarding that, as well.)

      That’s why Davis has Measure R.

      Is there really any question as to “who” is in control, in most valley cities (and beyond)? It’s the same type of people who get the government to pay for levee improvements, to make their land “buildable”.

      And, the truly powerful ones “ain’t” commenting on here. (At least, not personally.)

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