Monday Morning Thoughts: Realistic Assessment of Traffic Impacts of Mace

“Traffic is obviously going to be the real issue we have to look at,” Matt Keasling told the Planning Commission last week.  I agree with that view but, at the same time, many are overstating the problem and by a large margin.

South Davis resident Charlene Henwood told the commission: “The City’s traffic engineers have predicted that the ARC project will generate14K-plus new daily car trips with most concentrated in the peak commute periods.  The City wants us to believe they can manage 14K trips per day on the existing roadway when they can’t even manage 400 extra trips over a 2-hour peak commute period without gridlocking Mace both north and south of I-80. I’m pretty sure that adding 14K car trips a day will make congestion and gridlock a permanent, everyday feature on all of Mace. “

Alan Pryor, also playing on those figures, estimated that 4000 cars would be exiting the site during peak hours, generating a nearly five-hour delay.

“If you do the math,” he said.  “You will find out it will take almost five hours to get all of that traffic onto the freeway every evening.  Obviously this is a huge huge problem.  It will likely result in total gridlock on the entire southeast side of Davis.”

Even commissioners got into this act.

Commissioner David Robertson said, “I hear 7,000 trips in the evening and that is significant to me. How we’re going to mitigate that, because I don’t hear anything about widening overpasses or additional lanes, which wouldn’t make a difference anyway once you get to 80 because 80 is a total gridlock on that whole stretch in the evening commute hours.

“You can’t get past that. So I need to understand how that’s going to be addressed,” he added.

Commissioner Emily Shandy also had pointed comments.

“One of the things that you said to us earlier this evening is that you want this to be the most sustainable tech campus in the united states,” she continued.  “And yet you’ve come to us with a car dominated auto-centric proposal on the edge of town far from the Capitol Corridor Station, not linked to good transit, with huge parking lots and parking structures.

“I don’t want the conversation to go toward widening these streets, because that is not the answer.  Widening Mace Blvd. is not going to solve this problem, it’s going to induce more demand,” she said.

We will get a better idea after we see the traffic analysis being prepared as a part of the supplemental EIR, which would include potential mitigation measures.  Already, the hope is that by including on-site housing, many people would work at the innovation center and therefore not have to drive off-site.

In addition, a large part of the problem is not necessarily local, but rather the congestion that exists on I-80 itself.

Matt Keasling, attorney for the applicant, stated, “A large part of the problem on the (Yolo Causeway) is the number of people who live in Sacramento and commute all the way to the Bay Area because the Bay Area housing is through the roof and insane. I would love to think we can convince some of those folks to work here and therefore not have them drive all the way to the Bay Area.”

They are going to look at transit like shuttles, trains and buses to deliver people to the site rather than automobiles.

Mr. Keasling added, “This is transit rich. For a greenfield development, we were blown away by the amount of bus service.”

But those buses, he admits, are well-used and so “there will be a need for us to increase the number of buses.”

While the traffic issues are real, the problems are substantially overstated by some of the critics.

First, the project is not going to be at full build out immediately.

This seems to be a forgotten point.  This isn’t a housing development that will be commenced in two years and completed in five.  We are looking at least at a 20-year build out and potentially up to 50.

That means that there won’t be 14,000 vehicle trips—even if that figure were correct—added any time soon, and that turns out to be important.

For one thing, because the build out will be slow, the applicant and city will have the opportunity to monitor roadway conditions on Mace and adjust according to problems that arise.

That means that with proper planning the worst-case scenarios should be forestalled.

Second, the assumption is that the traffic will be dumping onto freeway conditions that are the same as today.

This is important because we are not taking existing conditions and adding to them.  We will see the city tweak the Mace road in the next few months.  How much will that calm things down?  We don’t know, but it could play a role.  More importantly you have the corridor work by Caltrans, which will take place within ten years.

Third, as we pointed out on Friday, all the traffic is not going to dump out at one time.  You are not going to suddenly have 4000 vehicles getting off work and dumping out onto the road.

In fact, one of the points that was missed is that the days of folks working 9 to 5 are long over.  That is especially true for the tech industry.  You will see one group of workers who might start early and end by three, but many will start late and work late into the night.

Fourteen thousand vehicle trips include not just people working there, but people coming on site during the day for seminars and meetings, people coming to the hotel, and delivery workers throughout the day.

The final problem is, as we point out, when we talk about 4340 parking spaces, those are not all commercial spaces.  There are about 100 for the hotel which will flow differently.  And there are about 800 or so for residential.

Moreover, of the 3400 or so commercial spaces, those are not going to be 100 percent filled.  They may never go above 60 percent for all we know.

The bottom line is that people are hearing big numbers—4000, 7000, 14000—and panicking.  They are also extrapolating those numbers onto existing conditions, when we know there will be changes to both Mace and I-80.  And they are projecting those numbers without taking into account mitigation measures, transit and other planning, and the fact that the slow ramp up will allow the city to cushion the blow and implement further mitigation as needed.

Finally, we have to understand traffic impacts in context with other benefits for the project.  Traffic figures to get worse over time.  But the project figures to bring in badly needed revenue and jobs for the city.

Therefore we need to evaluate the negative impacts within the framework of the overall picture.

—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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53 Comments

  1. Matt Williams

    Here’s a simple question for the Vanguard … Why aren’t you simply content to wait for the delivery of the traffic study?

    Today’s article repeats wild-ass amateur speculation.

    Waiting for the traffic professionals to deliver their thoroughly researched and documented report would seem to be the prudent approach.  Is there a reason why we shouldn’t be prudent?

    All this article does is stir the political pot.  Is that the goal of the article?

    1. Bill Marshall

      What Matt said!  Je d’accord… word for word… and Matt and I seldom even get close to that…

      Until I see the data and analysis, for the current proposal, I cannot make a “call”, or give a professional opinion… unlike others who opine under ‘wisdom’, as to the circulation, traffic impacts, by training, practice (for which I am a licensed engineer).

      I am ‘agnostic’ as to the project itself… if it comes to fruition, fine… if not, fine…

      But I am passionate about true arguments, versus false/misleading arguments, particularly those who have little/no knowledge of pertinent facts… the liberal arts folks who are more focused on rhetoric than facts.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Correct… with opinions/concerns.  but not ‘authoritative’ opinion, unless the individual has the facts in hand, and qualifications to do so…  actually, concerns are best brought up by those ‘not in the know’… keeps the analysis honest.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Follow-up… I always appreciated polite skeptics, those who question things, seek to learn/be informed… if they said something like “professionals will give you the opinions they are told to, and/or are paid to”… (and am being super polite here) I’d highly discount their position, and could get quite angry… there are a few folk in town who have witnessed that…

        3. Matt Williams

          Craig, the Planning Commission didn’t call that public meeting, staff did.  Once that event was put on the schedule, the Planning Commission had no choice other than to comply.

          I personally wouldn’t have scheduled a Planning Commission Meeting until:

          1. — The Traffic Study was completed and delivered, and

          2a. — The Finance and Budget Commission had received and fully vetted the economic and fiscal analysis in their April meeting, and

          2b. — The Finance and Budget Commission had forwarded its Commission recommendations to the Planning Commission members and staff after their May meeting.

          That is a well considered process.  First Planning Commission meeting in late May.  and second Planning Commission meeting in June.  Then on to City Council.

  2. Alan Pryor

     
    “Realistic Assessment….”, really?  The title of title of this article should be “UnRealistic Assessment Hopes of Traffic Impacts of Mace”

    That means that with proper planning the worst-case scenarios should be forestalled.

    Do you mean the type of planning that went into creating the Mace Mess or the type of planning that went into the Covell undercrossing brouhaha. Let’s face reality, here. If you’re basing your argument on the City’s past track record in traffic planning and management, the argument is already lost.

    Second, the assumption is that the traffic will be dumping onto freeway conditions that are the same as today.

    I agree, the City has already admitted in writing that the freeway traffic will be worse in the future. But I predict the traffic study will show freeway traffic will miraculously improve in the future, however, because we will all have autonomous electric hover-cars.

    More importantly you have the corridor work by Caltrans, which will take place within ten years.

    Who says any work will be done within ten years? And what work will be done?…Adding an HOV lane?  I challenge you to show me any freeway that has added lanes (even HOV lanes) in which traffic has improved over a ten to twenty year period. It never happens. Increasing freeway size/capacity always induces sprawl and eventually worsens traffic gridlock. Claiming otherwise is unsupported conjecture spouted by developers and their promoters.

        1. Craig Ross

          That’s not only a different stretch of the road.  But what makes you believe ARC will add more traffic than that and when?  Your number is bogus and you’re too stubborn to admit it

        2. Bill Marshall

          Pease clarify, Alan P, since you seem to be an expert (or consider yourself so),

          we are seeing half-hour to one hour delays by the 400 cars per two-hour period

          Are you saying 400 cars each hour, for 2 hours, or a total of 400 cars in a two-hour period?

          If there were 400 cars removed from that (either way), what would the delay be?  Increment is what is important, in my view.

          I question your credentials for positing detailed opinions as to traffic flows, delays… if you are using data from others, please cite your references.  Absent those, I disregard your posits…

          And Craig is right… the lane configuration of Mace, S/Chiles, is substantially different than N/Chiles.  Apples and bananas…

          [tempted to get me a whole bunch of one-use plastic bags, plastic straws, and burn them in my fireplace tonight, if the wind dies down…]

           

  3. Alan Miller

    Why hire a consultant? . . . for in-depth analysis on any Davis project effects on traffic, just ask the experts at the Davis Vanguard!

    the hope is that by including on-site housing, many people would work at the innovation center and therefore not have to drive off-site.

    Hope!

    In addition, a large part of the problem is not necessarily local, but rather the congestion that exists on I-80 itself.

    I didn’t know that!  I thought Davis was a bubble in the universe.

    The bottom line is that people are hearing big numbers—4000, 7000, 14000—and panicking.

    I am not panicking!

    They are also extrapolating those numbers onto existing conditions, when we know there will be changes to both Mace and I-80.

    No, they are extrapolating onto future conditions, when things are projected to be much worse!

    Therefore we need to evaluate the negative impacts within the framework of the overall picture.

    Oh!

  4. Tim Keller

    The i-80 problem is its own problem, and it sickens me to see people wanting to shut down LOCAL economic opportunities because of it.

    Any analysis is only as good as the assumptions that go into it.   If you assume that ARC will be built and that 100% of the people who work there live in Sacramento and commute 9-to-5, then yes, we will be exacerbating the I-80 problem.

    But I don’t think thats necessarily the case.

    Think of it this way:   When we built the Target – did that create NEW people coming to Davis.   No – it meant that people who live in Davis no longer had to leave Davis to get what they need.  It satisfied a local demand.

    If ARC is appropriately developed, it will be the same thing:  It will cater to the companies that are starting here, and it will allow us to re-patriate the companies that we have not made room for in the past – the ones who already live here, but currently commute elsewhere.

     

     

     

    1. Matt Williams

      Tim, you appear to be falling into the same speculation trap as David fell into when he wrote today’s article.  Who are the “people” you refer to in your first sentence?  I suspect that most “people” are feeling much like Bill and I do that the prudent course of action is to wait for the delivery of the traffic study, and then consider appropriate traffic mitigation approaches.

      Your words “If ARC is appropriately developed, it will be the same thing” … satisfaction of local demand, took me back to our Friday interchange of comments (see LINK).  You made a similar point about demand. In that exchange I asked you to elevate the quality and level of the conversation by sharing more information about the discussions and companies that you were citing.  Perhaps you missd my request, so I renew that request here.  Rather than speculation, real discuaaions about real evidence of demand should be at the core of our community conversation about ARC.

      Not at all.  I end up talking to a lot of the companies that are looking for a place here in town.  Its the UNIVERSITY and the TALENT here in Davis they want to be near. 

      Tim, those discussions and companies should be front and center in dialogue about this project.  What you are saying is that “the emperor actually has clothes” but all we are hearing from the developer, the City, and UCD can be summed up in the graphic below.

      I happen to agree with you that there are both companies and jobs that fit your description. But there is a big difference between belief (dare I say faith?) and evidence.

      1. Tim Keller

        Matt, I did see your comments.

        It should not be on me to prove to anyone that the kind of companies that will end up at ARC are going to be innovative high-tech companies (instead of tire warehouses etc.)   If you want proof of that just LOOK AROUND.

        Here are some of the big names you will see if you open your eyes and look at who is in our commercial real estate developments:  Novozymes, Mars, Marrone, DMG, Resonetics, Sierra Energy, Intrexon, Expression Systems…   Some of them started here, some of came here because they bought a company that started here, or because they work with university researchers.

        There is another population too… companies that started in Davis but couldn’t find accommodation here and went elsewhere- We have talked about Schilling, but how about Origin Materials, Helix Diagnostics, Bayer and many many others?

        It is not on me to prove that innovative R&D companies will be the ones that will inhabit ARC.  The burden of proof should be on anyone who suggests that ARC will for some reason NOT follow this already well established trend.

        And what do all of the companies mentioned here have in common?   They are here because their people were already here, or because they wanted access to people who are already here.

        Which brings me back to the point about traffic:  The assumption that most of the traffic coming to the ARC will be coming from out of town or the east needs to be directly challenged:  We have no reason to believe that the occupancy type for the ARC is going to end up looking any different from the Interland site, or any of the businesses along east 2nd street.   The commutes to ARC will largely be in-town, and thus not exacerbate the I-80 mess to NEARLY the extent that the nimby’s are saying.

        1. Matt Williams

          Tim, I agree with you that it should not be up to you to prove there is actual demand (as opposed to anecdotal examples of theoretical demand) for space for innovative high-tech companies. The people who should be providing that evidence of actual demand are (1) the developer, (2) UC Davis, and (3) the City of Davis.

          The reason that I have asked you to  share your experience is that, with the exception of the annual Start-ups press release by UCD of their year’s-worth of slightly more than a dozen such start-ups, the three stakeholders named above have provided nothing.  If those stakeholder parties are going to disclaim any responsibility for communicating, then it is incumbent on stakeholder group (4) the residents and businesses of Davis to attempt to reach out to valid sources … and everything I know about you tells me that you are a valid source.

          Schilling is actually a very good illustrative example.  I’m glad you brought them up.  They clearly stated over many months in many public statements in many venues that they wanted to be the leads tenant of MRIC.  However, while MRIC (Nero) fiddled Schilling (Rome) burned.  MRIC gas no one to blame but themselves for that.

          But there isn’t anything to be gained by lamenting the loss of Schilling, and the immediate cash flow infusion Schilling’s presence would have provided for MRIC/ARC.  ARC’s need for cash to cover their borrowing and construction costs is just as large without a lead tenant as it is with a lead tenant.

          With all the above said, I do have a question for you.  On your Inventopia website you list the following companies:

          * VinPerfect, makers of a patented oxygen-regulating screw cap for wine;

          * Spectral Solutions, builds drones that resemble large model airplanes, to house $50,000 hyperspectral cameras. The images detect water levels in soil and plants, and mineral content in rock;

          * ViVita Technologies, using regenerative-medicine to make animal tissue compatible with human patients;

          * Gaikwad Steroidomics, detecting steroids in humans;

          * A_2_Z Projects, building high-performance bike helmets for hard-to-fit kids;

          * Laura Chenel’s goat-milk lab, developing a yogurt;

          * SensIt Ventures, a chip-based gas sensor to detect gases like carbon monoxide;

          * JP Biomedical, building specialty proteins for antibody testing;

          * Chromatiscope, developing a low-cost device that converts any smartphone into a colorimeter, spectrophotometer and microscope;

          * Miraculex, which makes a protein-based sweetener from a berry; and

          * Circularis Bio, devising ways to helps regulate gene expression.

          * Revata Solutions, automated embryo processing for transgenic mouse models, providing clear and consistent results for single cell embryo health and DNA manipulation for precision medicine.

          * Innerplant, uses synthetic biology to make biosensors. Detecting biotic & abiotic stresses within hours, outperforming any external technology

          * Yolo/Pluk Robotics, software architecture for YOLO, a creativity-stimulating robot

          * Insight Labs, a premier full service toxicology laboratory that is housed in a state-of-the-art facility in Golden, CO.

          * Aggie Industries, virtual enterprise development

          * RePurpose Energy, providing safe, reliable, and affordable energy storage solutions using second-life batteries from electric vehicles.

          * EffectorBio, a dedicated group of scientists with a novel therapeutic that we hope will provide patients with a better tomorrow.

          Of those seventeen (17) companies, how many of them were reported in the annual UCD announcement of start-ups?

        2. Tim Keller

          Matt, Re: The UCD Announcement of Startups,    Only EffectorBio is in my current tenant list.  Two more of the startups on that list will be joining me at our expansion site if I can get a deal done with Buzz Oates for the space.

          The pool of startups is deceptivley deep in fact.  The startups that appear on that list are ONLY the ones that are being developed from UC Davis licensed technology.

          There are two other general categories of startups that I see all the time and who will not show up on that list:

          1) Smart people in Davis just doing their thing.  (often spouses / partners of UCD Researchers)
          2) Entrepreneurs who want to locate here because they need the smart people that davis offers.

          So I see all of the early-phase startups that fall into this category.   But there is another category of startups who need much larger space than I can currently provide.  Some of them have already raised a Series A of fundraising elsewhere and need talent that is based here.   Good example of that is Innerplant, an already-funded company that came here in order to hire plant geneticists.  (They use inventopia part time and I helped them find a spot at the interland campus.  They just wouldnt fit inside Inventopia’s existing facilities.)

          If the campaign (Or anyone else for that matter) wants to buy me and someone from Venture Catalyst a beer at Sudwerk, I’m sure we can put together a HUGE list…

          “. . . and he dropped a “NIMBY” BOMB.”

          I call it like I see it. People like the less-funny-Alan can’t be against every single development in town and NOT expect to be called a Nimby. The shoe fits perfectly.

        3. Matt Williams

          Thanks for the informative response Tim.  One sentence jumped out at me … prompting a “That’s both crazy and parochial!”  What it tells me (and I could be wrong) is that UCD isn’t truly committed to transferring technology developed as a bi-product of its core competency … education and research.

          With that said, what you have said doesn’t surprise me.  When I arrived here in 1998, one of my first steps in outreaching to the innovation comm was to meet with UC Connect, and attend their meetings at Sudwerk and other places.  What became very quickly apparent was that UC Connect was only paying lip service to technology transfer because they felt they had a “box that needed to be checked.” After you got past the smoke and mirrors, what you found was smoke and mirrors.

          I’ll reach out to you for that beer. It will be fun … with a sad overtone of three truths. The first truth is that the developer’s team should be prominently displaying “data” like that. The second truth is that the City of Davis should have such a list readily and prominently available. The third truth is UCD'[s failure to have such a list … and prominently include it as part of the annual start-ups press release.

        4. Tim Keller

          Not sure where to hit the reply button to put this into the thread…

          But this is a response to Matt’s comments:

          What it tells me (and I could be wrong) is that UCD isn’t truly committed to transferring technology developed as a bi-product of its core competency … education and research.
          With that said, what you have said doesn’t surprise me.  When I arrived here in 1998, one of my first steps in outreaching to the innovation comm was to meet with UC Connect, and attend their meetings at Sudwerk and other places.  What became very quickly apparent was that UC Connect was only paying lip service to technology transfer because they felt they had a “box that needed to be checked.” After you got past the smoke and mirrors, what you found was smoke and mirrors.

          Back in the Vanderhoef era, this was especially true.  The tech transfer office almost saw their job as defense against industry.

          That changed a lot under Katehi, and the pro-business trend is accelerating under Chancellor May.

          That said, remember that the startups in this community that are based on UC Davis research are actually the minority.  The rest is independent work being done by very smart people, who happen to live here because of the University.   So these kinds of startups didn’t stop happening because of the former administrations attitude..  It was just not as useful to society as it should have been.

          The new university unit called Venture Catalyst which sits alongside the tech transfer office in the Office of research is now has a team of people activley engaging faculty, evaluating what technology can be commercialized, and trying to pave the paths for that process… So they ARE a lot better than they were.

          Strangely, the biggest obstacle to that process, and what supports your suspicion is this:  Professors almost as a rule, don’t really have the Entrepreneur gene.  They have a very stable job that pays well…  Their success as researchers tends to be measured in papers published, not licensing dollars earned.   So they are not naturally the kind of people who will try to commercialize what they have researched.   The true scarce commodity in that system is entrepreneurs who can interface with that faculty to develop a commercialization plan and see that plan through to the market.

        5. Matt Williams

          Another excellent post Tim.  This exchange has been a pleasure.  Both illuminating and fun.

          Your final paragraph is wsholly consistent with what I have experienced in my 22 years here.  There was a product/idea/research presented at a meeting sponsored by UCD and the audience reaction was very positive … but we never heard another word about it after the initial presentation.  I reached out to my UCD contact and asked what had happened?  I observed the presentation had all the appearances of a hot knive cutting through butter.  What I was told was that one of the other UCD professors got wind of what was happening and kicked into “high ego” mode.  He decided that if the product/idea/research was able to proceed the professor would advance on the UCD power food chain and pass the “high ego” professor and that was wholly and completely unacceptable for his “power status.”  So he marshaled his faculty political clout and killed the product/idea/research post haste.

          The lesson in that story, and what you have described is that UCD needs to step forward proactively with the entrepreneurial leadership.

          JMO

        6. Alan Miller

          less-funny-Alan

          so many potentially humorous retorts, so little time.

          I call it like I see it. People like the less-funny-Alan can’t be against every single development in town and NOT expect to be called a Nimby. The shoe fits perfectly.

          TK, you are obviously a successful businessman and know your facts inside and out.  My point really is that calling people names and labeling them really does your brand nothing but harm.  Your points are well thought out — stick to the high road and you will do yourself and your goals well.

          Leave the name-calling to low-life scum like me.

    2. Ron Oertel

      Think of it this way:   When we built the Target – did that create NEW people coming to Davis.   No – it meant that people who live in Davis no longer had to leave Davis to get what they need.  It satisfied a local demand.

      Pretty tough to “think of it that way”.

      Target is a retail outlet, and did not include 850 residential units.  The “average consumer” isn’t going to visit a business park to meet his/her personal needs.

      As a side note, I heard someone briefly mention that the Target site was “rezoned” from business-park type zoning, because there wasn’t any demand for it. (I haven’t verified that.)

      Hopefully, no one is “commuting” to a job at Target (from other cities), especially since they’re pretty much everywhere.

      If ARC is appropriately developed, it will be the same thing:  It will cater to the companies that are starting here, and it will allow us to re-patriate the companies that we have not made room for in the past – the ones who already live here, but currently commute elsewhere.

      An “apples to iguanas” comparison.

      This would assume that people will give up their jobs (e.g., at a stable government employer, in Sacramento) and would qualify to be hired at a business park (with some yet-to-be-identified private employer).

      As far as “repatriating” companies that have pursued cheaper options, this doesn’t seem realistic.  In addition, those employers are (also) probably attracting commuters from throughout the region.

      That is, when they’re not laying off employees:

      The company, which produces robotics equipment and remote-operated vehicles commonly used for undersea construction of offshore oil drilling rigs, blamed the plummeting oil prices for a drop in business leading to the layoffs. The staff reduction represents just under 15 percent of the company’s global workforce.

      https://www.davisenterprise.com/business/schilling-robotics-lays-off-59-employees/

      What do you suppose the future is going to be like, for companies that rely upon the oil and gas industry?

       

       

      1. Don Shor

        The staff reduction represents just under 15 percent of the company’s global workforce.

        https://www.davisenterprise.com/business/schilling-robotics-lays-off-59-employees/

        What do you suppose the future is going to be like, for companies that rely upon the oil and gas industry?

        That article is five years old. How many employees does Schilling Robotics have now? How have their revenues gone for the last five years? Are they expanding, stable, or decreasing five years later? The oil and gas industry is not the only customer for their ocean-going robotics. They’re used by oceanographers, among others. And any company that is selling specialized equipment to those industries is likely to be planning for transition away from fossil fuels over the coming decades.
        In short, this is a nonsensical canard you keep posting about Schilling. I suggest you stop doing it.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I suggest you stop doing it.

          Perhaps you should suggest that others who claim that the companies that leave Davis (or might pursue development at ARC) are necessarily “green”.  Especially given the “flypaper” approach (mentioned by a planning commissioner) regarding the attempt to attract companies at ARC.

          I don’t know the answer to the rest of your questions.  However, one question I have regarding Schilling is whether or not their new location at the Port of West Sacramento provides easy access to shipping that they otherwise would not have.

          I would also ask if leasing (or ownership?) cost of the facility in West Sacramento was a factor. And while we’re at it, how many other locations around the port and/or in West Sacramento are vacant or under-utilized? And how do costs compare?

          As far as “transitioning” away from the oil and gas industry, I do hope that they’re successful in doing so.  West Sacramento could use the re-development (e.g., not on prime farmland, outside of city limits).

           

           

      2. Tim Keller

        Pretty tough to “think of it that way”.

        Because your mind is apparently already made up?

        Regardless, there is a very real “Innovation Diaspora” from Davis.  And whether or not you believe it, our inability to retain our startups is not just because adjacent communities are cheaper – it is because adequate facilities HERE are in very short supply.

        I know this first hand.  Im my efforts to expand Inventopia to a larger facility, I have talked directly with a lot of entrepreneurs who are looking for space in Davis.    Some of them are here and want better facilities, and roughly half of them have already found space elsewhere, and would love to move back.

        I agree with Alan Miller (aka “the funny Alan”) that we don’t need tire warehouses / tax form depots etc at ARC.  We need space for innovators.  Those space types ARE different, and we can (and should) ensure that in the process for ARC, that the space is appropriately programmed for such.

         

        1. Alan Miller

          I agree with Alan Miller (aka “the funny Alan”) that we don’t need tire warehouses / tax form depots etc at ARC.

          I didn’t imply that.  My point is the developer is going to rent to whomever pays the freight, and that “innovation” is a bullsh*t word meant to sell the business park.  Funny Alan ain’t so funny anymore 😐

        2. Ron Oertel

          I flat-out don’t believe claims that startups would be primary occupants at ARC, unless some “special deal” is made for them.  There are locations and opportunitieswithin the city that can house startups.

          Startups don’t “start” at expensive, massive, new business parks.  However, the fact is that it’s impossible to know what might end up at ARC (other than 850 residential units, and 4,340 parking spaces).

          I recall that during the workshop, it was stated that a significant portion of the commercial component would reportedly remain unbuilt (after ALL of the housing is built).  This would likely lead to a situation in which there’s less incentive to build-out that remaining commercial space, and would likely (at best) delay any claimed fiscal benefit.

          Does anyone know how the Target site was zoned, before the proposal came out?  And, were there claims at that time that there was “no demand” for office park space, there?

          Also, what is the status of the large space inside the Mace Curve (adjacent to the junior high)?  We already know that this space is not included in any “count” of available space, since it’s currently outside of city limits (but inside the curve).

          1. Don Shor

            I flat-out don’t believe claims that startups would be primary occupants at ARC

            More likely move-ups than start-ups. I think about the businesses that have occupied the commercial building next door to my nursery on Fifth Street. D-M Information Systems outgrew the building, so they built a new one off Second Street and moved there. Dozens of employees. Far Western Anthropological Research Group moved in here, then outgrew it in a few years and also built a new building off Second Street. Many dozens of employees. It’s grown even bigger, with satellite locations elsewhere in Northern California, but still has the building and many employees here. Now the building is occupied by a hydrology engineering firm.
            Each of the first two needed a larger site, ready for construction. Not an unimproved vacant lot somewhere. Because the area between Fifth and Second streets had opened up and been subdivided, they had places to go. There are very few of those places left for a growing move-up business. We are talking, between those two businesses, hundreds of employees over many years who have settled in the region, sent their kids to our schools, and become part of the community. The businesses created wealth and jobs and continue to do so. But if there’s no place locally to move up to, they move away.

        3. Ron Oertel

          I will acknowledge that the local tax breaks given to attract Mori Seiki were apparently worthwhile.

           
          I also generally support pursuit of companies within city limits, and would also support such activities on the site adjacent to the junior high (within the Mace Curve) – but which is currently outside of city limits.

        4. Alan Miller

          Now the building is occupied by a hydrology engineering firm.

          That’s impossible.  There aren’t any well-paying professional jobs in Davis except on campus 😐

          1. David Greenwald

            That’s impossible. There aren’t any well-paying professional jobs in Davis except on campus

            Oversimplify, much?

        5. Ron Oertel

          Alan M.:  That’s impossible. There aren’t any well-paying professional jobs in Davis except on campus

          David:  Oversimplify, much?

          If I was David, I probably wouldn’t “call attention” to Alan M.’s mocking comment (of David’s earlier claim).

          Then again, I probably don’t have as much “self-confidence”, as David seems to have.  Not sure I’d call that level of self-confidence a “gift”, though. 😉

          1. David Greenwald

            The number of well-paying professional jobs in Davis are not zero. There just aren’t a lot of them.

    3. Alan Miller

      It will cater to the companies that are starting here, and it will allow us to re-patriate the companies that we have not made room for in the past – the ones who already live here, but currently commute elsewhere.

      Oversimplify, much?

    4. Bill Marshall

      When we built the Target – did that create NEW people coming to Davis.   No

      Basically correct… any out of town traffic it generated are known as ‘pass-by’ trips… they’d be using adjacent roadways (I-80, Mace, etc.)… no harm no foul… Vacaville, Woodland have Targets… Dixon, Woodland, W Sac have Walmarts… the Target in Davis is attractive, as we can easily walk/bike to it, and not go up 102 to Woodland.

      Matt responded, in part,

      and then consider appropriate traffic mitigation approaches.

      Consideration of mitigation measures doesn’t mean anything is a ‘done deal’ … the mitigation measures may be (or may not be) as onerous as the impacts… and might ‘kill the deal’… either on City/County/applicant side… I don’t think Matt would disagree with my assessment… even tho’ Matt and I disagree a lot…

      But Matt and I are in full agreement (without discussing ‘off-line’) that data and professional analysis should precede conclusions… and Matt will, I’m sure, correct me if I overstated our area of agreement.

  5. Ron Oertel

    Don: “But if there’s no place locally to move up to, they move away.”

    If the city is nearly built-out, it does not, in-and-of itself “prove” a shortage of anything. (Of course, this doesn’t even address opportunities for redevelopment of existing sites, or sites such as the one inside Mace Curve.)

    Again, there’s locations such as West Sacramento which “need” redevelopment of their existing urban footprint. In addition, the site in Woodland, 7 miles from UCD (which is going to be built regardless) has a 100% “vacancy rate”.

    If the claim is that too much residential development has been approved (in regard to commercial development) within the city’s existing footprint, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that.  (That process is continuing, by the way.)

    If (instead) the city is going to approve yet another peripheral development that includes housing, then the claimed “imbalance” of commercial-to-residential ratio isn’t going to improve much.

    Even more so, if it ultimately lead to (yet another) peripheral development, to accommodate the additional “manufactured housing need”.

    It’s all b.s., folks.  It’s a no-win situation, except for development interests.

    By the way, is anyone planning to put a dollar figure on the lost time, gas, wear-and-tear on vehicles that this development would foist upon existing residents (as well as those attempting to pass-through)?

    1. Don Shor

      Again, there’s locations such as West Sacramento which “need” redevelopment of their existing urban footprint. In addition, the site in Woodland, 7 miles from UCD (which is going to be built regardless) has a 100% “vacancy rate”.

      So your answer is that any business that outgrows its current location in Davis should move out of town.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Don:  “So your answer is that any business that outgrows its current location in Davis should move out of town.”

        I think that some will move out of town, to locations that are cheaper (and perhaps even more convenient).  In contrast to nearby towns, Davis has never been town that is dominated by large-scale commercial/industrial sites (which are much cheaper in nearby towns, as well).

        If there was actually market demand for large-scale commercial development 4-5 miles from UCD (at the lease prices that would be required to make it “pencil out”), then you’d see a commercial proposal come forward (and not subsequently “withdrawn”, as was the case with MRIC).

        Two others proposals have failed (three, if you include The Cannery), and were converted entirely to housing.  The one that will be built in Woodland “migrated” from Davis.  (Even there, it apparently requires housing to make it “pencil out”.)

        Then there’s the commercial sites within Davis that have been partially (or fully) converted to housing.

        Seems to be a lack of commercial demand (which is generally regional, in nature – as you’ve previously acknowledged).

        As far as “harming Davis”, it must be a miracle that it’s survived this long without another growth-inducing peripheral development, so far.

        Any suggested “fiscal profit” will be eaten-up by the cost of serving the housing on the site itself, or elsewhere (e.g., in a future development that will be “justified” by ARC). (By the way, is the city normally in the business of generating fiscal profit from development?)

        I’d like to see someone calculate the cost that would be transferred to existing residents, and those passing-through (as a result of the increased traffic).

        1. Craig Ross

          “ If there was actually market demand for large-scale commercial development 4-5 miles from UCD (at the lease prices that would be required to make it “pencil out”), then you’d see a commercial proposal come forward (and not subsequently “withdrawn”, as was the case with MRIC).”

          And if they didn’t have to pass a vote you’d probably be correct. But you seem to be conveniently ignoring that

        2. Ron Oertel

          And by the way, those businesses that do move will be “replaced” by other businesses, as long as the city doesn’t convert those spaces to housing.  Don has provided examples of that, above.

        3. Craig Ross

          There are actually two losses here. One is the trade off between a company that leaves in a company that comes. Do you think that when agra quest left we replace them with a company as mature and produce as much revenue and had as many jobs as agra quest head? And the other loss is the opportunity loss. We lost the move. So we didn’t get the expanded company.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Craig:  Put forth some actual numbers, regarding the “fiscal loss” of companies being replaced by other companies.

          And, put forth some actual numbers regarding the “net fiscal profit” from a peripheral development with housing (or which ultimately induces another peripheral housing development). Note that this will be a multi-decade analysis.

          Also, be sure to include the cost that’s transferred directly to existing residents, or those passing through (e.g., as a result of increased traffic).

        5. Ron Oertel

          And now that I think about it, even in your preferred approach there would be a “vacating” of existing properties to move to a peripheral development.

          So, one of your points is entirely moot.

          That should make your analysis easier.

          [Moderator: You have now exceeded 7 posts on this thread. Thank you for your participation.]

        6. Don Shor

          I think that some will move out of town, to locations that are cheaper (and perhaps even more convenient).

          They will all move out of town if there is no place in town for them to move up to. The point I was making with my examples, and I’ll just leave the discussion with this and perhaps we can resume it at another time, is that each of those businesses that I cited had a place to move to IN Davis. There was land ready, subdivided, ready to build on. The supply of such land is dwindling and the remaining sites are more problematic and dispersed. The point of MRIC/ARC is to provide sites for such companies.
          Obviously no business can commit this far in advance to move to a business park that doesn’t exist and still has to get by the voters.
          I hope that others can provide examples of start-up and move-up companies that have stayed around, and how and where and why — as well as those that have left. It would be hard to quantify what we gain and lose from each type of business, but it’s clear that the benefits are positive in many ways.
          I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity to visit this topic again.

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