Guest Commentary: DISC Will Bring Sustainable Jobs to Davis

Former Mayor Maynard Skinner

by Maynard Skinner

I am writing in support of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus as someone who has been an active and involved member of Davis local governance and policy making during four different decades on the Davis City Council. I fundamentally support the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus because it reflects my belief that Davis needs to grow and develop at an appropriate pace that respects both the history and future of Davis as a community.

Davis should not have uncontrolled growth or no growth. Davis should have phased growth. With a projected twenty to twenty-five year buildout, I believe that the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus is an appropriately balanced development that will sustain and support the Davis innovation ecosystem and economy in a manner and timeframe that will allow Davis to retain its community character.

When I was a member of the Davis City Council, some of the causes and projects I worked passionately to achieve were to create and enhance our parks, notably Central Park, and our bicycle system. Therefore, I particularly support and appreciate the benefits that the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus will bring to bear in supporting and expanding the Davis parks and bicycle systems.

In particular, I believe that the project provides a substantial benefit to Davis by creating, at no expense to the Davis taxpayers, 12.8 acres of public parks onsite which will include much-needed sports facilities for the citizens of Davis and the project to use and enjoy. I also believe that the project’s construction of a protected bicycle lane along the interior of the Mace Curve from Alhambra Drive to Harper Junior High School, the grade-separated pedestrian and bicycle crossing of Mace Boulevard connecting East Davis to the project site and the existing bike routes in Yolo County to the east of the project, and the connection and improvements to bike trails to the south of Harper Junior High School are good additions to the Davis bicycle network and transportation infrastructure.

Davis has, for many years, prided itself on being a national leader in promoting bicycling and alternative transportation. In recent years, however, we have failed to sufficiently invest in our bicycle infrastructure to continue making substantial progress in advancing our community’s leadership in this area. Thus, we find ourselves falling behind other communities in our share of bike ridership and bicycle transportation infrastructure with real consequences for our community’s carbon emissions, citizen health, and community vitality.

I believe that the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus can be a catalyst to help Davis once again make the investments and enhancements to our city’s bike network to regain our leadership in the national arena.

I should note, however, that sustainable transportation infrastructure does not consist of walking and bicycling alone. To that end, I am also supportive of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus’ commitment to improving public transportation in other areas as well. I strongly support the project’s commitment to enhance and improve the bus transportation that will serve the project, the surrounding area, the rest of the city, and, indeed, the region.

I speak now about the project’s commitment to enhance and improve the existing bus stops along Mace Boulevard, the project’s support to expand and improve bus rapid transit services by granting an easement along the project’s frontage for a future bus transit lane, the project’s commitment to work with Unitrans, Yolobus, and other bus transit operators to maximize ridership at the project’s interior multimodal transit center, the project’s planned participation in financing an electric shuttle that will connect the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus to the Amtrak station, the UC Davis campus, and businesses along 2nd Street, the project’s funding for a study to explore a potential transit connection between the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus to Woodland, UC Davis, and other areas of Davis, and the project’s funding for the creation of a comprehensive Mace Boulevard Corridor Plan to improve bicycle and pedestrian travel and transit in the vicinity of the project.

Furthermore, the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus will make substantial capital contributions to improve the transportation infrastructure at the Mace interchange, along Mace Boulevard and the surrounding roadways, and will contribute funding towards improving I-80. This list of the project’s contributions to transportation, although not exhaustive, in my view, demonstrates that this project takes multimodal transportation seriously and can play an important and positive role in advancing Davis’ transportation infrastructure.

Beyond the project’s contributions to the City of Davis’ parks and transportation systems, I should also note that this project is expected to provide substantial fiscal benefits to the City of Davis, DJUSD, Yolo County, and the Greater Sacramento Region. What’s more, these financial benefits do not capture the important intangible benefits of supporting a dynamic entrepreneurial environment here in Davis.

The jobs and companies this project will host create an opportunity for dreams to be realized and for technologies that can change the world to be discovered and created here in our community. That is a vision worth aspiring to, in my opinion.

I am also very pleased that the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus has committed to using 100% renewable energy which, to my knowledge, would be the first of its kind in the country. This is the kind of environmental leadership we should be encouraging wholeheartedly.

There are many more aspects of this project that I support, but in the interest of brevity, admittedly not my strong suite, I will conclude by urging the voters of Davis to vote yes on Measure B to approve the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus. I believe that it is the right project in the right time which respects the history while providing for the future needs of Davis. For more information, visit www.davisforb.com.

Maynard Skinner is a former Davis Mayor


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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