Letter: Reimagining Russell Blvd Needs a Bus Connection to West Village to Reduce Car Dependence


By Sustainable Growth Yolo

Note: The Council put off discussion on Russell Blvd until late May due to the length of the agenda on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately, the final draft of the Reimagining Russell Project will condemn thousands of residents in West Village to a car-dependent lifestyle without an efficient bus connection as it is in the current form.  This is unacceptable for a project that looks to spend around $47 million.  At the location of what could be an ideal connection, “Arthur Street through Arlington Roundabout” is expected to pay $8.3 million.   Still, it will not connect a bus to the over 3,000 residents less than a quarter of a mile away.

If someone wants to ride a Unitrans bus from West Village to Trade Joe’s, they must take a 25-minute route and two buses to the nearest retail mall, which is less than a half-mile away.  Getting this closest shopping center is far more accessible by car, and the current design of West Village is forcing thousands to adopt a car-dependent lifestyle.  A small road for transit would allow for a far more efficient bus route for Unitrans to potentially connect three thousand residents to easy access to shopping centers on both Russell Blvd and West Davis.

It should be laudable that UC Davis is following through on its commitments to build large additional amounts of housing on campus.  Many of the green features of West Village and bike-friendly additions are commendable in this project overall, but if taking the bus is not an attractive option, with short transit time, it will encourage more car use and more traffic.

For a project to be spending over $47 million, missing out of a simple bus line would be a big step backward for a city committed to climate goals.  There is a big reason why thousands of cars are filling up the parking lots of West Village.  Driving is till the most attractive option for residents, and not connecting a road for buses will ensure that most residents will be car dependent in the future.


Don Gibson, PhD, Sustainable Growth Yolo, Chair

Gwen Chodur, Sustainable Growth Yolo, Board Member, UC Davis Student

Tim Keller, Sustainable Growth Yolo Board Member, City of Davis Resident

Govind Acharya, City of Davis Homeowner

Evan Cragin, City of Davis Resident

Marcos Lopez, UC Davis Student

Jamie Velasco, UC Davis Student


About The Author

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

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3 thoughts on “Letter: Reimagining Russell Blvd Needs a Bus Connection to West Village to Reduce Car Dependence”

  1. Keith Y Echols

    So I’m not too familiar with the Bus system in Davis.  Unitrans is a UCD bus system that is shared with the city of Davis?  Does Sustainable Growth Yolo want UCD to expand Unitrans service?  Does it want the city to implement a bus system?  I’m all for more buses but I’m just not sure what specifically the authors of the article want other simply more buses on Russell Blvd.

  2. Richard_McCann

    I understand SGY’s position on this if the context wasn’t so important. In 2005 UCD, in exchange for putting the West Campus at the north end of its parcel oriented east-west instead of the more logical and preferential north-south orientation toward the south end, negotiated with the West Davis neighborhoods to foreclose any road access to Russell Blvd. This agreement must be sacrosanct if UCD is to continue to be credible with the community when negotiating in good faith.

    The situation described has been exacerbated by the failure to build out the housing on the north end, largely due to the labor cost restrictions that UCD imposed on developers. (This is one of the reasons why UCD is a poor candidate for being a landlord to all future UCD-related housing.) But the new proposal for denser multi-unit housing will help facilitate my proposed solution.

    The Arlington-Russell intersection should become a transit hub with multiple bus bays along the south side. Further, UCD should install automated electric shuttles that run from the center of West Campus on fixed routes to the transit hub. There’s no need to build a connection between Arlington and Russell and this will discourage single-occupant car use from West Campus.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      This is one of the reasons why UCD is a poor candidate for being a landlord to all future UCD-related housing

      That’s like saying that Amazon is a poor candidate for warehousing their inventory of goods.

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