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