On Wednesday night there was a presentation of plans for overdue bike/pedestrian safety improvements. City staff and consultants have been working on this for a couple of years.
What was unstated is that these years of work are threatened by cost overruns for the required Cannery bike connections to schools and the city. As noted at the Oct. 23 City Council meeting, the southeast bike connector is undersigned. Cost estimates that The Cannery would fund were admittedly guesses: No one at the city had even contacted PG&E to figure out what it was doing laying the gas pipes in the exact same location that is being looked at for the underground bike tunnel in the Covell Plan.
This is the key tunnel that would allow Cannery kids and adults bike and pedestrian access to Nugget Market and Birch Lane School. If the tunnel project costs more than was guesstimated, the extra funds will have to come from the city coffers or grants the city might have used from something else.
As I understand it, the risk The Cannery project put to funding all other city bike/pedestrian safety projects is why Mayor Joe Krovoza voted against The Cannery deal. “Don’t put The Cannery project funding on the backs of the rest of the city’s taxpayers,” he said at the Oct. 23 council meeting. We should remember this risk that all residents of Davis are absorbing due to a vote by City Council.
The bigger lesson is how often financial risk to taxpayers is often ignored by pro-growth advocates who claim to be fiscal conservatives. And it’s a warning that residents need to keep a watchful eye as things evolve at The Cannery and as the council pushes to expand Davis by annexing land for a new business park.