Friday, July 25, 2014

Fifth Street ‘constraints’ worrisome

From page A6 | April 03, 2014 |

Sunday’s story about the Fifth Street project prompts this letter.

When I wrote to City Council members in March 2012 in hopes that they could allay concerns about the planned narrowing of Fifth Street, Mayor Joe Krovoza assured me the project would “create a safer and more efficient flow on Fifth Street” and pointed me to a now-no-longer-active city website that included an April 27, 2010, staff report. That report (which I’m unable to find on the city’s new Fifth Street Corridor project website) raised, rather than relieved, my concerns.

In it, city staff had identified several likely “constraints” of the project: for example, delays caused when Yolobus and Unitrans buses protrude into the travel lane as they pick up/let off passengers and when they stop prior to railroad crossings; delays when right-turning vehicles on Fifth Street are unable to pull into the bike lane due to the presence of cyclists; and additional delays at peak travel times when the queue of left-turning vehicles extends beyond the left-turn pockets and blocks the through lane.

The staff report indicated a one-year evaluation period, using measures that were yet to be determined and including consultation with the Chamber of Commerce and the Davis Downtown Business Association on the metrics to be used. The staff report also noted that “should the road diet be undone, the city would likely be required to return any funds ($836,000) provided by SACOG/Caltrans. Funding source(s) for repayment would be identified at that time.”

I’d still very much appreciate knowing if these staff-identified constraints have been addressed, if a project evaluation will still be done, and, if so, what metrics will be used.

Maril Stratton

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 14 comments

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  • April 03, 2014 - 8:26 am

    Making 5th Street from 4 lanes to 2 lanes is an absolutely horrible idea. I drive this street every day and can't even begin to phantom the traffic mess it will create during the morning, lunch and afternoon rushes- it's busy and jammed up as is already. This is nothing but another feel good idea from the liberal anti-car crowd who want to jam it down the throats of others.

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  • Noreen MazelisApril 03, 2014 - 5:18 pm

    This 5th Street Mess is worse than a "feel good" measure from the bicycle collectivists and their lap dogs on the City Council: this is a means of CONTROL, controlling our methods of transportation -- and us. Remember: the central belief of our "betters" on the Council (and at least one candidate for the Council) is that we need to be "managed." After all, we are incapable or managing our own lives, but our "betters" are capable for managing it for us.

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  • RKApril 03, 2014 - 8:44 am

    Making 5th Street from 4 lanes to 2 lanes with turn pockets and right hand turn lanes with bike lanes and protected cross walks is an absolutely wonderful idea. I drive this street every day and I can't tell you how many times I've been stopped by cars making left hand turns, cut off by quick lane changes by cars trying to get around stopped cars and buses stopped at the railroad tracks. Making a turn onto the street is currently a nightmare. Crossing the street as a pedestrian or on bike is a nightmare. I can't wait until this project is done.

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  • April 03, 2014 - 8:49 am

    I agree, the local anti-car crowd and bicycle enthusiasts seem to have the ear of our city council. It's time for the rest of us to speak out and let them know that their actions have reprecussions.

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  • Alan MillerApril 03, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    The crowd of anonymous pro-car enthusiasts are the problem to the bicycle community. I am both, as well a pedestrian, and I welcome the improvements for all three modes. Humans do not live by car alone. Hard to speak out when you are too cowardly to show your name in public.

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  • April 03, 2014 - 9:37 am

    Well said!!!

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  • April 03, 2014 - 9:38 am

    My "Well said!" referring to RK's comment approving the 5th St. road diet. It will make this main thoroughfare much safer for everyone.

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  • JohnApril 03, 2014 - 12:39 pm

    I am totally against this "Experiment" - I'm concerned on two levels: The obvious increase in congestion at peak hours is first and foremost; but the addition of several pedestrian activated crosswalks is more of a concern. In my observation of the current pedestrian activated crosswalks, the pedestrian in general seems to have the idea that pushing the button is a green light for the pedestrian; and a red light for traffic. In reality, the pedestrian is just alerting the traffic that the pedestrian wants to cross - it is still totally incumbent on the pedestrian to make sure the traffic has indeed acquiesced to that REQUEST. I foresee total chaos when both pedestrians and drivers ignore that fact.

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  • Alan MillerApril 03, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    Thanks for at least having the minimal courage to post your first name. Being John, that's narrowed it down to about 7000 people in Davis. There is nothing Experimental about this. 5th street is a death trap for bicycles and hard to cross on foot, especially if you are older or otherwise slower. This is the boulevard concept, or complete streets, and it models well for traffic and is proven elsewhere. You pro-auto enthusiasts just have your pro-car agenda (I'm just throwing rhetoric back in reverse). Yes, many bicycles and pedestrians suck, many don't. Same with cars. How do you view your pro-car, anti-walker example as sane? It is only from one point of view. I could come up with a similar line about pushing the walk button and the car does something to breach the pedestrian's right-of-way. So your argument is meaningless unless you subscribe to the argument the only mode of transportation that matters is the auto, and those without protective steel shells around them should go F themselves.

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  • April 03, 2014 - 4:19 pm

    Hey Alan, you can can it with the tough guy rhetoric about people posting anonymously. Everyone has their reasons for doing so and there are no rules about having to post under one's own name. So if you want to debate the subject at hand then go for it, but the continual attacks coming from you about people not posting under their name is getting tiresome. From Daffy Duck, go quack yourself to all those that don't like it.

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  • Billy Bob WhitlowApril 03, 2014 - 6:44 pm

    Jeez, Allan - Lighten up! Your side won; Fifth Street is being reconfigured; and the vitriolic nature of your responses indicates nothing more than lingering doubt as to if this will really work after all - - -

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  • Alan MillerApril 04, 2014 - 10:41 am

    I apologize for my tone in last night's posts that got deleted, rightly so, I was beyond exhausted and typing without engaging a conscious content filter. -- Those of us who use bikes have not "won" as long as there are people out there -- there always will be but they will slowly diminish -- who believe that bicycles and pedestrians do not deserve safe use of the public infrastructure. The attitude is probably born from ignorance of the perspective of those who are always protected by a steel shell, think all the money should go to them, and don't understand how vulnerable bikes and peds are when a rolling projectile driven by a certain percentage of distracted, spaced-out, inebriated persons pass within inches. 5th Street is a death trap. My concern with the attitude expressed by some in the community is that it leads to anger towards bicyclists and that leads to delaying needed projects and worse people feeling anger as they pass near bicycles and maybe not giving them the safety zone needed. It happens to most of us on nearly every trip with one or more motorists. There is no right of cars in dominion over the "lesser" modes. I own a vehicle, and use it, bicycles have to fight for every foot of proper infrastructure. I used to use my vehicle to drive a few blocks downtown and drive as far to loop for parking as I'd drive to where I was going. Then one of the bicycle activists in town said my bike sucked and I'd ride a bike if I had a functional bike with baskets and he dropped one in my yard and said pay me for it if you like it. And I stopped driving downtown and bicycle whenever/wherever I can in town, including across town. I drive/bike/walk/train on a regular basis; I work out my body more and burn less gas. This City or any city is not better for its citizens when the car dominates. I believe the Fifth Street redesign is long overdue and will work for this City, for everyone, overall. Safety should have dominion. I am passionate about this subject because the same guy who gave me the bicycle got hit by a car, had his helmet split open, got a concussion and the car ran; a long time family friend who bicycled to work for decades was hit and killed by a car weeks before retirement, leaving a family; my barber's cycling partner from Woodland was killed on a country road by a car on a day they didn't ride together; a friend was T-boned on her bike by a car left turning on that short stretch of bike trail that on the east side of the freeway that mixes with cars as it goes around the Rust property. Miraculously and because she's limber, she rolled over the top of the car and landed on her feet. This isn't a joke. It's about safety. I wish I could place the understanding in the brains of every driver to just how vulnerable a bicycle is.

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  • Rich RifkinApril 03, 2014 - 5:26 pm

    For those who genuinely think the lane change reconfiguration will cause a traffic choke, I suggest you drive from Russell Blvd to Villanova Lane on Anderson Road. That stretch has bike lanes in each direction, one auto lane in each direction, and a center turn lane the entire stretch. It is roughly the same size as 5th Street from B to L. ............ Although the peak demand on Anderson is not as high as it is on Fifth, you would find that traffic flows there better than it does on Fifth now. The reason for its better flow is that traffic moving north and south never gets backed up due to drivers turning east or west. ........... One more thing about that stretch of Anderson. It did not always have bike lanes. They were added around 1970. Before that, Anderson was configured like 5th now is--two auto lanes in each direction without turn lanes. Fortunately, Davis did not have so many paranoid people back then, so sure that all change in lane configuration must be bad. We just did it. And it worked out much better for everyone. But, of course, since then, you fretful folks have moved into my fair city.

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  • Rich RifkinApril 03, 2014 - 5:31 pm

    "from Russell Blvd to Villanova Lane on Anderson Road." .......... Oops. That should be Villanova Drive, not Lane. ........... As longtime Davisites know, there once was a city ordinance which required all east-west streets to be drives and to be named for colleges or universities, and it required all north-south streets to be lanes and named for trees.

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