Local News

City wants another look at East Covell plan

By From page A1 | May 07, 2014

Sometimes a second opinion is not enough.

The city is trying to get the assistance of a cycling connection troubleshooter as a third and final opinion on the visioning document called the East Covell Corridor Plan.

The plan, which deals with anticipated improvements on Covell Boulevard from F Street to Birch Lane, could be a boon to bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicle safety if the city approves the document. That approval is expected by the City Council in June.

“We may, in fact, come back to council sooner,” said Bob Clarke, the city’s public works director.

First, though, city staff is working to bring a Dutch cycling group called the Dutch Cycling Embassy to Davis. The request was first made by City Councilman Brett Lee at the April 22 council meeting and ratified by his four colleagues. This came complete with Lee’s caveat that if the group couldn’t travel to Davis for $25,000 or less, another group could be chosen.

“The Dutch Cycling Embassy is a public-private network,” the group says on its website. “The Embassy are Dutch cycling experts working together to promote cycling and share the Dutch cycling culture worldwide.”

The group is in high demand. Clarke said although the city is in contact with them, it is too soon to say whether they will be able to visit Davis.

The group would be expected to check on the placement and type of bicycle connections — especially a bicycle crossing over or under East Covell Boulevard.

When the council takes up the corridor plan again and approves it, members will talk about ways to implement 14 proposed corridor improvements, including a revamped H Street bike tunnel, buffered bike lanes and the bike crossing.

One of the improvements is to reconfigure the way right turns are made at F, J and L streets and Pole Line Road. Right now, cars turn south with ease through a lane that is controlled by a yield sign.

The problem is that as motorists turn right, they might not have bicyclists and pedestrians on their minds. Making a more standard turn — stopping, looking and then proceeding — would fix that problem, city planners reason.

Other scheduled improvements include 7-foot-wide bike lanes with a 3-foot buffer and narrowed vehicle lanes from standard size to 11 feet. The city also wants to complete shared pedestrian and bicycle paths  along the corridor and enhance the pedestrian crossing at Birch Lane and East Covell Boulevard. Students who attend Birch Lane Elementary School can get stacked up waiting to cross the busy thoroughfare.

Part of the council’s ratification on April 22 is a land-use agreement with the owner of the Cranbrook Apartments.

The council voted to proceed with a process that would lead to the securing the easements for a bicycle/pedestrian path to the H Street tunnel through the apartment complex. The city also made a commitment to evaluate a bicycle/pedestrian undercrossing of Covell Boulevard east of The Cannery project.

— Reach Dave Ryan at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews


Dave Ryan

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