Tuesday, April 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis Bicycles!: Excellent bike path still under the radar after 10 years

A bicyclist heads toward Interstate 80 on Cowell Boulevard at Research Park Drive. The camera flash reveals the barely visible sign pointing to the bike path that allows one to bypass the freeway overpass just ahead. Russell Reagan/Courtesy photo

By
From page A9 | March 29, 2013 |

By Russell Reagan

Ten years ago this week, the city of Davis dedicated the Putah Creek Bicycle Undercrossing, connecting South Davis to downtown and the UC Davis campus. The $4.5 million project took four years to construct.

In 2000, the longest segment was opened from West Chiles Road near Research Park Drive, crossing under Chiles and six lanes of Interstate 80. A ceremony on April 2, 2003, marked the opening of the tunnel under the Union Pacific railroad tracks behind Davis Commons at the east end of the UCD Arboretum.

The smooth concrete path stretching 0.4 mile is impressive as bike facilities go: It crosses under both I-80 and the railroad, passing through unspoiled open countryside so close to downtown Davis and the freeway-oriented businesses — but separated from them just enough to create a tranquil respite from urban life.

It circumvents the busy intersections along Cowell and Richards boulevards, especially the freeway overpass with zooming cars and trucks merging across a disappearing bike lane at the entry and exit ramps to I-80. And it avoids long waits at stoplights.

I expect that many readers either don’t know about this bike path, or have learned of it the hard way — perhaps after biking the more treacherous Richards freeway overpass and then hearing a rumor of an alternate bike route.

A bicyclist heads toward I-80 on Cowell Boulevard at Research Park Drive. The camera flash reveals the barely visible sign pointing to the bike path that allows one to bypass the freeway overpass just ahead.

This path is hidden from the view of car and bus travelers because it doesn’t directly connect to Cowell, Richards, First, E or F streets. Take Research Park Drive heading west in South Davis, or the bike path along the Arboretum heading east near downtown. Maps and bigger, more descriptive signs showing the way would be helpful!

It is also part of the Davis Bike Loop. Green pavement markers were added in 2007 and have raised awareness of this and other bike paths around the city, but these markers are of limited usefulness in terms of guiding unfamiliar bicyclists to specific destinations.

Besides the map provided here and others specifically for bicycling (e.g., google “bicycling”), this excellent bike path is not even shown on many maps. The Davis Downtown Business Association and UCD have installed large maps on public placards at key locations. None of these show the path.

In my view, this omission is particularly egregious on the UCD map. The path serves as an ideal connector between the main campus and outlying campus units along Research Park Drive such as the Center for Neuroscience. Also missing from the campus map is a similar freeway crossing for bikes south of the Russell Boulevard/Highway 113 interchange on the west side of the campus.

Why are bike paths barely shown or missing from these maps? Bike paths are more subtle and minute in detail for map makers to draw, compared to the street grid. Perhaps the view still persists that the paths are recreational rather than true transportation facilities.

I am not suggesting that bike paths on maps should be drawn as wide as the streets. But the campus map in particular needs to better highlight bicycling routes for bypassing busy streets and intersections via bridges and underpasses, to encourage this healthier form of transportation. Some exaggeration of the physical prominence of these paths would serve a valuable purpose.

Improvements are on the way! Construction is set to begin this summer on the Arboretum Gateway Garden, which will greatly improve the connection from the bike path to Davis Commons and downtown at First and D streets. Also, the city plans to install wayfinding signs, probably in 2014-15, to guide bicyclists to destinations via bikeways, similar to those in cities such as Berkeley and Portland.

— Russell Reagan is a Davis resident and a founding member of the Davis Bicycles! advocacy group. To offer a Davis Bicycles! column, email Mont Hubbard at [email protected] or visit www.bikedavis.info to see instructions for authors.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Teens embrace public art through Pence Gallery program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Robotics team members reflect on their big win

By Kellen Browning | From Page: A1

City’s eco-classes will explore water, wildlife, pests, composting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Many hands make light work

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Yolo Basin Foundation celebrates 25 years, announces major fund drive

By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Yolo County Bar Association honors Magna Carta, probation chief

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Sierra Club leaders will meet April 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Capay Organic hosts Cinco de Mayo party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Chicken manure compost class planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Party celebrates release of Lescroart’s new novel

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Curious about calculus? Try Barcellos’ new book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Master Gardeners teach workshops throughout county

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Faithful Partner Fund established for K-9 officers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Pedro party, lunch benefit Yolo Hospice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Author — injured arm in sling — will sign her new book

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Holmes’ Green Team wins state award

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Vacaville contractor convicted of fraud

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Blueberries, apricots arrive at Sutter market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

New UCD art lecture series named for Thiebauds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Pinball show features lots of free play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Asian garden open for tours this weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Waking up to the awful truth

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Dog’s freedom isn’t worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Vaccine bill is vital for our health

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Thanks for camera’s return

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
David Brooks: Love and merit

By David Brooks | From Page: A6

Davis’ active transportation plan is right on target

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Huge first frame lifts DHS to huge baseball win

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil girls run it up on Grant

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD golfers move into first at Big West Championship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Another big inning does in Devil softballers

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

 
AAA roundup: Cardinals break out big bats in Davis Little League win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Momentum Dance Company plans spring concert

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Get a positive vibe Wednesday from Tha Dirt Feelin’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

 
Winters Theatre Company performs on the Big Day of Giving

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

There’s no place like home in DMTC’s ‘Wizard of Oz’

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
‘Contempt of Court’ next up at Winters Theatre Company

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

Have breakfast in Oz on May 16

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Black Sea Hotel to perform in Village Homes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

DMTC’s young performers present a steam-punk ‘Snow White’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7