Wednesday, January 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fifth Street project puts a focus on safety for everyone

FifthStreetW

Cones narrow traffic to one lane on Fifth Street last October as crews begin curb work in preparation for the safety improvements coming this spring. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A1 | March 30, 2014 |

The first reaction a motorist might have to the Fifth Street Corridor Improvement Project may be disbelief, and then disdain for city politics.

But it is the result of a slow battle between safety advocates and those who needed convincing that resulted in a road project that promises to improve the safety of everyone who travels Fifth Street from A to L streets. And it will pack some pleasant surprises for motorists along the way, according to academic computer traffic modeling.

It is a story of citizen data crunchers taking police statistics and combining them into a form that could show transportation planners and successive City Councils the need for what might seem an illogical measure.

More than 18 years in the making, the Fifth Street project is now in motion — due to be completed by late spring. It is called the “road diet” in some circles, harkening back to a process coined by transportation planners in the 1990s and used across the country to successful effect.

Athens, Ga.; Vancouver, Wash.; Clear Lake, Iowa; and Dunedin, New Zealand; have all had successful road diets that looked much like Fifth Street in Davis, according to “The Road Diet Handbook: Setting Trends for Livable Streets” by Jennifer Rosales.

What’s planned? Four lanes of traffic will be reduced to two lanes, with the addition of bike lanes and left-turn sanctuaries called turn pockets along with new protected left-turn signals at many intersections.

Some crosswalks will have flashing beacons to make it easier and safer for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the thoroughfare. And the speed limit on Fifth Street between A and L streets will be reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph.

With bikes given space and pedestrians protection, city staff and bicycle and pedestrian advocates like Davis Bicycles! have agreed that safety will improve dramatically. Previous figures sifted from Police Department data by two local men show the Fifth Street corridor is one of the most, if not the most, dangerous corridor in the city for bikes and pedestrians.

Steve Tracy of Davis Bicycles! spent years studying police data of all collisions in the city.

“When it wasn’t my time to do the dishes I would sit at the computer and pick out (relevant data) one by one,” he said in an interview. “It took months.”

Here’s what he found: From 2004 to 2011, about 11 percent of all traffic crashes occurred in the Fifth Street corridor project area. About 10 percent of all accidents involving bikes and pedestrians happened there. About 42 percent of all injuries in that location happened to people who were not driving or riding in a car.

In April 2009, Russell Neches, a graduate biology student at UC Davis who worked with DNA sequencing, set his mind to parsing the city’s pedestrian and bicycle accident data into a heat map. It is available at http://vort.org/2009/04/25/bike-saftey-davis/.

While the heat map reflects data only for 2004-06, the corridor stayed significantly the same until city crews started their work on the safety improvements this year. A streak of red-hot on the heat map stretches over Fifth Street in a way other traffic corridors do not have. Downtown is seemingly the largest source of heat on the map.

What is most controversial about the project is the traffic congestion. Depending on whom you ask, and whose traffic model you’re using, the story changes. But the most recent high-technology traffic model in 2010 from UCD shows the time it takes to go east and west along the corridor will not change drastically, on average. That means taking the day as a whole, not just peak times, which is important for locals who might travel the road a couple of times in a day.

Eastbound from B Street to L Street should be only 6.9 seconds slower, the traffic model shows, while the westbound trip promises to be 54 seconds faster.

The model assumes people will not avoid the area altogether as some in the community have said will happen, saying drivers will go to Eighth Street instead.

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him at Twitter at @davewritesnews

 

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Art museum is a work of art itself

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    CASA seeks volunteers to advocate for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Community invited to Fenocchio memorial

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    SHE to lead Center for Spiritual Living in sound healing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Teens Take Charge program accepting applications

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UC Davis doctors strike

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Kiwanis Crab, Pasta Feed benefits local charities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Registration open for PSA Day at Davis Media Access

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Brick sales will benefit Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Take a hike with Tuleyome on Feb. 7

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    The Soup’s On for NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Capay Valley Almond Festival will tempt your taste buds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    CSU chancellor calls for increasing graduation rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    State fails to track billions in mental health funds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Covered California enrollment events planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Rebekahs’ crab feed benefits local families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Learn pattern darning tips at guild meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Suds for a bug: Contest is over

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A7

    .

    Forum

    Move past the stereotypes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    A stunning contradiction here

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Let’s speak with accuracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Think again on euthanasia

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    It’s the final freedom

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Devil snowboarders place second in short and slushy GS

    By Margo Roeckl | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Williams-less Gauchos will test Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Davis club ruggers open with nationally celebrated Jesuit on Friday

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils take care of business

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS ski team takes second on a déjà vu day

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Arboretum director wins leadership award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Lemon tree, very pretty: Our most local fruit?

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

    Red Meat, Deke Dickerson bring rockabilly honky-tonk twang to The Palms

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

     
    Granger Smith to play at The Davis Graduate

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Young musicians to perform Winter Concerto Concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Art science speaker series event set for Feb. 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Death notice: Betty J. Cogburn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6