If all goes as planned, Hutchison Drive won’t be quite as congested next fall.
After several years of planning, construction of Unitrans’ new $2 million bus terminal has begun. The terminal, located across the street from the Silo Union, is intended to ease traffic on Hutchison Drive and cut Unitrans’ fuel costs by improving efficiency.
The project is currently in the demolition phase, as the terminal will occupy Parking Lot 29 on the south side of Haring Hall.
Unitrans manager Geoff Straw said the new Hutchison bus terminal will be similar to the one by the Memorial Union, in that it will have an overhang and a center island for students to wait for their buses. However, the new terminal will be larger, in order to accommodate a total of 15 buses, Straw said.
Demolition began May 12, when crews began removing trees and paving a temporary path out of Haring Hall. Concrete demolition is scheduled to begin later this week, said Glenn Mah, senior project manager for UC Davis Architects.
After demolition is completed, crews will begin underground work, where they’ll install electrical and irrigation conduits and storm drain lines, Mah said.
Most of the project, which was designed by DKS Associates, is being funded by a Federal Transmit Administration grant fund, Mah said.
Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef approved the project in September 2005, and construction is expected to be completed by November 2008, said Paul Schwartz, principle planner from the Office of Resource Management and Planning.
Surface construction will begin in July, and the goal is for the terminal to be operational by the beginning of fall quarter 2008, Mah said.
For the time being, the Hutchison terminal won’t have any indoor facilities, though future development is possible, Mah said.
“It’s basically a concrete island and sidewalks. Right now, we don’t have a bus shelter or superstructure – that will come in a future development,” he said.
Planned improvements include bus shelters and electronic schedule and information displays, Schwartz said.
Eight of the 15 spaces in the terminal will be for active buses to park up to 10 minutes between runs, and the remaining seven will be spaces for layover buses, Schwartz said.
As the campus has expanded southward, more Silo bus lines have been added to meet increasing demand. The aim of the new terminal is to relieve traffic on Hutchison Drive by consolidating the buses parked on the street into the terminal, Straw said.
Currently, Unitrans leaves three layover busses on the corner of Hutchison Drive and Bioletti Way, and three to four more by the UC Davis Fire Station. These layover busses aggravate traffic for pedestrians and other buses, Straw said.
“There’s so many more people going through [Hutchison] and Tercero,” Straw said. “The expansion of Tercero has added to some of the traffic.”
In fact, ridership at the Silo terminal has increased from 1,518,900 in 2002-2003 to 1,630,765 in 2006-2007, according to data provided by Unitrans. Meanwhile, ridership at the Memorial Union terminal has declined from 1,573,112 in 2002-2003 to 1,479,743 last year.
“We’re noticing that ridership on our buses that serve our Hutchison corridor has been increasing more than [those in] the Memorial Union; we’ve actually lost MU passengers,” Straw said. The new Hutchison terminal “will accommodate those folks,” he said.
The Silo terminal surpassed the MU terminal in ridership during the 2005-2006 school year, representing 52.4 percent of campus Unitrans riders.
The Hutchison terminal will also allow improved bus flow and efficiency, as buses will be able to easily turn around in the terminal, Straw said.
“We have an overload of buses coming from the west. We have to drive to downtown Davis to turn them around, which wastes fuel,” he said.
In addition, the Hutchison terminal will host the new V line, which will serve the upcoming West Village development. The proposed H line with express service to North Sycamore would also use the new terminal.
As a result of the construction, buses no longer stop at the Silo. According to information posted on Unitrans’ web site, the J line departs from Peter J. Shields Library outbound and stops at the Chemistry Building inbound. The C and D lines stop at the Chemistry Building and the A line will end at Shields Library. The outbound W line will start at the Art Building. For more information, visit unitrans.ucdavis.edu.
PATRICK McCARTNEY can be reached at email@example.com.