Local officials have taken the first steps toward developing an off-road bikeway between the cities of Davis and Woodland.
The Davis City Council voted Tuesday night to help fund a study examining the possibility of an alternative transportation corridor between the two cities. Davis joins the Woodland City Council and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors in approving funding for the study.
The corridor could potentially accommodate both bicycles and low-speed electric vehicles that are not allowed on Highway 113. It could also improve access to small farms and scenic areas along the highway.
The cost of the study is expected to be between $100,000 and $150,000. The city of Davis will fund 40 percent of the cost up to $60,000, and the city of Woodland will fund another 40 percent. The remaining 20 percent will be funded by Yolo County.
“We have two communities that are six or seven miles of flat ground apart,” said county supervisor Matt Rexroad. “We’d like to give them a safe, reliable and efficient route to be able to get back and forth.“
Rexroad, who is also the former mayor of Woodland, said a bikeway would benefit Woodland residents who commute to work at UC Davis. It would also benefit Davis residents who work at county offices in Woodland, he said.
The feasibility study will examine the costs for construction and ongoing maintenance and operation of the corridor. It will also look at the corridor’s potential impact on the environment and the agricultural operations that currently exist in the area.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilmember Sue Greenwald said she was concerned that in the future there would not be a need for electric vehicles to be separated from regular traffic.
“I’d hate to create a whole road for something that is obsolete,” she said.
This is one of the concerns the feasibility study will examine. Future changes in the needs of alternative vehicles will be fleshed out in the study, said deputy city manager Ken Hiatt.
Although the cost of the corridor is not yet known, local officials expect to be able to secure funding from state and federal programs dedicated to alternative transportation. Rexroad said he believes that if the cities and county can reach an agreement on the corridor, there will be no problem getting federal funding for it.
“We had a federal lobbyist give a presentation at [a Board of Supervisors meeting] and there are billions of dollars flowing all over the state,” he said. “We’re an ideal recipient of those dollars.“
A feasibility study on a Davis-Woodland bikeway was initially conducted in 2001 through a similar jointly-funded process. That study resulted in improvements to the bike lanes on several county roads. The death of a Woodland cyclist last fall on County Road 99 sparked renewed interest in the bikeway.
Three possible alignments have been presented for the corridor: the west side of Highway 113 in Davis to County Road 99D at the Woodland city limits; County Road 101 between Woodland and Covell Boulevard in Davis; and the east side of the railroad tracks between Woodland and Davis.
JEREMY OGUL can be reached at email@example.com.