For many UC Davis students and employees, the intersection of the eastern side of campus with Third Street is an important gateway into downtown Davis.
Now the city of Davis wants to improve that area, turning it into a more polished city-campus connection.
The city is just beginning a public outreach process to gather ideas and input from the public on how to improve the two-block segment of Third Street between the UC Davis campus and B Street downtown.
“Despite serving as an important gateway, it suffers from a lack of identity, gateway features, inadequate sidewalks and pedestrian amenities, lack of bicycle lanes and bicycling amenities, a steeply crowned street, unsightly utility lines, and inadequate drainage,” wrote economic development specialist Brian Abbanat in a report.
While city staff has no specific plans at this point, the overarching idea is to establish a “distinctive urban village” feel in the area by addressing these issues. The city is interested in making the area a high-quality mixed-use district that could become a defining focal point for the neighborhood, according to a city staff report.
City staff originally planned to hire a consultant to draw up plans for a renewed Third Street gateway, but the city council voted unanimously to seek public comment first.
“Staff will conduct a fully intensive community and neighborhood outreach program throughout the process including stakeholder meetings, neighborhood meetings and community workshops,” Abbanat said.
One of the top questions of the project will be whether to restrict vehicular access on Third Street, said Davis economic development coordinator Sarah Worley. A row of white bollards currently cuts across the intersection of Third Street and University Avenue, but if there is support in the community, vehicle traffic could be eliminated from that segment of the street altogether.
Any changes to vehicular access would require extensive study to determine what the impacts would be on the neighborhood and local businesses, Worley said.
Other possible changes include widening sidewalks, making the street more bicycle-friendly, improving lighting, adding street furniture and addressing parking availability.
Businesses in the area include Off-Campus Books, Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine, 3rd & U Cafe, Ali Baba and Davis Copy Shop.
JEREMY OGUL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.