County officials and residents met to discuss planning for an Alternative Transportation Corridor connecting the cities of Woodland and Davis Monday night.
The corridor would allow bikes, low speed electric vehicles and pedestrians access between the cities, which could be a particularly important notion for people affiliated with UC Davis who commute to and from Woodland.
A study released in January by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies found there to be an estimated 1,500 UC Davis students, faculty or staff living in Woodland and commuting on a regular basis.
Planners have identified three routes the corridor would likely follow – one roughly parallel to Highway 113 and the other two following county roads to F Street in Davis.
Jeff Loux, director of the UC Davis Extension’s Land Use and Natural Resource Program, said this would be the first of several meetings to get public feedback on this joint effort between Yolo County and the cities of Woodland and Davis.
“We need to work together,” said Yolo County Intergovernmental Affairs manager Petrea Marchand, so that people can bike between our communities and not just in them.
Those who simply want to bike between Davis and Woodland may not have to wait for this project to be completed. A bike-only path between the cities is already partially finished and will likely be completed by summer 2009, Marchand said.
That path, however, would be an “on-road” path, meaning that bikes have a four-foot wide space on the side of an existing road. These types of bike routes tend to be more dangerous than separate paths.
Both Yolo County officials and citizens have stated their preference for making as much of the proposed Alternative Transportation Corridor as possible off-road. This would mean that the bikes, low speed electric vehicles and pedestrians would have a path separate from the county roads.
Yolo County would be the first in the nation to complete an Alternative Transportation Corridor connecting two cities. This could mean that Yolo County would become a model community for others seeking green opportunities, said Bennet Engineering project director Leo Rubio.
In addition to being environmentally friendly the corridor also has the opportunity to increase mobility for the aging and disabled who can more easily drive low speed electric vehicles.
Rubio said these factors might contribute to an increased ability to receive federal funding, meaning less tax dollars out of the pockets of Yolo County residents.
The project is not without challenges though, Rubio said. The project team will have to figure out how to deal with railroads, freeways, agricultural land and roadway crossings.
Citizens also expressed concerns about the project. Foremost on their minds were impacts on farm operations and plant and animal habitats from construction and daily use, potential safety hazards and the hefty cost of the project.
“We are expecting this to be a fairly expensive project,” Marchand said.
The total cost of widening shoulders for the on-road bike only path was $3.8 million. Marchand said people could expect the cost of paving a completely new off-road path to be considerably more than this.
For updates and more information, or if you would like to give your input on the project, visit yolocounty.org.