City officials are calling for public participation in a substantial design overhaul of the west end of Third Street as part of an effort to revitalize the gateway between the downtown community and the UC Davis campus core.
The city of Davis will host a workshop Saturday to gather community input for the planned redevelopment of Third Street between A and B Street. The meeting is intended to brainstorm solutions to problems associated with the Third Street corridor, which range from antiquated pedestrian walkways to faulty drainage and poor illumination.
“We’re not going to try to make Band-Aid fixes,” said Brian Abbanat, a transportation planner for the city of Davis and project manager for the Third Street Improvements Project. “It’s going to be a complete redesign.”
Saturday’s two-hour workshop will begin at 10 a.m. at the U.S. Bicycle Hall of Fame on B Street. Plans include a tour of the project site and a discussion of potential safety, aesthetic, functional and environmental improvements. A group vision and design exercise will also accompany the meeting.
After the first workshop, consultants will draft preliminary concept designs and sketches to be presented at the second workshop for review. A refined and updated draft will be presented to the final community meeting, which will take place in March.
The community outreach and design campaign is the first phase of the project, which has enlisted the help of local business owners as well as landscape and engineering consultants. The project’s construction – the second phase – is currently scheduled for completion by summer 2012.
The city initiated the improvements project in 2007, and community outreach efforts began last fall. Abbanat met with several business owners in December to discuss project ideas and concerns.
“I think it’s a good idea for bikes, bike safety and it’s good for business,” said Ali Baba Café owner Ali Moghaddam, who attended the December meeting. “If they make [Third Street] more attractive, it encourages people to come up.”
One suggestion Moghaddam said he brought up in December was an arched sign for the gateway, similar to UC Berkeley’s Sather Gate.
The project coordinators also plan to consider a reconfiguration of the corridor’s bollards – waist-high white posts used to re-direct car traffic – that currently divide the intersection of Third Street and University Avenue.
“At a minimum, we would re-space [the bollards] because it’s very difficult for people to ride their bikes through them,” Abbanat said. “[Bikers] aren’t going through perpendicular to the bollards, because they’re angled. That’s something we’ll explore in the community workshops.”
Other potential improvements include tunneling the street’s utility cables underground, as well as fixes to the corridor’s drainage issues. Abbanat said the city has been working with the UC Davis Pavement Research Center to explore permeable pavement, which will absorb street water.
“In areas where they have problems with storm water and water running across the pavement, the idea is to try to look at ways to have the water just go right through the road,” said Dave Jones, a research engineer with the Pavement Research Center. “[The city] is looking for an application there because storm water is one of the issues they have to deal with.”
The community outreach and planning phase is funded through a $39,900 Caltrans Community-Based Transportation Planning grant, as well as $50,168 contribution from the city. Costs of the first phase cover the city’s landscape architect and civil engineering consultants.
While it is still too early to determine exact costs for the construction phase, funding could come from both the city and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, if the city is approved for grant funding.
For more information on the Third Street Improvements Project and the upcoming community workshops, visit cityofdavis.org.
JUSTIN HO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.