The construction phase of the Downtown Davis Third Street and Fifth Street redesign projects will be underway by the summer of 2012. For Third Street, the main goal is to appropriately connect downtown to the UC Davis campus. For Fifth Street, bike lanes and turn pockets will be created for bicyclists.
The overall cost of redesigning Third Street will be about $5.5 million, whereas the Fifth Street project will cost approximately $1.1 million. The city also received a $863,000 community design grant for the latter project.
“We’re in the engineering phase as of now [for Third Street],” said Brian Abbanat, transportation planner for the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department. “There are three phases: the planning outreach phase, the engineering or design phase and the construction phase.”
Abbanat said the planning outreach phase was completed in June. He said it dealt with coming up with a design concept, getting everyone pointed in the right direction with how to deal with circulation and what role the street should play.
“We had to resolve how we want to allocate to different users — that is, to bikes, pedestrians, cars and parking,” Abbanat said. “We are redesigning the street for three objectives. One is for the street to function better for bikes and pedestrians, the second is to dedicate the street to primary users which are bicycles and pedestrians and third, we want to create a distinctive district.”
According to Abbanat, the plan calls for a better gateway between the university and downtown. He said the designers want to create a corridor and an attention-grabbing visual to draw people over to the campus site and vice versa.
The drainage issues will also be addressed, subsequently improving the drainage on adjacent streets.
“There is localized footing during heavier rain events, so much of the rainwater is conveyed on the surface and there are very few drainage inlets on the street to tuck that water away,” Abbanat said. “It turns out using permeable pavers is the ideal solution.”
Abbanat said the funds come from a combination of development impact fees, utility enterprise funds, dedicated pots of money from public works, the Community Development Block Grant and tree preservation funds.
“There’s been a vision to dramatically improve Third Street since the 1960s,” Abbanat said. “This fulfills the long-term vision of strengthening the connection between the university and downtown.”
The Fifth Street redesign project is also in the engineering phase.
“We will have a community meeting hopefully in December to start the design phase after we get input from residents,” said Roxanne Namazi, senior civil engineer for the city of Davis. “Our goal is to be under construction by Aug. 1.”
According to Namazi, two car lanes will be removed and bike lanes and turn pockets will be installed within the existing right of way, changing the street from four lanes to five lanes.
“The project started in 2003 with residents, most of them coming to us concerned with crossing a four lane road,” Namazi said. “The issue for bicyclists was they don’t have bike lanes on Fifth Street so we’ve been working on it for the past few years.”
Steve Tracy, a resident of Davis and Sacramento transportation planner, was on the committee of residents who oversaw the preparation of the Fifth Street redesign project.
“I was on the mobility element because I’m a transportation planner,” Tracy said. “This plan is an action item to redesign Fifth Street to eliminate one vehicle lane in each direction within a shared center left turn lane, as well as add bicycle lanes.”
Tracy said the general plan is almost 20 years old. He said about two years ago, the Old North Davis Neighborhood Association was formed and when he became part of the board, he took action to get the street that borders its neighborhood fixed.
“From work experience, it’d improve safety hugely for pedestrians, bicycles and people in automobiles, as well,” Tracy said. “Accidents go down, vehicle speeds go down; although traffic volume is typically unaffected, there are no losers in this redesign.”
The city is planning on doing construction in phases to prevent too much disruption in downtown.
“We are going to start the design phase now and have a contract out for bidding soon,” Namazi said. “We hope to be finished by the end of next year.”
CLAIRE TAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.