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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

City council approves Fifth Street Corridor Project

In hopes to fix what they consider the “hazardous” state of Fifth Street, Davis Community Development Administrator Katherine Hess and Senior Civil Engineer Roxanne Namazi are co-heading the Fifth Street Corridor Project in cooperation with the city of Davis. The city was awarded $836,000 in federal grants to complete the plan.

The Davis City Council approved the project in September 2009. It decreases the amount of lanes in each direction to one, adding bike lanes and incorporating left-turn pockets into the middle section of the street.

For the past two years staff has been gathering community input, finalizing the design and constructing a “road diet” project on Fifth Street between A and L Streets. Now, Hess and Namazi are currently working to put the project through its second phase, which includes community workshops, finalizing the project design and preparing the specifications for construction.

“This phase is very important because it’s where much of the decision making happens,” Hess said. “We are encouraging the community to get involved in this process.”

The project has its own website with an entire page dedicated to public comments. The site has already received over 100 suggestions, plans and questions from Davis residents, according to Hess.

Public comments are taken into serious consideration, Hess said. She added that even if a person’s dimensions or exact plans are not feasible to the engineering of the corridor, she will still try to extract the essence of the person’s idea and incorporate it into the project.

“The design will attempt to include all of the ideas from the public comments page,” Hess said. “We want Davis residents to not only approve of, but love the end result.”

Popular ideas include requests for the corridor to calm traffic in neighborhoods directly off of the street, increase ease of accessibility from downtown to the UC Davis campus and create more entrances to downtown. Most people requested bike lanes.

Opposition to the project is minor, but according to Namazi there has been some doubtful expression on the public comment page.

People who do not approve of the project are concerned that it will decrease the ability for a vehicle to drive from one side of Davis to the other and/or for shoppers to get from one side to another, Namazi said. She added that other critics think putting one through lane in each direction will slow direction and add new safety concerns. Another worry she reported was that some think the addition of bike lanes will cause even heavier traffic in an already-crowded corridor.

UC Davis English major Andy Le said that he feels comfortable riding his bike on Fifth Street the way it is.

“The cars are more scared of you than you are of them,” Le said.

After conducting community workshops, finalizing the project design and preparing the specifications for construction, the next step of the project is to hire a construction company to complete the job.

Interested companies must go through a bidding process with the city, according to Hess.

SARA ISLAS can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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