All over the City of Davis, renovations aiming to improve roadways are taking place. First Street, Fifth Street, B Street, Third Street, Drexel Bike Boulevard and the east end of the Arboretum are among the important downtown pathways impacted by this construction.
“In 2011, we applied for a grant from the state,” said Jennifer Border, associate civil engineer of the City of Davis. “After surveying the streets, we saw that there was a need for repair.”
The city administration took on these projects so they could increase the visual appeal of the roads and ensure the roads remained both practical and functional.
“Some of the projects are done with an eye to facilitate cycling and other types of alternative transportation. Others are done because maintenance on the roads dictates that the roads need to be repaved, crowned or smoothed out,” said Kelly Stachowicz, deputy city manager. “All of the projects are done with an eye towards improving traffic flow of several different types.”
The road construction in the downtown grid is specifically taking place on B Street between Fifth and 14th streets, Fifth Street between A and L streets, First Street between A and L streets and Third Street between A and B streets.
“There may be inconveniences, but through communication and [the] traffic plans that each of the projects has, we hope to minimize any disruption,” Stachowicz said.
The Fifth Street/Russell Boulevard Corridor construction will start in early to mid October, according to a press release from the City of Davis city manager’s office.
The City Council awarded the contract to Vanguard Construction Services of Livermore and funding is mostly from
grants from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Highway Safety Improvement Program and Community Development block grants, with some local funds. Construction work will begin at A Street, working toward L Street.
The city has taken an initiative to give vehicles and pedestrians simple and manageable alternatives to these routes so that any inconvenience is hardly noticeable.
“The traffic flow in Davis is getting worse, so the construction is being done to fix current problems and to improve traffic flow,” said Michael Mitchell, principal engineer for the City of Davis.
A major issue for the people in Davis is bicycle transportation and the on-road interaction between bicyclists and motorized vehicles. As a result, the roads are being constructed to maximize spacing for both types of travel.
According to Dave Kemp, active transportation coordinator for the City of Davis, the city is currently building a dual-buffered bike lane to protect cyclists from the door zone in the westbound direction of First Street, as well as shared lane markings called “sharrows” on the eastbound direction lane, marked with two arrows above a bicycle.
“This will help encourage community biking around Davis,” said Jenny Wong, a UC Davis Extension employee.
Drexel Bike Boulevard, from J Street to Snyder Drive, is being renovated to include striping changes and lane improvements which will make it safer for cyclists.
“This will allow easier transportation for our junior high students, among others,” Mitchell said.
Construction taking place in the area near the Arboretum and the bike path between South Davis and the UC Davis campus is part of a slightly different reconstruction project. The entire area, from Putah Creek Parkway to the Davis Commons Parking lot, will become part of the Downtown Davis Greening Project: California Native Plant Gateway Garden.
This reconstruction project includes goals for new native plantings, habitat enhancement for wildlife, educational placards, new pathways and benches as well as circulation improvements.
In an effort to bring Davis closer to its original state of an agricultural oasis, this densely traveled area will become a beautiful peace garden that is more easily navigable.
The current road construction projects’ dates of completion are as follows: B Street in fall 2013, First Street in September, Fifth Street by the end of January 2014, Third Street in spring 2014, Drexel Bike Boulevard in October and the Davis Greening Project in November.
Additional construction projects will take place on D Street between Fifth and 14th streets and on Eighth Street between F and J streets, Mitchell said.
“The main goal of the reconstruction is to increase the comfort levels of the cyclists and motorists,” Kemp said.
SHANNON SMITH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ]