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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Controversy arises over future of G Street closure

The city council is planning to review the closure while local business owners weigh in

By RACHEL SHEY — city@theaggie.org

    On Sept. 24, The Artery co-owner and artist Adele Shaw posted an open letter on the Davisite, expressing dismay over the continued closure on G Street.  

    “A permanent closure of the street will likely cause the death of many of the non-restaurant businesses on G Street,” the letter reads. “The city issued TUP’s [Temporary Use Permits] during “emergency” times but they’ve created another emergency all together- an inequitable restaurant takeover on G Street. It may look like a party when you’re picking up a pizza or having a beer, but it’s not an equitable, harmonious party.”  

    In the letter, Shaw described the closure as “a hastily planned and poorly executed response to the Pandemic that only addresses outdoor food service: mainly to the benefit of a few chain-run businesses and to the detriment of the locally-owned majority of the businesses affected by the street closure.”  

    According to Shaw, the closure has eliminated parking spots, which creates parking issues in the surrounding area, and the barricades are unsightly to residents and merchants.

    Others, such as Davis Vanguard Executive Editor David Greenwald, hope that the G Street closure becomes permanent.  

    “Indoor dining is back open, but, as someone who works on that block, I can tell you that the outdoor eating is filled most days,” Greenwald wrote for the Davis Vanguard. “You see people outside on the street in that area all of the time—and people are around and able to safely congregate in public outdoor spaces.”

    Greenwald believes that G Street has been improved by the closure and would now be “very dead” if it were not for the outdoor seating.  

    “The way G Street was before was unkempt,” Greenwald wrote. “Homeless people and debris next to the parking lot. Homeless people and their belongings in the doorways of closed-off businesses.”

    Greenwald also said that G Street was “never a major road.”

    “In fact, I would argue that it was ill-suited as arterial,” Greenwald wrote. “One of the major problems is that it narrowed at the parking garage, which created all sorts of traffic problems. There were always vehicles backing out of parking spots. At midday the delivery trucks would partially block the street.”

    City councilman Dan Carson assured that the public would be allowed to contribute their opinions on any decision.  

“In the past, meaning a couple of months ago, members of the City Bicycle Transportation and Street Safety commission weighed in wanting us to make the changes at G Street permanent,” Carson said. “Our normal process is that once city staff has a recommendation for us, they’ll bring it to city council as an agendized matter, and we’ll let the public weigh in, including those with businesses as well as others in the community.” 

Carson explained that the council plans on reconsidering the closure again very soon.  

“We’d always planned to periodically review the arrangements we made when COVID-19 hit hard, to close or restrict certain streets to traffic, and we will be doing that again soon,” Carson said. “In particular, the city of Davis asked the Davis Downtown Business Association to talk to its membership, which includes retailers as well as restaurants, to see what they think should be done.”  

The city is also trying to solve the problems that people have complained about, according to Carson.  

“We are doing some things to address some of the underlying issues we heard about,” Carson said. “So for example, there was concern that downtown needed to be cleaned up, and we’ve actually been making considerable effort lately to power wash places and clean up trash.  The city council adopted collectively a new set of goals for the next two year cycle. We’ve heard a lot about trash, not just in downtown, so we directed our city staff that we wanted to make it a priority to spruce up our downtown, to make it a more attractive place.”

Written by: Rachel Shey — city@theaggie.org


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