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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, March 4, 2024

City of Davis launches G Street Community Survey to gather input on how to develop the area

After an Oct. workshop, the city is still seeking community input on how to manage the popular space 

 

By ALMA CULVERWELL — city@theaggie.org

 

The city of Davis recently conducted a citywide survey seeking community input on how to proceed with the G Street activation project. The 16-question survey included a range of questions to better understand people’s engagement with the area, ranging from asking the most popular times to visit to furniture and art choices for the future. The survey opened on Nov. 8 and was closed on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m.

The survey included detailed models of potential renovations for the space, complete with labels and dimensions. They provided two main options for utilizing the area, one that would maximize retail and dining space and the alternative that would maximize shared-use space. The survey also included potential drawbacks and benefits of each plan.

There were also questions related to more specific visual components of the area including furniture choices, seating arrangements, design themes and parking options. The city included an area for community members to suggest possible names for the area as well.

Aaron Wedra, a board member of the Davis Downtown Business Association, explained his thoughts on how to best renovate the space.

“The city should invest significant effort and funding into improving this pedestrian-only section of G Street,” Wedra said. “This street is Davis’ historic main street and deserves to be a point of pride for our downtown. Three years ago, the city council decided that this space would be pedestrian-only, but since then, essentially no work has been done to improve the space for pedestrians. Additionally, businesses there have not been given guidance on how to maintain their outdoor patios, leading to the installation of temporary structures that are eyesores. In defense of the businesses, they cannot invest significantly in lasting, beautiful outdoor patios without direction from the city on what is allowed.”

The G Street activation project was originally started as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020 by the city of Davis with hopes of supporting local businesses and bringing community members together in a safe way.

Co-owner of Woodstock’s Pizza, Laura Ambrose, talked about her thoughts on the development of the G Street area.

“We are very happy about the development of G Street into a downtown promenade for Davis,” Ambrose said. “This has the potential to really transform downtown, with spaces for outside dining, entertainment, commerce, just sitting and enjoying outside and engaging with the community. We as business owners are hoping to have more interaction with the city planners on an overall win-win plan. The success of the G Street promenade will depend on business owners investing into these outside spaces to create the energy that attracts people to the area. It has to be a partnership.”

Ambrose shared her and other business owners’ hopes for the space; she said that she’d like to expand the patio area over the sidewalk among other improvements.

“Ideally we would like the city to consider leases of the space in front of each business, with entries to these spaces from a central pedestrian promenade down the middle of the current street,” Ambrose said. “So rather than having a public sidewalk dissecting our space, we would extend our patio over the current sidewalk and out into what is currently a parking area.”

On Jan. 17, the council approved activating a portion of G Street between 2nd and 3rd Street by keeping it closed to automobiles. The city hired Psomas, an on-call design firm, to further develop their landscape architecture, engineer, plan and understand community feedback. Some of their long-term goals include establishing public space for friends and family and creating outdoor spaces for businesses.

The city held a community workshop in Oct. in order to better understand people’s preferences and opinions on how to best use the space. The workshop attracted more than 200 community members and included detailed plans, explanations and diagrams.

Wedra preferred the in-person workshop to an online survey. Wedra believes that a survey is not a substitute for the effect an in-person workshop has with city officials present.

“I would like to see additional charrettes that are in person,” Wedra said. “The city held only a single forum of this type, and it’s not realistic to expect a single time and date to work for everyone. The online survey is not a substitute; it includes diagrams that are very complex. The in-person charrette, at least, had staff on-site to help explain the designs before stakeholders put a green dot on their preferences.”

The city has a budget of approximately one million dollars for the project and plans to adequately invest American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated by the city council.

 

Written By: Alma Culverwell — city@theaggie.org 

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