East 8th Street Corridor Construction Improvement Update
On March 29th Janis Lott, Craig Blomberg, Ken Hiatt (Davis Economic Development Coordinator), Michael Mitchell (City of Davis Senior Engineer) and Steve Knopf (Public Works Senior Engineering Assistant), met at the Public Works offices for an update on preliminary East 8th Street Corridor Construction Improvement Plans (CIP) funded by a SAGOG grant & city funds. Here is what we learned.
- The city’s link to the 8th Street CIP, including conceptual maps, http://www.city.davis.ca.us/pw/cip/. To find the 8th Street Corridor plan, scroll down to CIP 8161, it is under the Transportation section.
- Specifics: The preliminary plans include widening the sidewalks (as possible) from 4’ to 6’ where 8th Street passes the Davis Manor Shopping Center (priority given to the shopping center side of the street). Note: the SAGOG grant has specific features that must be included in order for the grant to be honored (i.e. ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps at intersections).
- The focal point of the improvements seems to emphasize Chestnut Lane/8th Street intersection improvements. Rationale includes viewing this project as an incremental or "phase" of greater improvements to both 8th Street & the shopping center; if we add a really nice feature, future funding of capital improvements are more likely. "Stamping" the Chestnut intersection, round-a-bout at L & 8th, etc… are possible “next phases to the shopping center and surrounding neighborhood. The intersection would have bulb-outs, be graded down to remove the high "crown" and serve as a pedestrian enhancement. Landscaping is planned at the bulb-outs. City staff will seek "buy-in" from surrounding commercial land owners.
- New Unitrans bus shelters may be installed following a 50’s-look architecture theme compatible with the shopping center’s history dating back to the 1950’s (see www.ensei.com "Cox Shelter" for a feel). Also, new luminaries that are dark sky ordinance-compliant and can be viewed at http://www.sitelighting.com/ "Circa". They would be adding one street light on the north side and two on the south side of street, for a total of 6-north & 5-south with banners. Michael encourages those interested in lighting styles to check-out the new H Street fixtures between Second & Third. There are many styles now for “full-cut-off” and we can talk more to come up with a street lighting solution.
- Driveway reconfiguration: moving an existing driveway to the Chestnut intersection (making it a 4-way stop), eliminating one of the 8th St. driveways @ George’s corner and one off 8th into the shopping center lot, widening sidewalks from 4’ to 6’ on the south side of 8th; all in the interest of creating a neighborhood "thoroughfare"-feel to the shopping center area. Concern for the east end of the center was expressed, but no strong insights into how to make the store front east of Dollar Tree more attractive materialized. Streetlights would be spaced closer together and make the area more welcoming to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.
- Janis had the foresight to produce the "Charette Map" and city staff was quick to embrace both its value and the importance of incorporating its intent in the CIP and any future phases.
- A comprehensive estimate will soon be developed, including costs of a "slurry seal" application on East 8th and restriping a portion of the street to narrow auto travel lanes currently 12’ to 10’, so bike lanes can be increased. Michael is hesitant to comment on the possibility of installing some narrow medians to enhance East 8th Street at this time.
- There will need to be some property owner consent regarding reconfiguration of driveways, especially at George’s corner and on the north side of 8th Street across from the shopping center.
- The timeline is very fluid; partly because Public Works is seeking feedback from us and partly because SACOG funding won’t be available until next year (???). It sounded like actual construction is slated for Spring/Summer ’08.
- Public Works will get a cost estimate for doing a round-a-bout at L & 8th. This is for future consideration; the idea was brought up at the 12/4/06 public meeting.
- Janis mentioned that the old sign at George's corner should be removed.
- Michael and Janis (who have experience with corridor improvements) observed that we won’t be happy with the disruptions caused by the process of improvement, but we’ll like it once it is done.
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