The proposed Trackside project is likely to have significant adverse traffic impacts on the alley and I Street in Old East Davis.
The project, if built, is expected to generate 711 daily trips.
(Appendix 6A: Traffic Impact/Parking Analysis). Vehicles using the alley would pass directly behind, and within a few feet of, traditional single-family homes and backyards. Alley traffic generated by the 711 expected trips will hamper Old East residents’ access to their garages and homes, create 24-hour noise disturbances and produce vehicle exhaust adversely affecting the quality of life of Old East residents.
I St will be converted into a collector street which is not an appropriate use.
The Traffic Impact study fails to address secondary impacts on I Street of increased alley traffic. I Street is residential, having intended traffic volumes below the level of a “collector” street. Reconfiguring the alley to one-way northbound will introduce new south-bound trips along I Street, as drivers seeking to enter the Trackside property will circulate in a clockwise direction, turning west onto 3rd Street from I Street and subsequently turning north into the alley. I Street would, in effect, be converted into a “collector”. This is not an appropriate use, or traffic volume, for I Street.
The Trackside Center proposal would, in effect, convert the alley into a city thoroughfare which is inappropriate.
The proposed uses of the residential alley are inappropriate, given the alley’s location and purposes. The residents of Trackside’s 27 apartment units would enter and exit the property in automobiles via the alley. Delivery trucks would use the alley to serve the proposed 9,100 sq. ft. of commercial space. Dumpsters and recycling bins on the Trackside property would be served by waste removal trucks making trips through the alley. These uses would be intensive for a proposal of this size, and are not suitable for a residential alley in close proximity to traditional single family homes.
The alley is not fit for the purposes intended by the current proposal, nor can it be made to fit the purposes of the current proposal by redesign or reconfiguration.
The alley-to-nowhere as proposed will not be safe for north-bound pedestrian travel beyond the Trackside property.
The proposed alley configuration does not address pedestrian access and safety to the north of the Trackside property. The proposed pedestrian walkway ends approximately at Trackside’s northern property boundary, yet there are no provisions for continued pedestrian travel north along the alley. The alley is unimproved, lacking designated pedestrian space or markings, as it continues north between Old East residences and the ACE Hardware rock yard. Vehicle traffic in the alley would likely increase significantly, due to the 711 daily trips the proposed project is expected to generate. Yet, pedestrians traveling north in the alley would apparently have to fend for themselves beyond the Trackside property boundary.
The Traffic Impact Study did not consider the queuing effect on automobiles.
The Traffic Impact Study gives little information about how project-generated traffic will affect the residents in closest proximity, noting only a predicted queuing problem at 3rd and F streets in the downtown core area. The analysis envisions the likely increase in clockwise circulation southbound on I Street to 3rd Street resulting from a one-way alley reconfiguration, but considers only this effect for bicycles, not automobiles!
A smaller project would mitigate the significant adverse traffic impacts, and would likely be supported by Old East neighbors.
The adverse impacts described above are, primarily, consequences of the size of the proposed project. A smaller project would generate fewer vehicle trips, place fewer demands on the alley and fit better in a traditional residential neighborhood. The Old East neighbors have consistently stated that they would support a project of an appropriately smaller size, consistent with the Downtown Davis and Traditional Neighborhood Design Guidelines and other applicable zoning ordinances.
The Trackside Center is within the boundaries of Old East Davis, a historic neighborhood subject to the Downtown and Traditional Residential Neighborhood Design Guidelines (see Davis Municipal Code Chap. 40.13A). The proposed mixed use project would include 27 apartment units above 9,100 sq. ft. of commercial space. The applicants propose to reconfigure the alley running parallel to, and lying between, I Street and the railroad tracks, for pedestrian, bicycle and one-way vehicle access to the proposed building.
The alley currently serves single-family homes of Old East Davis to the east, and provides parking and access for the small businesses occupying the Trackside Center (in its present configuration) on the west. The residences lying on the alley to the east have accessory buildings and garages bordering the alley.