Message from the City of Davis - Mace Blvd. Improvements and Safety Measures
Posted on 10/03/2018
construction sign

Dear School Community,

It has come to our attention that the City’s planned road improvements at the intersection of Mace Blvd and Cowell Ave in south Davis has created safety concerns for our students walking and biking to school. Student safety is our top priority and immediate steps are being taken to address this matter. We have been in frequent contact with the City in order to identify solutions to keep students safe during the period of road work. A letter from the City, which includes the addition of a second crossing guard, is provided below and please review those updates and recommendations with your family.

Warmly,
John A. Bowes, Ed. D.
Superintendent

Letter from the City of Davis:
September 27, 2018
Dr. John A. Bowes
DJUSD Superintendent

As you are likely aware, the City has initiated improvements to the Mace Blvd Corridor in South Davis, particularly in the area of Mace Blvd and Cowell Blvd. Some members of the community, including school parents, have expressed concerns regarding the safety of students travelling to and from the schools, in addition to general concerns regarding the construction related traffic congestion. In response to the raised concerns, the City has implemented several measures that balance safety, roadway capacity and the need to complete the construction project. It may not be possible to have a free flow of traffic, but safety and efficient completion of the construction project are paramount. Included in this letter is information on the specific improvements, as well as the safety measures taken to date.

Project Improvements

  • Installing a cycle track/curb-separated bikeway on Mace Blvd from Cowell to Redbud Dr. A cycle track is a bikeway that has elements of a separated path and on-road bike lane. A cycle track is located within or next to the roadway, but is made distinct from both the sidewalk and general purpose roadway by vertical barriers or elevation differences.
  • Installing a Hawk Pedestrian Crosswalk Signal at Mace and San Marino, in order to provide a safer crossing at this location. A Hawk signal is a pedestrian activated signal. Approaching drivers will see the typical yellow, then red signal for stopping when the button is pushed by a pedestrian, as in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_rym0bYINU
  • Improving the Mace/Cowell intersection for bicyclists and pedestrians by squaring up the intersection for vehicles, shortening crossing distances, and reducing conflict areas with vehicles.
  • Reducing vehicle travel lanes on Mace from two lanes to one lane in each direction with turn pockets or a center turn lane. This will slow traffic in both directions along Mace.
  • Resurfacing and restriping Mace Blvd.
  • This project is scheduled to be completed by December 2018.

Safety Measures
On Monday September 24th, the City reduced traffic lanes in the area. Having two traffic lanes created confusion for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The lanes were reduced to one lane for northbound, eastbound and westbound traffic. This safety measure will decrease the distance that cyclists and pedestrians are crossing and make it easier and safer to cross the street.

Currently, work in the area has decreased until October 16th pending approval of a contract change order. Once approved, the Contractor will resume full construction work in the area including adding improved sidewalks, ramps and median work at the Cowell intersection. Once this phase is completed, they will begin work on paving the street, including a full-depth reconstruction.

To provide safe travel paths, the signal at Mace & Cowell will be in flashing red light mode for the duration of the project. After the pavement work is complete, the concrete medians are installed and the signals permanently powered on, the signal lights will return to regular operation.

From the project start to completion, there has been a crossing guard at Mace and Cowell at the school begin / end times. Beginning Friday, September 28, an additional crossing guard will be added to the intersection along with taller crossing guard "Stop" signs. The taller signs will be raised higher resulting in increased visibility for motor vehicles approaching the crossing.

Safety Considerations for Parents
If you are not comfortable with your student biking or walking to school during construction using this route, please consider the following options:

  • Avoid use of the Mace Blvd./Cowell Blvd. intersection, and instead use an alternate route to cross Mace Blvd. While this may add time to your commute, it is a way to avoid the construction site until all safety enhancements are complete.
  • Create a bike train or walking school bus with neighbors, designating 1-2 scheduled adults to walk or bike with students each day to ensure supervised travel. More information can be found at www.cityofdavis.org/saferoutes.
  • Arrange a neighborhood carpool.

Please share this information with your staff and parents. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please contact either:

Bob Clarke
Public Works Director
bclarke@cityofdavis.org
530-757-5686

Darren Pytel
Police Chief
dpytel@cityofdavis.org
530-747-5400

We are continually monitoring the intersection and will continue to make adjustments as appropriate during the course of construction to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place. Thank you for your patience as we complete this important infrastructure upgrade project.

Sincerely,

Mike Webb
City Manager