The first ever Platinum Level bicycle-friendly city awarded by the League of American Bicyclist, Davis, California is planning a new 100-acre, mixed-use development. The Cannery is just over two miles from Davis’s downtown shopping and restaurant district and is being promoted as the city’s first farm-to-table community where residents can bike to town. Unfortunately, they also have to cross a major artery, East Covell Boulevard to get there. Proactive as ever, the City of Davis requested Mobycon prepare a third-party review of the East Covell Corridor Plan to make this connection safer and more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians.

Mobycon Consultants Dick van Veen, Mary Hudson Embry and Quentin Dumont-Freixo analysed policy, guidelines, and conducted a site visit and design workshop in order to develop a set of efficient and practical priority-based recommendations for easing the transition of East Covell. Here, we share a bit of Mobycon’s process applying Dutch approaches in a way that is appropriate to Davis.

Davis is exceptional in North America for its finely-meshed bicycle network and separated bike paths accommodating cyclists of all abilities. These features are ideal for encouraging everyday cycling and valued by the city. In order to integrate The Cannery with the existing network, however, East Covell will have to be retrofit from an outer ring road into an urban street that safely accommodates cyclists and pedestrians. In the Netherlands, the star-analysis method is an approach used to build bicycle networks that connect homes with places people want and need to visit. Mobycon consultants held a workshop with Davis locals in July where they applied the star-analysis method, and together identified the important routes between The Cannery and destinations like schools, downtown, the university and shops.

Of course, not every cyclist has the same abilities, tolerance for traffic and general needs. Research and the field visit provided insight and revealed three main user groups, including children travelling to school, commuters and university students and leisure and recreational cyclists. In the Netherlands, good cycling infrastructure is defined according to the following conditions: safety, comfort, directness, coherence and attractiveness. These conditions may be prioritised according to user needs in order to understand the type of infrastructure needed. For example, children travelling to school are vulnerable users and need routes that are above all safe and direct to enabling their cycling.

Mobycon’s recommendations included highly-prioritized, short-term implementations, like the Dutch Junction at several key intersections along East Covell Boulevard, as well as long-term recommendations for creating a safe and comfortable network for people of all abilities. Davis actually already has an intersection in the style of a Dutch Junction on a small side street where storm water is being accommodated, because of the intuitive design, cyclist are already using it as they would the recommended Dutch Junctions. Mobycon’s third-party analysis has been presented to the Davis City Council. City staff said the Council appreciated the recommendations, and city staff will prepare a comprehensive report and presentation for the Council in October. We look forward to sharing more about this project soon.

For more information about Mobycon’s bicycle planning or other sustainable mobility consulting services, contact Mary Hudson Embry in the United States or Elizabeth Allingham in Canada. Mobycon’s international practice is founded on strong partnerships with local experts.