Regional hook up

SACOG picks region’s college town to spark address bottlenecks and a lack of electric vehicle infrastructure

This is an extended version of a story that appears in the January 3, 2019, issue.

By 2020, it won’t just be bikes sailing freely through the city of Davis.

In early December, Davis officials learned that their grant application for three key traffic improvement projects received approval from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, or SACOG. That’s a regional planning body made of up area politicians—one that has access to a bankroll. As part of its Green Region Plan, SACOG will award Davis $8.1 million to improve traffic safety and circulation at some of its busiest intersections.

The additions include providing a bike tunnel under the westbound on-ramp to the Richards Boulevard interchange, as well as adding a signal to ease congestion at the Olive Avenue and Richards Boulevard intersection. Engineers will also reconfigure the on-ramps to the interstate.

Answering the prayers of at least one neighborhood, the grant will allow Davis to close its existing Olive Avenue exit from Interstate 80, which is an antiquated route that currently pours traffic directly into a residential area.

“These projects represent some of the best thinking by transportation planners across the entire greater Sacramento area,” said SACOG Chairman Jay Schenirer, a Sacramento City Council member.

For Davis, that work also includes money to participate in the development of the Electrify Yolo County Project, a countywide system to support electric vehicle rapid charging stations. The grant funds will provide for up to five new stations around Davis, including two in its busy downtown district. The project will see Yolo County’s overall system enhanced with 10 mobile, solar-powered vehicle chargers.

Davis Mayor Brett Lee said SACOG’s grant funding to his city would “positively impact the entire region.” The Green Region Plan covers the six counties surrounding Sacramento.