Road, pathway improvements planned

Construction at UC Davis over the next few years will not just be going on over head with the erection of multi-story buildings. It will also be happening under foot as the university plots new pathways, parking lots and utility projects designed to help the campus grow while keeping it easy to navigate.

The earliest work begins this year in preparation for a flurry of construction activity in the Health Sciences District.

With several major new buildings going up in the district, the campus needs a large new utility system to support it. Beginning this fall, crews will begin laying nine utility lines near Health Sciences and Hutchison drives. The project, including water, sewer and telecommunications work, will carry on until the summer of 2002.

The campus will try to keep nearby roads open, said senior project manager Tom Carver, but walkways and parking lots could be upended.

During the construction, Carver plans to post weekly updates notifying employees and students about upcoming work. "If people are going to be displaced in their parking, they will be informed," he said.

The district buildings - from the Genome and Biological Sciences Facility to veterinary medicine and human nutrition laboratories - will not only be joined via utilities. A new paved pedestrian corridor, completed by 2004, will also unite disparately designed buildings. "When it's done, all the pieces will fit," said Bob Segar, campus director of physical planning.

The 20-foot pathway will run north to south in the district and include similar benches, lighting and plantings.

Paths will ease campus travel

With the completion of another major new building, the Sciences Laboratory Building near Haring Hall, the campus's major north-south bike path will be completely linked as well. By 2006, a new trail will run between Hutchison Drive and Engineering III, joining the path that goes between Russell Boulevard and Meyer Hall.

Providing sufficient and efficient ways for motorists, bike commuters and those using public transportation to get to UC Davis is the objective of the Long Range Access Plan, now being developed by campus Transportation and Parking Services. The plan, last updated in 1997, will include a five-to-10-year look at transportation needs. It will be available for public review by fall.

New garage eyed

In the plan, TAPS and Fehr & Peers Associates, a transportation consulting firm based in Lafayette, are continuing to look at plans for an 1,800-space parking garage off Hutchison Drive. The Long Range Development Plan requires that UC Davis build new facilities when current lots are used 90 percent of the time. The utilization rate is now 84 percent,but is expected to grow, said Cliff Contreras, TAPS director.

The Hutchison garage, if recommended by the access plan, would be the largest on campus and could even include a convenience store or café by the time it's built in 2004 or 2005. "You can park your car, get a cup of coffee and go to class," Contreras said.

The plan could also recommend building more remote lots and shuttling students and employees into the center of campus, though the Hutchison garage is the more likely scenario. "We've found that people would rather park closer to their destination," Contreras said.

In the shorter term, TAPS is expanding parking lot 30 near the Recreation Pool by 100 spaces over the next year. The 333-space lot will provide parking for new facilities south of Extension Drive such as the Genome Launch Space.

The campus will use the relatively quiet summer to maintain areas near popular bike and walking paths, Contreras said.

Late this summer, the Grounds Division will renovate the irrigation system in the arboretum, forcing the closure of some paths between the Mrak Hall bridge and the A Street bridge. California Avenue and Putah Creek Lodge Drive will also see work.

The university airport will be closed for about a week in August or September as its runway and taxiway get resurfaced. A $650,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration will pay for work. •

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