What We Saw
We experienced a reinvigorated Main Street, new commercial power centers on the I-5 interchanges, new housing in the southeast corner of town, beautiful older housing stock in the neighborhoods adjacent to Downtown’s Main Street. We saw railroads, parkways, boulevards, neighborhood streets, and rural roads through vast agricultural fields surrounding the city of trees. A variety of neighborhood parks, regional sports fields, schools, and the Fairgrounds punctuated the streets and blocks with trees and open space.
The mall was important to the region before Vic Fazio Highway shifted the City of Davis traffic east of East Street. Located on the previous ‘edge’ of town, the regional mall was left behind when the market shifted to the east, accessible by Road 24 interchange and Highway 113 (Vic Fazio). This shift rendered the mall less accessible although it remains accessible to the adjacent, local neighborhoods. Once a regional-scaled commercial center can now be now a community-scaled center with the opportunity to provide needed housing with a smaller commercial scale footprint of less intensity. The Market is telling the mall how much retail it can offer and to whom.
The addition of housing would provide more local shoppers who can walk, bike, bus, and drive to the stores and their neighbors. The bus network will retain its value as residents grow. The vacant shops and parking areas converted to housing will not displace any existing residents. The new housing can be built in a wide range of types and sizes to provide more attainable and affordable dwellings, retaining more residents from the region. The issue to how to make a large site encumbered by mall buildings as economically viable as building housing on as open land on the edge of town.