Fruit Stand Struggles as Commuters Continue to Clog the Yolo Causeway

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DAVIS -- The classic bumper-to-bumper traffic on Interstate 80 is a headache for commuters who are funneled onto the causeway from both ends.

“The traffic’s awful,” said commuter Mary Kate Davidson. “I’ve been driving it about twice a month for three years and there’s always traffic getting the lanes cut down.”

It also discourages customers from getting to the Yolo Fruit Stand from the nearby Frontage Road. That’s because those in the know use it as an alternate surface road to get around the freeway slowdown each afternoon.

“Totally understand why people would go the side road,” Davidson told FOX40.

Owners of the fruit stand said the road is shown as a GPS shortcut on busy days.

There is now a temporary on-ramp meter, which is soon to become permanent, that seeks to move that traffic onto the freeway. However, it does little to ease congestion when traffic backs up a quarter of a mile down Frontage Road.

Caltrans is working on a comprehensive metering plan in the area to reduce freeway backups but that may not work when a large number of vehicles originate from the Bay Area heading to the Sierra.

The long-range plan is to widen the Yolo Causeway. It calls for adding an express lane or a bus lane.

The billion-dollar plan may not get underway for five or 10 years.

Owners of the fruit stand said their business has been cut in half over the past few years and staying in business is now a challenge with customers staying away during commute hours.

“They’re not going to want to do it. There’s way too many people,” Davidson said. “They'll have to wait in a big, long line for some fruit. That’s miserable.”

The Davis Police Department and Caltrans have been meeting to see how they might keep motorists from using the shortcut and staying on the freeway but there is no obvious solution.

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