Right smack dab in the middle of the intersection of 3rd Street and University Avenue lie these crazy poles called bollards that prevent you from driving in a sane fashion (especially when trying to get to
Cafe Roma 3rd & U Cafe by campus or Navin's Copy Shop Davis Copy Shop). The poles are filled and chained to the street, but can be removed when needed. During Picnic Day the city takes them out of their holes so police/parade traffic can get through. The poles were removed March 12-14 for the Downtown Davis Criterium bicycle race organized by the Cal Aggie Cycling team.
The poles form a diagonal from the northeast corner to the southwest corner.
In 2004, the owners of several businesses sitting on the start of 3rd Street investigated getting the poles removed. The poles' presence, they maintained, hampered business on their area of the street.
The poles are surely there to keep traffic out of the area. 3rd Street would likely have much more traffic and fast driving on it if this traffic slowing measure wasn't there. As is, the street is conductive to walkers and bikers.
Despite the reduced car traffic, it is very unpleasant for cyclists. Navigating through the bollards with a dozen other bikes in close proximity can be hair raising. The odd dip in the road and poor pavement generates great discomfort in the groin. It also accumulates standing water in the wet seasons, leading to serious cases of the Freshman Stripe.
Sometimes the poles get abused or vandalized.