WA Transportation Bill of Rights

The Washington state organization named Front and Centered promotes a program called Just Transition in Transportation, along with many partners including Disability Rights Washington and 350.org Washington. As part of the program, they have developed a ‘Transportation Bill of Rights’, which is linked on that page. I was curious if other organizations had developed such documents, so did a Google search 0n ‘transportation bill of rights’. The first page and a half is about the airline bill of rights, and this one doesn’t show up until page two. It is sadly ironic that the mode used by a small fraction of the population, commercial air travel, gets all the attention from Congress and the FAA and politicians.

The text of the Transportation Bill of Rights is:

“People’s needs too often get left out of the planning, funding, construction, and maintenance of transportation systems. This is why we have worked together to create a Transportation Bill of Rights. Regardless of our race, age, gender, disability, income and where we live we all deserve transportation where:

  1. No one dies or is seriously injured traveling on state roads, streets, and sidewalks
  2. Every household can access groceries within 20 minutes without a car
  3. No one today is harmed by pollution or noise from transportation
  4. Protection from the climate crisis today for future generations
  5. All trips less than one mile are easily and enjoyably achieved by non-vehicle travel including for people with disabilities
  6. No household should spend more than 45% of its income on housing, transportation, and energy
  7. Every child who wants to can bike, walk, or roll safely to school
  8. Transit service is frequent and spans the day and night so people can get to work and come back
  9. The pursuit of happiness does not require a car”

I would like to see something similar adopted by the state of California, and Sacramento County, and City of Sacramento. If we had this bill of rights, nearly every decision made about our transportation system would be different than it is today. For me, the most important of all the items is: 7. Every child who wants to can bike, walk, or roll safely to school.

Sacramento transportation decision time

The City of Sacramento is holding a city council workshop on Tuesday, February 8, 5:00PM. The purpose of the workshop is to gather input to help the city realign its transportation policies and project with its climate change objectives (they are far, far from in alignment now).

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) with partners has created a petition you can sign to support a more effective and equitable transportation system. The petition and background information are at https://sites.google.com/sacbike.org/cleansac/home.

In its final report, the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change recommended that to achieve its climate goals, Sacramento must prioritize the use of active transportation, public transit, and shared mobility services, and then electrify remaining vehicles. Reducing vehicle miles traveled by prioritizing walking, biking, rolling, and transit is the most effective way to reduce emissions in Sacramento.

We are asking the Sacramento City Council to:

1. Build a Comprehensive Active Transportation Network.
Commit to and take action to build a seamless, low-stress network of active transportation corridors, for the central city and connections into and out of the city. An infrastructure that supports safe walking, biking and rolling should include the following elements: separated bikeways, secure bicycle parking, adequate lighting, widened sidewalks, traffic calming, and other speed reduction measures.

2. Commit Funding.
Prioritize and set aside funding within the city budget for an active transportation program. Set aside the necessary matching funds to qualify for the federal and state infrastructure programs this year and in future years. Deliberately seek additional funding and financing through grants, state and federal programs, and other revenue sources.

3. Adopt Policy Guidance to Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled.
All land use decisions should require consideration of reducing vehicle miles traveled when new projects and modifications to existing projects are evaluated by staff and reviewed and approved by City Commissions and Council.

4. Focus on Equity.
Prioritize a consistent focus on equity for project timing and funding.

5. Engage the Community.
Engage the community and regional experts in developing an active transportation program that works for everyone.

6. Ensure Adequate Staffing.
Ensure adequate staffing and resources to develop and administer the program, including the funding/financing aspect.

I’ll comment first on the petition. It is good, but does not go far enough in my opinion. Two improvements I would make:

1. Build a Comprehensive Active Transportation Network. Add short-term bicycle parking everywhere, and secure long-term bicycle parking at all retail and job centers. Recognize bike share as an integral part of the transportation system, including funding it in low-income neighborhoods.

2. Commit Funding. The city should pursue grants and other funding sources, but must also invest significant budget resources to transportation. The city provides the required match for grants, but almost no other funding. The result is that city funds are spent as a match on large projects, and small projects that could otherwise use the funding and have an immediate impact on safety and equity, are neglected. It is rare for cities to rely almost entirely on grant funding, as the Sacramento does for it active transportation and complete streets projects. Sacramento is an outlier.

The city’s page is at http://www.cityofsacramento.org/Public-Works/Transportation/Planning-Projects/Climate-and-Transportation. The major graphic is below, though note that the workshop date has been changed to February 8, 5:00pm.

One of the major programs being proposed to council is a network of bikeway superhighways, shown on the map below. The concept of bicycle superhighways comes recently from Milan, though other European cities have long had such facilities.

The bikeway superhighways part of the proposal seems to be the flagship of the program, so I’ll make a few comments on that.

In the north, the Niños Parkway must be extended over Interstate 80 into the commercial centers to the north. Otherwise, it fails to connect residents to jobs, and falls short at mitigating the major barrier to travel represented by the freeway.

In the south, the 24th St and MLK corridors must be extended south at least to Florin Rd, if not further. Otherwise the residential areas north and south of Florin Rd are isolated from the job opportunities to the north.

Within the bikeways superhighways portion of the city page, there is a statement: 6. Complete the existing bikeway network within 4 miles of the Central City by closing gaps in the network and calming traffic. I do not deny that this might have the greatest impact in reducing VMT (vehicle miles traveled), and since I live in the central city, I’d be a beneficiary. However, this conflicts with the equity goals stated on this page, and throughout city policy. This is the area that has always received the greatest city investment, in infrastructure and in maintenance. The rest of the city to the north and south has largely been neglected. In my view, it is time to turn this on its head. Only projects and investments in low-income areas, or which demonstrably serve to connect low-income neighborhoods to jobs and regional amenities, should be funded. Period. We have a century of disinvestment in low-income areas, greatly accelerated by the urban renewal fiasco of the 1950-1970s. Now is the time to start undoing that damage.

The term ‘congestion relief’ should be removed from the city page, and city documents. Congestion relief is always taken to mean making it easier to drive. Congestion in fact is always a natural check on overuse of motor vehicles, and by reducing traffic speeds, makes it safer for bicyclists. And probably walkers as well, but the research on that is not as clear.

I hope you’ll get involved. SacMoves, the coalition of transportation and air quality advocacy groups, will be discussing the city proposal in depth, and there may be more information to share before the city workshop.

Smart Cycling class Feb 1, 3, 5

North Natomas Jibe, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) and other partners are offering a Smart Cycling class in the Sacramento area on February 1 and 3, evening ‘classroom’ presentations through Zoom, and an in-person field day on Saturday, February 5, for parking lot skills and road skills.

This class is oriented towards people who would like to go on to the League Cycling Instructor (LCI) Seminar which will be offered March 27-29, for which passing scores on the skills and test are a prerequisite, but it is open to anyone who is interested. North Natomas Jibe’s Project Ride Smart, San Juan Unified’s Bicyclist Education Program, and several other programs in the Sacramento region use LCI’s as instructors for in-school and out-of-school youth programs.

When you sign up for the class (use the QR code in the graphic above), you will receive a Zoom link to the ‘classroom’ presentation, held Tuesday, February 1 and Thursday, February 3, 6:00 to 7:30PM. There will be a chance to ask questions.

The class includes Saturday, February 5 field day, 9:00AM to 3:00PM. It will include parking lot skills for bike handling and hazard avoidance, and a road ride in traffic in the area of the Jibe office, followed by a debrief and multiple choice exam for people who want a certificate and/or are going on to the LCI Seminar. Lunch will be provided, but you can bring your own. Bring snacks as well, if you get hungry.

For the field day, you need a bike in good working order (ABC Quick Check), a bicycle helmet (required for our insurance), clothing appropriate for the forecasted weather, and a water bottle if you wish. The class will take place in most weather, except heavy rain and high winds. If you are borrowing a bike, please ride it beforehand so you are familiar with how it handles. If your bike needs repairs or adjustments, we can suggest a bike shop in your area to get it ‘up to speed’ before the class.

For more information, contact:

  • Dan Allison, allisondan52@gmail.com, 775-997-4937
  • Mellissa Meng, mellissa@jibe.org, 916-419-9955

where are the curb extensions?

There has been a tremendous amount of infill building, much of it housing, in midtown Sacramento and even downtown. This is a wonderful thing. As part of the construction projects, sidewalks and curbs are often torn up and replaced. In some instances, the replacement is done the right way, with wider sidewalks, directional curb ramps (two to a corner, not diagonal), and curb extensions. But in at least half the replacements, but curb extensions are missing.

15th Street at K Street, missing curb extension, Sacramento

The photo above shows the new sidewalks and curb ramps at the southeast corner of the SAFE Convention Center, at 15th Street and K Street. That much is good, and a big improvement over what was there before.

However, the curb extension on 15th Street is missing. The purpose of curb extension is to slow traffic speeds, to shorten the crossing distance, and to increase visibility between drivers and walkers. But it is missing here. Once the convention center really opens, this will be a very busy crossing for pedestrians, and is already receiving increased use from the performing arts center.

What gives, Sacramento? Every reconstructed corner should have curb extensions. Yes, they must be designed appropriately so they only block the parking lane and not a bike lane, but in this case, there is no bike lane.

Katie’s Mid-Year Budget Request Sign-On

Katie Valenzuela, Sacramento councilmember for District 4, posted a request for people to sign on to ideas for a mid-year budget adjustment to include several transportation and livability issues, at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc2klsRgKrTcY4Ndoh7OWpz9CdwS_-Vb5rZvrrqG9Td75Z1Ig/viewform.


“In the year I’ve been in office, I’ve heard from thousands of people regarding their concerns and ideas about needed improvements in their neighborhoods. When I bring these community concerns to staff, I hear a lot of support and empathy for the issues raised, but it is often followed by a somber realization: there isn’t a sufficient budget to provide these services.

While I understand the limitations of the City budget, I also believe there are basic services any City should provide:

  • Streetlights, particularly in older neighborhoods that lack sufficient lighting to promote safety for all road users.
  • Sidewalk repair, the costs for which we put onto property owners during the 2008 recession. Sidewalks are a public good everyone uses and should be maintained by the City.
  • Public Restrooms to serve everyone in our city, particularly at parks. This should also include porta potties near large encampments.
  • Road and traffic safety improvements, particularly targeting streets and intersections where there are repeated collisions or injuries.
  • Public garbage cans and collection to help mitigate litter.

These needs aren’t unique to District 4, but are issues I’ve also observed citywide. As we approach the midyear and future budgets, I urge you to join me in asking that we consider the quality-of-life improvements the community is asking for and appropriate funds for these purposes.”


These five items are all transportation issues to some degree or another.

Streetlights: Many people will not walk at night when there is insufficient lighting. They feel unsafe. Many intersections are poorly lit for people walking, providing light for drivers but not for people in crosswalks.

Sidewalk repair: The lower the income level of a neighborhood, which is strongly but not complete correlated with people of color, the poorer the sidewalks. This is an ongoing problem in north Sacramento and south Sacramento, but exists other places. When the city claims it has not responsibility for maintaining sidewalks, but does maintain roadways, it is sending a clear message that drivers are more important than walkers. This must change. The first step is not to start fixing sidewalks, but to change city code so that the city is responsible for maintaining sidewalks, not adjacent property owners. There may be situations in which a tree on private property damages a public sidewalk, but most of the damage from trees occurs by city owned trees in the sidewalk buffer area. In fact, the worst sidewalks are often adjacent to city-owned property, where the ordinance requiring property owner repair apparently doesn’t apply. (In the interests of transparency, if one wishes to see truly horrible sidewalks, visit the City of Los Angeles. Makes Sacramento look like a walking paradise.)

broken sidewalk on V Street, Sacramento

Public restrooms: Any person who is walking is likely to be making a slower trip than a driver, and more likely to need to use a restroom during their trip. Walkers are also more likely to chain destinations, and therefore need a restroom during a longer trip, while drivers often make shorter individual trips to single destinations. The city has resisted making public restrooms available, partially in an effort to make unhoused people unwelcome. One new restroom was built in Cesar Chavez Plaza, and some parks have restrooms available for some hours, but many park restrooms remain locked. For example, the one in Fremont Park has been locked up for two years now.

Traffic safety improvements: This one is obvious. What is not obvious is that the city has an unwritten policy that it will only make major street changes with federal, state, and regional grants, not out of the general budget. A few things are done as part of routine maintenance, when a street is repaved and re-striped, but this is a tiny fraction of what is needed. Improvements to high-injury intersections and corridors should be a funded part of the city budget, not dependent upon grants from outside.

Public garbage cans: Again, people walking are likely to generate things that need to be trashed or recycled. For example, walk to your local coffee shop and then continue on your journey, you end up with an empty cup to dispose of. People driving simply throw it on the floor, or out the window in many cases. And if they throw it on the floor, it is likely to be thrown on the ground the next time the vehicle is parked. I know this because this is the pattern for people who commute in from the suburbs and park in the central city. I’ve observed it hundreds of times. It is true that in areas with active business improvement districts, there are more public garbage cans, but that leaves many areas of the city out, which are just as deserving of the service.

The city discriminates against people walking (and bicycling). These budget items would be a first step towards redressing that.

I will say that the greatest need for these improvements is not in District 4, which has often received more attention from the city than any district other than District 1. Sacramento has had and continues to have a serious equity failing, spending more money on repair and improvements in higher income areas.

assault by an entitled driver

This morning I was nearly hit and then assaulted by the driver of an SUV in Sacramento. I was crossing 14th St at the south side of P St at about 7:30AM. The driver had stopped before the crosswalk, so I proceeded across, but the driver lurched forward and nearly hit me. I had to jump back to avoid being hit, and slapped the side of his vehicle to get his attention. I proceeded across the crosswalk and onto the sidewalk. The driver leapt out of this vehicle and came after me, screaming that if I ever touched his car again, he would hurt me. I don’t remember the exact words, but they were violent words. He kept saying “I didn’t see you”, not in an apologetic manner, but in a way that implied it was my fault that he didn’t see me. After yelling a number of more threats, he shoved me. This is assault.

A bystander took photos of the driver and his vehicle, seen below. The bystander used the same term that I often used, ‘entitled drivers’. She was more than happy to provide the photos to me, and expressed hope that I would file charges. I have submitted an incident report to Sacramento PD.

the vehicle: GMC Yukon, grey, license M546BO
the driver, on left, white middle aged male

I notice when walkers and bicyclist post photo of vehicles driven by offending drivers, they often blank out the license number. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is fear of retaliation, worse violence from the driver. But here you go: the license plate was CA M546BO. It is a strange license number.

Back to the entitled. Many drivers feel that they own the road, and it is the responsibility of others to get out of their way. This applies particularly to walkers and bicyclists, but it even applies to other drivers. The excuse often offered is “I didn’t see them”. I think this is often fabricated after the fact to justify what would otherwise not be justifiable, which is an intention or willingness to harm others. But in some case it is true. They didn’t see because they didn’t look. Many drivers are looking at their phones or their large in-dash information displays. In this case, the driver was looking only to the right to see traffic on one-way P Street. He probably never looked left at all. But it is the legal responsibility of drivers to look and to see. If they are not willing to do that, as is true of this driver, they should not hold a license to drive. This driver, in part because he has a large, expensive vehicle, felt entitled to be driving on the street without paying attention, particularly at a crosswalk where walkers have the right of way.

This is the people we share the streets with. And the people about whom traffic ‘safety’ agencies such as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) continue to claim that road safety is a shared responsibility. Bullshit. Drivers kill people, walkers and bicyclists (with extremely rare exceptions) do not.

This is also a street design issue. One way streets are safer to cross for walkers because you only need to look in one direction, left or right. However, for people on cross streets, they are much more dangerous because many (most?) drivers never look the other direction for people in the crosswalk or bicycling.

I hope your day is going better.

Sacramento Tweed Ride, December 4

The Sacramento Tweed group is hosting the annual Tweed Ride on Saturday, December 4, starting at 12:00 noon. The ride is “Winter Wonderland Ride and Picnic”. It meets at WAL Public Market at 1104 R St, at 11:30AM, and rolls about at noon. It is a ‘bring your own picnic’ event. The picnic occurs in a local park. There is sometimes an unofficial after-event visit to a drinking establishment.

There were a number of tweed riders on the SABA Mural ride on Sunday, distributing handbills and encouraging local bicyclists to join. Period clothing is appreciated and celebrated (roughly 1902-1920), but certainly not required. Period bicycles are also appreciated and celebrated, but certainly not required. Come as you are!

The handbill flier is below, and the event is on Facebook at Sacramento Tweed Ride 2.0, https://www.facebook.com/groups/534956886520489/.

And a photo from the 2014 Sacramento Tweed Ride picnic.

red light cameras

The City of Sacramento has 11 red light camera locations: Red Light Running Program. Of these, some are at high-injury intersections, but most are not. These locations are cross-referenced with high injury intersections shown in the post Sac Vision Zero new intersections map.

LocationTop allTop pedTop bike
Mack Rd & La Mancha Way/Valley Hi Drnonono
El Camino Ave & Evergreen Stnonono
Howe Ave & Fair Oaks Blvdnonono
Mack Rd & Center Parkwaynonono
Exposition Blvd & Ethan Waynonono
Broadway & 21st Stnonono
Folsom Blvd & Howe Ave/Power Inn Rdnonono
Arden Way & Challenge Waynonono
5th St & I Stnonono
16th St & W Stnonono
Alhambra Blvd & J Stnonono

My first thought is that the city was putting these cameras in the wrong location. But then I thought, what if the presence of red light cameras is making these locations safer and therefore dropping them out of the highest injury intersection list. I don’t have the information to answer that question, which would take analysis of crashes at the intersections, and before/after data.

What I do know is that many more red light cameras are needed to counteract the pandemic of red light running: pandemic of red light running. I spend time around the edges of Fremont Park, close to where I live, which includes the intersection of arterial streets P, Q, 15th, and 16th, and one of the things I do is watch traffic in the intersections. It has now become rare for a signal cycle for 16th St northbound at P St to not see an incidence of red light running. The other intersections are not quite as bad, but the pattern is there. And this is happening everywhere in Sacramento that I go; these are not likely to even be the worst intersections.

I believe that most of the red light running is by egregious violators, people who routinely and continuously violate traffic law for their own convenience or thrill seeking. This is true of most traffic violations, but red light running is the one most likely to result in fatality and serious injury, for people in all modes of travel. So having a more widespread set of red light cameras would serve to catch these red light violators. Of course the follow-up is necessary, to revoke the licenses and confiscate the vehicles of these repeat offenders. The longer the city looks the other way on this issue, the more people will come to see it as normal behavior, and the less safe our streets will be.

The standard response by cars-first entitled drivers is that tickets are just a money-making scheme by the government. The purpose of red light cameras is to make streets safer, and if that results in some income, so be it. I’m more than happy to have these sociopathic drivers hit in the pocketbook, and the money can be used to make our streets safer, such as by installing more red light cameras. Red light tickets, with photos, are part of the documentation needed to revoke licenses and confiscate vehicles.

Smart Cycling class Nov 2, 4, 6

North Natomas Jibe, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) and other partners are offering a Smart Cycling class in the Sacramento area on November 2 & 4, evening ‘classroom’ presentations through Zoom, and an in-person field day on Saturday, November 6, for parking lot skills and road skills.

This class is oriented towards people who would like to go on to the League Cycling Instructor (LCI) Seminar which will be offered in the spring, for which passing scores on the skills and test are a prerequisite, but it is open to anyone who is interested. North Natomas Jibe’s Project Ride Smart, San Juan Unified’s Bicyclist Education Program, and several other programs in the Sacramento region use LCI’s as instructors for in-school and out-of-school youth programs.

When you sign up for the class (use the QR code in the graphic above), you will receive a Zoom link to the ‘classroom’ presentation, held Tuesday, November 2 and Thursday, November 4, 6:00 to 7:30PM. There will be a chance to ask questions.

The class includes Saturday, November 6 field day, 9:00AM to 3:00PM. It will include parking lot skills for bike handling and hazard avoidance, and a road ride in traffic in the area of the Jibe office, followed by a debrief and multiple choice exam for people who want a certificate and/or are going on to the LCI Seminar. Lunch will be provided, but you can bring your own. Bring snacks as well, if you get hungry.

For the field day, you need a bike in good working order (ABC Quick Check), a bicycle helmet (required for our insurance), clothing appropriate for the forecasted weather, and a water bottle if you wish. The class will take place in most weather, except heavy rain and high winds. If you are borrowing a bike, please ride it beforehand so you are familiar with how it handles. If your bike needs repairs or adjustments, we can suggest a bike shop in your area to get it ‘up to speed’ before the class.

For more information, contact:

  • Dan Allison, allisondan52@gmail.com, 775-997-4937
  • Mellissa Meng, mellissa@jibe.org, 916-419-9955

the blind spot of roadway re-design

It has become popular these days to claim that the only real solution to traffic violence is re-design of roadways to prevent bad driver behavior, and to eliminate traffic enforcement as a solution to bad driver behavior. I’m not in disagreement with this. Re-design does prevent a lot of bad driver behavior. Traffic enforcement is very often a tool of oppression by law enforcement on people of color. All true.

But… There is also a blind spot. Roadway re-design does not force drivers to yield to walkers in the crosswalk. Sure, if traffic is going slower, it is less likely that collisions will be fatal to the walker, and perhaps slightly less likely to result in a collision at all, with more reaction time. But a driver that won’t yield at 35 mph is a driver that won’t yield at 25 mph. Failure to yield to someone in the crosswalk is sociopathic behavior, in that it intimidates people against walking, and it is psychopathic behavior in that it prioritizes driver convenience over the lives of others. These people are mentally ill, and they should be removed from our roadways. Not just ticketed, but their drivers license pulled and their vehicle confiscated.

No technology that I’m aware of will automatically enforce yielding behavior, or ticket failure to yield. Red light running cameras are legal in California, but are installed on only a tiny fraction of signalized intersections, and are not even used in many localities. Speed cameras are illegal in California (to protect the guilty). I have never heard of cameras focused on failure to yield.

Law enforcement has essentially stopped enforcing failure to yield. I’ve never seen someone stopped for this violation, and the traffic stop statistics say that it almost never happens. Law enforcement doesn’t care. It sees walkers as second class citizens. After all, they are often lower income and sometimes homeless, people that law enforcement feels obligated to oppress, not to serve. I myself have experienced law enforcement officers failing to yield to me in the crosswalk a number of times. CHP is the worst offender, but all the agencies are guilty.

What provoked this post? I was bicycling home along P Street from the store. A woman was crossing. The driver in the left hand land stopped for her, as did I. The driver in the right hand lane not only did not slow to see why, but blew through the crosswalk, very nearly hitting the woman. I caught up with the vehicle, and saw that both the driver and passenger were high-income, white, and young. When I tried to talk to them about their violation and nearly hitting the woman, they blew me off and implied that I was crazy for even caring about this. This is the drivers we share the road with.

Yes, let’s re-design the roadways. But in the meanwhile, lets enforce failure to yield with serious consequences. The lives of people walking are too valuable to sacrifice to drivers, for even one day. I realize there are equity implications of traffic enforcement, but my anecdotal observation says that the worse drivers are high-income white males. Hardly the oppressed class.

CVC 21950