On Wednesday evening, I rode from Woodside K-8 School in Citrus Heights to the Sunrise SacRT light rail station, and then caught light rail home. As I passed Sunflower in Fair Oaks, I thought of stopping for a drink of water, but decided to just head on down the hill to the drinking fountain on the north side of the red Fair Oaks bridge. It was not working, covered with plastic. I continued on to the Sunrise station, where both water fountains are not working. I suspect these have not been working for years, they look abandoned. By this time, I was pretty darn thirsty, and the long wait in the evening for the next light rail train was not pleasant. Even if I’d wanted to go to a convenience store for something to drink, there aren’t any close to that station.
Some of the light rail stations have water fountains, but very few of them work. I can only think of the one at the Folsom station that works, though there might be others. I haven’t done an inventory, though perhaps I should. There are certainly many, many abandoned ones. This inattention by SacRT to keeping things working is problematic for two reasons. One, it is just another sign of the deterioration of the light rail system. The system is partly showing its age, but more so it is showing neglect. Stations are dirty, cars are dirty, the paint is peeling everywhere. The Watt/I-80 station has the stink of urine and piles of trash that the worst cities in this country would be ashamed of.
Secondly, the lack of water fountains at the stations reduces the appeal of multi-modal trips. If people walk or bike to and from the stations, it is reasonable for them to expect the amenity of public water. With the warm to hot summers that Sacramento has, it is just crazy to not provide water for people. I realize that the system was built in large part to serve commuters who drive to the stations, but the actual clientele is much less likely to be driving, and much more likely to appreciate a drink of water before or after the active transportation part of their trip. We are thirsty!
So, I’d like to ask of SacRT that they get these water fountains working again, and maintain them, and clean them.