2015/11/08

Sac Grid 2.0

Tomorrow (Monday) an open house / community meeting will be held on the Sacramento Grid 2.0 project which aims to improve transportation in the downtown/midtown area of Sacramento.

I attended the stakeholder meeting October 20, and had input leading up and as a result of that meeting, but then forgot to post. Thank you, Ken Petruzzelli for reminding me to post.

The stakeholder meeting was all about the maps of each component (pedestrian, bicycling, transit, and others), gathering feedback about what works and what doesn’t. Of course with physical maps you can’t overlay different layers to see what the correlation is, but the facilitator at my table did a good job of relating the layers. The maps have not been made available to the public yet, and what you see on Monday could differ from those shown at the stakeholder meeting.

Significant issues in my group (there were six groups) were: whether bike lanes on both sides of one-way streets made sense, with the consensus being that they were not needed except in special circumstances of heavy bicyclist traffic turning left; whether the two-way cycle-track (separated bikeway) on N Street between 3rd and 15th would work well at intersections in the western part; and that nothing in the plan seemed to address a reduction of signals and stop signs throughout the grid that would improve transportation flow and actually reduce speeding.

The map approach at the stakeholder meeting left out that which isn’t spatial – policy. I think policy to support the transformation is at least as important as which streets are changed. What follows is a list of policy issues that I think must be addressed in the plan.

Equity

  • As a result of this effort, planning for the grid will be advanced far beyond other areas, however, distribution of funds for projects should nevertheless be based in large part on equity concerns that argue for expenditures in lower-income portions of Sacramento.

Walking

  • intense and consistent enforcement of crosswalk law CVC 21950 Right of Way at Crosswalks is required; lack of enforcement of this code is directly responsible for an unfriendly pedestrian environment as well as many fatalities and serious injuries
  • establish “open crossing streets” (or woonerfs) upon which motor vehicles are slowed to 10-20 mph and pedestrians have right of way at all locations; install appropriate signing and pavement markings; first implementation on K St between 7th and 12th
  • consistent use of pedestrian request buttons; some of these are required and some are not, but this is not communicated to pedestrians
  • leading pedestrian intervals will be installed on all intersections with more than X pedestrians per day (not sure what X should be, but many of the grid intersections should qualify)
  • removal of all no pedestrian crossing locations; all remaining locations would require a traffic study to justify that they are needed and no other solution is possible
  • invert crosswalk marking criteria for the grid so that non-installation of a marked crosswalk would require justification

Discriminatory language in city code should be removed

  • No pedestrian shall cross a through street within three hundred (300) feet of a crosswalk other than within such crosswalk, except at a location where a school bus is stopped and is displaying flashing red lights. (Chapter 10.20.020)
  • No pedestrian shall cross a through street at an intersection with an alley except within a marked crosswalk. (Chapter 10.20.030); alley activation won’t work unless this code is removed

Parking

  • no more car parking is needed anywhere in the grid, rather, parking management with variable pricing is needed to match demand to supply
  • bike racks must be installed for all existing businesses or blocks, with assistance from the city
  • car parking does provide some traffic calming effect, and should not be removed unless the space is clearly necessary for other purposes such as sidewalks and bike lanes; it would be better for safety and livability to remove travel lanes rather than parking

Access

  • improved pedestrian and bicyclist access to Sacramento Valley Station hasn’t been effectively addressed
  • improved pedestrian and bicyclist access to Old Sacramento hasn’t been effectively addressed

Pedestrian Crossing Guidelines

  • it is not clear what the status of this city document is, but it needs to be updated to reflect a higher priority for pedestrians and lower priority for motor vehicle traffic
  • the criteria on page 63, which provides justification for prohibiting pedestrian crossings, is overly broad; the only valid item is “Physical environment or geometric conditions provide inadequate sight distance.” and the others should be removed

Roadways

  • conversion from one-way to two-way should be the default; streets intended to remain one-way must have a traffic study to justify that they need to be one-way and that no other solution is possible
  • fill all bike lane gaps by reallocation of street width; sharrows are not a solution for streets which otherwise have and need bike lanes
  • protected bikeways on N St and L St, from Tower Bridge to 20th, create by reallocating space from three vehicle lanes to two vehicle lanes
  • wayfinding signage is needed to direct bicylists from high volume streets to convenient parallel routes
  • default lane width should be 10 feet, except truck routes 11 feet

Transit

  • transit-only lanes on at least two east-west streets, and at least two north-south streets, planned in cooperation with SacRT
  • SacRT 7th & K station (St Rose of Lima Park) does need to be revised or moved because it has a lower functionality than other stations

NACTO

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. I attended the open house last night. Overall, I’m impressed with the project and feel pretty good about this effort by the city to shift modes from car-dominated to a mix of walking, transit, and bicycling. I think most of the people in attendance felt the same way, though most would also like the city to be a bit more aggressive in that shift. I’ll post soon about a few additional issues not included in this blog post.

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About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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