If you are a resident of Sacramento county, you have probably received two glossy mailers from SacramentoGO, otherwise known as the Sacramento Transportation Authority. The agency is building up towards putting a measure on the November ballot that will add another half cent of sale tax to fund transportation in the county. This half cent would be added to the existing half cent of Measure A. I will have plenty to say about the tax measure in the future, but tonight I’ll focus on the authority’s “Tell Us What You Think” survey.

I took the online survey, and was pretty dissatisfied with the wording of the questions. By putting unrelated items into one choice, the survey tries to gain support for pro-motor-vehicle projects by conflating them with pro-active-transportation and pro-transit options. My notes from the survey are below.

If Sacramento County had additional funding for transportation, which would be a higher priority for you:
[note: I was not able to capture the two options here because trying to copy the text selects that item, but you’ll get the idea with the next few questions about the tricks they are trying to play; if someone manages to capture these for me, I’ll add them here]

Smoothing traffic flow on local streets
(Street maintenance, pothole fixes, synchronized traffic signals, street widening)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Conflates street maintenance with street widening, which should be unrelated to each other, and should have been asked separately.

Reducing congestion on Sacramento highways
(Fixing or upgrading major roadways and interchanges, adding carpool lanes)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Again, conflates fixing with upgrading, which should be unrelated to each other.

Investing in bridges and overcrossings
(Building or upgrading bridges over the rivers, improving or adding light rail)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Though there is one river crossing which might carry both motor vehicle and light rail (though it shouldn’t), the Green Line extension, this is not true of any other bridge, and this is an attempt to conflate car bridges with light rail bridges.

Adding bike paths
(American River Parkway improvements and adding bike paths to local streets)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
A reasonable option. The parkway receives $1M per year from Measure A, but all entities in the county have a backlog of desirable bike lanes of at least $1B.

Extending light rail service to additional locations
(Adding new rail lines and stations to expand the light rail network)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Seems reasonable at first glance, but what is not asked is which extensions. The Green Line to the Airport is a trophy project that will not serve local or regional needs, and current planning is largely ignoring the valuable extension to the northeast at least to American River College, and perhaps beyond.

Improving service on existing light rail routes
(Upgrading trains, improving cleanliness and security, increasing frequency of service)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Yes!

Improving sidewalks, trails, paths
(Pedestrian improvements to sidewalks and lighting, neighborhood traffic calming and safety upgrades near schools)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Yes! There is probably a backlog of $20B in the county for sidewalks.

Reducing pollution from traffic
(Key infrastructure investments to improve air quality
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Another wolf in sheep’s clothing. I am almost certain that SacTA will claim that roadway and highway widening will reduce air pollution, when in fact it will induce demand that will increase air pollution, including but not limited to greenhouse gas emissions.

Providing more transit programs/options for seniors and people with disabilities
(Expanded and affordable paratransit services)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Yes, but we need to be careful not to continue or establish low-productivity routes in an effort to serve seniors and disabled. There are other, more efficient ways of meeting this need.

Investing in reliable and convenient bus routes
(Bus service improvements, new routes or increased frequency)
Low Priority, Medium Priority, High Priority
Yes. But reliable and convenient means high frequency, which SacRT has not really provided or investigated.

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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transportation

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