CADA (Capital Area Development Authority) is undertaking a process to activate O Street between 7th and 17th streets in downtown and midtown Sacramento. There was a community meeting at noon today, which I participated in. Not many people there, but there is also a meeting this evening which might gather residents who work during the day.
There are a lot of intriguing ideas and overall I think the draft framework is a good one. CADA said the diagrams and maps would be posted within a few days, so you will be able to see them at http://www.cadanet.org/projects/o-street-improvements-project.
Some comments I made:
- the design needs to be compatible with the new light rail stations that will be constructed, probably in phases, to accommodate the new low-floor rail cars which require an 8-inch curb above the rails; the mini-high platforms needed for the current fleet of high-floor rail cars will eventually be removed, making for a much more pleasant street environment
- rather than putting in bicycle facilities on O Street, separated bikeways on P Street and Q Street (partially complete) and N Street (not started) should handle most of the through bicycle traffic; instead, these things should be done to make the street bikeable without any special facilities:
- speed limit 15 mph throughout
- most sections become single-lane one-way, with narrowed travel lane; where two-way sections are needed (if at all), streets should be narrowed significantly
- textured pavement, for streets or crosswalks or intersections, should either be sufficiently smooth to accommodate bicyclists, or have smooth pathways specifically for bicyclists
- without bicycle-specific infrastructure, more of the right-of-way width can be devoted to pedestrians, sidewalks and the amenity zone; the pedestrian space will make the biggest difference in how the street is perceived
- no section that is now closed to motor vehicles (9th to 10th and 11th to 12th) should be opened to motor vehicles, and no section that is currently one-way should become two-way
- all corners should have bulb-outs (curb extensions) to calm motor vehicle speeds, reduce crossing distances, and preserve visibility at corners from parked vehicles; many corners are proposed for bulb-outs, but not all
- raised intersections should be considered for all intersections
- traffic on 15th Street (southbound) and 16th Street (northbound) must be calmed; it is currently difficult and hazardous for both walkers and bicyclists to cross through these intersections, traveling along O Street
The big issue, though, is that there is insufficient residents along the corridor, specifically between N Street and Q Street, to activate the corridor. More about that in my next post.
The improvements to O Street will be very expensive, if all are completed, but there are low cost items to start with, and I’m hopeful about seeing some of these in the near future.