Caltrans pedestrian killer

Last week I walked from the Arden Fair Mall area to REI. No, there is no bus that covers that route. There is a sidewalk on the north side of Exposition Blvd, not on the south side. At the I-80 Business onramp to to the freeway south, there is a pedestrian crossing of sorts, as shown in the photo below. There are ADA ramps on both sides of the onramp, but there is no marked crosswalk, there are not signs indicating that it is a pedestrian crossing (at a minimum, there should be a MUTCD W11-2 and W16-7 sign set, shown at bottom. But there is nothing. Drivers are accelerating onto the freeway at this point, not thinking in any way about someone crossing the ramp. Making it worse, the overpass leading to this point is convex, so that sight distances are limited and a driver would not see a pedestrian in time to make a graceful yield or stop. Note in the photo that the ramps are newer than the onramp; they were placed after initial construction, without any attention paid to their actual use. This is typical Caltrans engineering, doing what the law requires without thinking about it at all.

Just barely noticeable in the photo is a sign on the ground just on the other side of the onramp. This sign was knocked over by a vehicle (driver) who either was going to fast or decided at the last moment this was not the ramp wanted, and continued straight, jumping the curb, knocking down the sign, and continuing along the sidewalk before eventually returning to the street.

This location is a pedestrian killer, designed by Caltrans for that purpose.

This interchange needs to be completely redesigned. There should be no free onramps or off-ramps. All traffic should be required to make right-angle turns onto and off the freeway ramps, in order to slow drivers to a safe speed. A safe pedestrian route should be installed to that it is motor vehicles rather than walkers who need to go out of the way. All pedestrian crossings should have marked high-visibility crosswalks, with pedestrian signals that allow an exclusive phase for pedestrians.

I haven’t even mentioned bicyclist facilities here. They are just as bad, just as hazardous at the pedestrian facilities.

Caltrans engineers are directly responsible for any and all crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists at this interchange. They have designed and promoted something that can and will kill pedestrians and bicyclists.

4 thoughts on “Caltrans pedestrian killer

  1. I was visiting family in Sacramento over the holidays and noticed a similar on-ramp in South Sacramento. There is a painting crosswalk, but by the time a driver notices it (or someone using it) he is traveling at a high rate of speed down an incline. Also, the crosswalk is not well lit at night. Unfortunately, one sees this type of development throughout the south and west U.S. and it explains why pedestrian fatalities are so high in these areas.

    I’m curious to know if the city or state respond to your observations. It seems it would be in their interest to reduce accidents.


    • Yes, these freeway on ramps and off ramps are common, this is just the one I noticed that day. Caltrans designed and built these, but won’t fix them unless the city pays or contributes. It is not in the nature of Caltrans to take responsibility.


  2. Excellent capture of one of the many giant design flaws by traffic engineers. As this area gentrifies there are already more people on foot to attend the many new venues for entertainment, shopping and dining. Continuing west along Exposition there are three more deeply flawed intersections, especially where Ethan, Arden, Exposition and Alta Arden converge to create an absolute nightmare for pedestrians and bikes. Especially outrageous is Ethan Way as it connects to a major entry point to the American River bike trail at Cal Expo. Getting to this entrance via Hurley or Ethan are both super hazardous coming and going, if you are walking or on a bike. Not so long ago the right turn lane was doubled on westbound Hurley at Howe creating even more hazard and trauma for potential users. Keep up the good work Dan, some day we will number enough to rate consideration by the “traffic engineers”!


  3. On a related topic: does the city actually fix broken beg buttons? One at Folsom and 51st has been out for as long as I have used it (several years). I have reported it.


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