I recognize that all the examples of construction zone problems (and a few done right) have been central city Sacramento. This is for two reasons, one is that I live downtown, and when I’m out on my physical distancing walks, these are the places I’m seeing. The second is that a lot of the construction happening in the entire city is happening in downtown, particularly the projects which require extensive closure of sidewalks, and bike lanes. If you have examples from other places, please let me know (allisondan52@gmail.com) and I will try to get there to take photos and analyze the situation. For those of you in the county, well, that is too much to tackle, and in a relative sense the county is economically moribund, so much less construction is going on.

Please don’t take my criticism of construction zones at being a criticism of construction. I love that there is a lot of construction going on. In midtown, most of the construction is housing, and nothing could make me happier. In downtown, there is more office construction than housing construction, and that is not a good thing, as it further exacerbates the jobs/housing imbalance in downtown. Except right around the arena, and in old town, there are few businesses and almost none are open on weekends because there is so little housing as compared to offices.

Below, a few last examples, before I move on to solutions. The first was a temporary issue, but it is illustrative of the problems. A mobile message board was placed in the center of the separated bikeway on 9th Street, even though there was a cross-hatched area immediately adjacent where is could have been placed, without constraining the bikeway or the general purpose lanes. I am not sure whose mistake this was, but anyone with a brain would know that this was the wrong place to put it. The sign was moved within a day of my reporting it to the city, but these are things that should be done right, not relying on citizens to correct mistakes.

9th Street separated bikeway, mobile message board

There is currently a utility project along the north side of L Street between 13th St and 10th Street. The photo belows shows the situation at L Street & 11th Street. The signing is acceptable, though the use of plastic barricade poles is not, but the issue is that the detour doesn’t tell you how far. A block? Several? Where is the nearest safe crossing? As referred to in the What? Cross Where? post, the west side of this intersection has a pedestrian prohibition, but you can see someone crossing here. And why not? What else could they do?

L Street at 11th Street, signing but no information, improper barricade

This next one was a temporary closure on 10th Street. There is signing, but rather than being placed at the point where a walker could either choose to cross to the east side of the street, or to walk through Cesar Chavez Plaza and back to the sidewalk, it was placed where the closure starts. Again, the plastic barricade poles do not meet ADA requirements because they are not detectable for person with vision limitations. While some would say, well this is just temporary, for a day, and standards should be lower, I disagree. It may be perfectly acceptable to not provide an alternative route for a temporary closure, but the signing and sign locations should be the same for all closures, whether they last an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year.

10th Street, west side, temporary closure

And one last example, though I have dozens more. The 3rd Street Sewer project has closed off 3rd Street from S Street to U Street. An attempt has been made to keep the sidewalks open, and I seriously appreciate this effort, as many construction projects would simply close off the sidewalks along with the street, and not think twice. However, construction tape does not a safe route make. The detour signs are clear, but no attempt is made to provide a detectable barrier. And construction tape…

3rd Street & T Street closure, signing, tape

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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walkability

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