Slow & Active Streets, finally

The City of Sacramento implemented the first three Slow & Active Streets on Friday. Eleven blocks of 26th Street, four blocks of O Street, and five blocks of V Street were designated. Apparently these streets were selected based on strong support from the Midtown Neighborhood Association.

These streets are not closed to motor vehicles, this is not an open street type designation, but through traffic is discouraged. The signing below is on 26th Street at S Street, and every block is marked with signing, though some blocks are simpler. The signing is always set to the side, in what would be the parking lane. This is different from the setup used by almost all other cities that have set up slow streets, where drivers have to carefully go into the opposing lane in order to proceed on the street. The signs are less likely to be damaged, which is a problem in some cities where belligerent drivers move or simply run over the signs, and where errant drivers cannot help but hit anything in the roadway, no matter the safety colors used. But they are also less likely to be noticed.

26th Street at S Street, Slow & Active Streets signing

I watched two intersections on 26th Street for some while, and I saw not a single driver avoiding continuing on or turning onto 26th Street because of the signing. This may change over time as people get used to it, or it may not. It is, after all, a pilot. If you walk or bicycle on these Slow & Active Streets, or live on them, please let the city know what you think and what you observe, at https://forms.cityofsacramento.org/f/PW_Transportation_CommentForm.

The city has said the Slow & Active Streets program will be in effect at least through the end of April, but that may be extended to the end of June. Some additional streets are under consideration. The city has said that primary limiting factor for the pilot is the requirement that the signing be checked every day by Public Works staff, and after April these staff will be busy with other tasks. I am sure that local resident can take care of most needs, and report to the city if there is something they cannot fix, but I don’t see a need for staff to check them any more than once a week.

Author: Dan Allison

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

3 thoughts on “Slow & Active Streets, finally”

  1. Hi Dan: Your posts are continually getting more interesting and important. This news is great for us personally because we use 26th and O streets to get from Curtis Park to the Midtown Farmers Market. The most insecure part of our trip is through the 26th St underpass of the freeway with its dark and often littered conditions and highspeed vehicle movements (coming and going from/to the freeway). This underpass is a major deterrent for folks from our neighborhood riding into Midtown.

    Can you address this and other underpasses in a future post? I understand that Caltrans controls them but the City seems to be nothing to get any improvements (at least that was my experience on SacBAC).

    Thanks for your work and communication about it.

    Jordan

  2. Finally went to check out the Slow and Active Streets on V, 26th, and O Streets. Usage was quite low for a Saturday early evening, saw more cars than pedestrians and cyclists using the streets 😦 Even saw a cyclist on the sidewalk, that’s not getting the message! Talked to a woman walking her dog; the dog was well-trained for safety and kept heading back for the sidewalk, I thought that was cute. The signage was consistent and in-place, might have been nice to have more of it taller, the height people look for stop signs. The frequency of “cross traffic does not stop” signs was saddening; with those and the all-way flashing traffic lights on 26th, the intersections mean you couldn’t just send your kids out to play.
    I didn’t see a single bit of sidewalk chalk art in the street. Should bring the chalk if we go again, could give the street more of a “people belong here” feel.

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