does Sacramento enforce illegal parking?

As a person who walks a lot in the central city, and some in other areas, I often see and report illegal parking to the city through the 311 app. I’m not talking about parking too long, or not paying, but about blocking driveways, sidewalks, and crosswalks. 90% of the time, the response that I get was that a parking officer was dispatched and the vehicle was no longer there, so no citation was issued. I provide the license number, vehicle description, and a photo, but the city will not use that information to ticket once a vehicle has moved. But, the real issue it that they often ignore the violation completely.

An example. I reported this illegally parked vehicle at 9:17AM. It was blocking the crosswalk over 13th St, and the ADA ramp. The remaining ramp area was not wide enough to allow a wheelchair to pass. At 11:09AM I received an email reply from the city, stating: “A Parking Enforcement Officer arrived at P ST & 13TH ST, SACRAMENTO, 95814 to find that the vehicle(s) reported were no longer on the scene.” At 7:30PM, the vehicle was still in exactly the same place. The officer was lying. The vehicle was still there. Either the officer never visited the location, or decided not to cite the vehicle.

illegally parking vehicle blocking crosswalk and ADA ramp
illegally parked vehicle, 13th St, not cited

This is the sort of attitude the city has toward people who walk, or roll. They are always less important than people who drive.

Sacramento disdains walkers

The City of Sacramento, both the city government and many people who live here, have a picture of a pretty good place to live, and work, and play. And that is true, to some degree. Good climate (except middle of summer), a wealth of trees, interesting and useful businesses (at least in midtown), mostly flat (for bicyclists), two rivers and the confluence, moderately friendly people. But the transportation network sucks.

Heavy rain of course brings out the flaws in the transportation system. Flooded roadways that at the least make it hard to get places, and at worst kill people. Trees and tree debris blocking both sidewalks and bike lanes. Light rail that runs late or not at all, buses behind schedule. All of those are important issues. But this post is about flooded ADA ramps.

flooded ADA ramp, Q St at 13th St
flooded ADA ramp, Q St at 13th St

The above photo is a mild case, as it does not make the ADA ramp and connecting sidewalks impassible. It just means wet feet for people who can’t jump the puddle, or wet wheels for people with mobility devices. You might think that this is a problem created by the storms. But look closer. The ADA ramp was built so that it is LOWER than the drain inlet. This puddle will remain until it evaporates, and if the rain continues, it will be there for quite some while. There are two explanations, and I don’t know which is correct. 1) The ramp and drain inlet was designed by an incompetent engineer; or 2) ramp and drain inlet were not built as designed, meaning that the construction inspector did not notice or did not care that it was not installed as designed. In either case, it is the fault of the city.

You might think that this is an unusual circumstance, but if you walk and notice, about half the ADA ramps in the city have this same problem. Why is this so common? Because the city doesn’t care. The engineer doesn’t care, or the inspector doesn’t care. Every one of these situations expresses the city’s disdain for walkers, and users of mobility devices.

I started with a mild example, but to present a much worse example:

flooded ADA ramp and sidewalk, 3rd St at O St
flooded ADA ramp and sidewalk, 3rd St at O St

This puddle won’t disappear for at least a week, even without additional rain. This is not a problem of a plugged drain inlet. The ramp and sidewalk was designed to be BELOW the gutter level along the street.

I have reported this location multiple times to the city, over the years. It has never been fixed. When I submit a 311 report, it is marked as complete without anything being done. Which is not untypical for the city, most of my 311 reports are ignored, marked as complete without anything being done.

Does this bother you? Get in touch with your city council member, provide photos and stories about how this impacts you and the people you know. Ask council members to hold city staff responsible for their incompetence and lack of care. If the city manager can’t fix these problems, it is time for a new city manager. If Public Works can’t fix this problem, it is time for a new head of Public Works. Anything else is not acceptable.