linking the colleges?

I attended the Blue Line extension to Cosumnes River College (CRC) Grand Opening this morning at Meadowview station and then at CRC station. It was a lot of fun. There were more politicians in one place that I think I’ve seen, and they were justifiably proud of their part in supporting this extension, some having worked on it for years. [Photos on Flickr]

A number of speakers talked about linking the colleges, in this case Sacramento City College and Cosumnes River College. An increasing number of students apparently take classes at more than one campus in order to get the ones they need, so this extension is expected to help them, whether they don’t have a car or just choose to get around in a more convenient and more responsible way. Folsom Lake College’s Rancho Cordova Center is very close to the Mather/Mills light rail station. The Cosumnes River College’s Elk Grove Center will be on light rail if the Blue Line is extended to Elk Grove (Blue Line Phase 3). American River College’s Natomas Center will be on light rail if the Green Line is extended to Natomas. All of these connections are great, for students and for the community.

Unfortunately, American River College’s (ARC) main campus in North Highlands was barely mentioned. Brian King, Chancellor of Los Rios Community College District, said that ARC was served by a robust bus system. Unfortunately, that is not true. ARC is served by Route 1 (Greenback) on a 15 minutes frequency, and Route 82 (Howe-65th) on a 30 minute frequency, which is hardly robust service. Route 82 only runs until 9:30PM, missing students with later classes or who are staying to study, and who need to make connections to other buses or light rail to get back home.

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SacRT light rail extensions

SacRT is considering a number of extensions to the light rail system, beyond the opening of the Blue Line extension from Meadowview station to Cosumnes River College, which will occur August 24.

These are:

  1. lpa_mapGreen Line to the Airport, also known as DNA (Downtown, Natomas, Airport). This project is likely in two phases, first from the current end at Richards Blvd to somewhere in North Natomas, and second the rest of the way to the airport. Information on this project is on the SacRT website. This project is furthest along, and the draft EIS/EIR is now being prepared. The map of the “locally preferred alternative” is at right, and this links to the larger map on the SacRT website.
  2. Blue Line to Elk Grove. This project has been talked about, particularly as the line to CRC has approached completion and generated discussions of whether or not Elk Grove residents will be willing to change from bus to light rail at CRC. So far as I know, there are no publicly available documents on this extension, but it is included in the 2009 Transit Action Plan updated Scenario C (below).
  3. Blue Line Northeast Corridor. This project would extend the line to the northeast, to American River College, Citrus Heights, or Roseville. Though this project was part of the original vision of the light rail line when constructed back in the 1970s, it has not received much notice while I’ve been in Sacramento. So far as I know, there are no publicly available documents on this extension, but it is included in the 2009 Transit Action Plan updated Scenario C (below).


Each of these extensions are worth exploring in detail, but for now I’m posting because I have two ideas I want to share.

Continue reading “SacRT light rail extensions”

Sacramento region transit projects in 2015

Jonah Freemark on The Transit Politic has detailed transit projects in Openings and Construction Starts Planned for 2015. For Sacramento, it will be the end of work on extension of the SacRT light rail Blue Line to Consumnes River College, and the start of planning for the Sacramento/West Sacramento streetcar. It is good that these projects are happening, but in comparison to many other urban areas, Sacramento is falling further behind. We spend most of our money on expanding the freeways, building new freeways such as the Southeast Connector, and upgrading arterial roadways. Almost all of this work furthers suburban commuting and sprawl, and very little if any of it leads to true economic vitality.

Projects I’d like to see joining the list for next year are:

  • Green line extension to Natomas. Not necessarily the airport, and I’m not sure that pencils out as a beneficial project.
  • Blue line extension to Elk Grove. Though I don’t like the suburban wasteland that is Elk Grove, it is nevertheless true that there are a huge number of commuters from there to downtown Sacramento, who could be pried out of their cars if we spent money on light rail instead of highway and roadway expansion. Just the interchanges on Interstate 5, largely purposed to serve the commuter crowd, cost more than the entire light rail system.
  • Blue line extension to American River College, and eventually to Roseville. The college is a huge trip generator, and this part of the county is very underserved by transit. Though the Capitol Corridor third track will take some of some of the demand, light rail with its more frequent service would be a great complement.
  • Bus rapid transit (BRT). I’m not sure where the best location would to pilot bus rapid transit in the Sacramento region, but the fact that we are not even really experimenting with it (other than the tiny Watt Ave over US 50 bridge) does not bode well. Bus rapid transit could be an even more important solution for the region, particularly because much of the region lacks the density to make light rail successful.

Here’s to seeing more Sacramento projects on the 2016 list.