Sac one-way to two-way

The City of Sacramento Downtown Mobility Project includes the conversion of two one-way street segments to two-way. Specifically, I Street from 15th St to 21st St, and 5th Street from I St to X St. The time frame for these changes was projected to be 2021.

Note that 5th Street is already two-way from L St to J St, and from I St to Railyards Blvd. One-way 5th Street significantly handicaps access from the south to and from Sacramento Valley Station.

Downtown Mobility Plan

The 2040 Sacramento General Plan mobility element Proposed Roadway Changes map (10MB; this is from the City Council agenda item 15 for January 19, 2021, I’ve not found it on the city website) indicates additional one-way to two-way conversions in the central city. On the clip of the city-wide map showing the central city, below in pinkish, these are small sections of 3rd St, sections of 7th St and 8th St, one block of 16th St, small sections of 19th St and 21st St, sections of G St and H St, some additional sections of I St, a long section of N St, and small sections of L St and P St under the Business 80/Capital City freeway. There is no indication of sequencing of these conversions in documents available so far, but since the plan is a 20 year plan, I would hope that these conversion are prioritized for the next five years.

2040 Sacramento General Plan, Proposed Roadway Changes, excerpt

I’ve written a number of times about the safety hazards of one-way streets and recommendations for converting them in Sacramento: One-way streets, again; 5th Street mess at Sac Valley Station; more on conversion to two-way streets; street changes. When these additional conversions are implemented, the central city will be closer to my ideal of no one-way streets except when there is a separated (protected) bikeway on the street. An even this is questionable, as it increases safety for bicyclists but does little to increase safety for walkers.

Someone recently asked when the streets in the central city were converted to one-way, and I don’t know. Anyone out there have information?

One-way streets, again

I’m glad to see the idea of converting one-way streets to two-way streets to improve livability and safety is back in the news: More than one way (Sacramento News & Review 2014-11-27).

The reasons given, by Chris Morfas, William Burg, Jim Brown, Dave Saalsaa, and Emily Baime Michaels are all good, strong reasons for conversion.

The comments by Sparky Harris are a little disingenuous. The city already has a plan to convert one-way to two-way, documented in the 2006 Central City Two-Way Conversion Study Final Environmental Impact Statement (no long available on the city’s website, but I have a copy of this large document if you want it). It is interesting that it is not longer on the website. Eight years ago the changes in driving and living habit were starting to become obvious, and even at that time, it was clear that there were considerable benefits from conversion. Except for a very few streets that were converted when they were resurfaced, nothing has been done. Now another study? I’d rather see more action and less study. Yes, some conversions will not have benefits that are as strong, and some will be controversial, but converting many of the streets is “low-hanging” fruit, something that should already be underway and not awaiting more study.

I’ve written about this idea in several posts:

more on conversion to two-way streets

A friend suggested that my streets change ideas were hardly new, and that is quite true. Some streets were converted in the past, some were identified for conversion but not completed, and many more have been suggested but not adopted by the city. Here are some additional references.

Some news articles about past and planned conversions in Sacramento:

References on past and planned conversions in Sacramento:

Articles and references on the one-way to two-conversion concept:

Note: There are a number of contrarian views available from the cars-first crowd. You can search for the Internet for “two-way conversion” if you want to find them.

street changes

The maps I posted the last two days were preliminary to this post. I would like to see two significant changes to the streets in downtown/midtown Sacramento that will make these areas more livable, more walkable, more bikeable, and safer. I am proposing the complete elimination of traffic sewers from downtown/midtown Sacramento. What is a traffic sewer? It is a street designed to move large volumes of vehicles at high speed in and out of work areas during morning and afternoon commute times. In Sacramento, the main work area is the state buildings downtown, though there are certainly other employers and other areas, including midtown.

3 to 2 conversion, 10th Street northbound
3 to 2 conversion, 10th Street northbound

1. Convert all three-lane streets into two-lane streets. The map showing these streets in the downtown/midtown area is linked from my Sac 3-lane Streets post.

These three-lane streets are, of course, also one-way streets. In many cases the lane removed would be used to provide bike lanes or protected bikeways, but in some cases the space might be best used to create wider sidewalks or diagonal parking where additional parking is needed. Though in some cities the three-lane to two-lane conversion is used to create a turning lane, I don’t believe that these are necessary in downtown/midtown, nor do I feel that this is a good investment of right-of-way.

This conversion would remove some traffic capacity, though unfortunately, not as much as one might wish. Studies show only a slight reduction in capacity from this treatment, which is sometimes referred to as a road diet, though I like the term rightsizing. Continue reading “street changes”

Two-waying streets in SF

StreetsBlog San Francisco had an interesting article yesterday about the conversion of one-way streets to two-way streets, SFMTA Brings Humane, Two-Way Traffic Back to Ellis and Eddy. This is an idea I’ve mentioned before for midtown, but haven’t posted any details yet, and still am not ready yet. But this article builds the justification.

The conversion was the result of an extensive community transportation study, which is detailed at http://www.sfcta.org/content/view/312/159/. The most interesting quote I found in a brief reading of the materials is:

“Much of the auto traffic impacting the Tenderloin is not local traffic. The neighborhood’s unique location adjacent downtown results in large volumes of through traffic to and from the Bay Bridge, the Financial District, and other areas of the City. Many of the roads are designed as auto-oriented, high-capacity facilities, with multiple lanes and one-way configurations. The residents of the area have expressed a strong desire to see the neighborhood’s streets become more livable by shifting the balance away from maximizing auto throughput toward an improved environment for pedestrians and public transit. Slowing traffic speeds or ‘traffic calming’ through the neighborhood is one way to achieve this goal.”

Sound familiar?

There are a number of other great recommendations. Take a read, both of the StreetsBlog post and the underlying study.