I & 12th crashes

The city has installed substantial bollards on the southwest corner of I Street and 12th Street in an effort to protect the Bangkok@12 Thai Restaurant there.

There were at least two major injury crashes into the restaurant in 2019, and the location has a history of crashes (see https://www.sacbee.com/article235349392.html for one example). There were 26 collisions at this intersection in the five year period 2015-2019. This is the most for any intersection in the central city, with the next closest being 19th Street and X Street, at 17.

2019-09-20 crash (photo from SacBee)

Why? Well, the primary reason is that this is the intersection of two 3-lane, one-way arterials, both of which are known to have a history of speeding. The city installed a speed display sign on 12th Street approaching I Street, but has not done so for I Street approaching 12th Street. I had not noticed this sign before yesterday, so I don’t know how long it has been there. Even a brief watch of it indicated that many drivers are exceeding the speed limit, some egregiously so, at more than 10 mph over the speed limit. And then, of course, there are the bollards pictured above. These are not solutions.

The city has identified the section of I Street east of 12th for a reduction in travel lanes from three to two, and that will help. But to the west, no reduction, so drivers will likely be speeding up through the intersection to spread out into the increased capacity. For 12th Street, a reduction from four (!) to three lanes will occur north of H Street, which may reduce speeds approaching here, but in the section between H Street and J Street, it will remain three lanes.

I strongly feel that all roadways of three or more lanes must be reduced to two lanes. Drivers simply cannot be trusted to behave properly on 3-lane roads. It doesn’t matter how much signing we add, or bollards we add, drivers will still speed and will endanger walkers, pedestrians, people in other vehicles, and people sitting down to eat a meal at restaurants.

Solution? The reduction in lanes on I Street must continue westward at least to 10th Street (I would continue it all the way to the freeway, but that is another issue). 12th Street must be reduced from three lanes to two lanes in the section between H Street and J Street (I would reduce it from C Street south). Most of the traffic on 12th Street turns left onto J Street, only a portion continuing south, so having one through lane and one left turn lane would not significantly reduce capacity, but would make things a great deal safer. A bonus would be that the left hand travel lane can be allocated to the exclusive use of the southbound light rail tracks. Currently, the southbound lane is shared between motor vehicles and light rail, and the light rail train is often delayed by congestion and by left turning vehicles. Two birds with one stone, as the saying goes.

The city’s Vision Zero effort focuses on corridors, stretches of street with a high crash rate, and this is not a bad focus, given that most of these corridors are in disadvantaged/disinvested communities. It does not focus on intersections, not even on very high crash rate intersections. San Francisco’s Vision Zero program, one of the leading in the country, identifies the top five corridors, AND the top five intersections. There has been significant though not necessarily complete infrastructure work on each of these. I would like to see the I Street and 12th Street intersection be prioritized for Sacramento.

JUMP update

The credit for returning a low battery $ bike to a drop zone is now $1.00, up from 50 cents.

I notice a lot of scrapes on the bikes. It seems that there are a lot of minor crashes occurring. I have not heard of any major injuries, but there must be a lot of minor injuries going on, because there are minor injuries to the bikes. In addition to the scrapes on the basket, the brake lever, particular the right, is often turned under, which requires some impact to accomplish. The front fenders seem to get bent out of alignment as well.

I have heard directly from several people about crashes on the tracks, particularly along K Street. I initially discounted the rumors, as I assumed that it would be hard for these wide-tired bikes to have problems with tracks, but apparently I was wrong. I’m not sure if these are occurring at the rail crossover (between 9th and 10th), or all along K. K probably sees more bike share bikes than any other street with rails in Sacramento. There are many inexperienced bike riders on these bikes, who may not know that tracks should be crossed at a high angle, 90 degrees perpendicular if possible, but at least 45 degrees. Anything less risks capturing the wheel and taking you someplace you didn’t intend to go.

There seem to be new bikes out (nice and shiny, without scrapes), with 6000 series numbers, so I think that the overall total is now above 600, but I don’t have any specific numbers.

I’m seeing more and more bikes outside the system boundary in Sacramento, some miles outside. I’m not sure if JUMP has given up on charging the out-of-bounds fee, or these are people with money to pay it, but it kind of irritates me, as these bikes are often unavailable until picked up by JUMP field staff, meaning they are used much less than those that stay within the boundaries. I know that an expansion of the boundaries is planned, but I’d heard it will not occur until the system reaches its total of 900 bikes.

The transformation of the central city continues, at least during evenings. There are many fewer private vehicles, fewer ride hailing vehicles, and a continuous stream of JUMP bikes. When I park a bike, it is often gone within five minutes. These bikes are getting used!