the magic water fountain on M Street

water fountain in the M Street mini-park
water fountain in the M Street mini-park

In my previous post, I complained about the non-functional water fountains at SacRT light rail stations, but in doing so, I remembered that I’d never posted about the water fountain on M Street in Sacramento. Herewith is my paean to the M Street water fountain.

In a tiny triangle park at M Street and 48th Street in East Sacramento is a wonderful thing, a public drinking fountain. Not only is there a drinking fountain, but also a decorative fountain, and benches, and flowers, and shrubs, and a patch of grass. I stop here on every trip, whether I’m thirsty or not, just to celebrate this little corner. Sometimes I’ll stop and lie on the grass, or sit on the bench and enjoy the fountain. Other times, it is just a quick drink and on with my trip. I’ve seen mothers here letting their kids play, and retired folks just passing the time. There is always a bowl beside the fountain for dogs to have a drink as well.

Continue reading “the magic water fountain on M Street”

legislation update

There are several bills before the California Legislature that would affect bicycling, walking, and livability. For additional information, see Richard Masoner’s Cyclelicious blog (search for “legislation”) and the California Bicycle Coalition’s 2013 Legislative Agenda page.

AB-184: Statute of limitations: lengthens statue of limitation for hit and run, probably a good bill

AB-206: Vehicles: length limitations: buses: bicycle transportation devices (SacRT): amended to add an onerous process for approval, but probably still a good bill

AB-417: Environmental quality: California Environmental Quality Act: bicycle transportation plan: no changes so far, a good bill

AB-666: Automated traffic enforcement systems: violations: red light cameras, it restarts the program, but with civil rather than criminal penalties, supported by CaliforniaWALKS and California Bicycle Coalition; hearing in Assembly Judiciary 04/23/13

AB-738 Public entity liability: bicycles: no changes so far, still a bad bill; hearing in Assembly Judiciary 04/23/13

AB-840: Vehicles: driver’s licenses: application requirements: stripped of all bicycling knowledge language, now only requires that drivers license applicants acknowledge the dangers of distracted driving

AB-956: Vehicle accidents: fleeing: no changes so far

AB-1002: Vehicles: registration fee: sustainable communities strategies: changed to remove urgency language and detail use for sustainable communities; still a good bill; hearing in Assembly Transportation 04/22/13

AB-1179 Regional transportation plan: sustainable communities strategy: schoolsites: language slightly diluted, still a good bill

AB-1193 Bikeways: allows cities and counties to use industry standards rather than the requiring the use of the Highway Design Manual; language improved, a great bill; hearing in Assembly Local Government 04/24/13

AB-1194: Safe Routes to School Program; maintains SRTS program at state level, added non-infrasture, statewide coordinator, and TARC; better; hearing in Assembly Transportation 04/15/13, 1:30PM

AB-1290: Transportation planning: broadens representation on the California Transportation Commission and requires reports on progress of transportation agencies in reaching sustainable community goals; seems to be a good bill; hearing in Assembly Transportation 04/29/13

AB-1371: Vehicles: bicycles: passing distance: this bill originally had a different purpose, and was revised to be a three foot passing law, it looks to me to be good; hearing in Assembly Transportation 04/22/13

Please let me know if you are aware of any other bills. I’ve signed up for tracking on these particular bills, but may not be keeping up to date.

less commuting, more livability

Q-St-10th-St_SaratogaTownhomesIn my previous post, I suggested two major changes to the street grid in downtown/midtown Sacramento, one to eliminate one-way streets, and the second to convert all three-lane streets to two-lane streets. Of course there is an overlap between these changes, as all of the three-lane streets are also one-way streets.

The goal of these changes is to make it harder to commute to and from downtown Sacramento by car. Yes, that is my intention.

By way of explanation, I go back to Williams Burg’s documentation of the intentional de-population of downtown, and to a smaller degree, of midtown. There is an insufficient housing stock of all types in the downtown area, and in the midtown area there is a lack of some kinds of housing, primarily single family housing. I’m not talking here about separate housing, the suburban model of isolated houses on isolated lots in isolated communities, but of housing designed for families to live in that are not like apartments with shared facilities. Tapestri Square on 20th St is one example of this kind of single family housing, but there are many more both new and older. And of course there are Victorians still available which have not been subdivided into spaces too small for a family.  Housing is gradually being added back into midtown. Where I live at 16th & O, there are two new mixed-use buildings going up, retail below and apartments above. There are others in midtown, and even a few in downtown.

Continue reading “less commuting, more livability”

News summary 2012-05-21

The Streetsblog family of blogs (NYC, LA, SF, and Capitol Hill) has Daily News posts, and for the NYC, The Weekly Carnage. I find these useful for picking up interesting information I’d otherwise miss. Though I probably only average one click per list, it is still useful. Maybe this would be useful for Sacramento. Please let me know if it is useful, and please pass along articles that you think I might miss. The only news sources that I regularly follow are the Sacramento Bee and The Sacramento News & Review, but even there I sometimes miss things.

Bicycle advocates chalk up successes of Bike Month (2012-05-17 SacBee)

Dutchman completes an emotional win (2012-05-21 SacBee)

Pedestrian hit while crossing Arden Arcade street dies of injuries (2012-05-17 SacBee)

Viewpoints: Not just about highways (2012-05-20 SacBee)

Registration Opens for Annual ‘Rex Ride’ (2012-05-18 SacBee)

City might relax business parking requirements (2012-05-18 Sacramento Business Journal)

Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen Preparing Fourth Annual Scavenger Hunt (2012-05-15 Sacramento Press)

Minivan hits girl on bike in Antelope area (2012-05-14 News 10)

Bike Score

Bike Score for Minneapolis, with “heat map”

The next stage from the folks at Walk Score, Bike Score, is now available, for a select 10 cities. There aren’t any big surprises, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Madison are at the top.

Sacramento is not on the list of 10. If you’d like to see it there, you can go to the Bike Score page and tweet a vote for it. Please do!

Walk Score also recently released Transit Score, where Sacramento is listed, as 22 out of the 25 largest cities with accessible transit data, at a score of 32. Both the Bike Score and Transit Score are created at a city-wide level, unlike the address-specific Walk Score. So these rankings are just first steps, but nevertheless interesting and useful.

You may have seen articles in the media recently about the high correlation between walkability and housing prices, with walkable communities in high demand and unworkable suburbs in the doldrums. This is good news for all of us. Walk Score was in fact designed as a tool for helping people find real estate and apartments in places that fit their desired lifestyle. As the correlation between walkable, bikeable, transit-dense communities and livability becomes more clear, resources (societal and personal) will be shifted away from the suburbs to urban areas.