tomorrow on Broadway Corridor

art bike rack at New Helvetia Brewing
art bike rack at New Helvetia Brewing

The City of Sacramento is soliciting input on changes to be made on the Broadway Corridor to accommodate pedestrian and bicyclist use.

Broadway, as currently designed, is definitely a motor vehicle world, where pedestrians cross at considerable risk and bicyclists riding in traffic are routinely honked at (or worse). Some years ago an attempt was made to calm traffic by installing bulb-outs or curb extensions at some pedestrian crossings. But these did little to slow traffic and much to make bicycling more difficult. As one of the main business streets of Sacramento, and one that is considerably more diverse than many, the corridor, and the businesses along it, and the people who use it, deserve better. Please be a part of making that change happen.

“Broadway has many exciting destinations, but as an auto dominated arterial it is an unfriendly place to walk or ride a bike,” explained Sparky Harris, City of Sacramento Project Manager. “The goal of this project is to better connect sidewalks and bike lanes, enhance pedestrian crossings, and make the corridor an inviting destination for anyone attempting to travel without a car.” (from City Express)

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 19 there are several mobile workshops along the corridor where people can find out more about the proposals and provide input. Check the City Express post City looking at improvements for Broadway Corridor for times and locations.

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) is hosting a bike ride from Capitol Park that will end at the mobile workshop at New Helvetia Brewing on Broadway at 18th. The event is on Facebook:

parklets for Sacramento!

3876 Noriega St (from San Francisco Planning Department)
3876 Noriega St (from San Francisco Planning Department)

SABA (Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates) and Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District are partnering to create demonstration parklets in Sacramento.  This is exciting! SABA has a couple of posts on their Facebook page, and I’m sure there will be a lot more discussion.

A parklet is a small space serving as an extension of the sidewalk to provide amenities and green space for people using the street (Wikipedia). They can remove the tension between street furniture and sidewalk life on the one hand, and sidewalks as a transportation route. Though Sacramento has wide sidewalks in some areas, it also has narrow sidewalks in a number of areas that are highly popular. As an example, 16th Street between P Street and O Street, right next to where I live, has a narrow zip-zag sidewalk, fenced cafe seating for restaurants, and a lot of people and a lot of bikes. There is a tension here, between cafe seating, bike parking, and the sidewalk’s function. A parklet would allow more street life without taking away from any of the other functions.

Parklets are often sponsored by the adjacent business, but since they are in the public right of way, they are open to all users at all times. Cafe seating is different in that the business has a permit for the exclusive use of that area, so it is often open only to customers and only when the business is open. Cafe seating and parklets are actually a great complement to each other, creating vibrant street life that neither alone could.

San Francisco has an official Pavement to Parks parklet page, with details about the spectacularly popular program and a series of photos. The photo with this post is one of my favorites. San Francisco Great Streets Project has a series of pages on parklets, with before and after photos, though it is not up to date.

where to have open streets in Sacramento?

a family on SF Sunday Streets - Embarcadero
a family on SF Sunday Streets – Embarcadero

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) posted a question on Facebook, “Where shall we hold one in Sacramento?” about the Sunday Streets event this past Sunday on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This echoes a conversation Alexis and I had while we were attending. She liked the Embarcadero Sunday Streets because it was a long distance and showed how streets can be used for transportation in a different way than we usually use them. For Sacramento, that would argue for a long distance closure that connects together destinations.

Though I certainly enjoyed this Sunday Street, I really like the two that I’ve been to in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, which close stretches of Valencia St and 24th St. This route is in a neighborhood, there are people living along the streets and in the neighborhood, as well as those who come from other places to enjoy. There are a multitude of locally-owned businesses to appreciate and engage, with nary a chain in sight. The special events such as play areas, climbing walls, hula hoops, dance demonstrations and others feel more concentrated rather than scattered out along a long route. For Sacramento, this argues for a midtown location, which is the only area where there is a sufficient concentration of residents and locally owned businesses. The Mission event is about community, and more like a street fair.

Embarcadero is more about transportation, and Mission is more about community. Sacramento, of course, could do both.

For more information about the flavors and locations of open streets events, see Open Streets Project. Check out the website for background information including “models”, and then go to one! Of course San Francisco is the easiest for us here in the Sacramento region, but Berkeley will also be having one or more this year, and as you’ll see, they are becoming common on the west coast, throughout the United States, and the world.

The next San Francisco event is on April 14, and is in the Mission neighborhood which I’ve referred to above, on Valencia St and 24th St. Don’t miss it! And bring back your thoughts and commitment to making it happen in Sacramento.

Alexis and I volunteered at the event as intersection monitors. Once you’ve been to an event, you can consider volunteering, which provides a different perspective. Though I was initially assigned to an quiet intersection where there was nothing much to do, I got moved to a lively intersection, The Embarcadero and North Point, where the F streetcar line crosses The Embarcadero at an angle, and there was a lot to do, stopping the walking-biking-rolling crowd as the streetcar came through, keeping people out of the dedicated streetcar lane, and talking to people about how to safely cross tracks.

I wrote more about the Sunday Streets Mission events I attended last year.