miscellaneous construction woes

I recognize that all the examples of construction zone problems (and a few done right) have been central city Sacramento. This is for two reasons, one is that I live downtown, and when I’m out on my physical distancing walks, these are the places I’m seeing. The second is that a lot of the construction happening in the entire city is happening in downtown, particularly the projects which require extensive closure of sidewalks, and bike lanes. If you have examples from other places, please let me know (allisondan52@gmail.com) and I will try to get there to take photos and analyze the situation. For those of you in the county, well, that is too much to tackle, and in a relative sense the county is economically moribund, so much less construction is going on.

Please don’t take my criticism of construction zones at being a criticism of construction. I love that there is a lot of construction going on. In midtown, most of the construction is housing, and nothing could make me happier. In downtown, there is more office construction than housing construction, and that is not a good thing, as it further exacerbates the jobs/housing imbalance in downtown. Except right around the arena, and in old town, there are few businesses and almost none are open on weekends because there is so little housing as compared to offices.

Below, a few last examples, before I move on to solutions. The first was a temporary issue, but it is illustrative of the problems. A mobile message board was placed in the center of the separated bikeway on 9th Street, even though there was a cross-hatched area immediately adjacent where is could have been placed, without constraining the bikeway or the general purpose lanes. I am not sure whose mistake this was, but anyone with a brain would know that this was the wrong place to put it. The sign was moved within a day of my reporting it to the city, but these are things that should be done right, not relying on citizens to correct mistakes.

9th Street separated bikeway, mobile message board

There is currently a utility project along the north side of L Street between 13th St and 10th Street. The photo belows shows the situation at L Street & 11th Street. The signing is acceptable, though the use of plastic barricade poles is not, but the issue is that the detour doesn’t tell you how far. A block? Several? Where is the nearest safe crossing? As referred to in the What? Cross Where? post, the west side of this intersection has a pedestrian prohibition, but you can see someone crossing here. And why not? What else could they do?

L Street at 11th Street, signing but no information, improper barricade

This next one was a temporary closure on 10th Street. There is signing, but rather than being placed at the point where a walker could either choose to cross to the east side of the street, or to walk through Cesar Chavez Plaza and back to the sidewalk, it was placed where the closure starts. Again, the plastic barricade poles do not meet ADA requirements because they are not detectable for person with vision limitations. While some would say, well this is just temporary, for a day, and standards should be lower, I disagree. It may be perfectly acceptable to not provide an alternative route for a temporary closure, but the signing and sign locations should be the same for all closures, whether they last an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year.

10th Street, west side, temporary closure

And one last example, though I have dozens more. The 3rd Street Sewer project has closed off 3rd Street from S Street to U Street. An attempt has been made to keep the sidewalks open, and I seriously appreciate this effort, as many construction projects would simply close off the sidewalks along with the street, and not think twice. However, construction tape does not a safe route make. The detour signs are clear, but no attempt is made to provide a detectable barrier. And construction tape…

3rd Street & T Street closure, signing, tape

830K construction zone

Yet another. There is a construction project, or at least a fencing off for future construction, at 830K, a long abandoned building. Along 9th Street, a fence has been put up where there used to be a bus stop, extending from K Street to and including Kayak Alley.

Southbound at K Street, there is no signing on the fence at all. This is not a major flaw, as it is obvious the sidewalk is closed, but there is no information about how far the closure extends.

9th Street southbound at K Street, west side (830 K)

From the south end, things are much worse. There is no signing at L Street to indicate there is a closure ahead. When you get to the closure, there is a random assortment of barricades, each of which is non-ADA compliant, and not indication which way to go. If Kayak Alley were open, it would at least offer an alternative, but the alley is closed.

9th Street, northbound at Kayak Alley, west side (830 K)

The worst part of this is that, so far as I can tell, nothing is going on here. The sidewalk, and bus stop, was closed off by fencing, but since then, nothing is happening. The point here is that there should be requirements placed on construction projects that if they stall out, the sidewalks must be returned to their previous open condition until such time as construction resumes.

crosswalk barriers done right

And now, before going on to all the examples of failure to accommodate walkers and bicyclists, some examples of crosswalk/sidewalk barriers that are done right. These barriers are for the state office building being constructed on the north side of O Street between 11th Street and 10th Street. It is also the light rail alignment, and one of the busier light rail borderings is across the street at Archives Plaza.

These barriers are some of the few ADA compliant barriers in the entire city. These are hard barriers, not construction tape or plastic barricade poles that can be walked through without notice be a vision impaired person. They have a base plate which is detectable by canes. They are anchored to the sidewalk, so that they can’t be knocked over intentionally or accidentally. The signing is clear, that the sidewalk/crosswalk is closed, and that the route goes left, crossing O Street.

11th Street at O Street, northeast corner

At the opposite corner of the project, on 10th Street southbound, there is clear signing, even wayfinding signing for the State Museum. Though the sidewalk is open for half the block, the barriers and signing make clear that a crossing of 10th Street is the appropriate action. Again, these are ADA compliant barriers.

10th Street east side, southbound from N Street

On 11th Street northbound, there is ‘share the lane’ signing, which is not ideal but serves acceptably in this situation with narrow street width. On 10th Street northbound, the bicycle lane has been carried through by shifting travel lanes to the left (west) and removing parking (no photo, but I will add one later). This is a good solution to accommodating bicyclists.

11th Street northbound

The remaining photos below show the other barriers and signing for this construction project. I don’t know why this one was done correctly, when most of the others are not. Was it the construction company that insisted on doing it right? Was it the state? Was it the city?

10th Street at O Street, northwest corner, crosswalk barricade
O Street at 10th Street, southeast corner, barricade and signing
O Street at 11th Street, southwest corner, barricade and signing

What? Cross where?

Now onto a construction signing instance that would be laughable if it weren’t dangerous and offensive.

11th Street & J Street, northwest corner

Take a look at the signing, and think about what it means….

The orange detour sign is telling you the detour goes left, to cross J Street, while the permanent pedestrian prohibition signing tells you not to cross J Street here. Leaving along the issue of a stupid place to put a pedestrian prohibition (it is here simply to favor the drivers whipping out of the garage exit on 11th Street and wanting to take the right without stopping), this is nonsensical. This is one of the few issues that I do blame the construction company for. It was eventually corrected, the orange detour sign was turned around to face eastbound walkers, where it should have been, but it was this way for more than 24 hours. Does the construction company care so little about safety that it just puts up signs without thinking about them? Well, yes.

Parkway trail flood signing

Part two of posts on the parkway trail; Parkway trail low points.

When the parkway trail has been flooded this year, all the way back into December but increasingly this spring, Sacramento Regional Parks has closed various segments, and even the entire parkway at times. This is understandable. The trail is, after all, in a riparian area, and what defines riparian areas is an abundance of water.

Regional Parks has posted some information about the trail on their website, particularly as more and more of the trail has been closed, and is up-to-date with a complete closure now. In December and early January the website information was frequently out-of-date. Their Twitter account has had somewhat better information about the parkway, but it focuses mostly on motor vehicle access and not on trail access and usability.

Parts of the trail are quite usable right now, but rather than addressing those parts, all of the trail is closed.

Continue reading “Parkway trail flood signing”