I went by the Slow & Active Streets again today. Ali Doerr Westbrook and Katie Valenzuela had a table set up on 26th Street at K Street to inform the public, and giving out Valentine’s goodie and bike network maps.
Since Friday, the signs have been moved out into the street, rather than on the side. I spent some time watching traffic, and this placement does seem more effective. I saw people starting to turn onto the routes and then not, and also drivers going less than a block to homes.
An unexpected feature was that the traffic signals on 26th Street had been set to flashing red along 26th and the cross streets. I was surprised because it is rare that the city changes traffic signal operations for anything.
I heard from people that the street had been very active yesterday on a warm sunny day, but there weren’t a lot of people out today. More bicyclists than walkers. Everyone seems very happy to see this program in effect.
One driver stopped while I was taking a photo, to ask what I thought. He then mentioned that he lived on O Street, and was very happy to see this traffic calming, as he said many drivers went way to fast on O Street, coming off 21st Street (which is a one-way street with higher traffic speeds even though posted 25 mph).
The City of Sacramento implemented the first three Slow & Active Streets on Friday. Eleven blocks of 26th Street, four blocks of O Street, and five blocks of V Street were designated. Apparently these streets were selected based on strong support from the Midtown Neighborhood Association.
These streets are not closed to motor vehicles, this is not an open street type designation, but through traffic is discouraged. The signing below is on 26th Street at S Street, and every block is marked with signing, though some blocks are simpler. The signing is always set to the side, in what would be the parking lane. This is different from the setup used by almost all other cities that have set up slow streets, where drivers have to carefully go into the opposing lane in order to proceed on the street. The signs are less likely to be damaged, which is a problem in some cities where belligerent drivers move or simply run over the signs, and where errant drivers cannot help but hit anything in the roadway, no matter the safety colors used. But they are also less likely to be noticed.
I watched two intersections on 26th Street for some while, and I saw not a single driver avoiding continuing on or turning onto 26th Street because of the signing. This may change over time as people get used to it, or it may not. It is, after all, a pilot. If you walk or bicycle on these Slow & Active Streets, or live on them, please let the city know what you think and what you observe, at https://forms.cityofsacramento.org/f/PW_Transportation_CommentForm.
The city has said the Slow & Active Streets program will be in effect at least through the end of April, but that may be extended to the end of June. Some additional streets are under consideration. The city has said that primary limiting factor for the pilot is the requirement that the signing be checked every day by Public Works staff, and after April these staff will be busy with other tasks. I am sure that local resident can take care of most needs, and report to the city if there is something they cannot fix, but I don’t see a need for staff to check them any more than once a week.