A friend suggested that my streets change ideas were hardly new, and that is quite true. Some streets were converted in the past, some were identified for conversion but not completed, and many more have been suggested but not adopted by the city. Here are some additional references. Some news articles about past and planned […]
Note: I’ve updated this post to add some detail to the descriptions and photos to illustrate the treatments. I will be adding separate detailed posts on some of these treatments.
Following on my earlier posts about changing streets in downtown/midtown Sacramento, here are additional street changes that might be used in some places:
- Reduce speed limit: Reduce speed limits throughout downtown/midtown to 20 mph. Of course simply reducing speed limits does not ensure that actual speeds go down, unless other measures are taken. The removal of three-lane and one-way streets will help a great deal, since these are the streets that most encourage speeding. Other changes suggested below will also slow traffic. I think, however, that the primary change will be a change in attitude, in cultural values. Once a place becomes more livable, people will focus more on being there instead of going through there to somewhere else. I see the whole pace of life in downtown/midtown as being slower, living at the pace of a walker, or even the pace of a casual conversation, rather than at the unnatural pace of a motor vehicle.
The maps I posted the last two days were preliminary to this post. I would like to see two significant changes to the streets in downtown/midtown Sacramento that will make these areas more livable, more walkable, more bikeable, and safer. I am proposing the complete elimination of traffic sewers from downtown/midtown Sacramento. What is a traffic sewer? It is a street designed to move large volumes of vehicles at high speed in and out of work areas during morning and afternoon commute times. In Sacramento, the main work area is the state buildings downtown, though there are certainly other employers and other areas, including midtown.
1. Convert all three-lane streets into two-lane streets. The map showing these streets in the downtown/midtown area is linked from my Sac 3-lane Streets post.
These three-lane streets are, of course, also one-way streets. In many cases the lane removed would be used to provide bike lanes or protected bikeways, but in some cases the space might be best used to create wider sidewalks or diagonal parking where additional parking is needed. Though in some cities the three-lane to two-lane conversion is used to create a turning lane, I don’t believe that these are necessary in downtown/midtown, nor do I feel that this is a good investment of right-of-way.
This conversion would remove some traffic capacity, though unfortunately, not as much as one might wish. Studies show only a slight reduction in capacity from this treatment, which is sometimes referred to as a road diet, though I like the term rightsizing. Continue reading
Tomorrow night (Nov. 8) at 6 PM the Sacramento City Council meets to vote to adopt a plan for the Freeport Blvd. Bike Lane project. City staff propose replacing 4 substandard-width traffic lanes on Freeport Blvd. between 4th Ave and Sutterville Rd with 5 lanes: 2 standard-width traffic lanes and a center turn lane for […]
As part of a recent repaving project, now mostly complete, bike lanes were added to several streets in the downtown area, sometimes by converting three travel lanes to two, and sometimes just by narrowing the travel lanes. As an example, 9th Street (one-way southbound) and 10th Street (one-way northbound) were converted from three lanes to […]
StreetsBlog San Francisco had an interesting article yesterday about the conversion of one-way streets to two-way streets, SFMTA Brings Humane, Two-Way Traffic Back to Ellis and Eddy. This is an idea I’ve mentioned before for midtown, but haven’t posted any details yet, and still am not ready yet. But this article builds the justification. The […]