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The Squeaky Wheel: October 2013

October 10, 2013

Victory on Carlson
Resurfacing projects deliver more bikeable streets
Parklets and bike corrals reclaim streets for people
Bikes and the proposed downtown arena
Protecting bike access in regional development projects
Light On!
Bits & Pieces

Victory on Carlson

Restriping begins on Carlson Drive

Restriping begins on Carlson Drive

More than three years after the first of three fatal collisions on Carlson Drive in East Sacramento, we’re finally seeing tangible results from our campaign to fix the roadway hazards faced by bike-riders, pedestrians and drivers traveling through this critical crossroads.

Late last month City of Sacramento crews began restriping Carlson Dr. between H and J streets to improve bike lanes and slow down traffic, the first phase of a multi-year project.

In 2012, when the second bike-rider in two years was killed on Carlson, we presented the city with detailed recommendations for fixing hazards that included a misplaced traffic signal, disconnected bike lanes, missing crosswalks, and freeway-like turn lanes, all of which exacerbate the hazards created by high-speed traffic on H and J streets.

We also recommended adding green bike lanes, bike boxes, and two-stage "Copenhagen" turn boxes to help bike-riders navigate the challenging Carlson & J intersection, as well as reconfiguring the Carlson & H and Carlson & J intersections to the freeway-like "free right" turn lanes that jeopardize pedestrians and bike-riders.

This spring, a month after a collision at Carlson and H claimed a third victim, a driver, the city proposed improvements that incorporated nearly all of our suggestions.

The project’s current phase involves installing high-visibility bike lanes on Carlson and a buffered bike lane on eastbound H Street, and adding a missing traffic signal on northbound Carlson at H. Next year, the city will modify the H and J street intersections, install several bike boxes, and add more crosswalks.

Big thanks to the River Park Neighborhood Association and Councilmember Steve Cohn for helping keep the pressure on the city.

Resurfacing projects deliver more bikeable streets

Folsom Blvd road diet 092013

Folsom Blvd. near 48th Street

In addition to the bike lanes being improved on Carlson Drive, City of Sacramento resurfacing projects on Folsom Blvd. and J Street in East Sacramento and Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento are also improving conditions for people on bikes.

Portions of Folsom and J have been put on "road diets," where four lanes of traffic are reduced to two lanes and a center turn lane has been added. On Folsom, the leftover space has been used for widening bike lanes in many places, some to as wide as 8 feet.

On J Street, the diet produced extra roadway space, but not for bikes. Instead, the City added parallel parking at several locations. We're hearing rumors that city transportation officials may be rethinking this unwarranted step backwards.

On Capitol Mall, the City will be painting the bike lanes green between 3rd and 9th streets, as a kind of welcome mat for people on bikes. We love green lanes as much as anyone, and we're eager to see the City install them as they're intended: to highlight paths of travel through places where bike-car conflicts are most likely, such as on streets like Carlson Dr.

Parklets and bike corrals reclaim streets for people

Devils Teeth Baking Company

Parklet in San Francisco

Next week the Sacramento City Council is expected to authorize city staff to begin issuing permits to allow property and business owners to install parklets. The council is also expected to direct staff to develop a pilot program to place bike corrals around downtown and Midtown Sacramento.

Parklets and bike corrals repurpose parking spaces in ways that encourage biking and walking.

A parklet is a public space created by installing decking, benches and other features in one or more parking spaces. By inviting people to people sit and socialize, parklets help make our neighborhoods friendlier and more appealing for people on foot and on bikes.

Bike corrals use parking spaces for parking more bikes than sidewalk bike racks can handle, which also frees up crowded sidewalk space for pedestrians. We've proposed more than a dozen possible pilot locations where convenient, streetside bike parking will serve people who ride bikes. While we applaud the City for wanting to launch this as a pilot program, we urge them to consider making the program permanent now. Learn more at the Sacramento City Council hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6 PM.

Bikes and the proposed downtown arena

As the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings develop the proposed Entertainment & Sports Center on the site of the Downtown Plaza, accommodating bicycling is becoming a recurring theme.

Preliminary design for the arena complex

Preliminary design for the arena complex

That's what Kings President Chris Granger said at one of six recent community workshops about the design for the arena complex. Workshop participants -- individual citizens, as well as representatives of local businesses and nonprofits -- recommended secure, convenient bike parking at the arena, as well as full access for bicycling to, from, through and around the arena site from downtown and adjacent neighborhoods.

Bicycling conditions on the streets bordering the arena site – 5th, 7th, J, K and L – are stressful due to heavy, fast traffic, narrow, disconnected and missing bike lanes, and light rail trains and tracks. Designing the arena presents a big opportunity to fix these and other traffic challenges that limit access for residents and workers who travel around downtown Sacramento by bike.

Protecting bike access in regional development projects

A big part of our work involves monitoring private development proposals and public works projects to make sure they improve – and not compromise – access for residents who ride bikes. Here are some noteworthy projects we’ve been working on:

McKinley Village

McKinley Village

McKinley Village: We've met several times with the developers to learn more about this East Sacramento project and propose ways to improve bike access within the proposed neighborhood and at the access points to the surrounding neighborhoods. We’re currently waiting for the results of a study that will quantify potential traffic impacts. Learn more at a Sacramento Planning & Design Commission informational hearing on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 5:30 PM.

Campus Crest: Neighborhood residents have appealed the Sacramento Planning & Design Commission’s recent approval of this student housing complex just east of 65th Street and Broadway. We’ve advised the city about the poor connections for bicycling between the complex and Sac State, especially the intense conditions along 65th Street and Folsom Blvd.

Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op: The development team accepted most of our suggestions to improve bike access, including parking, to and from the store’s proposed new location site in Midtown Sacramento. The Planning & Design Commission’s approval of the project has been appealed to the Sacramento City Council for a hearing on Oct. 29 at 6 PM.

West Jackson Highway master plan area: Four master-planned communities are proposed along Jackson Highway east of Watt Avenue. We continue to meet with the developers to review their work to accommodate bicycling throughout the entire project area.

Light On!

Once Daylight Savings Time ends next month, sunset will begin to coincide with the evening commute. We’re getting ready to relaunch Light On!, our program to give away free bike lights to make bike-riders more visible during the winter months. We're looking for business and organization sponsors for Light On! If you can help, please contact us for more information.

Bits & pieces

Sacramento bike commuting gains: Sacramento ranked 9th among the nation’s 70 largest cities with the highest levels of bike commuting in 2012. The rate of bike commuting in Sacramento increased by 16.6% between 2011 and 2012 and Sacramento’s national rank as a bike commuting capital rose from 10th place in 2011.

More space for bikes on California roads: Last month Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. finally signed legislation to require drivers to give bikes at least three feet of clearance when passing from behind under most circumstances. This was the third time he received a bill on this subject – he vetoed earlier versions in 2011 and 2012. The new law takes effect in September 2014.


Latin Flavors Ride
Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 11 AM-2:30 PM

Sample classic Latin American flavors at four restaurants in Midtown and the Gardenland neighborhood in South Natomas. The ride is led by Paul Somerhausen, founder and coordinator of SactoMoFo and Sacramento Epicureans. Advance tickets: $30 (includes all food). Proceeds benefit SABA campaigns, programs and projects.

Moonlight Pedal & Paddle
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 5:15-10:30 PM

Bikes + kayaks + moonlight! Join us for a ride on the American River Parkway and a guided kayak trip by moonrise on Lake Natoma, near Folsom. Advance tickets: $10 (includes kayak, paddle, nightlight, personal flotation device, waterproof jacket)

Check out our calendar for more rides, events and opportunities to help out.


Ride on!

Support SABA to make the Sacramento area a safe, convenient, and enjoyable place to get around by bike.

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