Measure U funds to make south Sacramento streets safer for pedestrians, bikers

Measure U funds to make south Sacramento streets safer for pedestrians, bikers

South Sacramento will soon be a safer place to walk and bike, thanks to Measure U.

The city’s 2019/20 budget allocates $600,000 of Measure U revenue for pedestrian infrastructure improvements around stretches of Stockton Boulevard, which encompasses two of the five driving corridors with the highest number of fatal and serious pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist crashes in Sacramento, according to the city’s Vision Zero Top Five Corridor Study.

Image via Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates

Image via Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates

The Measure U money will fund rectangular rapid flashing beacons – pedestrian-activated signaling devices at crosswalks – at dangerous intersections in those areas, primarily in the Tahoe Park and Fruitridge neighborhoods. It will also fund more lighting on dim streets nearby.

The projects are part of the city’s Vision Zero campaign, launched two years ago with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2027.

The situation on Sacramento’s roadways is grave, especially for bikers and walkers: there were 151 traffic deaths in the city from 2009 to 2015, nearly half of which were cyclists and pedestrians. The number of cyclists and pedestrians killed or seriously injured in crashes increased 63% during that time, even as total crashes decreased by 20%.

This year, an analysis by Smart Growth America ranked Sacramento in the top half of most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians in the US.

“No fatality or serious injury is acceptable on our streets,” said Mayor Steinberg. “Crashes are too often preventable incidents that can be addressed through engineering, enforcement, and education.”

Most Vision Zero safety projects are still in the planning stage, but some of the campaign’s work is visible already -- the section of J Street between 19th and 30th now has a parking protected bikeway which, in addition to buffering cyclists from traffic, decreases the number of travel lanes from three to two. Having fewer lanes slows down cars and reduces pedestrian crossing lengths.

The city has also lowered the speed limit around Sacramento schools to 15 MPH from 25 MPH. There is a 40 percent likelihood of a fatality if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle travelling 30 MPH, but only a 5 percent likelihood if the vehicle is travelling 20 MPH. Street signs enforcing the new limit have gone up at many schools already. There will be 368 signs at 115 schools once construction is completed in February 2020.

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