I am all in favor of converting many if not all of the one-way streets East of 16th Street back to two-way streets. Of course, our suburban-dominated Sacramento city council and staff can't really understand our frustration with the current traffic mess since 99% of them live in the suburbs and drive into the Central City right into the city-owned parking garage. Does any one know if the City has done anything on this issue?
Central city traffic plan doesn't yield to business
Many in midtown would prefer to see more two-way streets
Sacramento Business Journal - December 15, 2006by Melanie TurnerStaff
Central city business leaders mostly approve of yet another set of plans to change the flow of traffic in some neighborhoods, but some say the plans don't go far enough.
Early next year
Sacramento officials could approve the conversion of four streets from one-way to two-way traffic, and two thoroughfares from three lanes to two lanes.
The city hopes the recommended changes will strike a balance, making neighborhoods and business districts more pedestrian-friendly while maintaining the central city's overall transportation system, said Hector Barron, a supervising engineer with the city of Sacramento.
While the streets recommended for two-way conversions are mostly residential, dozens of businesses front 19th and 21st streets from H and I streets to Broadway and W Street. The city recommends keeping those streets one-way but reducing them from three lanes to two, with bike lanes.
The conversion project started several years ago, mostly in response to residents' concerns about high speeds and traffic volumes on one-way streets. Residents viewed similar conversions on G, H, S and T streets as successful, Barron said.
The business community, however, expressed mixed reactions to the city's latest recommendations. Their concerns were mostly over what wasn't in the plans.
The city, for example, does not recommend the two-way conversion of any multiple-block stretch in the central city, except for mostly residential N Street.
The central city is bounded by the American and Sacramento rivers on the north and west, Broadway on the south, and Alhambra Boulevard on the east.
Staff recommends converting to two-way traffic one block of 3rd Street from I to J; one block of J from 30th to Alhambra Boulevard; two blocks of 9th and 10th from E to G streets; and a dozen blocks of N Street from 16th to 28th streets.
The recommendation excludes three streets that also were looked at for possible two-way conversions in a full-blown environmental study: L and Q streets from 16th to 29th, and P from 16th to Alhambra. The city concluded that converting those streets would have a negative impact on traffic circulation and cause transit delays because bus routes run on all three streets. The City is once again looking at the wrong issues here.
Staff also recommends reducing 19th and 21st streets from three lanes to two, 19th from H Street to Broadway and 21st Street from I to W. The lane reduction makes conditions safer for cyclists and pedestrians and does not impact traffic as much as a two-way conversion of these streets would, Barron said. "We heard from bicyclists that those could be a key north-south bike route," he said.
Not enough in midtown?
Downtown Sacramento Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of Sacramento's central business district, is satisfied with the final recommendation, said deputy director Danielle de l'Etoile. Why the f'k should I care what the DSP thinks about anything? They have to be one of the most pathetically impotent Downtown Partnerships in the country
De l'Etoile said there's a belief in the business community that two-way streets are generally good for business because they tend to slow traffic.
"It allows them to go a little bit slower, view the shops they're driving by rather than flying by," she said.
Because the recommendation does not include any two-way conversions that involve streets with mostly businesses, Shawn Eldredge, president of the Midtown Business Association Board of Directors, said the city's chosen alternative does not go far enough. Truest statement in the whole article
"It's nowhere near what we spent years studying," he said, adding that he'd like to see more two-way conversions on business-rich streets like J Street.
Early on, the city looked at every one-way street in the central city to identify potential conversions.
J Street, a main business drag that handles large volumes of traffic on three eastbound lanes, was not among the streets identified for study in an environmental review because the city concluded that converting J Street would cause too many problems, Barron said.
While Eldredge said the recommendation falls short of the goal to slow traffic in business zones, he also said the association supports the city's efforts to make the city safer and more pedestrian-friendly by converting streets such as 19th and 21st from three lanes to two.
In the past couple of years, the city reduced L, N, P and Q streets from 15th to 29th to two lanes with bike lanes, improving east-west bicycle activity. Previously, the streets had one-way traffic with three lanes.
Eldredge said the three- to two-lane conversions encourage people to walk, ride bikes and take mass transit, all of which help businesses to thrive. He called those changes a "baby step" in the right direction. Why are we so damn timid in Sacramento?
Aaron Zeff, president of Priority Parking, which recently purchased Harv's Car Wash at 19th and L streets, said L Street seems to be a natural one-way street since it feeds into Business 80 and Interstate 5.
Zeff would prefer two-way traffic on 19th Street to encourage more businesses on that stretch, but he said keeping it a one-way street and reducing it to two lanes would be a good move. Of course, he'd say that. He's only looking out for his little interest. He doesn't give a sh't about the residents of the Central City.
Brian Ballinger, owner of Cervantes Tapas and Italian Bistro on 21st between K and L, said doing business on a one-way street is not easy. "One-way streets are really hard because people go past you really fast," he said.
Amy Sheets, office manager for John Ellis Automotive Repair on 19th, said she doesn't think the three- to two-lane conversion will make a difference for her business.
"What would really make a difference is if they converted it back to two-way," she said.
Sandi Wasserman, owner of Vizcaya on 21st Street, said she doesn't know if changes would impact her business. But she said in 22 years working downtown, she's been frustrated by the number of street conversions -- some back to what they were originally -- and she questions whether the city has a clear picture of the future. Well she's got that right
A final recommendation is expected to go before the City Council as early as February. ????