The City of Sacramento is updating its policy and practice for accommodating people walking and bicycling in work/construction zones and special events. The policy will specify when and where walking and bicycling facilities may be relocated, detoured, modified, and closed.
Strong SacTown members had given feedback to the City’s Department of Public Works back in May 2023 about how sidewalk access should be prioritized when there are work zones. This was because many sidewalks had been closed for months after trees fell from the winter storms, and we considered it unacceptable for the City to not close parking lanes or provide any accommodations for pedestrians.
Thankfully, Sacramento is seeking to address these problems!
Their updated draft Work Zone and Event Detour Policy aims to “maintain accessibility and connectivity for people walking or biking.”
Here are some guidelines in the new draft policy that achieve this goal:
- Sidewalk / bikeway closures must be the last resort after diversions (priority) or detours
- Sidewalk diversions must be clearly identified and shielded from motor vehicles
- Sidewalk detours are less preferred and should not last more than 5 days
- Sidewalk detours should be prioritized over vehicle traffic
- All temporary pedestrian facilities must maintain ADA-compliance
- Separate people walking from people biking
- If the sidewalk diversion is placed in a bikeway, biking accommodation must be maintained
- Bikeways may be maintained by closing a parking lane
That means a lot fewer sidewalk or bike lane closures, and more “diversions” by temporarily reclaiming space from cars. Ramps, barriers, and reflectors will keep pedestrians and cyclists safe and separated from traffic.
For more info, including a PDF of the draft policy: https://www.cityofsacramento.org/Public-Works/Transportation/Planning-Projects/Work-Zone-and-Event-Detours
What can we do?
The City of Sacramento Public Works Department is seeking community input on their Updated Work Zone Detour Policy right now through January 2024!
Make a comment online at bit.ly/sac-detour-comments
If you have questions about the process: Email Casandra Cortez, Transportation Planner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From the City’s website:
Why is this effort important?
Supporting City goals around equity and climate includes ensuring direct, convenient, and comfortable paths of travel around work zones are maintained for walking and biking. Detours that are difficult or unclear to users result in frustration and people walking in the street or rolling in travel lanes where they are not expected. Safety for people walking, bicycling, scooting, people with disabilities, and those driving is an important consideration in and around work or construction zones and special events.
While there isn’t local, Sacramento specific, statistics on work zone crashes, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has information by state. In California, in 2021, there were 113 work zone fatal crashes, and 120 work zone fatalities, 32 “at work” pedestrian fatalities, and 31 other pedestrian involved fatalities in work zones.