As expected, last night the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to close the at-grade railroad crossing at C Street in Midtown. The decision enables the City of Sacramento to proceed with plans to open a new at-grade crossing for a proposed extension of Ramona Ave. to connect with Folsom Blvd. in the Power Inn area.
The C Street crossing will be closed next spring at a cost of $500,000. The new $12M crossing will eventually provide a direct biking and walking route to Sac State for students living in housing to be built south of Folsom Blvd. in the Power Inn area in the next several years.
The closure at C Street will isolate the entrance to the Sacramento Northern Trail, located directly next to the crossing, behind a new 1.5-block dead-end street without through traffic or any other active uses. We remain concerned that an isolated trail entrance will discourage trail users and enable more of the vagrancy, illegal camping and related problems that already plague the trail.
SABA and three other speakers warned the Council about the safety consequences for people who currently use the Sacramento Northern Bikeway to travel between Midtown and the American River Parkway and North Sacramento. This trail segment is the most direct bike route and only pedestrian route between Midtown and North Sac.
We urged the Council to negotiate with Union Pacific Railroad for an easement to extend the existing trail one block south to D Street. A new D Street trail entrance would be directly accessible and highly visible from D Street.
Three Councilmembers spoke at the meeting and acknowledged the benefits of extending the trail, while emphasizing the economic benefits of creating the new crossing.
We’ll continue to push for this solution with elected officials, City staff and other partners. In the near term we’ll also begin monitoring bike and pedestrian traffic at the trail entrance, surveying current and would-be trail users, and documenting complaints and police calls involving the Sacramento Northern Bikeway to provide a baseline for measuring the impacts of the closure.