On Tuesday, February 8th, at 5:00PM City Council will hold a workshop focusing on Active Transportation. The hope is to bring forward some BIG IDEAS that can propel Sacramento’s streets into safer places for all users while fighting climate change.
Recommendations from the report and work of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change identified active transportation as one of the easiest and least expensive elements to an overarching Climate Plan that has us significantly reducing our GHG’s by 2040. And yet, besides the pilot project of Slow and Active Streets, the City has focused on electrification. Until now.
Sacramento ranks 6th among the cities with the worst air quality in the US. Shifting a transportation focus from car-centric policies to centering people will dramatically help us have a bikable, walkable, livable city. We need you to tell City Council to adequately fund and prioritize active transportation. The only highways we need now are bicycle superhighways.
For more on the workshop and how you can participate, GO HERE.
As many are aware, the COP26 just wrapped up convening in Glasgow, Scotland. But you might not know that SABA, along with 350 organizations from around the world signed an open letter calling on governments to boost global cycling levels. Our joint message was simple: the world needs more people cycling if we are to combat the climate crisis.
The Cop26 was dedicated to transport focused almost exclusively on fossil fuel-powered means such as motor vehicles and aviation, with almost no attention paid to sustainable methods of transport such as cycling and walking, which already exist.
The EU’s Matthew Baldwin brought up the missing subject and along with the letter signed by organizations around the world, a sentence on active travel was added to the Glasgow Declaration.
“We recognize that alongside the shift to zero emission vehicles, a sustainable future for road transport will require wider system transformation, including support for active travel, public and shared transport.”
In other words, we’re not going to reach our goals with zero emission vehicles alone. Leaders in Glasgow argued that cycling should be a part of a broader approach to a variety of multimodal transportation options. When a third of emissions come from transportation you have to switch modes.
Carlton Reid, transportation writer for Forbes and other publications was in Glasgow talking with leaders:
“The climate transition is not simply about replacing every petrol or diesel car with an electric car,” Ed Miliband told [Reid] in the COP26 Media Center.
“We need to create a better society where people can walk and cycle, with all the health benefits that brings,” added Miliband.
Jill Warren of the European Cyclists’ Federation argued, “If you make cities more cycling-friendly, you don’t just get the emission reductions; you get the livability, you get the absolutely enormous health benefits. These add up to over $60 billion in economic benefits a year.”
California signed onto the Climate Declaration as did Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. The capitol of California, sadly, was MIA.
We appreciate that the City “took a chance” with the Slow and Active Streets pilot, but we recommend that the City double down and raise bike and pedestrian infrastructure to the top of their climate change implementation list of goals and actions. Let’s start by finishing the creation of a low stress interconnected bike network.
It’s obvious: bicycling is low cost, low tech, and high impact. Don’t underestimate the power of the bike.
Update: October 15, 2021 The Slow and Active Streets Pilot has come to a close in Sacramento and the City’s Public Works Dept. has put out a report about the effort. Read the entire report here. Here are our takeaways:
Of the 1200 respondents to a survey put out by the City (with assistance from us at SABA), 60% of them were positive about the pilot. 26% were negative and another 14% were neutral. This is good news. Almost 3:1 people were in favor of seeing their streets used for something other than speeding vehicles.
Slowed streets were calmer: 27% of respondents reported driving LESS on the Slow and Active Streets.
Even though the City was slow in getting this pilot up and running (City Council gave the green light in December 2020, but the first neighborhood didn’t get started until mid February, and the entire pilot was over by the end of July), 30% of survey respondents reported an increase in walking, riding, running and scooting, then before the pilot.
We heard from a number of people who thought the scarce resources allocated to the Pilot could’ve been used in a different fashion, but the respondents still wanted those dollars to go to making streets safer for all users. Good news in that their focus is in the right place – safe streets!
The total amount of dollars to run the pilot was $241,000. This is a low number, if you add in the hours spent by a number of organizations like ours, who helped to advocate for, facilitate, and activate the neighborhoods who were “Slowed”.
The upshot was a higher rate of engagement for the Pilot. This is also good news, because it tells us that people do care about their neighborhood, and how their streets are used or abused.
In the final analysis, people want two things: Slowed traffic and comfortable places to walk, bike and scoot.
So then, what’s next for Slow and Active Streets?
Let’s start with the City. Although they are pushing for carbon neutrality by 2030, and they know that transportation is one of the highest emitters of pollutants into our air, they have been slow to prioritize bike and pedestrian travel at the top of the modal hierarchy. Funding should be proportionally allocated to make possible the mode shift targets. The promotion of cycling is not an end in itself; rather, it is a means of creating a safer, more comfortable and more functional urban environment. The more people travel on foot, by bicycle and by public transit, and leave their car behind, the greater the number of people who can efficiently move about the city.
The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change identified a set of priorities with active transportation at the top of the hierarchy. The report states, “To achieve a significant shift away from vehicle use, the cities will need to create an environment that enables greater use of active transportation modes by making travel by walking and rolling more accessible, safe and convenient. This strategy is focused on making active transportation a viable and attractive option by increasing the connectivity of active transportation corridors to create a seamless network, as well as by providing basic amenities at the neighborhood level so that shorter trips can be taken by walking or rolling to meet daily needs.”
Sacramento can and should do more.
Perhaps the only silver lining of the pandemic was that it gave us a chance to re-visit and re-think how our roads serve us. Cities worldwide are making significant strides in changing their roadways and transportation systems. The pandemic gave rise to the idea of the “15-minute City”, which is built on the premise of a street network that is walkable and ridable where one can access parks, food, medicine, schools and businesses within 15 minutes. Research tells us that beyond density, a walkable and ridable urban fabric is necessary to make the 15-minute city work. That implies a connected network of thoroughfares (streets, passages, trails) and small blocks knitting together the neighborhoods.
Sacramento has some of this in place, but it is missing a low stress network of routes to get in and out of town and within and around town. Low-stress routes are routes that are safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to ride a bike. Neighborhood streets are typically low stress because they have low speed limits (25 mph or less), two or fewer motor vehicle travel lanes and low volume car traffic. Busier streets can also be low stress for bikes if they have adequate infrastructure that helps separate bikes from cars, like protected bike lanes. Low-stress intersections provide safe ways for people on bikes to cross busy streets through intersection treatments like traffic signals, flashing lights and crossing islands.
In the Statehouse: A.B. 773, from Adrin Nazarian (D-Los Angeles) will make Slow Streets a permanent possibility in state law. This is wonderful as it provides an opportunity for transportation departments and organizations like us continue to find ways to show people how their streets could be used to move people not cars.
We’ll be working on a few initiatives in support of the concept of Slow and Active Streets. We want to support and advocate for slowing traffic for residents, and ways to make their street spaces more enjoyable. A low stress connected bicycle network which makes it possible for people to get anywhere around the City by bicycle remains a priority for us.
February 2021: We are pleased to announce that on February 12th, the first set of Slow and Active Streets were launched in Sacramento in the Newton Booth/Midtown neighborhood of town. Congratulations to Abby Jackson and the residents of Newton Booth and Midtown for spearheading this effort. Kudus to city transportation leaders for helping to make this a reality.
Read more about the progress made and the work still to be done here.
May, 2020 During these unprecedented times, people need safe places to get outside and exercise. Unfortunately, the surge in people seeking outside space close-to-home is putting a considerable strain on our public spaces. Trails, sidewalks, and parks are overcrowded, making it difficult for people to safely maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.
With dramatically-reduced car traffic due to the pandemic, we have an opportunity to create more public spaces for people to safely get out—by opening up our streets for walking, biking, and physical activity. Closing off selected streets to cars or converting some traffic lanes for biking and walking use can expand access to the outdoors, which is essential to maintaining physical and mental health.
SABA and WalkSacramento have teamed up to urge the City of Sacramento to consider fully or partially closing streets for residents to be able to safely exercise and access essential grocery stores, restaurants, and parks. We know that opening streets for exercise and active transportation is an attainable tactic to improve quality of life and promote public health during this unprecedented public health crisis. Let’s join the 30+ cities worldwide in making these changes for Sacramento.
Here’s what you can do to help:
Go to this website and SIGN the petition, LEARN more about this effort and let your VOICE be heard in City Hall by sending a letter to your City Council member. Listen here for our take in an interview with Randol White on Capital Public Radio.
Everyday is a good day to choose riding a bike, but May is special because people want to get outside and enjoy our wonderful city in warmer weather. It’s a time when everyone in the region celebrates bicycling, which is good for your health, and good for our environment. Every May, cyclists in the region pledge to ride their bikes and log miles and trips and have been doing so since 1956!
May is Bike Month 2021 will mostly be virtual, but we are planning on hosting a few rides in small groups. There are plenty of activities and events scheduled all around town and you can find them on this calendar, which is hosted by SACOG.
SABA is holding RIY (Ride it Yourself) activities and is hosting pop-up energizers in all around town. We are partnering with friends to help highlight what’s going on, and we hope that you’ll join us for many of our activities, which you can find here. Plus, there’s swag to be had!
We will post up rides and activities for you to enjoy with directions so that you can earn SABA and MiBM swag. Look for the latest information in our bi-monthly Gear’d Up, on our Facebook page and Instagram. Get out there and learn about our city, visit interesting new places and enjoy riding around our region. Don’t forget to tag pictures with #mayisbikemonth, #sacbikesmay2021, and #sacbike.
Week 1 UPDATE: We had a blast out at Success Academy on Saturday and on the ARBT & Chase Dr. on Sunday. Riders stopped by to win swag, answer simple questions and if needed, get their bike fixed. We’ll be out at Discovery Park on Sunday, May 16, from 10:00-12:00. Stop by, say hello, and win SWAG!
May is Bike Month ACTivities!
Ride it Yourself (RiY) – Sac Mural tour
SABA Mural Tour. We created this last year, but it’s a great one. Ride to a variety of the murals around town. Take a selfie at each mural you ride to. Tag #sacbike, #sacbikesmay2021, #mayisbikemonth, & #wow.
When you’ve completed your mural tour, taken selfies and have uploaded them to @sacbike, or have tagged #sacbike, then go here to earn swag!
RiY – Bike Route Sacramento – West Sacramento
RIY West Sacramento. We’ve partnered again with Peter Hansell, creator of the Bike Route Sacramento board game. His routes are inspired by the Board game. Ride any and all of the RIY routes during MiBM and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the Board Game!
This amazing woman was recently diagnosed with leukemia. This May, she’ll undergo a bone marrow transplant from her Haplo sister. Because she is mixed with Pacific Islander, Gina could not find a full match from “Be The Match”, an organization that matches donors with people in need.
SABA invites you to join us in sending Gina our positive thoughts and prayers for a successful transfusion and a speedy recovery. We support Gina in bringing awareness to the importance of the Be The Match organization. She hopes that by sharing her experiences she can help others facing similar difficulties. Be The Match needs more Pacific Islanders and African-Americans donors to save lives.
We know that Sacramento is not immune to unsafe streets. We can and should do better. Streets should be safe for all people, period. Yet what constitutes a “safe street” is different for many people. Streets are not safe until people of color can walk and bike on roads, on sidewalks, in parks, and in any community without fear of being attacked based on their race.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community and their allies, many who have taken to the streets in communities across the country, demanding justice and calling for an end to systemic racism and oppression.
SABA recognizes that improvements to our own work are needed to achieve equitable and just investments in communities of color throughout Sacramento, too many which are underserved and underrepresented. We need to do better. There’s a long road ahead. As a starting point, we will engage with local communities of color, to listen. We will share your ideas and feedback on how we can improve with our members, our allied advocates, and to local leaders. We are committed to doing the work imperative to arrive at a just and equitable Sacramento. Black Lives Matter.
The Sacramento Bee recently published an article about opening up sidewalks and streets for dining. Mayor Darrell Steinberg dubbed it, “Farm to Fork Al Fresco,” a catchy name capturing the essence of the food scene here in Sacramento. The idea is to open up space for diners and maintain social distancing, while helping restaurant owners fill seats to more than 50% capacity, which is, on average how much seating space is lost if all tables are distanced at six feet.
Where does the extra space come from? In cities such as Paris, which has had outdoor seating at cafes and bistros for decades, the extra seating is on the sidewalk, either abutted to the restaurant or out farther adjacent to the street edge, with a wide space for pedestrians to pass through on the sidewalk. Few of our sidewalks in Sacramento are wide enough for that, and adding tables to the area would likely force pedestrians out into the street to maintain social distance as they navigate the corridor.
Instead, we could follow many other cities worldwide whose streets are being partially or fully closed to cars and businesses. They are able to add more space with a “parklet,” borrowing the parking spaces in front of their establishments.
Tampa, FL is allowing businesses to establish parklets on the sidewalk immediately adjacent to their establishment or in their parking spaces. Applying for a city permit is suspended during their pilot program; however, property manager approval remains a requirement. The city will work with the business owner to temporarily disable parking meters so the parking spaces can be repurposed for use by the business. Some cities have been leaving one side of the road open to parking and the other to pedestrians. Restaurants may set up tables and chairs in these parklets as long as they are adhering to health and safety standards. Diners are seated through a reservation system to avoid gathering while waiting for a table.
Long Beach is moving in the same direction. The need for the extra space is what could make or break a business. One restaurant owner shared the math: 50% occupancy simply means 50% of the profits, which doesn’t add up when rent, utilities, wages and insurance are all at 100%. The extra space is crucial to the equation of whether or not it’s a viable business model. Likewise, research has shown that places built for people but are less car-centric are more likely to be economically viable.
The coronavirus is pushing us to think differently when it comes to the safety of our citizens and jumpstarting the economy, and using space in a different way is emerging as a key factor. Following the lead of other cities around the world, Sacramento should close down streets typically reserved for driving and parking and open them up to accommodate diners at a safe distance, boosting much needed economic growth. The city is already working on a plan to close a few streets so that more people can get outside and enjoy some fresh air while maintaining social distance.
Closing streets to vehicular traffic isn’t new or radical. In the 1970s, roads were closed off to create downtown walking malls, and these days major thoroughfares are closed to cars a few times a year for large events, such as the Sacramento International Marathon, or the Amgen Tour of California. Sacramento has already toyed with Open Street or Ciclovia projects, where the roads are closed for a set amount of time, like Bogota, Columbia does every Sunday, and Los Angeles has been doing now for years.
The list is long of cities who have taken steps to change their streets into places where people can move about free from concern of being too close. London, Paris, Barcelona, Bogota, Lima, Berlin, Vilnius, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Tampa, Charleston, Cincinnati, and Oakland have all embraced making changes to their streets.
A prominent New York chef summed it up this way: “[What’s] the best dish on the menu? Safety. Restaurateurs will serve this one dish as they try to re-open. What’s true is that to safely serve this up, space is the key ingredient.” So we urge you, our City leaders, to open our streets to people, extend sidewalks, create parklets and ease permitting so that businesses may serve us safely. Let’s enjoy it, “al fresco”.
Bicycles are essential transportation for many who need to get around at any time but especially now during the coronavirus outbreak. This might include traveling to essential jobs, running crucial errands, or participating in mutual aid for vulnerable people who cannot leave their homes.
Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates is connecting those who have an extra bicycle to folks in the community who need one. Whether you have a bike or need a bike, contact us via the links below, and we will match you.
We have teamed up with a number of other bike advocacy groups to create an on line platform to match up people who have a bike to donate with those who need a bike.
Here’s how it works
If you need a bike
Fill out the I Need a Bike form and tell us about yourself and what you need.
We will contact you when we have a match for you. You and the donor will be provided with each other’s contact information so that you can make your own arrangements to hand off the bike.
We know that everyone is staying safe at home, washing hands, and basically doing what they can to avoid Co-Vid 19. But! Did you know that cycling has been deemed an essential activity? Yes! Biking is the perfect solo activity to get fresh air and exercise while you practice safe physical distancing. It’s great for the mind, body, and soul, and we’re here to celebrate biking in all its forms! Whether you’re riding around the block, around your neighborhood, by yourself, or with your immediate family, cycling is good for your head, good for your heart and good for everyone.
This year, May is Bike Month is going virtual! SABA will be offering a series of rides and scavenger hunts that you can do on your own to earn prizes as well as logging in your trips on the May Is Bike Month trip calculator.
Each week, we’ll post up a new set of rides and activities for you to enjoy with directions so that you can earn credit towards SABA and MiBM swag. Look for the latest information in our bi-monthly Gear’d Up, on our Facebook page and Instagram. Get out there and learn about our city, visit interesting new places and enjoy riding around our great city. Don’t forget to tag pictures with #mayisbikemonth, #sacbikerides2020
Since 1991, SABA has believed in the power of community-based education and local advocacy to enable residents to make more and safer trips by bicycle. Great improvements have been made to our local bicycle infrastructure in recent years thanks to SABA and our allies’ efforts. Yet everyday obstacles — from close-calls with oblivious drivers and ill-placed leaf piles, to real setbacks, like the news of yet another fatal collision — are reminders that the Sacramento region is still behind its potential to be unequivocally “bicycle friendly.”
In 2019, SABA’s Board of Directors and staff navigated internal transitions while reflecting on community input on how to improve engagement and advocacy efforts on behalf of our members and the public at large. And, with invaluable support from our donors, governmental and advocacy allies, and selfless volunteers, our unrelenting staff have kept SABA rolling strong while accomplishing an incredible amount of work to promote and improve bicycling for all.
With exciting projects including the Broadway Avenue Complete Streets and I Street Bridge redesigns coming up, and a countywide transportation sales tax measure framework solidifying, 2020 is gearing up to be another busy year for SABA – and a critical year for all bicycle advocates to get involved.
But SABA needs your help in order to continue our work to make our region’s bicycle-friendly future a reality. Please take a moment right now to make a generous, tax-deductible year-end gift to SABA. Together we can create a safer, healthier, and more prosperous region for everyone.
Wednesday night, the Sacramento City Council met for a transportation workshop to dive into the myriad of transit issues facing the Sacramento region. Presentations were made by representatives from SACOG, the Public Works department, the Mayor’s Commission on Climate Change and a couple of advocacy groups: SMaRT (a regional transit advocacy group) and SacMoves (a coalition of non-profit organizations including SABA). The hope was to outline the challenges and make a first attempt at prioritization for a potential transportation funding tax measure that the STA Board hopes to get on the ballot in 2020.
There was a lot of discussion about fixing streets that have poor pavement conditions and while working on them, to make our streets, “Complete Streets” for cyclists, peds and alternative modes of transit (scooters and Jump bikes). Safety of our streets also topped the lists of Councilmembers. This is sobering: More people die in Sacramento from traffic fatalities than homicides. While homicides are in a downward trajectory, traffic deaths are on the rise. More than one council member told a recent story of a death as a result of a car vs ped or cyclist. Doubling down on our Vision Zero plan would go a long way to stop fatalities.
The STA Board will be developing a Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP) and a first draft of this will be released in mid-November. We urge you to learn more about what SABA’s stance is on this by reviewing the SacMoves Vision and Investment Strategy. As we get closer to the STA Board Meeting (which is public), we’ll be asking members to show up and show support for safe streets, clean air, and a multi-modal transit system so that we can always choose to leave our cars at home.