Author Archives: Deb Banks

Join today for a chance to win

Protected bikeway on P Street in downtown Sacramento

We’re looking for at least 100 new monthly members who love what bicycling does for our community.

Could one of them be you?

We’ve just introduced a new monthly membership option that makes it easy and affordable to support our mission and our work.

For as little as $5 a month — less than the price of a Starbucks® pumpkin spice latte or a pint of your favorite local IPA — you can help us continue advocating for the region-wide benefits of bicycle transportation, including cleaner air, safer streets and calmer neighborhoods for everyone.

Join today as a new monthly member and you could win one of our weekly drawing prizes, including a gift card from Natomas Bike Shop, Sutterville Bicycle Company, Magpie Cafe or Rivet Cycle Works, or a 1-month guest membership to the Capital Athletic Club.

You’ll also be entered in our grand prize drawing to win this PUBLIC Dutch-style, single-speed step-thru (medium/large frame), courtesy of Mike’s Bikes.

Joining today is simple: Click on the link below and select the monthly donation amount that feels right for you. You can make your membership donation using your credit or bank card or by direct transfer from your bank account.

> > >  JOIN NOW < < < 

Click here to learn more about the work you’re supporting and the other benefits of membership.

Questions? Contact us at saba@sacbike.org or 916-444-6600

Big thanks to Natomas Bike Shop, Sutterville Bicycle Company, Magpie CafeRivet Cycle Works, Capital Athletic Club. and Mike’s Bikes for generously supporting our membership drive!

Two Rivers Trail

Photo by Mapio.net

Beginning with a feasibility study in 2010, the City of Sacramento is installing the Two Rivers Trail along the south side of the American River. As a first phase, segments of paved path have been installed between Tiscornia Park opposite Discovery Park to the Hwy. 160 bridge and for 0.7-mile east of Sutter’s Landing Park.

The City of Sacramento is currently designing the next phase, a 2.4-mile stretch from the Union Pacific RR bridge to H Street tentatively set to open in 2019. The City has received a $3.3 million grant from Senate Bill 1 gas tax revenues to design and build the trail.

The project would pave the existing dirt maintenance road at the base of the levee that’s been open to the public for more than 50 years. The paved trail will be used for walking and biking as well as for levee maintenance vehicles, and will include decomposed granite shoulders for walking and running.

Benefits for River Park residents

Provides access for all, especially those with mobility impairments. There currently is no ADA-accessible path into the Parkway from River Park. Some mobility-impaired River Park residents have never seen the river in their own backyards!

Improves safety by creating the conditions that encourage legitimate, legal activity and deter illegitimate, illegal activities.

Protects the privacy of residents by giving walkers and bicyclists an established path below the crown of the levee. Initially the path was envisioned for the top of the levee, but it was later moved due to restrictions by the regional flood control agency, which uses the top of the levee for maintenance vehicles.

Safeguards bicyclists by creating a direct, continuous, completely car-free bike route to the Midtown Grid. This path will completely bypass congested East Sacramento streets, including the undercrossings and freeway ramps at the Capital City Freeway.

Benefits for the region

Aligns with the vision of River Park resident Frank Cirill, longtime defender of the American River Parkway, for a fully accessible American River.

Legalizes bicycling in this part of the American River Parkway. Except in the Woodlake and Cal Expo areas of the Parkway, bikes may only be ridden on paved paths. Riding off-pavement is illegal and bicyclists riding there are subject to a citation by County Parks rangers.

Encourages biking and eases congestion by creating a continuous, off-street bike route between the Sac State campus and the Midtown Grid.

How you can support this project

Learn the facts.

Visit the trail site.

Talk to your neighbors about the facts and the benefits.

Let your elected leaders know you support the project.

Who pays for rough roads? You do.

Roads in need of repair cost California drivers $61 billion (yes, billion) every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes, according to a report released this month by a national transportation research organization.

Here are five reasons why the condition of our roads matters for people on bikes:

– People on bikes are hurt in crashes caused by hitting or dodging potholes and broken pavement.

– People on bikes are hurt and killed in collisions with drivers who hit or try to dodge potholes and broken pavement.

– Rough roads discourage people from traveling by bike instead of driving, and that keeps too many cars on the road.

– People on bikes, like all other Californians, suffer the health effects of breathing air polluted by traffic congestion resulting from poor road conditions.

– Most people on bikes also drive cars.

Road maintenance is essential to providing safe conditions for bicycle transportation. We need adequate funding to keep our roads in good repair.

Last year California enacted the first increase in the state gas tax in a generation, with the goal of funding a backlog of roadway repairs and other improvements. Click here to read more about this new revenue source, including the local roadway projects being implemented throughout the state with this funding.

Protected bikeway on J Street at 21st Street in Midtown Sacramento

The protected bikeway on J Street in Midtown Sacramento, the 2 miles of buffered bike lanes being installed on Mack Road, and the proposed Two Rivers Trail in the American River Parkway near East Sacramento are prominent local projects funded with the new gas tax revenues.

A November 2018 ballot measure called Proposition 6, whose largest donors are 7 Republican congressional and gubernatorial campaigns, seeks to repeal the funding. SABA is part of the coalition of 300+ organizations, businesses and public agencies united against Prop. 6. Please consider joining the No on Prop. 6 coalition and also encouraging those in your network to do the same.

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If you value this kind of information and SABA’s work in our region, please consider becoming a SABA member.

Improving Mack Road (a little)

The central city isn’t the only part of the city getting some bike love as the result of ongoing road resurfacing projects.

While bicyclists get used to new buffered bike lanes on 24th Street and Elvas Ave. and a new protected bikeway on J Street, this week City of Sacramento crews started work to resurface 2 miles of Mack Road between Valley Hi Dr. and the Morrison Creek bridge just west of Deer Creek Dr.

When the roadway striping is eventually repainted, the existing bike lane will be enhanced with a 2-foot painted buffer, like the new lanes recently installed on 24th Street and Elvas Ave. near downtown. The space for the buffer comes from narrowing the existing traffic lanes, which are more than 20 feet wide in places (the City’s minimum standard for the width of a striped traffic lane is 11 feet).

As with the recent bikeway improvements installed in Midtown, Curtis Park, Oak Park and East Sacramento, this project is funded with state gas tax revenues specifically earmarked for road rehabilitation projects. The City has a policy of installing planned bikeway improvements whenever a street is resurfaced. With striping already included in the resurfacing budget, adding bike lanes costs almost nothing.

Buffered bike lanes on 24th St. between 2nd Ave. and Broadway

The new buffered lane will add some lateral space between bikes and moving vehicles, making Mack Rd. a little more comfortable for bicycling. Accommodating bikes on Mack Road is important because it’s the only continuous east-west street for more than a mile to the north and south and it’s the area’s main destination for shopping as well as service jobs.

Will the new bike lanes solve the problems bicyclists experience on Mack? It will help slow down traffic, which is the main factor in fatal collisions throughout the city – even drivers will benefit from this project.  But the speed limit on most of Mack Road is 45 MPH, a speed at which nearly every collision involving a bicyclist or pedestrian is fatal.  A year ago a cyclist died in a collision on Mack Road at Summersdale Dr.

Speeding is a major problem on Mack Road. Like most of the main roads in the South Area, Mack Road has very long blocks between signalized intersections — more than a half-mile between the signals at Valley Hi Drive and Center Parkway and nearly three-quarters of a mile between the signals at Deer Creek Dr. and Brookfield Dr. at the west end of the project area. Long distances between signals and very wide traffic lanes make it easy and inviting to drive considerably faster than 45 MPH.

There are several alternatives to installing this type of bike lane that come with big caveats. A protected bikeway could provide a little more separation between bikes and cars, however, this kind of facility isn’t recommended for a street that has the number of driveways seen along Mack Rd. Plus, there is no curbside parking anywhere along Mack Road, so creating true physical separation would require installing a median, which is far beyond the City’s budget for a road resurfacing project.

A completely separated, off-street bike path might be the safest solution for a street this busy. Installing one would require the City to buy the necessary right-of-way on both sides of the street for at least 2 miles. That assumes that owners were willing to sell and the City could afford to buy, not including the cost of construction.

A cheaper and safer solution might be to look for an alternate route that parallels Mack, however, the nearest continuous east-west streets are Florin Rd. more than a mile to the north and Cosumnes River Boulevard about 1.5 miles to the south. The lack of continuous east-west streets other than these major arterial boulevards is a significant obstacle to improving mobility and safety for bicyclists throughout the South Area.

For now, enhancing the existing bike lanes on Mack Road is a worthy first step, recognizing that making arterial boulevards accessible for bicycling remains a huge, complicated and necessary challenge.

If you value this kind of information and SABA’s work in our region, please consider becoming a SABA member.

More bikes on more of the ARP

Off-pavement bicycling advocate Bob Horowitz interviewed in August 2016 about the pilot program.

The Sacramento County Recreation and Parks Commission has given its final approval for implementation of the off-paved path cycling pilot in the Woodlake and Cal Expo areas of the American River Parkway near downtown Sacramento. The 3-year pilot program will open existing unpaved maintenance roads to people on bikes beginning in September.

The June 22 vote concludes a 15-year effort led by Bob Horowitz of the Folsom Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition or FATRAC to accommodate off-pavement bicycling within the American River Parkway master plan. The pilot program has been part of the Parkway plan for the past decade. The County seemed especially persuaded to implement it by the potential for giving kids from nearby neighborhoods more places to ride. Off-pavement cyclists of all ages represent a large new group of potential Parkway stewards and supporters.

Off-pavement riding is already permitted in the Parkway east of Hazel Ave., which is administered by California State Parks.

The pilot program does not authorize bikes on existing equestrian paths, except in one short segment to be shared. Bicycling on all other equestrian paths in the Parkway west of Hazel Ave. remains prohibited.

The implementation plan approved by the commission includes measures for monitoring environmental and other impacts over the next three years, including damage to vegetation at the edges of the trails, whether informal trails or technical features such as jumps or berms are illegally constructed, trash such as water bottles and wrappers, and security as well as conflicts among trail users.

By introducing more active uses in this part of the Parkway, the pilot program will begin to help discourage illegal camping and reverse the related impacts of drug activity, trash, human waste, off-leash dogs and wildfires. These benefits also make the Parkway safer for those who bike, walk and run along the paved Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail.

Especially in light of the recent violent confrontations in this part of the Parkway, safety remains a significant concern for everyone. Ensuring the safety of new and existing trail users will require additional County funding for ranger patrols. The implementation plan includes funding for added security as well as signs and trash containers. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will also be asked to allocate more funding to rangers and enforcement activities throughout the entire Parkway.

Potential conflicts with equestrians have also been central to the discussion of implementing the pilot program. While equestrians very rarely use this part of the Parkway, the County will measure the success of the pilot program in part by whether there are fewer bicyclists riding illegally on the equestrian trails. Continued or increased bicycling on the equestrian trails is likely to keep the County from opening more areas of the Parkway to off-pavement bicycling.

As the County rolls out the program, watch for more information from SABA and FATRAC about rules for trail users and other details, including the exact opening date.

 

Frank Cirill, 1922-2017

The American River Parkway is one of the region’s most important natural and recreational amenities. If riding, walking or paddling along the Parkway is part of what makes the region special for you, you owe a debt of thanks to Frank Cirill, who passed away in January. Frank’s life and memory will be celebrated in Carmichael on Saturday, June 10. The remembrance below was written his daughter Lisa Cirill.

Protector of the Parkway

frankcFrank Cirill, a longtime supporter and partner of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, passed away peacefully of natural causes at the age of 94 earlier this year. A bicycle commuter and race competitor, Frank was known as the “Protector of the American River Parkway”.  He devoted his life to preserving the American River Parkway against development threats and ensuring adequate flow in the lower American River.

Frank served as Chief Mate aboard Merchant Marine liberty ships during World War II and throughout the Marshall Plan.  He was an engineer and construction estimator from 1950 to 1987.  The highlight of his career was serving as chief estimator with Continental Heller Construction and overseeing the $68 million restoration of the State Capitol from 1975 to 1981.

In 1968, Frank began to serve as a board member of the Save the American River Association.  He served as SARA’s President from 1978 through 1994 and later as President Emeritus.  “For nearly half a century, Frank Cirill did more than any other person to preserve and enhance the Parkway’s ecosystem, wildlife habitat, waterway and recreation resources,” said Stephen Green, SARA President.  Frank was a guiding light for the 1976, 1984 and 2006 American River Parkway Plans.  For 21 years he successfully fought the East Bay Municipal Utility District from taking American River water from the Folsom South Canal.

Frank was an avid outdoorsman, swimmer, fly fisherman, runner, bicyclist, kayaker and Nordic skier. Among other endeavors, Frank served on the County Parks and Recreation Commission from 1973 to 1978, founded the Sacramento Southside Striders running group in 1975, co-founded the Capitol Nordic Skiers cross-country ski club in 1980, and after designing the original race course, spent decades on the organizing committee as Race Director and Race Director Emeritus of the Eppie’s Great Race.  He was that race’s first Ironman in the age 60-plus division and he was a Masters Class Nordic Ski Champion.

Frank continued running 20 miles a week on the Parkway until he was 86.  His last voyage on the Pacific was at 88 when he served as a working crew member aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain.  Frank then continued to stay fit through the remainder of his life by using a stationary bicycle.  A burial at sea near the Golden Gate Bridge from aboard the SS Jeremiah O’Brien liberty ship was held for his immediate family.

Frank is survived by his wife of 56 years, Doris; his son Curtis Cirillo (Soussan Cirillo), his daughter Lisa Cirill (Kevin Shirley) and three grandchildren.  A celebration of Frank Cirill’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, 2017, along the American River’s edge at the picnic area across from the golf course clubhouse at Ancil Hoffman Park, 6700 Tarshes Drive, Carmichael, CA  95608.  Remembrances in his honor can be made to the Save the American River Association at www.sarariverwatch.org/ways_to_give.

Make the most of your new bike

Christmas bikeIf a new bike arrived at your house this holiday season, here are some tips to make sure you’re ready to roll.

bike-mechanic1. Get it checked. If your bike came from a big-box store, have your local bike shop check it over before it’s ridden. Walmart, Target and Kmart sell more bikes than any other retailer, but the employees who assemble those bikes aren’t bike mechanics. Common assembly errors include parts that aren’t fully tightened and parts that should’ve been lubed but weren’t. A bike shop mechanic can check your new bike to make sure it’s ready to ride.

Click here to find a bike shop near you. And once your bike is in good shape, click here to learn how to keep it that way with simple maintenance steps you can do at home.

2. Use your head. State law requires any bicyclist under age 18 to wear a helmet. A helmet can help keep an adult head safer too. Click here for instructions on how to wear a helmet properly. And click here to review the rules of the road for people on bikes.

Right-locking-technique-1024x7683. Protect your ride. Compared to the cost of replacing your bike, buying a good bike lock is cheap insurance. Click here to learn more about the best types of locks and how to use them correctly.

4. Show that it’s yours. Sacramento residents can register their bikes for free with the Sacramento Police Department – click here to get started. You can also register for free with the National Bike Registry. Or ‘self-register’ by writing down the make, model, type and color of your bike, attach receipts if you have them, and take a selfie with your bike.

5. Go have some fun! Click here for links to maps showing bike routes throughout the region, including streets with bike lanes and off-street bike paths.

American_River_Trail.0

 

SABA’s year in review: 2016

SABA works in three main areas — advocacy, community engagement and technical assistance — to help create the conditions that enable more people to confidently choose a bike as safe, convenient everyday transportation. Here are the highlights from 2016:

Advocacy

Sacramento Bicycle Master Plan update

Bicycle Master Plan workshop in North Natomas

Bicycle Master Plan workshop in North Natomas

What we did: We participated on a technical advisory committee that provided input on goals and priorities for this minor update of Sacramento’s master plan.

Why it matters: A robust citywide plan is the key to realizing all the benefits of increased bicycle ridership, including cleaner air, less traffic congestion, safer streets, more robust retail activity in bike-friendly neighborhoods, and better access to opportunity.

Although this was not the major update Sacramento needs and deserves, the update includes important new features, including an analysis of neighborhood investments, to highlight the need for greater equity; guidelines for matching the appropriate bike infrastructure to each type of street; and stated goals for increasing ridership, improving safety, creating continuous connected bikeway networks, and ensuring that bike infrastructure investments are made equitably throughout the city.

What’s next in 2017: For budget reasons, the updated plan does not contain implementation measures. We’ll continue working with the City of Sacramento to find resources to implement the plan as well as begin conceptual planning on a major update within the next 4-5 years.

Vision Zero

Joseph Martinez was killed near this spot on 47th Ave. in South Sacramento on Sept. 22, 2015

Joseph Martinez was killed on his bike near this spot on 47th Ave. in South Sacramento on Sept. 22, 2015

What we did: We’re part of a community task force convened to advise the City of Sacramento Public Works Department on its action plan for implementing a Vision Zero program to eliminate serious and fatal traffic collisions.

Why it matters: A thoughtful, data-driven action plan will direct resources toward safety improvements and other strategies for safeguarding people on bikes. Sacramento has 5 times the rate of bicyclist fatalities as comparable cities with better bike infrastructure. Nearly all of those fatal collisions occur on major arterial streets like 47th Ave., due to the combination of heavy traffic, fast vehicle speeds and inadequate accommodation for bikes (e.g., poor bike lanes or no bike lanes).

What’s next in 2017: By next summer the City of Sacramento will begin community outreach to review a draft action plan. We plan to be an active partner in ensuring that neighborhood-level concerns are reflected in the plan.

Building Healthy Communities initiative

What we did: We continued to receive grant funding from The California Endowment to help improve health, safety and economic opportunity in the Building Health Communities area of South Sacramento. Among several projects, we partnered with WALKSacramento, another BHC grantee, to assess conditions for biking and walking along several major streets in South Sacramento.

Why is matters: The 10-year BHC initiative is intended to address fundamental health, safety and economic needs in the BHC area, while helping build the long-term capacity of neighborhood-focused organizations. We know that residents in lower-income neighborhoods are likelier to use a bike as everyday transportation, yet the BHC area has fewer bike routes and bike lanes, and significant physical obstacles such as large arterial streets and freeway overcrossings that make it more challenging to ride a bike.

What’s next in 2017: We plan to increase community engagement activities by recruiting and employing BHC-based bike mechanics and bike safety instructors to deliver free bike repairs and safety skills training to BHC residents.

Railyards bikeway network

railyardsarial11116p

Aerial view of the Railyards and the historic Southern Pacific RR shops looking south toward downtown Sacramento.

What we did: We reviewed plans and actively advised the Railyards development team on street improvements to make bicycling convenient, safe and comfortable within, to and from the Railyards. One of our main advocacy activities is to review development projects and provide recommendations and comments to improve conditions for bicycling.

Why it matters: The Railyards Specific Plan will govern development in the Railyards for the next 20-30 years, and most of the smaller streets haven’t yet been built. We worked to ensure that the plan provided for bike access from the beginning, especially to identify low-stress, family-friendly bike routes between the Sacramento River and the Sacramento Republic FC stadium site and between the historic Central Shops and the regional park planned for the north side of the development.

What’s next in 2017: With the amended Railyards Specific Plan now approved by the City of Sacramento, we’ll work with major Railyards property owners, including Kaiser Permanente and the Sacramento Republic FC, to ensure that their development projects align with the Specific Plan’s objectives.

Sidewalk riding ordinance

Sidewalk bicycling in Midtown Sacramento on a popular stretch of J Street without bike lanes.

Sidewalk bicycling in Midtown Sacramento on a popular stretch of J Street without bike lanes.

What we did: We helped ensure that proposed amendments to the Sacramento city ordinance regulating bicycles on sidewalks did not limit access for people traveling by bike in neighborhoods with unsafe streets.

Why it matters: Bicycling on sidewalks is unsafe and unfair to pedestrians. It mainly happens on streets that can’t be safely or conveniently used by bike. But enacting laws that punish sidewalk riding without making the streets safer forces people on bikes to choose between what’s legal and what’s safe — that’s unfair too.

Throughout the two-year-long public debate about amendments to Sacramento’s ordinance, we made sure City staff, elected officials, residents and the media understood why investing in bike lanes and other infrastructure improvements is the most effective way to encourage safe bicycling and protect pedestrians. To read about the rules for sharing the road, including rules about sidewalk riding, go here.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll monitor the City’s progress as it continues to implement the amended ordinance. Watch for the City to identify the first streets where sidewalk riding will be prohibited, most likely in the downtown Grid.

American River Parkway off-pavement bicycling pilot program

Off-pavement bicycling advocate Bob Horowitz interviewed about the pilot program

Off-pavement bicycling advocate Bob Horowitz interviewed about the pilot program.

What we did: We actively participated in and advocated for implementation of Sacramento County’s plan to allow bicycling on unpaved service roads in the Woodlake and Cal Expo areas of the American River Parkway, as authorized under the American River Parkway Plan.

Why it matters: The 3-year pilot program will enable more people to enjoy the American River Parkway by bike, increasing legitimate uses in a part of the parkway where recreational and transportation bicycling is heavily impacted by illegal camping, trash and wildfires. Sacramento County Parks receives $1M a year in Measure A sales tax revenues to maintain the Jedediah Smith biking and walking path, yet the unsafe conditions along the first 6 miles of path from Discovery Park means this annual investment isn’t producing all the benefits it could. Increased activity through off-pavement bicycling will make the Jedediah Smith path feel safer and more accessible.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll continue to participate as a stakeholder as Sacramento County Park launches the pilot program. We expect off-pavement trails to be open by the summer.

Rancho Cordova cycle track project

A physically separated bike lane on Routier Road would improve protection for people on bikes.

A physically separated bike lane on Routier Road would improve safety for people on bikes.

What we did: We provided public and behind-the-scenes support for the City of Rancho Cordova’s plan to install two miles of cycle tracks (AKA separated bikeways or protected bike lanes) along Routier Road and Rod Beaudry Drive between Old Placerville Road and the American River Parkway.

Why it matters: This project is likely to be the first cycle track project completed in our region outside of Davis. Similar projects in other communities have significantly increased bicycle ridership and improved bicyclist safety. We see this project as a model for the rest of the region.

What’s next in 2017: The City of Rancho Cordova has received federal funding to plan and engineer the project. We’ll remain involved as a community stakeholder to ensure that the project meets its objectives.

Community engagement

Bike Valet

Bike Valet at Food Truck Mania in Tahoe Park. We're parking City Councilmember Eric Guerra's bike!

Bike Valet at Food Truck Mania in Tahoe Park. That’s City Councilmember Eric Guerra and his bike.

What we did: We parked some 15,000 bikes at nearly 300 individual community events that took place from Davis to Ione and North Natomas to Elk Grove.

Why it matters: Bike Valet turns community events into bikeable destinations. We provide people on bikes with reliable parking where otherwise none might be available, while event organizers who hire us recognize the value of supporting their customers and clients who travel by bike.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll use Bike Valet events to raise SABA’s profile and help generate public support for our advocacy priorities.

Bike Doc

Bike Doc mechanic Glenn Small explains repairs to a Bike Doc customer.

Bike Doc mechanic Glenn Small explains repairs to a Bike Doc customer.

What we did: Through a contract with the North Natomas Transportation Management Association, we employed the bike mechanics who performed free diagnostics and simple repairs on 687 bikes at 23 Bike Doc events organized at schools, parks and residential complexes.

Why it matters: The 100,000 residents of the Natomas area (South and North) are served by just one bike shop. Without ready access to basic repairs, people can’t ride safely or can’t ride at all.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll expand our bike mechanic services to other parts of the region that also have little or no access to bike shop services.

Townie Rides

What we did: We partnered with City Bicycle Works to host regular social rides to Bike Dog Brewing in West Sacramento and other local craft breweries.

Why it matters: Social rides build community among people who want to explore the community with likeminded others. These rides offer a friendly introduction to SABA, for those who don’t already know us. And we love having the opportunity to partner with and promote local small businesses.

What’s next in 2017: More Townie Rides each month! We’ll also look for opportunities to organize other kinds of social rides around different themes.

Technical assistance

Power Inn Alliance active transportation study

Heavy, fast traffic makes Power Inn Road challenging for people walking and biking for transportation.

Heavy, fast traffic makes Power Inn Road challenging for people walking and biking for transportation.

What we did: We’re contracting with the Power Inn Alliance to partner with WALKSacramento to assess needs and opportunities for travel by bicycling, walking and public transit within the Power Inn Alliance boundaries, mainly between US 50 and Florin Road.

What it matters: Employers in this primarily industrial neighborhood employ many low-wage workers who must travel by bike, walking or public transit. However, heavy truck and rail traffic and large busy streets like Power Inn, Franklin, Florin and Florin-Perkins create obstacles to safe travel, limiting employment and economic development opportunities.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll evaluate existing plans, survey employers, workers and residents, and assess the physical environment to identify and prioritize needs and opportunities that Power Inn Alliance can champion with public agencies. This nonprofit-private-public partnership could be a model for similar projects elsewhere in the region.

Assemble Sacramento

Assemble Sacramento site

The project site is the location of a passenger station when the Clarksburg Branch Line was an active rail line.

What we did: We receive donations and handle bookkeeping on behalf of this project to develop a privately funded, publicly constructed rest area along the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail in West Sacramento.

Why it matters: Our role in the project is limited, however, we see this kind of nonprofit-private-public partnership as an innovative way to make infrastructure improvements in our region, including future Assemble Sacramento projects.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll continue to serve on Assemble Sacramento’s steering committee, manage the accounting, and help promote efforts to raises funds for the proposed trail improvement.

We could use your support to continue this useful work in 2017. To make a year-end donation, go here.

SACOG honors SABA for arena work

SACOG salutes awardWhat an incredible honor to be recognized by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments with a SACOG Salutes award for our part in the collaborative effort to prevent ‘carmageddon’ during the opening of Golden 1 Center!

We are one of seven recipients of a special regional collaboration award, which also went to the City of Sacramento, Downtown Sacramento Partnership, Sacramento Regional Transit, Roseville Transit, Yolo County Transportation District (Yolobus) and the Sacramento Kings.

The group that received the award represents the complexity of creating a vibrant public place that integrates fully into the fabric of the community. The Golden 1 Center is located in a part of the Sacramento downtown grid where travel by bike is significantly challenging, due to one-way streets, intense traffic heading to and from I-5, streets with light rail tracks, multiblock building complexes (including the Golden 1 Center) that complicate crosstown travel, and most important, minimal bike infrastructure such as bike lanes and well-designed public bike parking.

sacogsalutesaward_2016We participated in the intensive Golden 1 Center planning process on behalf of people on bikes and while our efforts produced only modest results, we loudly made the case for the benefits of planning for bicycle transportation — not just by Kings fans and Golden 1 Center ticketholders, but by Golden 1 Center employees, other downtown workers, residents and visitors traveling past the arena.

We currently have a contract with the Golden 1 Center to provide Bike Valet services for Golden 1 Center events, which has further clarified the needs and challenges of traveling by bike in this part of the city, not least because the Golden 1 Center was built without a place for high-volume bike parking. We continue to work with the Kings and the City of Sacramento to solve this challenge.

Congratulations to all the SACOG Salutes award recipients and many thanks to SACOG!

2016 Accomplishments

SABA works in three main areas — advocacy, community engagement and technical assistance — to help create the conditions that enable more people to confidently choose a bike as safe, convenient everyday transportation. Here are highlights from our work this year:

Advocacy

Sacramento Bicycle Master Plan update

Bicycle Master Plan workshop in North Natomas

Bicycle Master Plan workshop in North Natomas

What we did: We participated on a technical advisory committee that provided input on goals and priorities for this minor update of Sacramento’s master plan.

Why it matters: A robust citywide plan is the key to realizing all the benefits of increased bicycle ridership, including cleaner air, less traffic congestion, safer streets, more robust retail activity in bike-friendly neighborhoods, and better access to opportunity.

Although this was not the major update Sacramento needs and deserves, the update includes important new features, including an analysis of neighborhood investments, to highlight the need for greater equity; guidelines for matching the appropriate bike infrastructure to each type of street; and stated goals for increasing ridership, improving safety, creating continuous connected bikeway networks, and ensuring that bike infrastructure investments are made equitably throughout the city.

What’s next in 2017: For budget reasons, the updated plan does not contain implementation measures. We’ll continue working with the City of Sacramento to find resources to implement the plan as well as begin conceptual planning on a major update within the next 4-5 years.

Vision Zero

Joseph Martinez was killed near this spot on 47th Ave. in South Sacramento on Sept. 22, 2015

Joseph Martinez was killed on his bike near this spot on 47th Ave. in South Sacramento on Sept. 22, 2015

What we did: We’re part of a community task force convened to advise the City of Sacramento Public Works Department on its action plan for implementing a Vision Zero program to eliminate serious and fatal traffic collisions.

Why it matters: A thoughtful, data-driven action plan will direct resources toward safety improvements and other strategies for safeguarding people on bikes. Sacramento has 5 times the rate of bicyclist fatalities as comparable cities with better bike infrastructure. Nearly all of those fatal collisions occur on major arterial streets like 47th Ave., due to the combination of heavy traffic, fast vehicle speeds and inadequate accommodation for bikes (e.g., poor bike lanes or no bike lanes).

What’s next in 2017: By next summer the City of Sacramento will begin community outreach to review a draft action plan. We plan to be an active partner in ensuring that neighborhood-level concerns are reflected in the plan.

Building Healthy Communities initiative

What we did: We continued to receive grant funding from The California Endowment to help improve health, safety and economic opportunity in the Building Health Communities area of South Sacramento. Among several projects, we partnered with WALKSacramento, another BHC grantee, to assess conditions for biking and walking along several major streets in South Sacramento.

Why is matters: The 10-year BHC initiative is intended to address fundamental health, safety and economic needs in the BHC area, while helping build the long-term capacity of neighborhood-focused organizations. We know that residents in lower-income neighborhoods are likelier to use a bike as everyday transportation, yet the BHC area has fewer bike routes and bike lanes, and significant physical obstacles such as large arterial streets and freeway overcrossings that make it more challenging to ride a bike.

What’s next in 2017: We plan to increase community engagement activities by recruiting and employing BHC-based bike mechanics and bike safety instructors to deliver free bike repairs and safety skills training to BHC residents.

Railyards bikeway network

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Aerial view of the Railyards and the historic Southern Pacific RR shops looking south toward downtown Sacramento.

What we did: We reviewed plans and actively advised the Railyards development team on street improvements to make bicycling convenient, safe and comfortable within, to and from the Railyards. One of our main advocacy activities is to review development projects and provide recommendations and comments to improve conditions for bicycling.

Why it matters: The Railyards Specific Plan will govern development in the Railyards for the next 20-30 years, and most of the smaller streets haven’t yet been built. We worked to ensure that the plan provided for bike access from the beginning, especially to identify low-stress, family-friendly bike routes between the Sacramento River and the Sacramento Republic FC stadium site and between the historic Central Shops and the regional park planned for the north side of the development.

What’s next in 2017: With the amended Railyards Specific Plan now approved by the City of Sacramento, we’ll work with major Railyards property owners, including Kaiser Permanente and the Sacramento Republic FC, to ensure that their development projects align with the Specific Plan’s objectives.

Sidewalk riding ordinance

Sidewalk bicycling in Midtown Sacramento on a popular stretch of J Street without bike lanes.

Sidewalk bicycling in Midtown Sacramento on a popular stretch of J Street without bike lanes.

What we did: We helped ensure that proposed amendments to the Sacramento city ordinance regulating bicycles on sidewalks did not limit access for people traveling by bike in neighborhoods with unsafe streets.

Why it matters: Bicycling on sidewalks is unsafe and unfair to pedestrians. It mainly happens on streets that can’t be safely or conveniently used by bike. But enacting laws that punish sidewalk riding without making the streets safer forces people on bikes to choose between what’s legal and what’s safe — that’s unfair too.

Throughout the two-year-long public debate about amendments to Sacramento’s ordinance, we made sure City staff, elected officials, residents and the media understood why investing in bike lanes and other infrastructure improvements is the most effective way to encourage safe bicycling and protect pedestrians. To read about the rules for sharing the road, including rules about sidewalk riding, go here.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll monitor the City’s progress as it continues to implement the amended ordinance. Watch for the City to identify the first streets where sidewalk riding will be prohibited, most likely in the downtown Grid.

American River Parkway off-pavement bicycling pilot program

Off-pavement bicycling advocate Bob Horowitz interviewed about the pilot program

Off-pavement bicycling advocate Bob Horowitz interviewed about the pilot program.

What we did: We actively participated in and advocated for implementation of Sacramento County’s plan to allow bicycling on unpaved service roads in the Woodlake and Cal Expo areas of the American River Parkway, as authorized under the American River Parkway Plan.

Why it matters: The 3-year pilot program will enable more people to enjoy the American River Parkway by bike, increasing legitimate uses in a part of the parkway where recreational and transportation bicycling is heavily impacted by illegal camping, trash and wildfires. Sacramento County Parks receives $1M a year in Measure A sales tax revenues to maintain the Jedediah Smith biking and walking path, yet the unsafe conditions along the first 6 miles of path from Discovery Park means this annual investment isn’t producing all the benefits it could. Increased activity through off-pavement bicycling will make the Jedediah Smith path feel safer and more accessible.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll continue to participate as a stakeholder as Sacramento County Park launches the pilot program. We expect off-pavement trails to be open by the summer.

Rancho Cordova cycle track project

A physically separated bike lane on Routier Road would improve protection for people on bikes.

A physically separated bike lane on Routier Road would improve safety for people on bikes.

What we did: We provided public and behind-the-scenes support for the City of Rancho Cordova’s plan to install two miles of cycle tracks (AKA separated bikeways or protected bike lanes) along Routier Road and Rod Beaudry Drive between Old Placerville Road and the American River Parkway.

Why it matters: This project is likely to be the first cycle track project completed in our region outside of Davis. Similar projects in other communities have significantly increased bicycle ridership and improved bicyclist safety. We see this project as a model for the rest of the region.

What’s next in 2017: The City of Rancho Cordova has received federal funding to plan and engineer the project. We’ll remain involved as a community stakeholder to ensure that the project meets its objectives.

Community engagement

Bike Valet

Bike Valet at Food Truck Mania in Tahoe Park. We're parking City Councilmember Eric Guerra's bike!

Bike Valet at Food Truck Mania in Tahoe Park. That’s City Councilmember Eric Guerra and his bike.

What we did: We parked some 15,000 bikes at nearly 300 individual community events that took place from Davis to Ione and North Natomas to Elk Grove.

Why it matters: Bike Valet turns community events into bikeable destinations. We provide people on bikes with reliable parking where otherwise none might be available, while event organizers who hire us recognize the value of supporting their customers and clients who travel by bike.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll use Bike Valet events to raise SABA’s profile and help generate public support for our advocacy priorities.

Bike Doc

Bike Doc mechanic Glenn Small explains repairs to a Bike Doc customer.

Bike Doc mechanic Glenn Small explains repairs to a Bike Doc customer.

What we did: Through a contract with the North Natomas Transportation Management Association, we employed the bike mechanics who performed free diagnostics and simple repairs on 687 bikes at 23 Bike Doc events organized at schools, parks and residential complexes.

Why it matters: The 100,000 residents of the Natomas area (South and North) are served by just one bike shop. Without ready access to basic repairs, people can’t ride safely or can’t ride at all.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll expand our bike mechanic services to other parts of the region that also have little or no access to bike shop services.

Townie Rides

What we did: We partnered with City Bicycle Works to host regular social rides to Bike Dog Brewing in West Sacramento and other local craft breweries.

Why it matters: Social rides build community among people who want to explore the community with likeminded others. These rides offer a friendly introduction to SABA, for those who don’t already know us. And we love having the opportunity to partner with and promote local small businesses.

What’s next in 2017: More Townie Rides each month! We’ll also look for opportunities to organize other kinds of social rides around different themes.

Technical assistance

Power Inn Alliance active transportation study

Heavy, fast traffic makes Power Inn Road challenging for people walking and biking for transportation.

Heavy, fast traffic makes Power Inn Road challenging for people walking and biking for transportation.

What we did: We’re contracting with the Power Inn Alliance to partner with WALKSacramento to assess needs and opportunities for travel by bicycling, walking and public transit within the Power Inn Alliance boundaries, mainly between US 50 and Florin Road.

What it matters: Employers in this primarily industrial neighborhood employ many low-wage workers who must travel by bike, walking or public transit. However, heavy truck and rail traffic and large busy streets like Power Inn, Franklin, Florin and Florin-Perkins create obstacles to safe travel, limiting employment and economic development opportunities.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll evaluate existing plans, survey employers, workers and residents, and assess the physical environment to identify and prioritize needs and opportunities that Power Inn Alliance can champion with public agencies. This nonprofit-private-public partnership could be a model for similar projects elsewhere in the region.

Assemble Sacramento

Assemble Sacramento site

The project site is the location of a passenger station when the Clarksburg Branch Line was an active rail line.

What we did: We receive donations and handle bookkeeping on behalf of this project to develop a privately funded, publicly constructed rest area along the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail in West Sacramento.

Why it matters: Our role in the project is limited, however, we see this kind of nonprofit-private-public partnership as an innovative way to make infrastructure improvements in our region, including future Assemble Sacramento projects.

What’s next in 2017: We’ll continue to serve on Assemble Sacramento’s steering committee, manage the accounting, and help promote efforts to raises funds for the proposed trail improvement.