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  • Writer's pictureWTS Sacramento

Recap - June 2019 Lunch Program

On June 5th WTS Sacramento welcomed Adrian Engel from Fehr & Peers to present on Sacramento County's Fair Oaks Boulevard Complete Street Master Plan.

The Fair Oaks Boulevard corridor between Howe Avenue and Munroe Street hosts a vibrant mix of land uses including retail and housing, and contains the popular destination of Loehmann’s Plaza. The existing conditions on the corridor included multiple high-speed lanes with frontage roads, minimum width sidewalks, no pedestrian crosswalks, no bike facilities, and numerous driveways that made the corridor uncomfortable for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. In their General Plan, the County had identified the corridor as a Candidate Smart Growth Street, with the vision of enabling safe and efficient mobility for all users while positively contributing to the surrounding community and natural environment.

Phase I of the Fair Oaks Boulevard Complete Streets Project was funded by a grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments 2014 Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding Program, which included two signalized pedestrian crossings on Fair Oaks Boulevard, as well as the preparation of a Complete Streets Master Plan for the corridor.

The Fair Oaks Boulevard Complete Streets Project has five major objectives:

  • Improve mobility of pedestrian, bicycle, motorists, and transit

  • Create a sense of place and center of activity

  • Strengthen neighborhood cohesiveness

  • Stimulate economic development

  • Improve public health through active design

While further studying the corridor as part of the Master Plan development, Streetlight Data used for origin-destination analysis revealed that 60% of trips are local, meaning they start and stop within a half mile of the corridor. These short trips indicated an opportunity to change travel preferences to modes other than cars, in order to do this, the level of traffic stress on the corridor would need to be lowered. Level of traffic stress takes into account the number of travel lanes, speed of vehicles, volume of vehicles, and bike lane widths and barriers. Fair Oaks Boulevard in its existing condition is a level of traffic stress 4, the highest rank.

As part of the public outreach, the project team asked a series of questions regarding how safe people feel using the corridor while traveling by car, walking, or biking. The results showed that majority of people felt somewhat safe driving a car, somewhat unsafe while walking, and very unsafe while biking.

While there are many challenges to address, the corridor also had some existing strengths in that it has sufficient right of way (in its largest cross section it is 11 lanes across) and it already has many trees, which is an amenity the community valued.

Through 6 public workshops with the community, three concept designs were developed. At a high level, Concept 1 included three new pedestrian crossings, sidewalk enhancements, and a bike route (Class III) on two-way frontage roads. Concept 2 included three new pedestrian crossings, sidewalk enhancements, and bike lanes (Class II) on one-way frontage roads. Concept 3 included four new pedestrian crossings, sidewalk enhancements, reduction of the number of travel lanes from six to four, and projected bikeways (Class IV) on Fair Oaks Boulevard, with two-way frontage roads. Although the most expensive, Concept 3 had the most benefits to all users. The business community’s input throughout the process and their overall support was really impactful to the success of the ultimate design of this project.

Phase II of the Fair Oaks Boulevard Complete Streets Project was recently submitted to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments for funding and the County received a grant to make the improvements to the corridor.

Thank you to Adrian, as well as Matt Darrow, James Wright and Ron Vicari who were in attendance from the County of Sacramento, for sharing this exciting project with us!

Emily Abrahams with Adrian Engel

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