Message to those of you driving on J Street downtown this week: No, your eyes and steering ability have not suddenly gone bad.
It's the new lane stripes. They don't quite line up at several intersections.
Here's the deal. The city is restriping two workhorse commuter streets I and J and several other downtown streets to make room for bike lanes.
Often, when the city installs bike lanes on one-way streets, it reduces the car lanes from three to two, and adds a bike lane on each flank.
But squeezing busy I and J streets down to two lanes would have caused a commute-period mess. So the city narrowed the lanes about a foot each, and added a single bike lane on the right flank.
Unfortunately, J Street has so many irregularities that the new stripes don't always line up from one block to the next.
For the most part, it requires a minor, almost subconscious adjustment by drivers in intersections. Something they can get used to. But at the J and 13th streets intersection, the lines are 3 feet out of alignment. One alarmed driver called the Bee to say it's a recipe for sideswipes.
City officials say wait, they aren't done yet. By next week they will have drawn dotted lines what they call a "cat track" through that intersection to guide drivers to their lanes.
By the way, city officials say: Cyclists must ride only in the direction of car travel on one-way streets, even if there are two bike lanes.
Bike sharing ahead?
As Sacramento city officials work to make streets safer for bicyclists, a group has begun exploring what it calls an intriguing potential "next step": Bringing the international phenomenon of bike sharing to town.
That's where you have kiosks with communal bikes say at the downtown train depot. For a small fee, someone can use one of the bikes to get across town, and leave it at another kiosk.
It could work for tourists, but it also could be a way for people who ride the Capitol Corridor trains or light rail to easily finish the last half-mile or more of their commute.
For an annual fee of say $30 or more, participants could use a bike for a half-hour free each day, enough to get them to their office near the Capitol, or get them to lunch or a meeting across downtown.
Sacramento air quality management officials are among those leading the study group. They say bike sharing could reduce the number of higher-polluting "cold engine starts" because more people would use bikes for short trips.
Capitol Corridor train officials like the concept because trains are getting clogged with commuters bringing bikes aboard.
It's worked elsewhere. Would it work here? We'll write more about it as the idea takes shape.