Tony Bizjak

Back-seat Driver: Hazel Avenue houses torn down years ahead of road widening

Published: Friday, Jun. 14, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 8:23 am

If you've driven on Hazel Avenue lately, you may feel like you're traveling the un-city.

The county has knocked down 40 of the 41 houses it bought on Hazel for that street's big road-widening project, leaving stretches feeling eerily empty.

It'll stay that way for a while.

Construction won't begin on the next phase of widening, from Curragh Downs to Sunset Avenue, until spring of 2016.

Officials have decided first to put all the utilities along that corridor underground. That is going to require them to purchase about 50 smaller slices of adjacent properties to make more room.

It will have taken seven years to widen Hazel to six lanes from Highway 50 up to Sunset Avenue.

In 2017, the county expects to finish widening north to Madison Avenue, where traffic tails off.

The county's plan calls for additional widening – someday – north of Madison up to the Placer County line.

Find that bus!

Regional Transit has launched a new smartphone app that tells you when the next bus actually will arrive at your stop, not merely when the schedule says it is supposed to arrive.

The "real time" bus tracker sounds especially cool for a hot summer day. You can hide in the shade of a nearby awning until your app tells you your bus is near. Check it out at

They'll have something similar up and running at light-rail stations soon.

The $5 train ride

Plenty of Sacramentans love the Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains that link Sacramento, Davis, Oakland and other cities and boast spacious double-decker cars, free Wi-Fi, bike storage, and beautiful bay views.

But a one-way ticket between Sacramento and Oakland costs $29, and that can really add up for a family. Cap Corridor officials are offering a special summer deal. Buy one ticket at full price, and five friends or family members can hop aboard for just $5 each.

Small print: (read very quickly in a low voice) The discount is for online purchases only, at least 24 hours in advance, valid through the end of August. Mondays and Fridays excepted. For more info, check or call (877) 9-RIDE CC (974-3322).

Free teen-driver events

Allstate is sponsoring "Reality Rides" at Raley Field in West Sacramento at 6 p.m. today, where teen and adult drivers can try their hand on a distracted-driving simulator.

The CHP is sponsored a teen-driver expo Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Safety Center, 3909 Bradshaw Road. It includes driving simulators and an obstacle course teens can try, while driving distracted.

Parents or guardians are encouraged to attend. For info, call (916) 731-6300.

Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059. Follow him on Twitter @tonybizjak.

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