Freeport Blvd. will be altered to add bike lanes

11/10/2012 12:00 AM

11/09/2012 10:01 PM

Freeport Boulevard near C.K. McClatchy High School is the latest city street headed for a "road diet."

By a 7-1 vote Thursday night, the Sacramento City Council agreed to narrow the busy boulevard from four lanes to three lanes to make room for a new set of striped bike lanes.

City officials said the project will make the street safer for students who cycle to the high school and Sacramento City College, as well as for bicycle commuters heading to and from downtown.

They heralded the upcoming changes as a solid step toward having more "complete" streets, where drivers, cyclists and pedestrians each have their space. A number of midtown and downtown streets also have had lane reductions in recent years to make room for bikes.

"We need to really promote biking everywhere we go,' Councilman Jay Schenirer said.

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby cast the sole no vote, saying she worries the changes don't do enough to make the street safe for cyclists. She said she'd prefer redesigning the street so that the bike lanes are on the other side of a curb from cars.

Despite council approval, the $1.5 million project does not have a set construction date. City officials say they only have about $450,000 available and will have to seek grants for the rest of the money. City staff has tentatively scheduled construction for sometime in 2014.

The changes, initially pushed by students at McClatchy High, received general support from the community, but some nearby residents say they fear lane reductions will cause more cut-through driving on their residential streets by commuters if Freeport Boulevard traffic gets worse.

When constructed, the newly configured street will be reduced to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane to be used by both northbound and southbound traffic.

The changes include elimination of street parking spaces at various spots on the street. City officials acknowledged the changes represent a tight fit on a busy boulevard.

"It's not maybe the perfect plan, but I am comfortable that it is a very good effort," Land Park Councilman Rob Fong said.

Several council members said they would like to review the impact of the changes after they are in place.

The project area runs from Sutterville Road on the south to the 21st Street and Fourth Avenue intersection at the north end.

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