Back-seat Driver: Study shows distracted driving is common in Sacramento and California

Distracted driving is alive and well in Sacramento and around the state, according to a recent Allstate Foundation study of driving behaviors on major streets near schools.

Observers chronicled on average more than 80 distracted drivers per hour – most of them talking on hand-held cellphones. But almost as many were seen eating or drinking. The study, in its second year, found no reduction in distracted driving from the previous year’s results.

Sacramento sites in the study were Del Paso Road and Truxel Road in North Natomas, and two sites on Calvine Road in Elk Grove. The Natomas site in particular had an unusually high number of drivers who were eating and drinking. One of the Calvine Road observation points registered a high number of drivers playing music so loud that it could impede their ability to hear horns, sirens or other traffic noise.

Placer Parkway

The sale this week of 2,200 acres of land northwest of Roseville known as Placer Ranch to a developer is a sign that the long-expected next phase of building in south Placer County may be about to launch.

And that means plans for the long-discussed 15-mile, $585 million Placer Parkway could speed up, too. The parkway would run between Highway 65 just south of Thunder Valley Casino on its east end to Highway 99/70 at Sankey Road on the west end.

Plans are to pay for it with development fees imposed on new construction in that area. That means, if you buy a house someday near the proposed parkway route, transportation officials say, embedded in the price of your house will be a fee of about $5,700 to finance the parkway.

ARC bridge study

Sacramento County has allocated $320,000 to study ways of making it easier for American River College students to walk and bike to school from the Winding Way and Walnut Avenue area. The likely answer: build a small, non-vehicular bridge over Arcade Creek.

The county’s Ron Vacari says transportation officials have talked with students about the physical barriers that keep them from walking and biking to school, and determined that even though Winding Way has a bike lane, it’s narrow enough to be frightening. A direct route from Walnut onto campus, bridging the creek, likely would make the journey safer.

Airport art

Sacramento International Airport is among several in the country that have gotten kudos lately for being public art galleries in their own right. The Wall Street Journal featured the big red rabbit in a story. Now, USA Today is asking its readers to vote for the best art airport among 20 airports nationally. Sacramento is on the list.

We’re not here to promote Terminal B’s big red bunny or Terminal A’s twin pillars of luggage (an art sculpture called “Samson”). But, if you want, here is the USA Today link: http://bit.ly/1bUSxLi