Transportation

Bicyclists are about to get 'buffered.' Drivers might hit learning 'curb'

Sacramento mayor tests 'protected' bike lane

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Motorists on some midtown Sacramento streets will have to get used to parking further away from the curb -- about a bike lane away, to be precise.

The city is near completion of its "parking protected" bike lanes. The lanes are nearest the curb, meaning vehicles must park to the right of the bike lanes. The city also is installing "buffered" bike lanes, which provide a 3-foot buffer lane to the left of the cyclist and allow vehicles to park next to the curb.

Signs posted Thursday informed drivers to park to the right of the parking protected bike lanes on Q Street between 9th and 14th streets and on P Street between 9th and 15th streets.

Construction along 10th Street also is almost done, said Jennifer Donlon Wyant, the city's active transportation program specialist. The bike lane is buffered from Q to L Street and parking-protected from L to I Street.

The parking-protected bike lane on Q Street will be extended to 15th Street after nearby housing construction is completed, said Donlon Wyant, adding that 42-inch tall flexible polls called delineations will eventually be installed between the parking and bike lanes.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, Modesto and Oakland also have the lanes, Donlon Wyant said.

"You would have to drive over it, basically,” said Donlon Wyant. "We just to want to have some vertical element that will discourage drivers from going to the curb.”

There will be a grace period where drivers who don't follow signs will receive a warning, said Donlon Wyant.

"We understand there is going to be a learning curve,” Donlon Wyant.

Along with fliers and signs, the city's outreach will include a video series that Young said will be posted on the city's social media and Facebook page, along with the Sacramento City Express blog.

The first video, posted Thursday, demonstrates how to park and pay at the kiosk. A video demonstrating how to bike and drive around these new lanes is to post next week.

Gayleen Darting, a civil engineer from Elk Grove, parked on Q Street Thursday and said parking was easy enough. Darting said she thinks the new lanes are safer for cyclists.

But John Franz, who has parked on Q Street and an avid cyclists, said he would not feel safe in the new bike lanes.

Franz, who lives in the Pocket area, said the city should improve and connect existing bike paths so people from both the city and suburbs could use them to travel all over the area.

These bike lanes are a part of the city's Vision Zero program, a traffic safety philosophy that all crashes are preventable and should be prevented, said Donlon Wyant.

Donlon Wyant said P, Q and 10th streets are part of a high injury area.

"This is not just a bike project but a traffic safety project," she said

The new bike lanes will improve pedestrian visibility, she said.

"By slowing things down it makes it a better place to live,” said Donlon Wyant, adding that it will only add a few seconds to a driver's commute.

Sacramento will install 20 blocks of "parking protected bike lanes" next year in an effort to protect bicyclists on central city streets.

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