Back-Seat Driver

Sacramento’s new plan to make room for street sweepers

Sacramento will send its fleet of curbside leaf collectors out in two weeks, on Oct. 31. The city’s goal is to hit each block every two weeks.
Sacramento will send its fleet of curbside leaf collectors out in two weeks, on Oct. 31. The city’s goal is to hit each block every two weeks. Sacramento Bee file

In much of Sacramento’s central city, cars are banned from parking between 8 a.m. and noon one day each week, so that street sweepers and garbage trucks and the green waste “claw” can swoop in and do their civic duty. Each block may have a different “no parking” day.

That forces residents to scramble to get their cars moved and has tripped up many a visitor who parked without glancing up to notice the street sign saying parking isn’t allowed on that particular morning on that particular block.

The trouble with the weekly restriction is that on many of those days, there is no need to shoo cars away. The sweepers typically come through once every six weeks. The claw comes through only in winter leaf season. And on some blocks with businesses and apartment complexes, garbage goes into alley dumpsters, not in the street.

That’s led to some complaints, and some self-questioning by city street officials.

As a result, the city is launching a test in midtown by restricting parking for one morning a month instead of once a week. That would free up more parking, and could cut down on parking tickets. The test will take place on a dozen square blocks in midtown, from N to Q and 19th to 23rd streets, for six months. The city wants feedback.

“We’re looking for folks who live and work in that area to have a conversation with us, let us know the good things, the bad things,” city spokeswoman Erin Treadwell said.

The claw cometh

By the way, the city of Sacramento sends its fleet of curbside leaf collectors out in two weeks, on Oct. 31. Those crablike tractors really are officially called “the claw.” The manufacturer stamps that word on the side. The city’s goal is to hit each block every two weeks.

The city still prefers that you fill your green waste can first, before piling leaves in the street. City officials want people to park their cars six feet away from leaf piles so claw operators have some room to work.

Across The Top

After five-plus years of work, Caltrans’ Across The Top freeway project just may be nearing the end.

The $132 million reconstruction and expansion of 10 miles of Interstate 80 through north Sacramento and Natomas will be finished by the end of next month, “weather permitting,” spokesman Dennis Keaton said.

Caltrans reports crews are doing final paving on a section of the westbound lanes between Truxel Road and West El Camino Avenue, and are shoring up the westbound barriers east of Northgate Boulevard. There are closures in effect as well on the eastbound on-ramps at Longview Street and at the light-rail station there.

Oil train effects

Last month, after years of debate, the city of Benicia rejected a Valero oil company proposal for two 50-car trains a day traveling through downtown Sacramento, Roseville, West Sacramento, Davis and other communities to its bayside refinery. In Sacramento, the half-mile-long trains would have run behind the new McKinley Village community, along the edge of midtown and past the Amtrak passenger platforms at the downtown depot.

Two weeks ago, San Luis Obispo preliminarily rejected a similar plan by Phillips 66, which likely would have run trains through midtown Sacramento, between 19th and 20th streets.

Now, in Washington state, Shell announced it’s withdrawing its request for sending crude-oil trains to its Puget Sound refinery. Shell officials said their decision was based on economics. Anti-oil activist Rebecca Ponzio of the Washington Environmental Council thinks the rejections by California local governments played a role in getting Shell to back off, giving momentum to anti-oil-train forces.

“None of these decisions are being made in isolation,” Ponzio said. “Those California denials have an impact here.”

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