Back-Seat Driver

Back-seat Driver: Parking tickets, bike lanes and recreation trails have readers upset and confused

Tony Bizjak
Tony Bizjak

Patricia from Oregon, we feel your anger. But the city of Sacramento may not be quite as cruel as you think.

On a visit to her grandchildren last month, Patricia, 75, parked downtown at a spot without a meter, but didn’t realize there were a couple of pay stations on the block. She got a $42.50 ticket. Why not give visitors a break, she said, and just offer a warning? “I FEEL VERY UNWELCOME,” she wrote to a number of people, including the governor.

City spokeswoman Linda Tucker was sympathetic. She said Patricia should challenge the citation at the city’s website. There is a decent chance the ticket will get tossed. “When somebody is obviously from out of town, and they have no record of previous citations, we are more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt because of unfamiliarity factor.”

Drive in the bike lane?

The city’s new green-painted bike lanes on H Street at Carlson Drive apparently are confusing drivers and causing them to violate the law.

The vehicle code says when you make a right turn, you are supposed to enter the bike lane (first checking for cyclists, of course). Most bike lanes are delineated by a solid white lane that becomes a broken line near intersections. That’s your clue to use that lane for your turn.

Recently, the city painted a few bike lanes green as a safety tool. But it appears some drivers are loath to drive onto those green lanes westbound on H Street. It sort of feels like you’re doing something wrong, like driving on the grass.

It’s causing some congestion. City officials want the word out: Go ahead. Drive on the green. (By the way, if you’re eastbound on H, making a right, the turn-lane situation is different, and you don’t drive in the bike lane.)

Citrus Heights creek trails

Plans for new recreation trails often are controversial. That’s the case in Citrus Heights, where the planning commission on Feb. 26 will hear the city’s early ideas for 16 miles of multiuse trails along creeks and power lines. Early routing suggests the city will propose purchasing pieces of some private properties to make room.

City officials and some residents say the trails – for cyclists, pedestrians, people with baby strollers and others – will provide a good way to get around their community without using a car. But Citrus Heights is already a built city, and it will be a tight fit – too tight for some. Critics say it’s unnecessary and unfair to use private property. Some also say they fear recreation trails behind backyards would cause crime.

The first trail phase, as envisioned, would run 5 miles from near Auburn Boulevard at Van Maren Lane, along Arcade Creek and a power line to Wachtel Road south of Old Auburn Road.

The city has information on its website at Here is a link to a site that includes some of the community debate: