Back-Seat Driver

Back-seat Driver: New parking at crowded train depot?

Tony Bizjak
Tony Bizjak

Train passengers have been lamenting the longer walk and lack of parking at the downtown depot since the city moved the train platforms a few hundred feet north of the depot to make room for future development. Some riders have stopped taking the train. In response, city officials now say they might use part of the empty development site for temporary parking and a drop-off area nearer the platforms.

“We’re asking ourselves, ‘Can we put that space to good use?’ ” city railyard manager Fran Halbakken said. “It’s just an idea we are exploring. We don’t want to get people excited yet.”

Streetcar visit

Sacramento Rep. Doris Matsui will lead a group of Sacramento business and government leaders group today to Portland to ride streetcars and talk with business people about the impacts of that city’s streetcar line. Matsui wants to finance a streetcar in Sacramento and West Sac. But it could cost $150 million. The feds may pay half the price if Matsui and city leaders can persuade downtown property owners to kick in much of the rest.

“The right plan and right investment will make Sacramento’s streetcar (a) success,” Matsui said.

Airport award

Sacramento International Airport has detractors, but also plenty of fans. The facility was just ranked fourth best of 42 North American airports in the Airports Council International’s passenger survey. Indianapolis finished first, followed by Ottawa and Tampa. The local airport got high marks in overall customer satisfaction, efficiency of check-in staff, and cleanliness. Officials are still tinkering. They made the loop road back to Terminal B shorter, and put numbers over terminal exit doors when they realized passengers didn’t know the east doors from the west doors.

Red-light cameras

A former executive with Redflex, the company that operates Sacramento County’s red-light cameras, recently alleged the company engaged in bribes in 13 states, including California. But Sacramento officials say they’re confident no bribes were made here.

It’s the second blow in a year for Redflex. The Chicago Tribune last year revealed that a Redlfex executive allegedly bribed a Chicago official. Sacramento sheriff’s officials talked to Redflex’s CEO soon after, and came away saying they were persuaded Chicago was “an isolated incident.” With that assurance, county supervisors then OK’d a new contract with Redflex.

The new allegation came in a court filing from the executive Redflex fired in the Chicago incident. He did not offer specifics, but indicated he’s cooperating with federal authorities.

Sacramento County officials declined to say what kind of a review they’ve done, but spokeswoman Chris Andis said in an email that County Executive Brad Hudson spoke with the sheriff and “feels confident that the sheriff will monitor this contract closely and will investigate as needed.”