Back-Seat Driver

Is Sacramento ready to solve its bike vs. pedestrian sidewalk fight?

The city of Sacramento finally is closing in on rules about where and how bicyclists can ride on sidewalks.
The city of Sacramento finally is closing in on rules about where and how bicyclists can ride on sidewalks.

The city of Sacramento finally is closing in on rules about where and how bicyclists can ride on sidewalks.

In a high-profile incident two years ago, a central city resident was hit from behind and seriously injured by a cyclist while walking on a sidewalk near her apartment. Her activism and ensuing legal claim helped spark discussion about how the city could better manage street conflicts among cars, bikes and pedestrians.

The city plan is to put up signs designating which sidewalks are pedestrian-only, no bikes allowed. On blocks where cyclists are allowed on sidewalks, bikers must yield right-of-way to pedestrians and give pedestrians an audible warning when coming up from behind. If cyclists disobey those rules, the fine will be $25. The fine is $100 for a second violation within a year.

The issue is scheduled for a July 19 City Council discussion and vote. The proposed ordinance has been posted for early public viewing on the July 12 council agenda.

The new rules, if approved by the council, give city staff plenty of leeway to decide when and where to put up no-biking signs. So far, city officials are not saying where signs will go up.

Planner Fedolia Harris said staff members will be looking at blocks that have high pedestrian activity, and where there is room in the street for cyclists, whether or not there is a marked bike lane.

As the city makes streets safer for cyclists in the coming years, the number of no-bike sidewalks is expected to increase.

Biking to downtown arena

Speaking of biking downtown, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates has a survey out, asking for opinions on where the city should put parking for up to 500 bicycles for people who want to ride bikes to events at the new downtown arena. You can take the survey at

Freeport Blvd.: Under construction

Freeport Boulevard has got to be one of the most awkward streets in the region. Freight and light-rail trains sometimes block traffic. Side streets jab in at odd angles. Schools on its flanks suck traffic in and out, as do crowd magnets such as Freeport Bakery, Marie’s Donuts and Oscar’s Very Mexican restaurant.

This summer, Freeport is even more aggravating. Crews are well into a $2.3 million reconfiguration that will add bike lanes on both sides of the street between Fourth Avenue and Sutterville Road. The existing two lanes in each direction will be changed to one lane with a center turn lane, except in the rail track area, where the city will leave the two northbound lanes crossing the tracks while reducing the southbound direction to one lane.

The two-way turn lane in the center of the street should make traffic flows more efficient by getting turning cars out of the way, said Adam Randolph, the city’s project manager. “It should fairly dramatically decrease slow-downs.”

Finish date is expected to be mid-August. “We are doing all we can to beat McClatchy High School back into session,” Randolph said.

Interstate 80 redo plugs along

Caltrans’ massive $133 million reconstruction of Interstate 80 through north Sacramento continues to plow forward. The “Across the Top” project, which will add a few lanes, is more than 75 percent complete, Caltrans says, and should be finished by the end of this year, five years after the 10-mile-long effort started.

This week will bring a round of overnight ramp closures at various westbound locations between Truxel Road and West El Camino Avenue to allow for demolition and concrete pouring. No two consecutive ramps will be closed at the same time, Caltrans says.