Outdoors

Road closures for marathon snarl traffic in downtown Sacramento

Running team from T. R. Smedberg Middle School in Elk Grove, Alun Wynne, center, and Steve Klein, right, finish the Pony Express marathon at the State Capital on Sunday, May 1, 2016 in Sacramento, Calif.
Running team from T. R. Smedberg Middle School in Elk Grove, Alun Wynne, center, and Steve Klein, right, finish the Pony Express marathon at the State Capital on Sunday, May 1, 2016 in Sacramento, Calif. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Drivers in a swath of Sacramento on Sunday faced unusual amounts of traffic due to a new marathon in the city.

The Pony Express Marathon, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sacramento, started at 7 a.m. on Capitol Mall and caused street closures throughout downtown Sacramento, Land Park and West Sacramento through much of the day.

Andrea Jackson, a longtime Sacramento resident, said she’s never seen such bad traffic downtown. While running errands on Sunday, she said it took her 35 minutes to go a little more than two miles.

“I couldn’t even get to my place where I get my cat food,” she said. “It was absolutely inaccessible. There were lines and lines of cars at every intersection trying to figure out how to turn around.”

She said she thinks it’s bad planning to cut off so many major streets in the middle of the city, and wondered how much revenue businesses would lose because people like her couldn’t get to them.

Sacramento police officers were on hand to aid the road closures, and Officer Matthew McPhail, a department spokesman, said the traffic conditions were typical for an event of this size.

He said many drivers are accustomed to emptier streets downtown on the weekends and may be puzzled by the influx of people for the races.

“It’s not uncommon for some people to be caught unaware for large-scale events like this,” he said.

The Pony Express Marathon also included a half-marathon and a 5K race.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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