Sacramento River Crossings
The Sacramento River Crossings Alternatives Study began nearly a year ago with the task of evaluating a stretch of the river from the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers south to Sutterville Road. The private consultant-managed study was funded by the cities of West Sacramento and Sacramento and included the involvement of a “River Crossings Stakeholder Group,” comprised of local transportation officials, business group leaders, neighborhood association members, and a handful of other participants. The LPCA representative was Mark Abrahams. The Stakeholder Group met six times with the consultants to review findings and provide input.
In November this year the consultants released a Sacramento River Crossings Alternative Study report. That report (view HERE) focused on eight locations from the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers south to Sutterville Road. A variety of criteria were used to evaluate the eight locations, including accessibility, mobility, connectivity, environmental impact, and impact on neighborhoods.
The principal finding of the Study was that two crossings are needed. Specifically, “a clear need exists for a new crossing of the Sacramento River, but instead of just one new crossing, at least two new crossings are needed. This is particularly evident for the under-served markets north and south of the I Street and Pioneer Bridges.” The location for the two new crossings was described as being north and south of the I-80 bridge.
In early December 2010 the study consultants met again with the Stakeholder Group and announced that they would be recommending to Sacramento City officials that the southern crossings (meaning Sutterville, Broadway, and an unspecified location in between) be made the priority of the two and that the crossing would be a “commuter” auto-centered bridge with at least four lanes. Based on comments by City officials, the probable candidate among those three was a Broadway “crossing.
SO WHAT COMES NEXT?
The next step will be for the study consultants to present their findings and location recommendation to city councils on both sides of the river. If approved, the city will be seeking funding for preliminary engineering, more detailed alternative analysis, and environmental review. Actual construction may be as much as a decade away.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
As a neighborhood that will be directly affected (positively or negatively) by a southern crossing, the Land Park Community Association is being asked to advise city leaders on the community’s perspective. The LPCA board, after months of outreach, including an electronic survey, public meetings, and emails to the membership, adopted a position supporting additional Sacramento River crossings in principal “as a catalyst for connecting communities and elevating regional livability.”
The LPCA further concluded that the initial bridge (the utilitarian, commuter-style bridge) be placed near the rail yards development and closer to the planned multi-modal transportation hub—a conclusion clearly supported by the study data. The LPCA’s resolution is provided below.
This issue is expected to go before Sacramento City Council in February 2011. Here’s how you can get involved:
1. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you think.
2. Stay informed. Check back at this site and at the City of Sacramento’s site, http://www.cityofsacramento.org/transportation/planning-policy/SacRiverCrossingsStudy.html for more information.
3. Attend an LPCA Land Use Committee meeting the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Contact email@example.com to confirm the location.
Sacramento River Crossings Study:
Land Park Community Association Resolution
January 19, 2011
1. The Land Park Community Association (LPCA) is the association representing a community of more than 8000 households south of X Street to Fruitridge Road, between Freeport Boulevard and the Sacramento River. Regional quality of life is as important to our large and diverse community as neighborhood quality of life.
2. The LPCA supports additional Sacramento River crossings as a catalyst for connecting communities and elevating regional livability. We believe a bridge, if well-designed and planned in accordance with sound urban planning principles promoting infill development, emphasizing mass transit and the overall reduction of automobile traffic, and conforming to the character of existing communities, can be that catalyst.
3. Based on its participation in the stakeholder review process and findings of the November 2010 Sacramento River Crossings Study (“Study”), the LPCA must oppose the initial recommendation made by representatives of the City of Sacramento Transportation Department that a “commuter” bridge (designed principally to alleviate traffic congestion) immediately south of the Business 80 “Pioneer Bridge,” should be built first. This recommendation defies the data in the Study and is inconsistent with sound urban planning principles.
4. The LPCA supports the conclusions of the Study, which suggest a bridge crossing north of the Pioneer Bridge should be the first new crossing. That bridge would meet many of objectives outlined in the Study and promote major infill projects planned for the area, such as the Washington Specific Plan in West Sacramento, the Rail yards project, and tie into the new planned transportation hub. Furthermore, it would not require disruptive construction of infrastructure in existing neighborhoods or produce additional neighborhood traffic.
The Study data supports this conclusion, which shows that a northern connection would lessen daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) more than any other location. Relative to a Broadway crossing, a Northern Railways bridge would actually reduce daily VMT and GHG by 10.3 percent and lower lane-miles of traffic congestion by 3.7 miles. (A Broadway crossing would actually increase lane-miles of traffic congestion by 1.9 miles.) Additionally, the data shows that a northern crossing would, by 2035, yield significantly better benefits in terms of affected population and employment than any southern connection.
5. The LPCA recommends that the City of Sacramento and City of West Sacramento follow the findings of the Study and, after prioritizing a northern crossing, reexamine more broadly the next best crossing location, considering, at a minimum, the full 12 mile section to the Freeport Bridge south of Business 80, as planned in the early stages of the Study process.
 See pages 14-15 of the Summary Report for the study data.