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Separated bikeways and complete street designs are proven to provide a safer and more comfortable experience for all users of the road right of way; however, intersections (especially signals) are high-incident locations on these corridors. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32% of all pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes and 51% of all bicycle-motor vehicle crashes occur within 50 feet of an intersection. Therefore, our complete street roadway with cycle tracks must include additional protection (or countermeasures) at intersections to reduce the potential for these collisions. National and State guidance for intersection safety recommends the implementation of Protected Intersections where cycle tracks are installed on public roadways.
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Since incorporation, the City has routinely received concerns from residents regarding safety along Old Auburn Road. Concerns include excessive vehicle speeds, lack of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, safe crossings, increased congestion and a history of collisions.
In 2011, the City adopted a Complete Streets standard (see Question below for info on Complete Streets) for all roadways in the community. This policy is intended to provide safe movement for all roadway users including people walking, riding a bicycle, or driving a car.
In 2016, as part of the Pedestrian Master Plan, the City surveyed residents about their concerns related to walking within the City. Approximately 69% of survey respondents indicated they would like to see pedestrian improvements in their neighborhood. 62% of respondents indicated they would walk more if there were better sidewalks and crosswalks. In addition, over 50% of respondents did not feel safe from cars while walking.
When the City adopted the Pedestrian Master Plan, the Old Auburn Road corridor was identified as a Focus Area due to the importance of the corridor, the lack of infrastructure, and the number of collisions. The focus area identified a variety of safety concerns for pedestrians and vehicles along this corridor that needed to be addressed in more detail.
In 2020, the City published the Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan. This plan was the result of a multi-year study that outlined existing conditions, safety analysis, traffic analysis, alternative design options, cost estimates, project phasing and funding strategies, and a robust public engagement campaign. At each stage of the study, the City brought together staff, community members, and stakeholders to evaluate the alternatives and receive feedback on the preliminary designs. The study evaluated the portion of Old Auburn Road between Sylvan Corners (Auburn/Sylvan/Old Auburn intersection) and Garry Oak Dr (where the current Multi-Use pathway ends, just east of Fair Oaks Blvd.) This Plan, including messages and comments from the public outreach events, and provided a roadmap for the next stage of the project which is environmental documentation and design. The Plan can be found on the City’s website. http://www.citrusheights.net/942/Old-Auburn-Rd-Complete-Streets-Plan.
The 2020 Plan outlined funding strategies and a phasing plan for the project which split the 1.8 mile corridor into two segments (or phases). Phase 1 would include the eastern portion beginning at the terminus of the existing Class1 (separated) multi-use trail near Gary Oak and will extend 0.75 miles to the west to Tiara Way. Phase 2 would extend the Phase 2 improvements from Tiara Way an additional 1 mile to the Sylvan Corners intersection of Old Auburn Road / Auburn Boulevard / Sylvan Road.
Phase 1 of the Project has received a Federal Active Transportation Grant to advance the study features through the Environmental and Final Design phases. The City plans to complete the design of Phase 1 by the end of 2025. Please stay up to date on our progress and planned community events by visiting the project website or joining Citrus Heights Connect, our monthly E-newsletter, our “Notify Me” news flash updates, or follow us on social media.
A “complete street” is a transportation design and operation philosophy that intends streets to be safe, convenient and comfortable for all users, regardless of age, ability, or how one feels while traveling. Complete streets can include, but are not limited to, sidewalks, bike lanes, bus pull-outs, and traffic calming measures such as center medians and street trees.
Congestion during the morning and afternoon commute on the freeways and major arterials like Sunrise Boulevard has caused traffic to spill onto neighborhood streets, especially with the increased use of cellphone navigation applications (i.e. Waze, Google Maps, etc.) Smart phone navigation applications direct traffic onto roadways based on minimal travel time, even to save a minute or less, regardless of the roadway type. Widening local roadways, like Old Auburn Road, may induce additional commute traffic. The proposed improvements need to be a balance between accommodating local access and not inducing additional cut-through traffic.
The lane reduction creates a cost effective way to increase the facilities for safer walking and biking which has the potential to shift shorter local trips to a more active mode, such as allowing residents to walk/bike to school or work, thus reducing the number of cars on the corridor.
For City streets, traffic congestion is typically caused by operations at major intersections and not due to the number of lanes along a roadway. As part of these complete street improvements on Old Auburn Road, infrastructure will be installed to allow signal timing improvements and signal coordination which will help traffic flow through intersections on Old Auburn Road more efficiently. The current plan proposes to add two-way left turn lanes where they do not exist today, increasing safety for left-turning vehicles and allowing them to wait outside of the travel lane. Additionally, the lane reduction may reduce the amount of cut-through traffic using the corridor during peak commute times as a bypass for Interstate 80.
Throughout the development of the Pedestrian Master Plan, Bikeway Master Plan and 2020 Old Auburn Road Plan, those who participated in or commented on the concepts routinely indicated their largest concern was related to safety and the lack of physical separation from high volume and high-speed traffic. Respondents in these efforts typically felt that a physical separation (landscape planter, curb, etc.) was necessary to improve their comfort level.
95% of residents surveyed during the development of the City’s Pedestrian Master Plan indicated they are willing to use active transportation; however they need improvements (including separation from roadways, safe crossings and connectivity to key destinations). As a result of remove these safety and comfort barriers, more people are likely to use the facility.
A cycle track is an exclusive bike facility that combines the user experience of a separated path with the on-street infrastructure of a conventional bike lane. A cycle track is physically separated from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk. By separating cyclists from motor traffic, cycle tracks can offer a higher level of security than bike lanes and are attractive to a wider spectrum of the public. [National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)]
Cycle Tracks are also revered to as Separated Bikeways or Class IV (4) Bike facilities, these terms are used interchangeably in the transportation industry.
The planters were installed in 2009 after receiving a number of complaints from residents along the north side of Old Auburn Rd regarding out of control vehicles that had crashed through their rear-yard fences. Planters were chosen as they can safely absorb the impact of a vehicle while protecting pedestrians on the sidewalk and the adjacent residential properties. In addition, the planter block materials are readily available and can be assembled/re-assembled by the city’s landscape personnel, minimizing maintenance costs and response times for any repairs.
As defined by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, protected intersections create shorter, simpler crossings, more predictable movements, and better visibility between people on bikes and people driving. As a result, the intersection is more comfortable and safer for people using the bikeway and the crosswalk. This design keeps bicycles physically separate from motor vehicles up until the intersection, providing a high degree of comfort and safety for people of all ages and abilities.
This design can reduce the likelihood of high speed vehicle turns, improve sight-lines, and dramatically reduce the distance and time during which people on bikes are exposed to conflicts. For example, in San Francisco, a protected intersection design resulted in 98% of drivers yielding to people on bikes, and 100% yielding to people walking. Please visit our project website for a great 5-minute video highlighting the design features of a protected intersection produced by a Senior Planner/Designer at the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation. http://www.protectedintersection.com/
Source: National Association of City Transportation Officials - Protected Intersections
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We anticipate the design to be completed by the summer of 2025. Currently, there is no funding identified for construction.
However, the City continues to prepare and submit requests for State and Federal Grants along with regional funding programs from Sacramento Area Council of Governments to obtain all/some of the $7+ million anticipated for construction of this project. The further along a project is in the environmental and final design phases a project is, the higher these projects score on applications. The City has a great track record of competitive applications and grant funding is the largest source of construction funds for all of our Capital Projects. Wish us luck!
Phase 1 of the Old Auburn Complete Streets project has completed preliminary designs and is dedicating the remainder of 2023 to coordinating environmental documents, permits, and approvals paired with a continued community engagement strategy that hopes to build on the momentum of the 2020 Plan. The project design components, environmental findings, and community feedback will be presented to City Council for adoption of the environmental documents and authorization to begin final design plans and right of way negotiations that are scheduled to begin in 2024.