Up to six miles of Sacramento streets closing to cars, open to cyclists and pedestrians

(Photo courtesy Oakland Department of Transportation)

The City’s public works department soon will close up to six miles of Sacramento roads to through-traffic and make them open to walking, cycling and other forms non-static activity.

The effort is part of a “Slow & Active Streets” project that staff hope will promote physical and mental health while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re excited to be providing what many communities have asked for and to provide opportunities for outdoor activity, particularly in areas of the city with fewer parks and outdoor yards,” said Jennifer Donlon Wyant, transportation planning manager for the City.

The $225,000 project will last until April 2021 while effects of the temporary closures are evaluated.

“We are looking for community organizations to work with to identify candidate streets,” said Donlon Wyant.

Organizations can apply to have their streets considered for the project by filling out an application on the project webpage. Staff will give preference to requests from environmental justice areas, areas with multifamily housing and limited yards as well as areas with limited access to parks.

People who live on the streets, delivery drivers and emergency responders would still be able to drive in and out.

City staff have closed a section of roadway in William Land Park between Freeport Boulevard to Land Park Drive as an early test of the project.

Donlon Wyant stressed that Slow & Active Streets are not areas for gathering, programming, or sharing meals.

“We do want to remind folks that closed streets will be for active transportation like biking, walking, scooting, wheelchair-rolling and other human-powered physical activity. Residents and neighbors using Slow & Active Streets must adhere to the latest health guidelines issued by Sacramento County’s Department of Public Health Services.” she said.

Similar projects have taken place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland and Berkeley as a way to help people get outdoors and exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Slow & Active Streets project was approved by City Council in December during a discussion on the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, a document that outlines ways Sacramento can reduce its effects on climate change.

Transportation remain the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Sacramento and are a major focus of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

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