By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Improvements and modifications to various intersections throughout Citrus Heights are in the works, with the city receiving community input on a key project during an open house meeting that was held at the Citrus Heights Community Center on Feb. 20.
The project is scheduled to begin later this summer and includes the installation of a median barrier fence along portions of the intersection of Greenback Lane and Auburn Boulevard, where several pedestrian-involved crashes have occurred related to pedestrians crossing the roadway outside the intersection’s crosswalks.
According to the city, installation of a pedestrian median barrier will prohibit pedestrians from crossing at these locations and guide them to use the designated controlled crosswalks at the adjacent traffic signals.
Upgrades at the intersections of Macy Plaza and Birdcage Center on Sunrise Boulevard near Sunrise Mall will also be installed as part of the project, including widening of crosswalks and installing curb ramps. Curbing and crosswalks on the opposite side of the intersection from Macy Plaza and Birdcage Center on Sunrise Boulevard have also been completed and made ADA-compliant.
The project, known as the Various Signalized Intersection Safety Improvements project, is in its final design phase.
In 2017, the City Council approved the barrier fencing along with several intersection improvements involving the upgrading in size of all remaining pedestrian signal indicators. Funding was drawn from a $486,000 Highway Safety Improvement Project grant and Measure A transportation funds.
The project includes the installation of count-down pedestrian signal signs at 11 traffic signals in Citrus Heights, along with the installation of 29 larger traffic signals lights at various intersections to improve visibility for drivers, according to the city’s website.
For the barrier fence, four styles of fencing were previewed to city residents at the open house event. Each panel is approximately four feet high, with the arched version being four inches taller at its heights point.
The city is seeking input from residents driving along Greenback Lane who might consider an arched panel design to be visually distracting. Input can still be made via an online survey.
The cost per foot for each panel option varies, with curved mesh panels featuring areas for climbing plants and vines being potentially the most expensive to maintain, city officials say.
Resident Donna Mayford expressed some concern about curved-mesh fence panels with vines and foliage “could be a magnet for roadside debris and trash.”
A steel mesh fence panel, similar in style to rusty-brown fencing already installed along Greenback Lane but in graffiti-resistant galvanized green, was welcomed by Planning Commissioner Tom Scheeler, who has been critical of the appearance of the existing barrier fence.
Two other panel choices, one with an arched and another in a flat top were also described. Once the final choice is made, the city will keep an inventory stock of replacement panels on hand in the event of traffic collision damage or repairs.
The city is asking residents to complete a brief five-question survey offering their opinions of each fence design they prefer. The survey can be completed at www.surveymonkey.com/r/VBXC525. The survey will close on Feb. 28 when public feedback will be assessed, said Mary Poole, a city official.
The city operates and maintains 61 signalized intersections, most of which were installed many years ago. Some have been upgraded, but not all. The new Signalized Intersection Safety Improvement Project will upgrade all remaining pedestrian signal indicators with count-down models and increase their size to 12 inches.
Currently, there have been no push buttons on pedestrian signal indicators informing when to cross at the intersections of Macy Plaza and Birdcage Center on Sunrise Boulevard. The city says the present crosswalks are narrow and there is not much space for pedestrians as they wait.
Resident Rhonda Fisher, who often shops at the Sunrise Marketplace and Walgreens, said she’s glad to see some consistency in the traffic signal countdown indicators being planned.
“They’re not all the same and they are timed differently. It makes it difficult to cross safely while you’re watching for traffic.”
The project will upgrade the traffic signals to include count-down pedestrian indicators, install accessible curb ramps, install pedestrian push buttons, and widen the crosswalk to provide increased safety for all users of these intersections. Count-down models allow users to make more informed decisions on when to cross the road and reduce the number of pedestrians within the crosswalk when the light turns to its next phase.
Work on the project is anticipated to begin in late summer or early fall of this year, according to the latest update from the city. Additional information about the project is available online at www.citrusheights.net.
Survey: Click here to take the city’s survey regarding barrier fence options.