More in City Hall:
- Citrus Heights debt policy item pulled last-minute from agenda November 17, 2019
- Citrus Heights secures $2M grant for San Juan Ave. improvements November 13, 2019
- The Civic Minute: what’s happening at Citrus Heights City Hall (Nov. 14) November 13, 2019
Sentinel staff report–
The City of Citrus Heights is currently evaluating results of a controversial nine-day experiment on Old Auburn Road that concluded on Oct. 28.
The temporary changes, referred to by the city as a “road diet,” replaced one westbound lane of Old Auburn Road with a bike lane. The city also eliminated one of two left-turn lanes at the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and turned it into a right-turn lane onto Old Auburn Road.
Leslie Blomquist, principal civil engineer with the City of Citrus Heights, told The Sentinel in an email on Tuesday that the city collected data during the experiment through in-person observations, drone footage, video footage and traffic counts with speed.
“Currently, we are evaluating and summarizing the data, which will be presented at the next Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan Community Workshop,” Blomquist said. A date has not yet been scheduled for the workshop, but it is anticipated to take place before the end of the year, she said.
The temporary changes went into effect on Oct. 19 and drew a mixed reaction on social media and in letters to the editor published in The Sentinel, many of whom complained about increased congestion due to the loss of one lane.
Blomquist said the temporary changes were put in place as a “potential improvement” for addressing safety issues that were brought up in a prior community meeting held earlier this year.
Blomquist said the city has targeted the Old Auburn Road corridor due to “challenging transportation conditions” which she said include speeding as well as “inadequate bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure, angled intersections and a history of collisions.”
“The goal of the week-long temporary improvements was to demonstrate how a ‘road diet’ might be able to address the community identified challenges listed above,” she said in an email.
Old Auburn Road is currently being studied as the city develops a comprehensive plan for the street, known as the Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan.
The city’s first workshop addressing the Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan was held on March 26 at Holy Family Church and was attended by about 100 people. Information about the heavily trafficked stretch of roadway from Sylvan Corners to the Roseville border was visually presented, and feedback was obtained from residents.
As previously reported on The Sentinel, a popular interactive aspect of the workshop was a pair of long aerial maps of Old Auburn Road, where attendees could place sticky notes to point out problems or suggest solutions.
Requests to add continuous sidewalks were a popular suggestion, as were complaints about speeding and requests for more police presence in various spots. The oft-hit wall at the intersection of Old Auburn Road and Fair Oaks Boulevard was also noted as a problem area — although specific suggestions for how to improve it were not noted in sticky notes.
“Make it 2 lanes with bike lanes + sidewalks,” read one note. “How about some roundabouts,” another wrote. New traffic signals were also suggested outside Holy Family Catholic Church, as well as at Bonita Way.
The city also provided data showing a total of 78 injury collisions were reported along Old Auburn Road from 2013 to 2017, three of which were fatal. Eight involved a bicycle and six involved a pedestrian.
All three fatal collisions occurred at the intersection of Old Auburn Road and Sunrise Boulevard, which also has been the location of the majority of all injury collisions along Old Auburn Road.
Around 19,000 vehicles travel along Old Auburn Road each day, according to the city’s average daily traffic data for the stretch of road between Sylvan Corners and Mariposa Avenue. That has earned that section of Old Auburn Road a “Level of Service” rating of “F,” which is the worst operating conditions possible on the scale of A-F.
Other portions of Old Auburn Road have better ratings, with the section of roadway near Wachtel Way earning a “C” grade. City traffic data shows a much lower average daily traffic count of 13,850 between Fair Oaks Boulevard and the northern city limits.
A $190,000 Caltrans grant provided the majority of funds for developing the plan, with Fehr & Peers awarded the contract for developing the Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan last year. The final plan for Old Auburn Road is anticipated to be complete by February 2020.
Additional maps and information can be found on the city’s website.
Want to share your thoughts on how to improve Old Auburn Road? Click here to submit a letter to the editor for publication.
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