How the Railyards Plan Encourages Cycling and Walkability in Sacramento

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How the Railyards Plan Encourages Cycling and Walkability in Sacramento

August 25, 2017 | By The Railyards

Could Sacramento become the “Walking Capital?” Active cities that prioritize pedestrian and cycling activities bring many benefits to residents and visitors alike. The City of Sacramento is committed to pedestrian and bicycling improvements through various pedestrian programs and projects and has set a goal of becoming the most livable city in America. The Railyards has planned a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly community to help the City reach it’s goals.

If you’re curious about how easy it will be to walk or bike the Railyards, keep reading. We’ve got all the Specific Plan details that will the project be an active, walkable community.

A Walkable Sacramento Community

The Railyards plan calls for streets, blocks, and land uses to be laid out in ways that encourage walking and bicycling both in the plan area and throughout adjoining neighborhoods.

The Railyards area will have pedestrian-friendly amenities such as:

  • Attractive shade trees
  • Street furniture
  • Pedestrian-scaled lighting

The Railyards plan calls for measures to ensure a safe, walkable experienced throughout the area. Where appropriate, pedestrian pathways will be separated from auto circulation routes. When the two meet at intersections, a change in grade and materials will occur to improve visibility and safety. Lighting will heighten nighttime visibility, further increasing pedestrian safety.

Unlike many of Sacramento’s existing neighborhoods which were developed during a time when automobile traffic was a priority, the Railyards will be a neighborhood developed for walkability.

Pedestrian Zones and Spaces in the Railyards

A comprehensive network of plazas and open space will provide variety and interest to pedestrians in the Railyards. Dedicated pedestrian zones such as public plazas, sidewalks, promenades and special open space features will encourage pedestrian activity and emphasise pedestrian safety throughout all five planned districts in the Railyards.

  • The East End District will include pedestrian paths along South Park Street within a widened pedestrian‐open space park‐like setting along both sides of the street and particularly along the northern edge, visually connecting Vista Park to the MLS Stadium.
  • From 5th Street, a series of plazas and pedestrian alleys unfold on Railyards Boulevard and pedestrians can access the Central Shops district at multiple points on Camille Lane.
  • An intricate network of pedestrian paths and alleyways will provide circulation among the historic Central Shops.
  • The Central Shops District will have no city streets or alleys and the pedestrian network of the Central Shops district will be directly connected to the Depot District via a walkable tunnel.
  • Walkability along the riverfront will also be enhanced with the removal of parts of Jibboom Street and the development of new uses.
  • A well‐designed wayfinding program will ensure that visitors moving around the Railyards on foot can easily find their way around.

Pedestrian-friendly Parks and Trails

The Railyards will include a comprehensive network of urban open spaces, ranging from civic plazas to neighborhood parks. These new parks, plazas, and trails within the plan area will link the Railyards’ districts internally, and also augment Sacramento‘s existing open space and trail system.

The proposed trail network in the Railyards will connect pedestrians to existing Sacramento parks and plazas as well as potential future cultural educational centers, such as the proposed California Indian Heritage Center along the Sacramento River.

Cycling the Railyards

Bicyclists will find the Railyards accessible and safe. The Specific Plan calls for a network of on- and off‐street bicycle paths, which you can see illustrated in the Bicycle Network plan:

  • Class 2 bikeways will travel both ways on Railyards Boulevard, 5th Street, 6th Street, South Park Street, North B Street, Camille Lane, and G Street
  • Off‐street Class 1 pathways for bicycles and pedestrians will extend across the site in several places, including Railyards Boulevard, east of 7th Street; Bercut Drive; F Street, within the intermodal parcel through the Big Four Bend; and along the river, just west of Jibboom Street.
  • Protected Class 4 bicycle lanes are designated on F Street west of 7th Street and along both sides of 6th Street itself from H Street to Railyards Boulevard.
  • Finally, the publicly accessible main street route, Stanford Street, is also designated as a bicycle route, where bicycles and cars share a wide travel lane.

The Railyards plan also calls for bicycle parking within the area.

The Railyards development isn’t the only project within Sacramento that is making the future a more bicycle-friendly one. In 2016, the City of Sacramento approved the Bicycle Master Plan to set forth bicycle related investments, policies, programs, and strategies to establish a complete bicycle system in the city and encourage more citizens to embrace cycling for transportation and recreation.

The Railyards specific plan addresses cycling access and amenities in a way that will help the city achieve its vision of “a safe, comfortable and continuous network of bikeways attracting and serving bicyclists of all ages and abilities from all neighborhoods and thereby integrating bicycling as a fundamental part of Sacramento’s everyday transportation system.”

Sacramento recently made strides in its bicycle efforts with its pilot bike-share program. The program currently services the Central City, and will hopefully expand to service the Railyards as the project develops, as well.

Active cities that are pedestrian and bicycle friendly have many benefits, and Sacramento is working hard to improve pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the city. The Railyards development is aligned with these goals and has planned accordingly; the specific plan includes elements to helping the City reach its goals of becoming the most livable, walkable, bike-friendly city in America.

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