Friday, September 23, 2016

Using 5th Street to Increase Sacramento Valley Station Connections

If you are like us at TransportiCA, you were excited about the 19 August opening of the 5th and 6th Street extensions in Sacramento's Railyards district.  We were excited not because of the driving potential, and alleged traffic reduction statements regarding the Golden One Center.  Rather, both street extensions have bike lanes, and serve as easy connectors to the train station, without having to worry about westbound I Street traffic, or riding on the wrong side of H Street to the station.

With all of TransportiCA's Editors being Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin and Coast Starlight riders, we quickly noticed a downside to the extensions; they may provide a quicker route for bicyclists accessing the train station, but certainly not for pedestrians.

Since the 5th Street bridge goes directly over all the Sacramento station platforms, we are interested if there are plans to build a staircase from 5th Street, downward to the platforms.

In constructing a staircase to the station platforms, Sacramento would join the likes of other major stations promoting multimodal and multiple access points, such as Oakland's Jack London Square, Emeryville and San Jose Diridon - all pictured below.  Further, this platform would also ease congestion around the station and I Street, as passengers could be picked-up and dropped-off from the 5th Street bridge, not having to deal with reduced pick-up / drop-off areas in front of the station, due to the station's upgrade.  Lastly, having this staircase connection could reduce the amount of vehicles who enter at the station's H Street, transit vehicle-only entrance.

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Oakland Jack London Station (FLICKR user Michael Layefsky)

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Emeryville Station (FLICKR user Chris Tarnas)

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San Jose Diridon Station (

Now, we are absolutely cognizant in Sacramento, nothing gets done in one's lifetime, as the current street extensions took almost two decades to come to fruition.  We understand that some cities just have a greater passion for these types of connections and active transportation projects, benefitting all transportation system users.  Just not Sacramento.

If anything, we hope this begins a discussion about the staircase potential, and one day - hopefully by mid-century, such can become a reality, providing greater legitimacy to the name "Sacramento Valley Intermodal Station."

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