SACRAMENTO — Broadway stretches from Interstate 5 to Highway 99 on the south side of the central city, bordering residential neighborhoods like Land Park.
In recent years, industrial and warehouse sites are being transformed into townhouses, and new retail businesses like restaurants have opened to accommodate newcomers.
The city wants to cut the number of lanes in half and install continuous bike lanes and pedestrian features — turning a vehicle traffic corridor to a neighborhood friendly street.
Bicyclists who avoid the street now say the change is welcome.
“It won’t make car drivers happy, but there are other alternatives and maybe some of those people will get out of their cars and actually bike,” Dave Passovooy said.
Making two narrow lanes, one each way, will slow traffic and adding sidewalk bulges at intersections will make it safer for walkers.
Passengers on the Broadway light rail station will be helped by a major pedestrian street crossing.
Residents in the area have no problem with making Broadway a more community oriented street rather than a commuter thorough fare. But, they still have a tough time figuring out what a two lane Broadway would look like or if it would work.
“We belong here, yes, but we can’t just be pushing the cars out of the way,” Steve Williamson, Land Park resident, said.
Williamson bikes to work everyday; he believes new businesses would suffer if lanes were taken away.
“If you’re trying to promote the commercial growth of Broadway, how are you going to do that if you make it harder for people to use the street,” Williamson questioned.
Other cities with “road diet” designs actually saw an increase in customer traffic because the number of bike and pedestrian customers was underestimated.
Pedestrian versus car accidents were also reduced anywhere from 15 to 65 percent.
Land Park resident Jim Farrell likes the idea of a neighborhood street, but said he sees traffic backups even with the current two lanes each way.
“Stalling at the train tracks and the backup and if you take those two lanes and make them into one, I see the back ups even further,” Farrell said.
But, studies have shown the the new configuration should handle the 22,000 cars a day that drive the street.
Still, some feel the plan is worth trying.
“I’d rather see something tried than stasis,” Passovoy said.