City Council supports safe routes to school
The City Council authorized the transfer of $100,000 of the city’s transportation funds to help support the Robla Elementary Safe Schools Project at a City Council meeting Tuesday to ensure the safety of students using of pedestrian routes in the Robla Elementary District.
The $100,000 is coming from the city’s transportation funding for the Major Streets Improvement project to complete the design phase of the project and cover staff costs.
The Major Streets Improvement Project was implemented “to close gaps in the city’s circulation network, relieve congestion, improve safety and provide for the efficient movement of people, services, and goods,” according to a consent report from the city of Sacramento.
The Robla Elementary Safe Schools Project was given an initial $650,000 from a State Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant to make school routes safer and accessible for the community as a whole.
Robla School District Superintendent Ruben Reyes said the school, which is located at the northern city limits, lacks much-needed crosswalks, sidewalks and pedestrian accessibility.
“Currently, many streets around our schools do not have sidewalks. Children and parents walking to school must walk in the street, and the situation has long caused concern,” Reyes said.
“This area is on a busy corner. Our district does provide busing, but many families live very close, and walking is more convenient,” he said.
Department of Transportation spokeswoman Linda Tucker said the engineering design phase, which has been under way for the past year, details the layout of the project area, the necessary improvements and any facilities or equipment needed to complete the task.
“(The) total project cost includes the engineering design, purchasing any necessary additional property to add sidewalks, contractors to install concrete sidewalks, curbs and gutters, street markings of the crosswalks, curb ramps, pavement access to trail and overhead flashers,” Tucker said.
The Robla Elementary School District will use the funds of the SRTS grant to add new pedestrian crosswalks at the Rio Linda Boulevard at the Pinedale and Santa Ana intersections, improving access to the Sacramento Northern Bike Trail, and redoing the sidewalk, gutters and curbs in front of the school, according to Tucker.
Many students in the community take the Northern Sacramento Bike Trail, which intersects with Rio Linda Boulevard and leads to Robla Elemenatry School.
Tucker said the safety of the students taking the Rio Linda Boulevard intersection route to get to school is the primary concern, especially in an area that has 10,000 – 12,000 cars going through at the posted 45 mph speed limit.
“The primary concern comes from the high-speed volume of motor vehicle traffic on both Rio Linda and Marysville boulevards,” Tucker said. “Coupled with the narrow roadway widths without curbs, gutters and sidewalks throughout the area, students walking and bicycling to school have a high degree of exposure to motor vehicles.”
Reyes said the city, who applied for the grant, has been working collaboratively with the Robla School District to make the safety of students a high priority.
He said the engineers often meet with Robla School District staff for input and suggestions in the design of the project.
Reyes said he sees this as a positive project in the community and is grateful to the city staff for their work in helping make traveling to school safer for the students in the community.
Not only will it be more safe, but Tucker said more alternatives and access will encourage more students and parents to walk or bike, which overall is better for their health and the environment.
“A sidewalk adjacent to the street is something many communities take for granted,” Reyes said.
“We are in a part of the city where many neighborhoods were built without sidewalks. This may have been allowable at some point, but now it is an unsafe situation that the city of Sacramento is working to remedy,” he added.
Tucker said final design will be completed by the end of June. The project as a whole is set to be completed at the end of October.