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Downtown Sacramento’s busiest streets should have bike lanes by August or September, according to city officials.
The work will begin in June or July and should take a month to complete, according to Ed Williams, Associate Engineer with the city’s Department of Transportation.
The intent of the project is to create bicycle lanes on the most-traveled downtown streets, including J, I, Fifth, Ninth and 10th streets and Capitol Mall, city officials previously told The Sacramento Press.
On some streets, the plan is to take out one lane of vehicular traffic as is common in Midtown.
Cyclists interviewed Tuesday applauded the city’s upcoming road work, which they said will add safety to streets that can currently be dangerous to ride on.
A lot of the time, your choice is to either ride on the sidewalk or get hit by a car,” said 22-year-old downtown cyclist Daniel Belcher. “(Adding bicycle lanes) is a great idea.”
Parish Heavens, a 44-year-old Sacramentan, said the dedicated bicycle lanes will give riders a safe option for commuting without having to ride on the sidewalk, which is currently illegal in many places.
“I got a $200 ticket a few months ago because I was riding in the lane, and it ended, and I rode on the sidewalk because I was afraid of getting hit,” he said. “The cops saw me and told me I should ride on the street.”
Heavens said he rides downtown every day, adding that the city’s addition of bicycle lanes is “a really good thing.”
Williams said in an email Friday that many of the streets slated for the project need to be seal coated to cover the lane lines that will be ground off, and are therefore being included in regularly scheduled annual maintenance.
Image by: Courtesy city of Sacramento
The new bike lanes will cost the city $629,000. The expenditure,was approved by the City Council in April 2011.
One popular monthly bicycle event – the Second Saturday Coffee Bike Tour – will benefit from the project, according to one of the organizers.
Justin Kerr, 22-year-old co-owner of Broadacre Coffee, said the addition of bicycle lanes will make the coffee bar’s tours safer.
“It’s going to be great,” he said. “Ninth, 10th and J streets are the more fearful areas right now. We have 25-30 bikers, and we all have to bunch up and take over a lane of traffic. Now we can ride in our own lanes.”