More traffic problems for I-5 corridor in ’08

One of my favorite Bee columns, Back-Seat Driver, reports today on CalTrans’ new plan to shut down lanes and onramps on I-5 in downtown.

Beginning in February or March and lasting through October, Caltrans will close one or two freeway lanes in each direction from Richards Boulevard on the north to the I-5 junction with Highway 50 on the south.

That will leave three lanes open in each direction, Dinger said.

Key ramps, such as the commuter-heavy I and A street connections also will be closed at points during the year

Apparently there are drainage problems there and it leaks, and therefore flood danger in the long run. But holy smokes, that does not sound like a fun 2008 for commuters or people flying on airplanes. Bizjak says this is the busiest strectch of I-5 north of Los Angeles. (Yay Sacramento!) I’m sure RT and the city have some ideas to alleviate the problem though…

“Hopefully, more folks will take light rail, buses, carpools,” city traffic official Hector Barron said.

Let’s ignore the offensiveness of suggesting that we take light rail to the airport. Dutiful readers and Raggers have already pointed out the problem with that. (Although I want to add that I think it’s silly that the 20th anniversary logo also has a picture of a streetcar. Ah, the 80s… porkpie hats, men in suits, Lucky Strikes, streetcars…)

I commute every day to Natomas and I’m here to tell you it’s not well served by RT. I suppose Elk Grove residents could go crosstown to the newer Meadowview line and bypass I-5 instead of coming in on the freeway. Or take some of the RT-affiliated busses that come in from the Grove.

But I don’t know how people who live in North Natomas would be begin attempting to bus in to the city core. That is a sizable load of cars. I think RT would have to expand its offerings to make a dent in the number of people actually opting for public transportation along I-5, and with the legislature’s recent record of treating public transit like a rainy day fund I think that’s probably not going to happen.

What say you, I-5 commuters?

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

4 thoughts on “More traffic problems for I-5 corridor in ’08”

  1. It’s actually rather startling to see the number of large American cities that have little or no public transportation going to their airports. Even East Coast cities, like Providence, with pretty substantial commuter rail lines stop short of getting you to the airport.

    Does the BART get you to Oakland Airport yet or do you still have to hop a shuttle from the Coliseum?

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  2. Where can we find the environmental impact study? Stuff LIVES in them “leaks”, and I’m sure some of is found nowhere else on earth.

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  3. Basuraman, the absence of a light-rail line that links the Downtown-Natomas-Airport (DNA) corridor does not lie with the NIMBYs, but in the funding formulas for TEA-21, the federal program that hands out the grants to fund such projects.

    There are not enough people who live up there for the feds to justify building the public transportation infrastructure. We applied for the funding and the feds turned us down. This is the same reason, as sac-eats points out, that many cities lack trains to the airport; not enough people live near airports to benefit from the expense.

    Of course, we can point to other locales who are doing it right (cough..PORTLAND..cough) who actually require that the light rail be built before housing, but that would be economical and common-sensical, now wouldn’t it? And you know what else would make sense? A freaking bus that goes to the airport! Luckily, Yolo Transit takes care of that one for those in downtown and midtown.

    The other problem is that whole floodplain issue, but that’s another topic of conversation entirely. Oh yeah, and the unacceptable levels of air pollution that also disqualify us for certain federal transit funds.

    It is a pretty complicated issue. I don’t think a handful of protesters have much to do with it.

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