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City pursues barrier fence to reduce pedestrian collisions near Greenback/Auburn

barrier fence, Citrus Heights
An aerial map from a city council agenda packet shows where barrier fencing is to be installed on Greenback Lane and Auburn Boulevard. // Credit: City of Citrus Heights

Updated June 24, 11:30 p.m.–
Following three pedestrian-related collisions near the intersection of Greenback Lane and Auburn Boulevard last year, the City of Citrus Heights is moving forward with plans to install barrier fencing to help keep people from running across the street.

Police Lt. David Gutierrez told The Sentinel a total of nine pedestrians have been hit by vehicles within 500 feet of the intersection in the past 10 years, with three of those occurring in 2016. He said police are also aware that pedestrians frequently run across the intersection outside of crosswalks, although “thankfully they haven’t been hit.”

The fencing will be located within median areas of three legs of the intersection, extending on both sides of Greenback Lane and one leg of Auburn Boulevard. The goal of the fencing is to “encourage pedestrians to not cross outside of marked crosswalks and to discourage crossing outside of the crosswalk,” according to Leslie Blomquist, the city’s senior civil/traffic engineer.

The city council approved an agreement last month for work to begin on the design, public outreach and environmental review of the project, using funding from a $486,000 Highway Safety Improvement Project grant and Measure A funds, according to a May 11 city council staff report. The project also includes installation of pedestrian count-down signs at 11 intersections and 29 signals “in need of increased vehicle indication sizes,” the staff report said.

Blomquist said the city is currently in the process of hiring a consultant to lead various aspects of the project, including public outreach. Public meetings will also be held to gather input on the design aesthetics of the fence.

Construction is anticipated to begin in Fall 2018, which would then take several months to complete, according to Blomquist.

In 2010, a barrier fence was installed along another section of Greenback Lane between Birdcage Street and Mariposa Avenue, which police say has proved to be effective in reducing pedestrian-related accidents — although some have criticized the aesthetics of the fence.

Councilman Bret Daniels called the existing fence on Greenback “ugly” and told The Sentinel he often hears negative comments from residents about its rusty-brown appearance. Daniels said a simple fix would be to “paint it black” and said he is supportive of the new fence at Greenback and Auburn “as long as they don’t put up an ugly fence like the one [near Birdcage].”

Lt. Gutierrez said the 2010 fencing was installed along with a new crosswalk due to a high amount of foot-traffic traveling between apartments on the north side of Greenback Lane and “a couple of liquor stores” on the other side of the road.

“It certainly has helped in that area,” the lieutenant said. “In conjunction with the pedestrian crosswalk, it has definitely helped with getting pedestrians to utilize the crosswalks.”

Gutierrez said the police department worked on the new barrier fence recommendation in a collaborative effort with other divisions at city hall, as part of a proactive approach to engineering improvements in the city.

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