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City to close one lane of Old Auburn Rd for 9-day experiment

A traffic sign announces upcoming temporary roadway changes on Old Auburn Road, near Fair Oaks Boulevard. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
Beginning this Saturday, one lane on a portion of westbound Old Auburn Road near the problematic intersection with Fair Oaks Boulevard will be closed and temporarily replaced with a multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists. The change is part of several roadway modifications the city is considering implementing to address traffic and safety issues along the roadway.

Related: Ideas abound for improving problem stretch of Old Auburn Road

Leslie Blomquist, principal civil engineer for the city, said the purpose of the temporary road changes is to address resident concerns expressed at a community workshop held in March, part of the city’s current effort to develop an Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan.

“[W]e heard from members of the community that they wanted increased pedestrian safety, increased bicycle safety, slower vehicular speeds, easier access to driveways and local roads, fewer collisions, etc., along this roadway corridor,” Blomquist told The Sentinel in an email, referencing the section of Old Auburn from Garry Oak to Sylvan Corners.  She also said concerns about a high number of vehicles colliding with planter boxes at the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Old Auburn Road led the city to look into possible ways to reduce collisions.

“Based on community feedback, traffic studies, traffic data and observations, the concept of a ‘road diet’ came to the forefront as a potential improvement along the corridor to address the majority of these concerns/requests,” Blomquist said. A “road diet” refers to the re-allocation of a vehicular lane for non-vehicle use.

“Because the city has not implemented the concept of a road diet before, we felt a short term demonstration project would be a good first step,” she said.

The changes will include the closure of one westbound lane on a quarter-mile section of Old Auburn Road, from Garry Oak Drive to Glen Tree Drive. The unused lane will then be converted into a two-way multi-use path, which will extend an existing multi-use trail along Old Auburn that currently ends at Garry Oak Drive.

Blomquist said the lane closure and path extension will be in place 24 hours a day, from Oct. 19-27, with removal slated to occur during the day on Oct. 28.

Another temporary change will be the elimination of one of the two left turn lanes on Fair Oaks Boulevard, at the intersection with Old Auburn Road. Blomquist said the lane will instead be turned into a right-turn lane.

While the temporary roadway changes are in place, Blomquist said the city will be collecting traffic data and conducting observations at the intersection of Old Auburn Road and Fair Oaks Boulevard, as well as on surrounding roadways “to see how this potential improvement may affect adjacent roadways.”

Want to share your thoughts on the roadway changes? Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Additional information about the roadway changes will be presented during a Community Safety Fair, slated for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 19 to kick off the temporary changes. The event will be held at Grace Church of Sacramento, located at 8071 Old Auburn Rd.

Blomquist said the fair will include bike and pedestrian safety activities as well as demonstrations and opportunities for residents to provide feedback. Attendees will also have an opportunity to check out a fire truck, tour a SmartRide bus and get a free bike helmet, according to an event flier.

If you plan to go:

Community Safety Fair
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
October 19, 2019
8071 Old Auburn Rd.
Citrus Heights, CA

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