As the economy rebounds and the region sees continued growth, traffic congestion becomes more important to the overall quality of life in Sacramento, and also creates barriers to economic development and the movement of goods. We must address congestion, air quality, environmental justice, and equity issues as we grow our city and region.

The following areas need to be addressed when discussing the future of transportation, air quality, and access in the Sacramento region:

  1. Public Transit: Our public transit system is inadequate. Not only must we make it a reliable, clean, and safe system, we also must take steps to ensure its fiscal solvency. Public Transit is more expensive in Sacramento than Chicago, and by July will be as expensive as in New York City.We must take these key steps to quickly improve our Public Transit System:
    1. Improve Safety, Cleanliness, and Reliability to Increase Ridership: This is a prerequisite for success and must be urgently addressed. With the opening of the downtown arena, we must ensure that arena visitors view our transit system as a safe option for them and their families.
    2. Find Opportunities to Improve Efficiencies and Reduce Costs: This will allow RT to stabilize or even reduce fares. Cities like Houston have found enormous savings by improving the efficiencies in their system — allowing them to actually increase the service they provide.
    3. Develop and Expand Incentivized Ridership Programs: Create and expand partnerships with college campuses, large employers — including the State of California — and other organizations to provide incentives to ride. This will bring additional dollars into our transit system but will also increase the ridership base and encourage the use of mass transit across all populations and demographics. Critical to these programs succeeding is modernizing our payment system by launching the long-awaited Connect Card and a modern and reliable app.
    4. Coordinate the Transit Agencies Currently Serving Sacramento’s Region: Sacramento’s next mayor must make this coordination a priority. Currently, we’re leaving this in the hands of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, but it is time for Sacramento to show leadership on this issue.For example: SACOG is allowing the Connect Card to languish near the finish line, while the physical infrastructure that was installed already begins to deteriorate. Modern transit systems need modern payment systems — whatever it takes to finish this program needs to be done by our next mayor.
    5. Prepare for Light Rail Retrofit: RT’s light rail cars appear to be approaching the end of their useful life, and the next generation of cars must be street-level cars with retrofit platforms. While this change is years off, for it to succeed, we must
      begin planning now.
    6. Shuttle System for Outer Neighborhoods on Arena Event Nights: Based on existing shuttle models in Sacramento and elsewhere, we can successfully boost ridership on game nights and other events with dedicated and specifically branded shuttle services. Smaller and more efficient than regular buses, these services are also able to charge a premium for the service they provide. This is an
      opportunity to increase ridership, boost revenue, and repair RT’s brand.
    7. Complete the Downtown Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Facility: Having an Amtrak station, bus hub, and light rail station at the edge of the Railyards, accessible from I-5, by bicycle, or on foot, is critical to the success of multi-modal transportation in our urban core. Our city must begin now to pursue the next round of federal funding for this project.
    8. Take Advantage of the Capital Corridor Amtrak Line and Routes to Areas Like Davis and Roseville for Game Nights: Too often our Amtrak services are left out of regional planning of transit.
    9. Light Rail Expansion:Airport: We need to move deliberately to extend the Green Line to connect to the Sacramento International Airport. Cities like Seattle and Minneapolis have successfully launched their new Light Rail systems on the basis of service to the Airport. Airport light rail access would be a game changer for our system. The route needs to be a direct route that is user friendly and encourages use by being efficient and convenient.

      Elk Grove: We need to expand our Blue Line from Cosumnes River College to Elk Grove. This effort, working with the City of Elk Grove as a partner, has the potential to take pressure off of our congested freeways while opening up employment opportunities to residents of both cities.

  2. Traffic: As discussed in the Safe City / Safe Streets section, our next mayor must ensure that the safety of our streets for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists is a top transportation and safety priority.
    1. Improve light synchronization
    2. Enhance DUI enforcement
    3. Create safe routes to school
    4. Longer yellow lights
    5. Hire more traffic enforcement officers
    6. Commit to a Vision Zero policy
  3. Land Use: Sacramento must continue to embrace smart growth principles that take into account transportation and housing costs. We must support land uses that allow for easy access to employment centers, community amenities, and services. Builders in our community are eager to be part of the solution, and it is up to our next mayor to ensure that our city’s building codes and land use policies best reflect our values. This includes supporting Transit-Oriented Development, mixed land uses, walkable neighborhoods, and continuing to embrace and support compact building designs put forward like the Mill on Broadway and the Creamery.

    A key test will be the redevelopment of Sleep Train Arena, and ensuring that it results in a walkable development that is accessible to Light Rail.

  4. Improve Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure: The City of Sacramento has made a commitment to develop safer bicycle and pedestrian routes. Taking advantage of our incredible weather, Sacramento can and should be the most bike-friendly big city in California.
    1. Safe Routes to School: For both pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, our top priority must be improving the safety of our young students. WALKSacramento has brought the (national) Safe Routes to School program to our local community, partnering directly with West Sacramento and Citrus Heights, and with their school districts. It’s time for the City of Sacramento and our local school districts to bring this program to the schools in our city.

      Additionally, as Mayor, Ashby would replicate citywide the program implemented in Natomas that incentivizes walking and biking to school at least one day a week.

    2. Paths Forward: Our next mayor must redouble our commitment to dedicated bike lanes, off road bike paths, and bike/pedestrian connectors over freeways and rivers. In new growth areas this should be the standard. In more established neighborhoods we need to retrofit our thoroughfares.
    3. Focus on Connectivity: Too often, bicycle lanes end abruptly, with no clear safe route forward. Any bicycle commuter can recite the “one block” on their route to work that is unnecessarily dangerous. Instead of focusing on blocks, we need to focus on routes. Fixing this issue will provide an enormous value at a limited cost.
    4. Bike Share Program: Sacramento is working to bring a Bike Share Program to our city. These programs have been wildly popular across the country — and have brought a very real return on investment in many of the cities that have introduced them. Our next mayor must redouble our effort to launch this program in Sacramento. Additionally, our next mayor should work with our state and federal leaders to encourage changes to allow these programs to apply for transportation grants — supporting legislation has been introduced, but not passed.