At the 7th Annual State of RT Breakfast and TransitAction Awards co-sponsored by the Sacramento Metro Chamber, Supervisor Phil Serna received the Elected Official of the Year TransitAction Award and praised all the award winners for their efforts to improve public transit in the Sacramento region: Organization/Agency of the Year - City Year Sacramento and Sacramento County Department of Transportation (SACDOT); Transit Oriented Development of the Year - Warehouse Artist Lofts; and Individual/Transit Advocate of the Year - Rivkah Sass, Sacramento Public Library Director. Award recipients were honored on Thursday, March 26th at the Hyatt Regency.
According to Mike Penrose, SACDOT Director, “The major reason SACDOT received the award is that as a transportation agency, the department fully supports all modes of travel and proactively looks for opportunities in development of roadway infrastructure projects to include transit, bicycles and pedestrian facilities. In the case of the recent Watt Avenue @ US-50 Interchange Improvement project, a Bus-Rapid-Transit ready facility has been constructed and delivered as a unique new component of the RT bus system.”
In addition to the Watt/50 interchange project, SACDOT supports public transit in the Sacramento region in a variety of ways. SACDOT infrastructure improvement projects typically address multiple goals of improving roadway capacity and safety, beautifying and enhancing corridors and surrounding communities and optimizing mobility for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users. SACDOT and RT have worked closely together on a number of projects that support and promote public transit in the Sacramento County unincorporated area:
Light Rail: SACDOT and RT partnered on the Watt Avenue @ Folsom Boulevard Light Rail Grade Separation project, which was completed in November 2009. This project eliminated crossing delays for motorists, bicycles and pedestrians, improved the flow of traffic through the intersection, and significantly improved safety for the light rail system as well as motorists, bicycles and pedestrians.
Bus Improvements: SACDOT’s current five-year capital improvement program includes over $400 million in projects to improve the unincorporated area transportation system. This includes projects along roadways that serve RT bus routes or provide access to light rail stations.
Watt Avenue Bridge Project: This bridge widening project was completed in 2002. The bridge was designed to accommodate a Bus Rapid Transit lane in the center median when funding becomes available for a new project.
In addition to including transit components in transportation projects, in 2011 Sacramento County amended the Land Use and Circulation Element sections of the General Plan to support and to be consistent with the RT TransitAction Plan vision. The amended General Plan now recognizes the importance of transit and provides policy guidance in making land use decisions that support transit as a critical component of any new development in Sacramento County. Instead of trying to implement a transit network into a community that was not planned for it, Sacramento County now fosters development of communities that are built around and supported by transit.