At the upcoming city council meeting this Wednesday, the council will hear back on a requested report from city staff on the possibility of adding a pedestrian and bike crossing over the UP tracks on Laguna and Elk Grove Blvds. If the council agrees with staff recommendations, the project is still years away as there are not funds for the project.
City staff has prepared 3 proposals.
Alternative #1: Improvements would combine facilities to provide enough space to accommodate a separated Class I facility. For Laguna Boulevard, bicycle facilities would be combined and located on the north side of the roadway. For Elk Grove Boulevard, all pedestrian and bicycle facilities would be combined on the south side of the road to create a Class I facility. It should be noted that the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails Master Plan (Master Plan) calls for a Class I facility on the south side of Elk Grove Blvd in this area so this Alternative would be in line with the adopted Master Plan. In general, modifications to the roadways would include relocating the existing median barrier, adding a barrier to separate the Class I facility from vehicle traffic, and reducing most of the travel lanes to less than 12 feet. Cross sections are attached that illustrate the existing configuration as well as this Alternative for both roadways.
Cost Estimate for Alternative #1 Laguna Boulevard Crossing Elk Grove Boulevard Crossing $5.3 million $2.5 million
Alternative #2: Improvements would include widening the bridge structure to support a separated Class I facility for pedestrian and bicyclists on the north or south side of the bridge. This would support 12 foot travel lanes or wider and a two-foot buffer between the inside travel lane and the median. In both cases this would allow for retaining the class II bike lane and sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.
Cost Estimate for Alternative #2 Laguna Boulevard Crossing Elk Grove Boulevard Crossing $8.5 million $8.5 million
Alternative #3: Improvements would include constructing separate pedestrian and bicycle bridges at both locations. The new bridges would parallel the existing structures. New bridges would support 12 foot travel lanes or wider and a two-foot buffer between the inside travel lane and the median. This Alternative does not preserve the existing Class II bike lanes on the bridges but does retain the existing sidewalks. This proposal would require modification of the signals at the adjacent intersections to accommodate traffic to/from the bikeway.
Cost Estimate for Alternative #3 Laguna Boulevard Crossing Elk Grove Boulevard Crossing $8.0 million $6.3 million
For all three Alternatives at both locations, improvements would need to extend to the nearest intersection on each side of the bridge and include intersection improvements that will transition the Class I facility to the existing Class II bike lanes.
RECOMMENDATION / NEXT STEPS Given that Alternative #3 provides the same benefits as Alternative #2 at a lower cost, staff can not recommend Alternative #2. This leaves a choice between two potential projects Alternative #1, which essentially reallocates the existing space on the structures between the competing needs of bikes/pedestrians and vehicles, versus Alternative #3, which resolves these competing needs for the long term by constructing new bridges. While Alternative #1 is less costly, the staff recommendation would be to make Alternative #3 the project because it provides the best solution for the long term. As for the ability to move forward with any of the alternatives, there are no funding sources available at this time to take the next steps beyond revising the Trails Master Plan to recognize the selected alternative. It is anticipated that the Master Plan will be revised subsequent to the General Plan Amendment being adopted and proper environmental review having taken place. In addition, the selected alternative can be added to the Future Needs list of the Capital Improvement Program which will identify it as a City priority and provide guidance to staff to seek funding. However, due to the project’s expense and complexity, it is anticipated that it will take a number of years to identify funding to move into the first phases of project development, let alone construction.