Sites of fatalities along Highway 70. Source: Caltrans

Safer Roads Don’t Have to be Bigger Roads
Quick safety fixes coming for SR 70 between Marysville and Oroville

May 23, 2019: Caltrans is undertaking six near-term safety projects along SR 70 between Marysville and Oroville, which has long had a reputation as a dangerous road. There have been 42 fatalities on the 27 miles between the two cities in the last decade, making it 3.8 times deadlier than the average California highway. 

Some local leaders and stakeholders have been pushing for the road to become a continuous four-lane facility between Marysville and Oroville but the project faces a funding gap. In the meantime, fatalities keep coming: there have been 20 since the start of 2017. 

An almost empty parking lot at the Florin light rail station.

What’s Missing From Your Transit-Stop Parking Lot? Housing, Jobs, and Life
Expert panel delivers transit-oriented development recommendations 

May 21, 2019: Train stations and the communities that surround them are interdependent so when the land uses around a train stop change, it can spell trouble for commuter rail. 

That is what happened at Florin and Meadowview stations in South Sacramento, which were the final two stops on the line before SacRT’s light rail Blue Line was extended 4.3 miles south in 2015. That meant their large parking lots, which had been popular park-and-ride sites for light rail riders who lived south of the line, lost half of their passengers to the new southern-most stations of Cosumnes River College and Franklin.

An aerial view of Isleton alongside the Sacramento River.

Isleton Bounces Back From the Brink
“I haven’t seen this much activity on Main Street in 40 years.”

April 24, 2019: The final week of March was a good one for the tiny Delta city of Isleton and its 804 residents. On Tuesday it got a $500,000 grant from California’s Regional Water Quality Control Board enabling the city to begin planning a $5 million upgrade of its sewer system. Two days later, it closed the deal on a new bond measure replacing a disastrous 2012 bond that had been costing the city about $175,000 in interest annually. The new bond cuts that almost in half.

The “old, beat-up sewer system” dated from the 1960s and ’70s and was long overdue for fixing, said city manager Charles Bergson. He hoped the city would be able to start work on the upgrade in 2022/23.

All over town, residents are noticing progress that had been stalled for a long time, said Bergson. Several road repaving projects are underway with the most ambitious — paving all the streets in the city’s western quarter — costing about $500,000. The city has patched money together from Measure A funds, SACOG grants, and a $80,000 CalRecycle Rubberized Pavement Grant.

“We’ve got a lot of roads to fix and we’re fixing them,” said Bergson. “We’re just getting started on our capital program.”

The roads are starting to look better and so is Main Street. The city has attracted several new businesses, from the buzz-worthy Mei Wah Beer Room (in what was an 1800s Chinese brothel, gambling hall, and opium den) to a new restaurant, The Joint, with two more on the way. That’s in addition to several new cannabis businesses, with Isleton being one of the few towns in the Sacramento region to embrace the new industry. 


How JUMP Changed my Life
After a year, JUMP shows e-bikes are a “viable alternative to car trips”

JUMP bikes at the May is Bike Month launch event.May 23, 2019: Up until a year ago, Matthew Hargrove commuted to his downtown Sacramento job in his Ford F150 truck. It took him 25 minutes to travel from his West Sacramento home to work, including finding a parking spot and paying for it. Now “my commute on a JUMP Bike takes about 20 minutes and I don’t have to hassle with parking, get a little blood moving, and feel happy as I ride through my town.”