Evening Hours on Light Rail Gold Line Extended!

June 14, 2018

A win for the Sacramento region! 

While light rail trains on the Gold Line previously stopped running before 7:00 pm, they will now run until 11:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday!

How did this come to be?

Ten years ago, ECOS brought a lawsuit against Caltrans when it proposed adding lanes to Highway 50 to create High Occupancy Vehicle (“HOV”) lanes. Since these lanes are only restricted to High Occupancy Vehicles during certain hours, adding new lanes for this purpose is essentially just a widening of the freeway.

Freeway-widening induces urban sprawl, increases Vehicle Miles Traveled, increase greenhouse gas emissions and does not reduce traffic congestion after all.

That lawsuit was settled in 2008 when Caltrans agreed to pay $7.5 million to SacRT for improved light rail service between Folsom and Sacramento, along the Highway 50 corridor.

In 2017, Caltrans again proposed to create HOV lanes by adding more lanes to Highway 50 without adequately dealing with induced demand for sprawl development and additional miles traveled. Again, ECOS sued.

ECOS met with SacRT to determine what funding from settlement of this lawsuit would help public transit the most along this section of Highway 50, and it was determined that expanding light rail service past 7:00pm would be best, so Caltrans settled by agreeing to provide funding for that purpose.

At ECOS, reducing vehicle trips is an essential part of our work, and new service like this goes a long way toward helping us reach our goals. This project will open up car-free options to many people, as trips that were only possible in a vehicle are now possible via public transit. We are proud to be a part of this effort.

ECOS gets Light Rail to Run Later

June 4, 2018

Beginning June 17, 2018, SacRT’s Gold Line light rail service to Folsom will be expanded into the late night hours!

ECOS helped bring this about with our Highway 50 HOV lane lawsuit! While we weren’t able to stop extra lanes being added to the freeway, we were able to get the light rail trains that run between Sacramento and Folsom (servicing neighborhoods in between such as the University area, Tahoe Park, College Greens and Rancho Cordova) to run past 7:00 pm! While light rail trains on the Gold Line previously stopped running before 7:00 pm, they will now run until 11:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday!

More info about the increased service hours at http://www.sacrt.com/apps/folsomlatenight/.

More info about this settlement at https://www.ecosacramento.net/tag/hov-lanes/.

Gas stations and pot businesses not welcome, Sacramento says. Here’s where and why

By Tony Bizjak

May 13, 2018

The Sacramento Bee

The city of Sacramento is laying plans to ban new gas stations, drive-through restaurants and marijuana cultivation businesses within a quarter-mile of light-rail stations, saying those areas should be reserved for transit-oriented and pedestrian-friendly uses.

The goal, officials say, is to boost rail ridership at 23 light-rail stations around the city and give more residents the chance of living a car-free lifestyle by paving the way for higher-density housing, job-rich offices and pedestrian-oriented retail in those areas.

Click here to read the full article.

Letter from ECOS to Caltrans re HOV lane settlement

April 30, 2018

Amarjeet Benipal, District Director
California Department of Transportation, District 3
703 B Street, Marysville, CA 95901

Re: Support for reprogramming funds from the Sacramento-Folsom Limited Stop Service and Hazel Frequency Enhancement Project settlement

Dear Director Benipal:

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) supports Sacramento Regional Transit District’s (SacRT) proposal for late night service on their light rail Gold Line to Folsom.

On November 16, 2009, following settlement of a lawsuit between Caltrans and the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), SacRT and Caltrans entered into an agreement to provide funding for the Sacramento-Folsom Limited Stop Service to operate 15-minute frequency service between Hazel and Sunrise light rail stations after completion of the double-tracking project.

Due to financial limitations, SacRT has yet to complete enhancements that would allow for 15-minute service and no construction is imminent. The last train to Folsom departs downtown Sacramento at 6:18 p.m. Because of this limited evening service, many residents along the Highway 50 corridor do not use light rail service for fear of being stranded after work without a transit option. Later service would benefit residents of the eastern part of the county, while reducing congestion and airborne pollutants.

Therefore, ECOS supports reprogramming the 2009 settlement funds to allow SacRT to provide late night service. We ask Caltrans and SacRT to sign the concurrence letter that would allow for this money to be used for that purpose.

Sincerely,

Ralph Propper, President
Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS)

Share your thoughts! SacRT Forward Virtual Community Workshop

SacRT Forward will rethink the purpose and design of Sacramento Regional Transit’s entire transit network by exploring wholesale changes to the network, including a “blank slate” look at how to position transit competitively long-term in the Sacramento region.

We need to hear from you. Your input will help inform the project team about which key choices to make about the future of the SacRT transit network.

Join the conversation – Responses will be collected through May 15, 2018. There will be additional opportunities to provide input on the SacRT Forward Network Plan throughout this year. Get started below!

Click here to submit your input!

Highway 50 drivers, your daily commute is in for a big change. Light rail users, you too

By Tony Bizjak

April 30, 2018

The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Regional Transit, for its part, will upgrade its light rail service along that corridor in several ways.

Beginning in June, SacRT will expand night-time service to Folsom until midnight. Currently, Folsom service stops at about 7 p.m. making the rail system unusable for late-hour workers and people going to the downtown arena or other evening events.The agency plans to follow that by adding 15-minute service to and from Folsom instead of the current 30-minute arrivals.

The most notable transit change, though, will be the introduction as early as 2020 of limited-stop express trains during morning and afternoon commute hours on the Gold Line, potentially cutting 10 or more minutes off the trip between Folsom and downtown.

That service is not likely to begin until 2020 or 2021, SacRT officials said.

The plan came together last week when local environmentalists and Caltrans resolved a years-long dispute over the state’s efforts to expand Highway 50, an environmental representative said on Friday.

Initially, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and the city of Sacramento opposed adding carpool lanes on Highway 50 in downtown, contending it was a narrow, car-focused and ultimately unsatisfactory solution to east county congestion.

The Sacramento City Council in 2002 voted nearly unanimously against funding to even study the idea. Several council members at the time said HOV lanes – which become regular all-user lanes during non-commute hours – would just encourage more suburban sprawl and more traffic.

More recently, city officials have looked more favorably on the plan, and have cooperated with Caltrans to use some related project money to make improvements to city streets near Highway 50 in the downtown area.

That includes money to turn 14 blocks of Broadway, near the Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters, into a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly street, and build a new block-long street just east of 28th Street between X Street and Broadway, allowing drivers to use X Street instead of Broadway to access the Highway 99 southbound on-ramp..

For its part, ECOS twice sued Caltrans to stop Highway 50 carpool lane plans. The most recent of those lawsuits became the fulcrum for last week’s negotiated deal.

Click here to read the full article.