TRANSPORTATION AND MOBILITY STRATEGIES
Enviroscreen 3.0 shows the Franklin District as a disadvantaged community with high levels of traffic and air pollution. Franklin Boulevard is still a wide and busy corridor that is often used by through-commuters to avoid Highway 99. For local residents, there is currently less biking and walking infrastructure and connectivity, transit, and shared mobility options than in more central parts of Sacramento less than 4 miles away.
It is thus not surprising that many households feel the need to own one or more vehicles and drive to most of their destinations. As shown in the table below, survey respondents indicated significant dependency on driving: 87% of those with a car drive to most destinations, and 55% of kids reported being driven to school.
For the six census tracts that include the Franklin District, the 2013-17 American Community Survey shows 16% of households without a vehicle. In FNDC’s survey with local residents, 25% of respondents indicated they didn’t have access to a vehicle. Yet, those who don’t have a vehicle and respondents who were elderly or disabled still reported driving or getting rides as their primary modes of transportation, although walking, public transit, and/or biking were more common among those groups.
Car dependence and a lack of other good mobility options has had negative consequences for many community residents. Many low-income households can only afford to buy older vehicles, but these are often less reliable and more expensive for gas and repairs, adding to living costs. Many of these vehicles are also more polluting than newer models, worsening air quality. And 19% of unemployed survey respondents said that lack of transportation was the main reason they are without a job.
A variety of transportation and mobility strategies can help increase clean transportation and mobility options in the Franklin District, benefitting residents, businesses, the environment, and neighborhood livability. Our four overarching strategies are therefore:
I. Streetscape, Bike, Pedestrian, and Safety Improvements
II. Public Transportation and SmaRT Ride Services
III. Increase Shared Mobility Services Access and Use
IV. Expand Electric Vehicle Use
These are described in more detail in the following sections.
Streetscape, Bike, Pedestrian, and Safety Improvement Strategies
Background and Findings
Sacramento County completed Phase 1 of a Franklin Boulevard Landscape and Streetscape Project about 10 years ago. Phase I included reconstructed medians and sidewalks, and new traffic signals and bicycle lanes along Franklin Boulevard from Turnbridge Drive to 47th Avenue. In 2014, Sacramento County completed Phase 2 of the project from 47th Avenue to the County line around 38th Ave. The project included: curb, gutter, and sidewalks with accessible ramps, drainage, landscaped medians, street lighting, bike lanes, enhanced pedestrian street crossings, and traffic signal improvements at Franklin Blvd. and 47th Ave.
However, the Franklin District is still largely cut off to the east by Hwy 99 and to the west by the railroad/light rail tracks. As a result, the District does not have many through-streets north to south except Franklin Blvd., or east to west, except busy arterials like Fruitridge, 47th Ave., and Florin Road. The Franklin District also spans city and county boundaries. The City and County have more existing and planned improvements that will increase safe routes to schools, parks, jobs, and services, but there is still more to do to improve connections for walking, biking, and access to public transit. In resident surveys, 78% of respondents wanted to see wider sidewalks and street trees and 65% wanted more bike lanes. In prioritizing transportation improvements, 45% favored safe route and biking strategies.
Public Transportation and SmaRT Ride Strategies
Background and Findings
Many years ago, Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT) discontinued the bus route running down the heart of Franklin Blvd.’s commercial corridor due to low ridership. Route 67 is the bus route that now serves the Franklin District. Route 67 was recently changed as part of SacRT Forward, which reconfigured all Sac RT routes in September 2019. The route now runs every 30 minutes Monday through Saturday, and every hour on Sundays. Route 67’s two endpoints are Arden Fair Mall to the north and Cosumnes River College to the south. There are several stops on Franklin Boulevard, but the route misses a main section of Franklin between 21st and 47th Avenues. There the bus deviates across Hwy 99 onto Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. as shown in the route map.
In 2018, SacRT obtained $2.5 million from the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) to add more neighborhood shuttle services. In July 2018, SacRT launched a SmaRT Ride microtransit service that picks people up on demand in the Franklin-South Sacramento area. SmaRT Ride complements the limited Route 67 in the Franklin District, enabling residents to reach Sacramento City College, health care services and other key destinations in one ride. Riders can request a ride via a smartphone app or phone call. However, service is only provided Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
In surveys, 78% of all respondents ranked more/better public transportation as very (60%) or somewhat (40%) important. In prioritizing strategies, 20% specifically said continuing SmaRT Ride service was one of their top transportation priorities.
Increase Shared Mobility Services Access and Use
Background and Findings
Recently shared mobility services like bikeshare, scooter share, and carsharing have become available in Sacramento. These services can improve the environment and livability of areas like the Franklin District by increasing transportation options, reducing single occupant driving, traffic, vehicle miles travelled (VMT), and greenhouse gas emissions, and decreasing household transportation costs.
Expand Electric Vehicle (EV) Use
Background and Findings
The Franklin District scores high on measures for air pollution. The State and localities are increasingly encouraging a transition to electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce greenhouse gas and air emissions. More widespread adoption and use of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in the Franklin District will not only help improve local air quality, but also reduce household fueling costs, help the District’s many auto repair businesses train and prepare for changing technologies, and boost the local economy by encouraging non-residents to charge their EVs in the District and visit local shops and restaurants while waiting.
Considerations for Implementing Strategies
The current lack of public charging stations in the District makes it more difficult to pilot EV projects
EVs currently cost more to buy than traditional fuel vehicles and tax rebates are diminishing
There are fewer used EVs available for those looking to buy a pre-owned vehicle
There is a lack of EV knowledge and awareness among consumers