Commentary: Parking Lot Solution or Disaster?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 22, 2006

Traffic flow inside the Sacramento train depot parking lot is dangerous. Cars entering the lot are forced to make an immediate left turn into a line of cars queued up to get out. Rather than fix that, the city has turned a stretch of Fifth Street that borders the station two way. Not the entire length of the block - just 150 feet from the depot lot exit to the I street intersection.

That change makes it easier for lot users to get onto I street, where it’s a straight shot to the I-5 freeway. But for people who want to go the other way, the change means they run into the line of cars queued up to get into the lot.

The man in charge of the Capitol Corridor train service thinks the city’s Fifth Street change will be a disaster. So does the parking lot operator. (Frankly, I have a lot of problems with the operation of this lot – but on this issue, I think the operator is right.) The city is going ahead with its two way plan on Fifth Street anyway.

Hey, the city may be right. I may be wrong. We’ll know shortly. The change begins today.

The lot remains a mess. Traffic flow is all wrong. The automatic pay machines frequently don’t work. Train riders have to juggle four pieces of paper to get in and out. And what does the city do about it? Makes 150 feet of Fifth Street two way. Dumb.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.