Testimony by WALKSacramento staff at the March 26, 2012 Sacramento County Planning Commission hearing resulted in positive changes to two projects in North Highlands. In the first project, a walkway for the proposed Watt Avenue Walmart may be rerouted to encourage pedestrians to cross a busy, high speed arterial at a safe location. The second project, the North Watt Avenue Corridor Plan by the County, was revised to conform to the 2011 Bike Master Plan.
Walmart is proposing a store of about 120,000 square feet on the western side of Watt Avenue at the intersection of Orange Grove Avenue with a 735-foot walkway from the entrance to the Watt Avenue sidewalk, directly across the street from a bus stop. WALKSacramento contended that such an arrangement creates a desire line that may prompt customers leaving the store to cross Watt Avenue mid-block rather than using the crosswalk at the intersection. The planning commission directed staff to meet with WALKSacramento to identify potential routes and wayfinding for the walkway. We hope that changes to the site plan will be made by Walmart so customers will be guided towards either the southbound bus stop or to the signalized crosswalk for safe crossing to the northbound bus stop.
The North Watt Avenue Corridor Plan was revised by staff several days before the Planning Commission hearing to remove an overcrossing of the UPPR tracks between Winona Way and Dudley Ave in McClellan Business Park at the request of the business park. WALKSacramento asked at the Planning Commission hearing for clarification that the future pedestrian/bicycle crossing would remain in the plan since the future over/under-crossing will be a valuable transportation connection and is included in the 2011 Sacramento County Bicycle Master Plan. The commission’s recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for approval of the corridor plan included the future ped/bike crossing.