Rocklin Road Sierra College Corridor Multimodal Enhancements
Virtual Community Meeting #3
On Thursday, January 19, 2023 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., the City of Rocklin held its third Virtual Community Meeting for Rocklin Road Sierra College Corridor Multimodal Enhancements. Below is a list of project team members that were in attendance:
|City of Rocklin
A total of 33 community members attended the Virtual Community Meeting via Zoom. The objective of the meeting was to provide attendees with an overview of previous outreach efforts, share examples of the two Diverging Diamond Interchange alternatives (DDI) being considered, and address any comments and questions from the attendees.
About the Project
The City of Rocklin is making long-term operational and
circulation improvements within the area of Rocklin Road and
Interstate 80 Interchange. The City is proposing to reconfigure
the interchange into a
Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) and a separate crossing of Interstate 80 to allow for better bicycle and pedestrian connections between Sierra Community College and downtown Rocklin. The project is currently under review for the Environmental Document Process and the City and Caltrans Project Report draft is under review as well.
Meeting Format, Objectives and Purpose
The meeting was held virtually through Zoom. In addition to
the presentation, one informational video was shared that
explained what a DDI is and how it would function for its users
on Rocklin Road once it is created.
The meeting started with the facilitator Katie DeMaio, AIM Consulting. She welcomed the attendees, provided a brief meeting orientation, and introduced the project team. She then discussed previous public outreach efforts which included the first Virtual Community Meeting, two Stakeholder Meetings, a second Virtual Community Meeting, and site visits with four property owners along the project alignment.
Matt McClure, Public Services Manager and Project Manager with the City of Rocklin, provided a background of the project. He gave an overview of the previous concepts that were considered in 2012. The first was a westbound onramp flyover, the second was two roundabouts, and the third was widening Rocklin Road within the extent of the project limits from two lanes to three lanes. He explained the disadvantages of each option and that the project paused until 2020. When the project reemerged, the current concept was introduced which is a DDI. A feasibility study was completed in 2020 that determined that this type of interchange could function within the project limits. This led to the Environmental Document Process in 2021 and is still ongoing. The Project Report draft was also submitted to the City and Caltrans in July 2022.
McClure also cited a 2017 bikeway survey conducted by Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA), which indicated that a majority of the participants wanted better access to Sierra College and downtown Rocklin in addition to overall better alternatives for crossing I-80 safely. The trail connectivity within Rocklin Road has gaps near interstate I-80. To access a trail, a user would need to get onto Sierra College Blvd, which typically has more congestion than Rocklin Road, or crossover at Roseville Road. Closing the gap with a DDI will create a safe crossing point for Spring View Middle School students on the east side of I-80 as well.
Luke McNeel-Caird, Senior Project Manager with Jacobs, presented
an overview of the project goals that
have been established: to improve pedestrian and bicycle access through the interchange, increase the movement of people and goods, and enhance safety. He shared data from 2017 showing that around 23,000 vehicles travel on Rocklin Road per day. Of that 23,000, about 5,000 vehicles drive less than 1 mile per trip. He shared this data to indicate that the DDI creates an opportunity for reducing the number of cars on Rocklin Road by making it easier for alternative modes of transportation to be utilized for short-distance travelers.
McNeel-Caird shared a video illustrating how the proposed DDI
would function on Rocklin Road, along with the proposed bicycle
and pedestrian improvements. He highlighted that the DDI will
remain the same for all the design concepts but that the
alternatives have different approaches for improving the bicycle
and pedestrian experience. The video can be found on the project
McNeel-Caird noted that in the previous meeting, five pedestrian and bicycle options were presented. Concept 2 was eliminated from consideration because it was least favored by the community due to concerns about the under-crossing. Since the last community meeting, with the help of community feedback, Caltrans, the City, and adjacent properties to the interchange, the project team narrowed down the design concepts to Alternative 1 and Alternative 2.
Alternative 1: The pedestrian and bike overcrossing will be out-of-direction travel and over the I-80 eastbound onramp. This alternative has a staircase available nearest the DDI pedestrian entrances.
Alternative 2: The pedestrian and bike pathway goes under I-80. Granite Drive and Agular Road will have an all-pedestrian light so that users can cross the street diagonally to enter the pathway of the DDI.
The Jacobs team has met with property owners along the alignment regarding construction for 11 acquisitions for the right-of-ways for these alternatives. The northeast quadrant for Alternative 1 would need to be acquired for construction. This could potentially be an alternate entrance for Sierra College in the future. The other 10 acquisitions along the alignment are temporary and partial.
The westbound on-ramp near Early Toast would need a temporary easement during construction, but it would be returned to its original state after construction. The landscape strip by SureStay Plus Hotel would also need to be acquired for the project.
Another element of the project is to connect the bike travel lanes between Spring View Middle School, Rocklin Elementary School, and Sierra College by painting the lines green to help with facilitating travel.
McNeel-Caird later shared the design elements being considered and the total costs of each alternative. The total cost of Alternative 1 is $42,000,000 and Alternative 2 is $45,000,000.
Questions & Answers Session
The Q&A session allowed participants to ask any questions about the project and provide any final comments for the project team to consider as they move through the project development process. DeMaio, who was monitoring the chat box, presented community members’ questions to the project team. Below are the questions with a general summary.
Q: Was an Urban Interchange considered? It
requires just a single traffic signal. Multiple applications here
in the west, from Phoenix to Portland I’m familiar with.
A: Those are commonly referred to as single-point urban interchanges. One was not considered for this location mainly because those interchanges have a large footprint in the crossover in the middle. That would require the reconstruction of the current bridge. That would cause the bridge to need to double and possibly triple in size so the cost measure for that would be high. Also, they do not work well with highly skewed interchanges.
Q: Is there an update on how many students are
actually on campus these days? As a business, I have seen a
significant amount of fewer students.
A: Student campus attendance is not yet back to pre-COVID numbers. Sierra College is also encouraging its students to use the Sierra College interchange since they built that parking garage near the stadium entrance. Sierra College has also updated its address to Sierra College Blvd, so anyone using GPS will be directed to that other entrance usually. Also, recent data says that at the start of this year, 70% are back on campus.
Q: I am on Rocklin Road by the Salmon and the
little overpass, and homeless encampments are
over there. What are we doing for safety on these trails?
A: That issue is separate from the project. We strongly suggest working with code enforcement and the local police department and they should be of assistance to you.
Q: I agree there is an urgent need to create a
safer way for pedestrians and cyclists to traverse Rocklin Road
in these areas. Until this project is underway, is it possible to
add green-painted bike lanes for better awareness, especially as
vehicles merge onto I-80?
A: I am not sure if we have space to do that under there at this time. The engineering team confirmed we do not have the space.
Q: What is the vehicle capacity change by doing
the reverse diamond traffic flow compared to the current
A: We have a traffic operational issue here. We have 750 cars trying to get onto westbound in the afternoon coming out of I-80 when Sierra College is at full capacity. What we are doing with the interchange is essentially adding the three lanes. Sierra College representative— enrollments are growing back from pandemic lows. But we are seeing more students taking online courses than before— about 50% online vs 25% online before the pandemic. I don’t have the current figures with me now, but we’d be glad to provide them to anyone interested.
Q: Are traffic-calming measures such as
at-grade/raised crosswalks being considered to improve
A: Yes, we will have raised medians. The islands will be raised so, they will be dealing with slower traffic.
Q: What is the average noise level adjacent to
the highway? The landscaping is nice, but high noise levels could
make the added travel time of Alternative 1 less pleasant.
Especially for those who may need to take the longer path for
accessibility reasons, and not because they are on electrically
assisted bikes or scooters.
A: We don’t meet the criteria for quantitative analysis of noise level testing.
Q: Is the project dependent on the voters
passing a South Placer County Sales Tax in 2024 to obtain
A: Currently, we don’t have all the funding. In a roundabout way it is dependent, but we are looking into other ways to fund the project.
Q: As a retired City Planner, I’m concerned the
Urban Interchange concept was rejected because it assumed a new
freeway overpass would be needed. Aren’t there options for the
“single traffic signal”/Urban Interchange even evaluated?
A: No, they were not evaluated due to their size. Caltrans has specific guidance for this style of interchange. Based on the footprint, when you are going under the bridge, especially when you are going beneath the highway, this style of the bridge becomes very long. Just that bridge alone would make this project uncompetitive. We would be looking at closer to a 60- to 80-million-dollar range.
Q: Flyovers have interesting problems where
people dive over them to comment suicide. They walk in front of
trains. We have a lot of experience when I was an executive RT.
We built our flyovers so that people could not fly over.
A: Fencing will be installed to prevent that. As we get into design with Caltrans, appropriate fencing will be determined.
Q: My concern as a business owner that is right
there off I-80. What are we looking at from Caltrans for my gas
delivery etc.? And how long is this project going to take? Where
are we going to get that information? Are we going to get
recompensated for business downtime?
A: Caltrans has already verbally agreed with taking the abandoned roadway (the Old China Garden Road) they agreed to turn that into a right out only. There will be a negotiation once the environmental approval is completed. Throughout the design process, we will keep the stakeholders and the public informed. Once the Environmental Document is approved, we will discuss right-of-way access.
Q: Is funding coming from the City of Rocklin or
are we using Placer County as well?
A: It’s a combination. The city is putting in money from its development impact fees. Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) has its Regional Impact fee program. So that’s $16 million. The remaining funding amount will come from Federal and State grants. Lastly, the mention of the sales tax measure.
Q: Previously, the consultant said the off-ramp
on the eastbound side going to the right would not allow the
light on red. Seem like going to the right where there is no
traffic should be allowed.
A: The operation of that light will be up to Caltrans. There was a small change to the design since the last meeting. We meet the requirements on that turn that would allow the right turn on red. So, with the current design, the turn-on red should be allowed for both lanes.
Q: Are the bike lanes bidirectional?
A: Yes, it goes with the flow of traffic. The trail that we would facilitate between Granite Dr. and Agular Road would facilitate walking on the left and walk the right pavement marking to facilitate pedestrians and cyclists.
Q: I’m at the gas station right after Agular
Road. Will there still be access to turn left?
A: Yes, the left turn access will be maintained.
Q: The question about elevated crosswalks was
about the concern about conflict at the onramps and offramps,
particularly in alternative 2. Presumably, traffic should already
be slowing down at these points, especially with crosswalks
present. Are there intended signals to ensure that pedestrians
get their right of way? Otherwise, it seems like enhanced traffic
calming is a good idea.
A: This is one of the things about Alternative 2 Sierra Foothills Cycling Club was concerned about. With the speeds of traffic out there, we are not doing the raised crosswalk. Because they are turning onto a ramp, we are not able to signalize those because they would back up onto Rocklin Road and result in a safety issue. For those specific turns (eastbound on-ramp) those are designed at less than 20mph.
Q: Which companies are consulting on this
A: AIM Consulting for public outreach, Jacobs for engineering, Fehr and Peers for traffic analysis, Wood Rodgers for surveying, and Bender Rosenthal for the right-of-way.
After the discussion of the options and general comments, the
project team presented a
projected project schedule. Both alternatives would have the Environmental Document
approval by Spring 2023.
Publicity and Outreach
AIM Consulting created a stakeholder database of unique contacts spanning community members, advocacy groups, adjacent businesses and business organizations, education/school districts, and more. The first round of phone calls occurred on January 4. AIM completed a second round of phone calls, spanned across January 12-13. Each contact in the stakeholder database also received 3 emails between January 4-18 with the project flyer and were encouraged to share it within their organization.
On January 6, flyers were hand-delivered to 11 businesses and housing locations near the project alignment, including businesses in the Safeway Shopping Center (north of Rocklin Road), Walmart Shopping Center, six different apartment/mobile home residential management offices, and the Rocklin Public Library. Additionally, social media posts were shared weekly within 10 local Facebook groups.
The meeting concluded with the project team encouraging the
public to reach out to them with any questions or concerns, and
highlighting the next steps as follows:
• Approval of Draft Project Report –March 2023
• State and Federal Environmental Document Public Review – March to April 2023
• Final Project Report Approval – May 2023
• Rocklin City Council Approval – May 2023