WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sitting atop his sleek new bike, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon has some advice for those dreading the traffic on day one of Caltran's Fix 50 Project.
"I'm gonna try to take one more car off the road tomorrow and I'm gonna be on my bike pretty much throughout the duration of the project," Cabaldon advises.
With predictions of up to one hour delays as Caltrans contractors resurface and repair Highway 50 through part of downtown Sacramento, this might be the perfect time to try commuting on two wheels.
"I think for a lot of commuters, biking is going to be faster and more reliable and less frustrating," Cabaldon suggests.
The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento are not taking any chances. Both will be using streaming video from traffic cameras routed to "Fix 50" sections on their websites to offer commuters a bird's eye, real-time view of traffic conditions at major intersections.
"So that you can get up in the morning and say, oh, that intersection I usually go through, it looks like a disaster. Let me see if I can find an alternative," said Cabaldon.
Both cities will be placing police officers at key intersections where traffic may need to be pushed through several cycles of a light without interruption.
"We expect we're gonna have to override some of the lights in certain situations because there's nothing worse than having to wait 16 times to go through a light," Cabaldon said.
West Sacramento also has strategically placed electronic signboards offering directions to the best routes. The sign's messages can be changed on the fly as traffic conditions shift.
And both cities are urging residents to get on mass transit, including city buses – and in Sacramento – light-rail.
"It's gonna be crazy, predicted light-rail rider Kwaku Gaisie.
Regular light-rail rider Nicole Montagne, a student at Sacramento City College said she dreaded the influx of new riders.
"No seats…standing behind people, crammed in the corner," Montagne predicted, while admitting mass transit will probably be a commuter's best bet.
But Mayor Cabaldon is convinced a bike is the way to go for those who don't mind getting some exercise on the way to work.
"If you can bike, bike," he says, adding, "Or skateboard," as three young boarders zip past.