Walt Seifert

Transportation Columnist

About This Author

Walt Seifert is a transportation writer and activist who has participated prominently in local transportation planning efforts and led an award-winning bicycle advocacy organization.

Articles by this author

Don’t Rush

Most commuters hate driving during rush hours. Nonproductive hours trapped in a car are emotionally draining and have physical consequences. Negative impacts include stress, exposure to pollutants, reduced sleep and less opportunity for exercise. The traffic glut not only affects us personally, it degrades the environment.

Before the pandemic, rush hours were hellish in Sacramento. Transportation planners felt compelled to design roads with capacity to handle the peaks. Expensive arterials, freeways and interchanges were built, but underutilized for most of the day. Whenever new construction resulted in excess capacity, motorists soon noticed and filled the new roads up again—a costly cycle without end.

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Place To Be

What makes a great place? In what we hope are the waning days of the pandemic, people are traveling more. Many are headed to major public spaces around the country and the world. Those places promote social interaction, health, happiness and a sense of wellbeing.

I’ve had the privilege of being in some of the world’s greatest spaces: St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Luxembourg Garden in Paris, Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spanish Steps in Rome, High Line in New York, French Quarter in New Orleans and Grand-Place in Brussels. Can we have great places in Sacramento?

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Full Stop, Maybe

Everyone knows bicyclists are scofflaws because they incessantly run stop signs. For some observers, this behavior merely puts bike riders in a bad light. For others, it really gets their goat. They vilify, and perhaps even hate, bicyclists because of it.

I try to obey laws. Heck, I even annoy my wife by driving at the speed limit. But there is one law I routinely ignore—coming to a complete stop at stop signs when I bike. The requirement to do so is simply bad law. Stop signs were invented for vehicles.

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Bike Lift

Bikes are stars for recreation and travel to places not too far away. They can do more—such as help you take stuff with you or bring purchases home. With a little planning and minor investment, you can transform a butter knife bike into a Swiss Army knife multitasker.

You can make it easy to tote essentials for work or the gym, and pick up groceries and other goods from nearby stores and markets. These errands can be as fast as driving and more convenient. Opting for your bike will improve your health and let you joyfully experience your neighborhood with all senses engaged.

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