Rural Main Streets Technical Assistance Program – Meadow Vista
About the program
The Rural Main Street Technical Assistance Program provides technical support to help communities advance main commercial corridors for more livable, walkable, safe, and economically viable spaces. In 2020, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) provided $20,000 in professional services to Meadow Vista and several other rural communities in the region to establish strategies prioritizing safety, beautification, community space, and local businesses. On June 26th, the community of Meadow Vista, supported by County staff, held a successful demonstration event to test out temporary pedestrian and streetscape improvements on Placer Hills Road. The installation was on display from 10 am to 2 pm and implemented temporary high-visibility crosswalks, pedestrian pathways, curb extensions, and additional design elements promoting community identity.
Placer Hills Road serves as the main thoroughfare for the Meadow Vista community. It balances both the public and private realm while maintaining Meadow Vista's small-town character. In initial discussions, residents identified traffic calming measures and initiatives supporting local businesses as desired areas of focus for Placer Hills Road. While speed reduction measures enhance local safety, they can also incorporate aesthetic measures to attract customers to local businesses and present a welcoming space for community members to gather. Ultimately, this project sought to enhance what Meadow Vista residents already love about their community while providing additional approaches to strengthen their town center.
Workshops and presentations
To kick off the development of temporary design concepts, a public workshop was held on August 26, 2020. This workshop encouraged community members to discuss their favorite parts of Placer Hills Road and future hopes for the town center in their own words. Community discussion was paired with presentations from Michele Reeves of Civilis Consultants and Paul Zykofsky of the Local Government Commission. Michele Reeves highlighted the importance of commercial corridors and provided concrete recommendations to improve sales per foot. Paul Zykofsky focused on the role of the road and how strategic streetscape improvements can simultaneously support safety, placemaking, and local businesses in Meadow Vista. You can view a recording of the workshop here Version OptionsRural Main Streets Technical Assistance Program – Meadow VistaHeadline, and the accompanying presentation slides are linked below.
To facilitate a community-led demonstration event, a community advisory group was formed to lead the execution of the demonstration event and a public survey was distributed to identify the temporary design concepts. The survey gathered feedback on the ultimate corridor vision by asking three open-ended questions pertaining to the current conditions of Placer Hills Road and future hopes for the town center. In total, over 300 respondents participated in the survey.
Utilizing feedback from the public survey and workshop, the community advisory group led the development of the temporary installation project with continued technical support from the Local Government Commission and Placer County. The installation designs aimed to support safety, beautification, community space, and local businesses. All designs also underscored the community vision and design criteria required under the Meadow Vista Community Plan. To prepare for the event, the Local Government Commission also created a comprehensive toolkit outlining the necessary steps to carry out a successful demonstration. You can view the temporary demonstration toolkit here Version OptionsRural Main Streets Technical Assistance Program – Meadow VistaHeadline. Some of the concepts discussed in the toolkit and implemented at the demonstration event are also shown below.
Temporary Pedestrian Pathway
Conventional curb and gutter sidewalks are not always seen as appropriate for all communities. Specifically, in areas constrained by natural features and available right of way, conventional sidewalks can be expensive to install and may not fit the community's vision. As an alternative, at-grade pathways can delineate space for pedestrians using surface patterns, colors, textures, and materials. Walkways can be enhanced to reflect local identity and character so long as they remain stable and usable by people of all ages and abilities.
Temporary High-Visibility Crosswalk
Marked crosswalks are often designated with two parallel stripes, which can be sufficient at intersections with signals or stop signs. For crosswalks without stop controls, adding perpendicular striping increases the visibility of the crosswalk to motorists and awareness of potential pedestrians crossing at the location. This design also encourages motorists to yield to pedestrians and discourages encroachment into the crosswalk by alerting drivers that they are entering a pedestrian zone. High-visibility crosswalks may also add to placemaking with the addition of enhancements such as high contrast patterns and textures.
Temporary Curb Enhancements
Extending sidewalks into the roadway with curb extensions shortens crossing distances and promotes traffic calming by narrowing the roadway and encouraging cautious turning speeds. Curb extensions may also add to placemaking by including enhancements such as landscaping and high contrast patterns, markers, and materials to contribute to increased visibility of the pedestrian area.
Although the Rural Main Streets Program does not result in any permanent streetscape improvements, it aims to elevate the community vision for Placer Hills Road and drive widespread interest in community-led placemaking projects. To gauge public interest in permanent corridor improvements led by Placer County, surveys were distributed at the event and online following the event. The feedback collected through the Rural Main Streets Program will help the County prioritize future capital improvements for Placer Hills Road. On October 6th, 2021, survey feedback from the demonstration event was presented to the community at a Meadow Vista Town Hall. The presentation slides from the town hall are available for viewing below: