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Report: New Sacramento Kings Arena Could Snarl Downtown Traffic

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The future of the Sacramento Kings’ new downtown arena may have hit a snag as a report shows a big problem with added traffic in the area.

The environmental-impact report prepared by the city on the proposed arena projects an additional 1,100 cars heading south during rush hour on a stretch of freeway already known for gridlock.

The report says “This degradation is considered significant,” and “this impact is considered significant and unavoidable.”

Caltrans would only say its still reviewing the project, promising to work with the city on the issues.

“Once we get all the reviews done, we’ll get back to Sacramento to give them the info that we come up with,” said Deanna Shoopman with Caltrans.

Even then, the report says, “…[T]he impacts may not be fully mitigated with the planned transportation improvements, and the timing and funding of the improvements are uncertain.”

One of the biggest impacts may be felt at Third and J streets, where the report says the average wait time for drivers at 6 p.m. goes from 31 seconds to more than 10 minutes.

On the other hand, no significant slowdowns are predicted for the other 50-plus intersections analyzed. Police would help direct traffic and lights would be programmed to help speed drivers through.

“Once you get off the freeway and into the grid, it handles it pretty well,” said Assistant City Manager John Dangberg.

The city is confident that if they build it, fans will be able to come without creating a traffic nightmare in the process.

The report predicts about 10 to 15 percent of fans would take public transportation, or walk or bike to games. It also says commute traffic would be much lighter in some parts of the city, because people wouldn’t be heading to Sleep Train Arena.

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