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Pedestrians, Cyclists Clash Over Sidewalk Closure Outside Downtown Plaza Demolition

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Demolition work on Downtown Plaza is expected to be more visible starting on Wednesday, but before that begins, there are concerns the construction site is already becoming a hazard.

A CBS13 photographer noticed walkers ignoring detour signs and using the bike lane instead. If a cyclist were to meet a pedestrian on the three-foot-wide path, someone is being forced into traffic.

“I figure if the bikes can go there I don’t see why we can’t,” one pedestrian said.

The stretch in question is along J Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, where pedestrians are choosing to walk in the bike lane instead of following detour signs to an actual sidewalk .

The demolition of Downtown Plaza to make way for a Sacramento Kings arena forced the change, moving pedestrian traffic to the other side of the street. It’s a change people on foot aren’t always following.

“It’s more convenient for people to walk in the bike lane,” said Jim Brown with the Cycle Coalition.

Some pedestrians we spoke to weren’t even aware of the change. Even a construction worker ignored the signs and walked in the bike lane, taking up the entire space. If a cyclist came by, one of them is in the road.

“You’re displacing bikes that would have been in the bike lane, and they end up in the traffic lane,” Brown said.

City spokeswoman Linda Tucker says the city has made it plain in many ways that people on foot need to detour or they put themselves in harm’s way.

A Kings spokesman said the team has had no complaints on its website which includes maps of the changes.

“There is signage where sidewalks are closed. We want to make sure everyone is safe in this whole process. If we have to put up additional signage, we will,” said team spokesman Lorenzo Butler.

The sidewalk will be closed for the duration of the project.

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