SacRT Announces New Security Improvements for Watt/I-80 Light Rail Station

July 31, 2017 SacRT News

July 31, 2017 –

Security improvements at the Watt/I-80 Station continue to be a major priority for the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT), which is dedicated to making its most challenged station a model facility. For the past week, construction crews have been busy installing new surveillance cameras, and a new gate to limit access to the elevators and stairwell when light rail service ends each day.

A total of 14 new cameras were installed in the station’s stairwells last week bringing the total to 20 surveillance cameras, which feed SacRT’s Security Operations Center (SOC) located inside the Sacramento Police Station in downtown Sacramento. Several of the cameras can be remotely operated by security staff using tilt, zoom, and pan features. Every inch of the station is now visible at the SOC via surveillance video.

The SOC expanded to a 24/7 operation earlier this month as part of SacRT’s safety and security initiative.

“The 24/7 operation and extensive surveillance system gives us piece of mind that we can dispatch and respond any time of day to any situation that we see at a light rail station,” said Sacramento Police Lieutenant Lisa Hinz. “It’s safer for our customers and safer for our employees.” Hinz is responsible for SacRT’s Police Services.

Starting Friday, August 4, 2017, the Watt/I-80 Station’s elevators and stairwell will be closed to the public when light rail service is not operating, and trespassers will be cited. SacRT has installed a gate at the top of the station’s stairwell that will be locked 30 minutes after the end of service until 30 minutes prior to the start of service each day. Passengers are encouraged to visit to view service hours.

The closure is intended to discourage vagrancy, and provide law enforcement with another means to stop loitering. “We are committed to making the Watt/I-80 Station a facility we can all be proud of,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li.

“We have been proactive by increasing the number of sworn officers dedicated to patrolling the station, and have hired additional armed guards to further expand coverage. These efforts began several months ago, and the senseless act of violence against Deputy Ladwig just reminds us to be vigilant moving forward.”

Back in May, SacRT rolled out an internal Adopt-a-Station program to help improve station appearance along the system’s three light rail lines. At the urging of Li, each member of the District’s executive team committed to adopting at least three stations to keep the system clean and safe.

Lieutenant Hinz and VP of Engineering and Facilities Neil Nance have been working collaboratively to improve the Watt/I-80 Station. Aside from security measures, the station is being painted, and a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design study has been completed. SacRT crews have already removed old vegetation that had provided hiding spots for loiterers.

Earlier this year, community partnerships were established to help expedite the transformation process. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in cooperation with the City of Sacramento Police Department are partnering with SacRT and are committed to the goal of providing a more safe, clean and convenient station. Furthermore, organizations such as the Watt Avenue Partnership and WALKSacramento are also assisting SacRT with community outreach along with representatives from the offices of Sacramento County Supervisors Susan Peters and Sue Frost.

Finally, efforts are underway to repair the station’s aging elevators. The repair job will likely be complete by the end of August. “It’s a constant struggle to keep the elevators operational, as they are 30-years old and parts obsolescence is a problem,” said Nance. “Repairs can be extremely expensive and time consuming, but we are making every effort to keep them running.”

SacRT is considering a total replacement of the elevators, a project that could cost more than $1 million. Preliminary discussions are also underway regarding a total redesign of the station to remove the elevators.

Finally, Lieutenant Hinz is encouraging all SacRT passengers to download the Alert SacRT app that allows riders to discreetly send texts, pictures and video directly to Regional Transit Police Services, if they are witnessing criminal activity on the public transportation system.