Category Archives: Infrastructure

Upcycling Sacramento

There is an empty spot at 3rd Street and Capitol Mall. If the CIM Group development firm from LA and CalPERS have anything to do with it, it will  not remain that way for very much longer.

The plan – which has been in the works for over a decade now – is the erection of a 550 foot tower there for offices and some residential units. Initially known as “Towers Project” the area was to be turned into a 53-story hotel and condo towers. But it never happened.  According to Kelly Brothers, a KCRA financial expert:

 “2007 was a very tough time to begin building. It was right at the peak. In other respects, it’s just been demand. It’s been very, very simple. You can’t just put up a 15- to 20-story building — or even higher, a 40- or 50-story building without knowing you’re going to be able to fill a certain number of slots.”

Brothers believes that this development is a good idea and that it’s great to “Sacramento-based CalPERS investing at home.”

Brothers said developing the empty lot is a good project, and it’s good to see Sacramento-based CalPERS investing at home. He said he has faith that this plan could get off the ground.


Construction and Business in Downtown Sacramento

Infrastructure is being changed by updated construction in downtown Sacramento that would seem to be a good thing until one sees the negative impact it has on businesses.

Due to a large sewer upgrade taking place on 9th Street (that is not due to be finished now until the middle of September), businesses are, well, loosing business.  Who wants to sit and have a “relaxed” dinner at one of the nearby eateries with a dental drill type sound banging in their ears.  As well, 9th Street has anyway been closed for the last 6 months between H and L.  So even those who were willing to put up with it, actually can’t.

Those most affected include: Andy’s Candy, Capitol Mini-Mart, La Cosecha, Temple Coffee Roasters and Wayside Noodles.  According to Sonya Sorich, Digital Editor at the Sacramento Business Journal, they have already encountered a variety of negative impacts from the project, including a reported 20-25 percent decline in sales (from Andy’s Candy).  Capitol Mini-Mart have claimed an even larger drop, with a loss of 90 percent in business.

However, the city recognizes the issue and there have been promises from Sacramento’s Department of Utilities to earmark $60,000 to the 12 businesses most affected.

Return of Electronic Trolleys/Streetcars?

Many people in Sacramento have been trying to get the federal government of $100 million to enable the $208 million streetcar system in.  Donald Trump may now make that happen as he recently sent officials to the region to conduct a “risk analysis” of the project.

There are still hoops needed to get through, primarily fiscal related.  As such, Sacramento city officials have agreed to give a large cash advance and if approved by city council votes, the money Sacramento and West Sacramento needs will be put in place.

There are many benefits to implementing a streetcar system for modern cities. But many remains a problem as Jeff Harris, City Councilman for Sacramento and streetcar proponent board member has found.  He said that there are too many continuous requests for additional money to fund it.

But still, if the people of Sacramento are willing to pay then surely the large expense is a non-issue.  Indeed it was found that people who own property who live close to where the downtown Sacramento line is proposed actually voted to tax themselves $50 million to for operational costs. In addition, once the Trump administration coughs up, the SacRT will add $25 million to the venture.

Sacramento To Launch New Bike Lane Design

Sacramento is planning to implement a new street design to protect cyclists without affecting local drivers next year. Called “parking-protected bike lanes”, the approach is aimed at separating the two modes of transportation with the help of a parking lane.

The Sacramento Bee reports:


Infrastructure News

There is some news in the infrastructure industry in downtown Sacramento. If all plans go ahead, the historic Elks Tower on 11th and J streets might soon be home to a card room and entertainment venue.  The 24,000 square-foot area –– was under some controversy recently when two other card rooms in Sacramento appealed for owner Steve Ayers to be refused a permit. But that was denied when the city council voted in favor of it. In his statement, Sacramento Mayor said that the only negativity had come from competitors.  One of the reasons the issue arose was due to local law permitting only four cardrooms in the area and the recent closure of the Red Lion Inn Woodlake Hotel’s Casino Royal. This led to discussions on who would get the newly vacant license.

With this cardroom, there would be five card tables within a 2,000 square foot space on the building’s ground level in the first phase, due to open at the end of November 2017. Phase two – due for completion by the end of next year – is set to have a 17-table cardroom.

Moving on to more central infrastructure issues, in order to pay for improving California’s bridges and roads, gas and vehicle taxes will be increased. Over the next decade it is hoped that with these tax hikes, more than $52 billion will be raised. Should this go ahead, gasoline excise taxes will be increased by 12 cents per gallon, making it a 43 percent rise. According to Brown, if the state of California will not invest in fixing the roads, later on when there is no choice, the price will be eight times as high.

Perhaps if the card rooms are successful, taxes there could be put toward enhancing Californian infrastructure!

Future Goals for Sacramento City Council

Steve Hansen, Sacramento Councilmember for the Fourth Council District recently discussed some of his goals for enhancing the region. Traffic and safety are high up on the agenda, in particular with regards to Freeport and Riverside boulevards.  One goal is to fix these so that there are no fatalities at all.  As such he is encouraging the council to adopt Vision Zero – which is “a traffic safety philosophy that rejects the notion that traffic crashes are simply ‘accidents,’ but instead preventable incidents that can and must be systematically addressed.”

In this vein, Hansen is trying to establish a safe connection for cyclists traveling between William Land Park and the Sacramento River Parkway Trail, especially given that the current situation at  Sutterville is dangerous for bikes as well as pedestrians.”  So traffic measures are key for Hansen.

Moving on to business developments, Hansen mentioned the work that is being undertaken in collaboration with the Greater Broadway Partnership Property and Business Improvement District vis-à-vis business owners.  Further, he has worked alongside the Sacramento Steps Forward for the last few months in an effort to improve the situation.

So it is the hope of the people of Sacramento that Hansen’s measures to enhance business opportunities and improve traffic safety are undertaken.

Sacramento Weir Openings

Last month witnessed the opening of supplemental gates on the Sacramento Weir.  This was the action of the California Department of Water Resources and marked the first time in 10 years that these had been opened.  The move was undertaken following the manifestation of heavy storms throughout the region.

Historically, Californians have loved water. Opening this infrastructure (which is 100 years old) was quite the spectacle.  It required someone to use a long, hooked pole to manually unlatch all of the 48 wooden floodgates.

But, as interested as Sacramentans may have been, it seems sleep won through since state workers opened the weir while it was still dark, very early in the morning.  Still, those who wanted were able to catch a glimpse of the water thundering over the weir and into the Yolo Bypass, thereafter flooding the plain and protecting Sacramento city.

Weirs can be beneficial to cities such as Sacramento. They are extremely simple devices used to measure open channel flows and are inexpensive with an easy installation process.  Further, weir boxes can be helpful in cases where flow is above ground and water flow is piped.  In the case of Sacramento, the weir used flushes excess water into the Yolo Bypass floodplain from the Sacramento River system.  This ensures Sacramento and neighboring river towns are less likely to get swamped.

Development of South Land Park

sacramentoThere are developments happening in Sacramento’s South Land Park. According to one South Land Park Neighborhood Association board member, Brian Ebbert there is a “clear incentive” for grocers to fill the empty space that exists at 5820 S. Land Park Drive which has been vacant since March when the store that currently existed there closed for bankruptcy. The idea now is to have a “reputable” grocer take over the space.

There have been some controversies however, with the space as the existing grocers that are located nearby could feel threatened by the addition of the potential competition. Two current examples of these are Sprouts Farmers Market and Nugget Market, with the potential of Raley’s store opening in a location nearby. So, it remains to be seen what will fill in the currently empty space.

This has not been the only pie where the South Land Park Neighborhood Association’s finger can be found. Back in August, nearly 500 locals from schools, businesses, elected professionals and more attended the National Night Out event that took place on 13th Street at the Alice Birney School. There was free food (prawns, hotdogs and cookies) and performances by iYa Taekwondo and the O’Hana dance group were enjoyed by all, along with the bouncing castle. The vendor fair also highlighted what’s great in the area including the Greenhaven Bike Shop, and Detail Maniac.

Bridge Facilitating Sacramento Transport

bridgeA new bridge opened today in Sacramento that will likely seriously facilitate transportation options for the people of Sacramento. Following the completion of the bridge – that cost the state $13.5 million in construction fees – the Riverfront Reconnection Project will connect the Riverfront and Oldtown with Downtown Sacramento.

This will also be great for the opening of Golden One Center, as General Manager of Firehouse Restaurant Mario Artiz noted, it will “give Old Sacramento like a grand entrance if you will, not a back door or a side door.” Currently there are two entrances that are both awkward and hard to find; one requiring a trip down I Street past a parking lot and under Interstate 5 and the other via a turn off the Capitol Mall which is quite easy to miss.