Sactown Urban Update

Sactown Urban Update

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Did you know? Rail Yard's Hospital location a return to medical roots...

Been there, done that?  Kaiser's recent announcement about a new hospital to be built at the Rail Yards brings the history of Downtown medical facilities full circle.

Medical care near the Rail Yard began officially on February 1, 1870, with the opening of the Central Pacific Hospital at 13th and D streets.  The hospital was built for the exclusive use of the railroad workers who became sick or injured while building the first transcontinental rail line from Sacramento over the Sierras to Promontory, Territory of Utah.

For more info about the important beginnings of this first hospital and Sacramento's progressive medical arts culture of the time see the book by J. Roy Jones, MD

Kaiser's hospital roots began when Henry J. Kaiser, the industrialist, teamed up with the man who essentially invented the prepaid medical practice model, Dr Garfield, to provide medical care for the thousands of workers and their families, first at the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and later during WWII at the massive shipyards down the road at Richmond California - for the princely sum of 5 cents a day!

For a look at the fascinating beginnings of prepaid medical care and the early history of the Kaiser Pemanente  of today please click here.

So, with Kaiser's plans to build a full service hospital on the Rail Yard site, heath care Downtown has come full circle!

Sources: History: The Old Central Pacific Hospital by J.Roy Jones, MD, Kaiser Permanente presentation to DSP. Images: CPRR Museum, SacBee

* John Woodall Blogs at “SactownUrbanUpdate”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Is 3rd time the charm for DT gateway location?

I'll bet you know this face (place)?
419 J Street, Sacramento

This just in... the latest business to tie up at the revolving port 'o call known as 419 J Street has experienced restaurateurs at the helm according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

Hopefully their past successes can be offloaded DT and this mooring will be more permanent at this iconic building.

[image by Noel Neuburger, SBJ]

Sunday, July 10, 2016

This is one time when you want the blues...

When you see them in their BLUE jackets and shirts, you are seeing the DSP's Navigator program in action - these selfless workers reach out to homeless folks to connect them to services.

And Navigators are making a real difference in people's lives; to learn more about the program click here.

DSP has partnered with Sacramento Steps Forward , an assessment and outcome based organization dedicated to ending homelessness.  To learn more about what they do go here.

And if you need Navigator service within the Downtown District call 916 422 2200.

[Sources and images courtesy of DSP, SacBee, Lisa]

The City gets serious about trees

Tree Ordinance Update
It may soon be against the law to have a diseased tree on your property, even if you don't own it!

To protect and enhance our urban canopy, the city Council will soon review an updated Tree Ordinance which spells out rules for dealing with trees and makes it unlawful for an owner to allow certain conditions to exist - diseased trees among others.  Even if the tree belongs to the city!

It includes conditions such as dutch elm disease or other pests or disease on private property that constitutes a threat to health, safety or welfare of the residents, neighbors, public or other trees. Mistletoe, a parasite that slowly kills trees may also qualify.

City Code Chapter 12.56 "Tree Planting, Maintenance and Conservation" has been completely rewritten and aims to provide clear standards for protection, removal and replacement of city trees and private protected trees.   As written, certain trees on private property appear to be exempt but the proposed language is confusing.

Tree Permits will be required for all "Regulated Work" and will detail the location, nature and necessity of proposed tree work along with an application fee.  The city may require an arborist report, site map, landscape and/or tree replacement plan in addition to other information the city deems necessary.

"Regulated work"  means among other things, any act that could adversely impact the health of a tree such as:pruning branches or roots, putting lights on it, removing it, topping, working around it, and storing or using equipment or harmful substance within the tree's protection zone.  It does not include routine maintenance (also defined).

Specific guidelines for issuance of permits are contained in the proposed ordinance along with public notice and appeals provisions

The ordinance also says that property owners are responsible for the cost and maintenance of trees on their property if adjacent to a street or ally, and they are responsible for keeping those trees trimmed as (defined). and for removal of fallen leaves

The City Council takes up this matter on July 19th.  To review the new rules go to the city's Strategic Plan and Ordinance Review and read the Proposed Tree Ordinance under Project Resources.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DT Parking for events at Golden 1 Center: planning ahead vs panic

With about 125 days until doors open to the public, people are beginning to think about where they are going to park when they go to the Golden 1 Center.  And many are worried.

On the surface not much seems to going on, but underneath, many have been
working hard to prepare for opening day (like ducks, calm on top, paddling like heck underneath).

A phased approach...  1st, Smart Meters; now Spot Zones:

Parking areas getting wised up. Known as Spot Zones they are being phased in around DT initially in 4 zones with Zone 1 being closest to the DT core and Zone 4 being the farthest away.  Parking meter rates, and the amount of additional time you can buy, will vary by zone and can will be adjusted by parking enforcement based upon demand - expect to pay more during DT events.  The idea is to allow you to add time to your meter from your mobile phone up to a maximum depending on which zone you're in.  It's going to be convenient but not cheap.

 I used the Parkmobile app at Crocker Park recently - it's easy and very cool

Sacramento City's urban parking strategy is designed for those who PLAN AHEAD.  Smart meters and Spot Zomes will give you lots of flexibility to vary the amount of time you are parked.  But that convenience has a price.  The rate structure is designed to encourage people visiting DT to use garages for longer stays such as for events at Golden 1 Center.

Next up... City garage technology update...  Don't think about driving to the arena to find parking, think: drive to a parking spot you've paid for before leaving home, then walk to the arena...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What's that MOB in Downtown?

Why it's Kaiser's new Medical Office Building (MOB) at 5th and J!

Click here for more info and details...

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A DT/MT Streetcar: Funding? Uncertain. Determination? Certain.

Street Car vision and funding status update:

  • Feds: President Obama puts $75M in 2017 budget, US Senate wants less in that fund.
  • State: $58M requested from Cap and Trade fund; joins a long list of other projects
  • Local: Area government leaders add $45M in enhancements - adding a line down West Sacramento's riverfront and giving the streetcars unfettered access to K Street by moving Light Rail off that street (previously approved by the RT board).

Meanwhile, the City is working on a Mello Roos assessment district as a way to put forward the city's share of now $58M

 And last week, the RT Board approved money for a  consultant to design the project to meet federal requirements for funding.  More details.

Councilman Hanson believes Sacramento is in the best position it has ever been in to bring the project to reality.  A best case scenario would have construction beginning in 2018 with the first rides in 2020.

Stay tuned...

Info and Image sources: SBJ, SacBee, KCRA

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bee nice to the yellowjackets!

No, not the bees and wasps...

Those very visible visitor guides Downtown.  These community "ears and eyes" also have a nose for nuisance behavior and trouble makers.

They work closely with law enforcement to keep DT safe.  And did you know they are also trained to resolve/defuse conflicts too?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Downtown is Reconnecting to the Riverfront!

Two riverfront connections getting a major upgrade.

#SACTOWNURBANUPDATE: Sacramento  City is well under way with it's Riverfront Re-connection project that will greatly improve access between the popular local and visitor destinations of Downtown, Capitol Mall, Old Town and the Crocker Art Museum.  Costing $13.5 million in local and federal matching funds the project is scheduled to be completed by late summer/early fall 2016.

Capitol Mall at Tower Bridge will feature wider sidewalks and improved landscaping; a new entrance to Old Town is being built for pedestrians, bikes and autos that will connect with 2nd Street.

Likely look of new Old Town/Capital Mall connector looking South
The O Street Bridge by the Crocker Art Museum will also feature wider sidewalks and a new railing to encourage pedestrian flow between Crocker and the Riverfront.

Construction is scheduled Monday through Friday and on 3 weekends in the fall, but not during special events in Old Town.

For Construction Detour information visit this map or the City's project site for more details.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spring is springing in Urban gardens!

Spring is here, and so are thoughts of urban gardens!  If you've wondered about how to grow something edible in your urban space here are some sources for ideas.

It's time to Grow Up!  I mean grow vertically as in Urban Gardening:

Only have a patio?  Check on these patio gardening ideas  And, good gardening means composting:
  Are you kidding?  This is a composter!

One excellent source for city dwellers is composting 101; and if you want to know how composting works take a look too at these tips for urban composting

And, get growing!

Image sources: Urban Gardening Online (herb pots), Darby Minow Smith (composter)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Convention Center/Community Theater: Starting over is just not an option...

As presented to the DSP Board this morning, building a new Theater just does not make financial (or common) sense when the existing Theater and Convention Center have "good bones" and a PRIME location.

A location that anchors and ties together the emerging districts from the Riverfront to Midtown.

AND, there may be bond money to help finance the project!

Read All About it...

Image(s) courtesy of SBJ

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

We rent zip cars, why not zap* bikes to rent? JDI!

The Sacto Flatlands?  For cyclists it's the Badlands!  ...and a bike rental program is in the news again!

Anyone who has attempted the masochistic exercise of biking downtown knows it can be hazardous to their health.  These brave souls encounter bike lanes that truncate between Midtown and Downtown, lanes that squeeze you past obstacles and a patchwork of bike lanes (euphemistically called a network).

The League of American Cyclists rated Sactown one rank above the bottom.  See last year's Dismal bike safety rating.  And yet we're ranked # 8 by Forbes in their 2015 Published Survey.

But maybe there's hope (there is ALWAYS hope!) The city wants to further encourage the use of bicycles by installing a bike rental program.  Perhaps this will be the impetus to deal with the mess we have now.  Maybe we're almost there, just need to ZAP into action! *

I agree with the SacBee Board - just do it (JDI!)  Here's what the they had to say about a
bike sharing service

[* ZAP:  A sudden effect or event that makes a dramatic impact...]

image by Craig Ruttle, AP

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Business leaders offer guidelines for sustaining economic momentum...

" With the right leadership, Sacramento can be California's top destination for job creation"

That subtitle tells the true goal of the white paper presented at yesterday's DSP's Board meeting: "A Statement of Principles and Priorities to Grow Sacramento's Economy"

Drafted by a broad cross section of area business leaders, it is meant as a blueprint to guide the city's future political leaders: the mayor, council members, their staff and other regional governmental leaders.

It's intended to Champion Sacramento's Economic Prosperity with a Proposed Economic Vitality Strategy.  The premise is that while there are encouraging signs of recovery from the Great Recession, some experts expect another downturn.  And Sacramento needs to prepare itself by fostering the right conditions for businesses to succeed, thereby growing and diversifying our local economy.

Five key components of the position paper:
A Prioritized Approach to become a top job creation location
   - Foster a business climate so businesses will want to locate here

Stabilize the City's fiscal health
   - Encourage city to take an analytical approach to revenue and expense decisions

Improve Infrastructure and Transportation systems
   - Modernize aging city center utility networks; pursue systemic improvements to RT

Develop Quality Venues to attract ;visitors and locals
   - Prioritize Destination Development; become a Top 25 Convention City

Cultivate and Retain a top STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) workforce
   - The next initiative: Sactown as a technology hub

Read more...comments from others...  and 3 Questions...

Image by Dennis McCoy, SBJ

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What's the state of Downtown? It's ALIVE!

It, the local 18th Annual State of Downtown event, was subtitled "Urban Kinesis" to describe how the city's "movers and shapers" are harnessing our collective energy to reshape the city core.

One of the challenges made to the audience of 650+ was that as Downtown begins to rise, we must move beyond continuing to proclaiming Sac's potential.  Together we must harness DT's momentum and turn it into Kinetic Energy, bring DT to life!

Check out where we are... DSP's stunning new video

The event's speakers explored opportunities that would harness our potential and make Sacramento the world-class city it's meant to be.  And I would add; it should keep it's uniqueness too.  That small town charm combined with a rich diversity of people, places and things.

And clearly city leaders want to learn from others.  Keynote Speaker Ron Blatman, Exec Producer/Producer of  Saving the City:Remaking the American Metropolis, a multi part TV series in the making, presented a fascinating slide show that focused on successful and unsuccessful  urban redevelopment of downtowns and nearby neighborhoods.  His question: How do we make our city centers more alive?

A lot of food for thought...