April 23, 2015: Sacramento gets serious about Broadway
Apr 24, 2015, 6:02am PDT
Staff Writer- Sacramento Business Journal
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The City of Sacramento has a preliminary plan for improving the Broadway corridor, but now it wants to hear from those who’d be in the middle of it.
Next Wednesday, the city will host a pair of workshops to discuss a “Complete Streets” plan for the busy commercial corridor from Front Street to Highway 99.
Sparky Harris, a city principal planner, said the outline for the plan comes from an Urban Land Institute study of the street from two years ago. Generally, that means enhancing Broadway for multiple travel modes: Walking and bikes in addition to motor vehicles.
One ULI recommendation would reduce traffic lanes from four to two on Broadway to put in a bike/walk lane, Harris said. “That’s where we could land,” he said. “But first, we want to get significant input from property and business owners and the public.”
Other possible changes include upgrading gutters to encourage pedestrian traffic. Many of the gutters now date to when Broadway was a state highway, before the nearby X/Y Freeway was built, Harris said.
A plan might also encourage some commercial property owners to look at redeveloping their properties to open them onto the street, he said. Crafting a formal plan will be done in partnership with the Greater Broadway District commercial group.
“Our biggest concern we’ve been made aware of is many of these Broadway properties are held by family trusts,” he said. “It’s not always easy to reach everyone affiliated with the trusts and let them know this is happening.”
But with the improvements the city hopes to eventually do, underused parcels on Broadway could have new potential for development or redevelopment. Harris cited surface parking lots near the state DMV at Broadway’s eastern end as an example.
How soon such improvements might happen, though, is harder to know. First the city and interested parties will have to create a plan and get council approval, then look into funding, Harris said.
“Most likely what will happen is we’ll bite it off in chunks,” he said.
The workshops are at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at several locations on Broadway, including the Tower Cafe courtyard, Los Jarritos restaurant and 19th Street light-rail station.
Ben van der Meer covers real estate, development, construction, transportation and the business of sports for the Sacramento Business Journal.