Friday, April 18, 2008

Streetcar Update

The Sacramento/West Sacramento streetcar project is progressing. The current plan is to have a 2.5 mile starter route from West Sacramento's city hall up West Capitol, over the Tower Bridge onto Capitol, using RT Light Rail right of way (ROW) up 7th and 8th Street, down K Street, then circling around the Convention Center.

While many want the line to go farther, this is a starter route that is practical with the budget they have in mind, and one that is easy to expand once it is up and running. Using half a mile of Light Rail ROW on K Street actually helps extend things an extra half-mile while staying in budget.

The budget is going up a bit, from $50 million to $70 million, because it looks like they're going to use modern cars. They will make ADA compliance easier, make compatibility with existing light rail ROW simpler, and be closer to electeds' and disabled transit advocates' wishes for low-floor cars. Of course, this doesn't rule out the future inclusion of historic or replica cars.

The current plan is to have streetcars running by 2012-2013.

The basic operating assumptions are: 15 minute headways, 10 minutes during lunch hour. 10 stops. 22-minute end-to-end travel time. $1 fare. Operating cost: $3.55 million. Cars will be stored and maintained at Regional Transit's facility at Swanston. Extra provision for the post-game "pulse" at Raley Field will be provided by parking extra cars at a short spur in front of Raley Field. That spur can later become the beginning of an extension into the Triangle area of West Sacramento.

The funding for the $70 million capital cost will come from tax increment financing, parking revenues, a benefits assessment district, West Sacramento's sales tax, and private sponsorships. Operations costs will be covered by advertising, a hotel assessment, parking revenues, West Sacramento sales tax, reduced cost for equivalent bus service, and about 20% farebox recovery.

Ownership of the streetcar line is planned as a joint powers authority between Sacramento and West Sacramento, contracting to Regional Transit for operation and maintenance.

More can be found at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Presentations and preservation

This Wednesday evening, I will be at the monthly meeting of the Sacramento Preservation Commission, giving a presentation on the history of Capitol Mall, or, as it was known before redevelopment, M Street.

The meeting will be held at Sacramento's New City Hall on I Street, Wednesday April 2, at 5:30 PM, in the City Council chambers. This meeting is open to the public.

The meeting agenda can be seen