Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Required reading

Why Historic Preseration Is Smart Growth by Donovan Rypkema, who is my new hero. Some outstanding points in why historic preservation and smart growth/urban development are not only not mutually exclusive but are natural partners.

It's neat seeing some of this sort of thing put into action: for example, folks like LJ Urbanjust got their project at 27th & V approved. Instead of simply knocking down the one building (a Craftsman bungalow in need of some serious restoration) they went out and found a new home for the bungalow. And when one deal fell through, instead of giving up they went and found another home. The owner of the land had originally planned on building a duplex on the site, but moving and re-siting the building (and the needed restoration) will cost less. Thus, we get multiple wins: a historic home gets preserved and re-utilized, land is consolidated for an infill housing project, and the landfill remains free of a house-sized pile of old-growth timber.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Raising the trolley pole

The feasibility study for the Riverfront Streetcar project is up, along with the draft for the route. It's looking all right--this is supposed to be the first phase of a multi-phase project that will eventually send out feeder routes into residential areas of Midtown and West Sacramento. Cost is about $50 million, timeline is still about 5 years, and they're still weighing reproduction historic streetcars vs. modern cars--apparently the repro models are cheapest.

I'm a big advocate of restoring at least one more Sacramento car for use on this system, for obvious reasons and because I think it would benefit the system. While there are obvious limitations to historic cars, including ADA accessibility and air conditioning, they add greatly to the character and context of the system in the same way that old buildings in a modern downtown do. The historic cars in San Francisco are a good model for this: they preserve history AND DO PRACTICAL WORK. By putting them in the mix with modern vehicles with the modern conveniences, the needs and interests of more people are provided.

Part of the strength of this modular system is that they can make changes and additions later--maybe start with repro cars for cost-effectiveness, and add modern and restored cars as proof of concept is established.

I suppose I just really, really want to ride one of the old single-truck Birneys over the Tower Bridge.

Friday, May 4, 2007

SAMCC Open House May 11

From the Sacramento Archives & Museum Collection Center Web site:

The Mayor of Sacramento, Heather Fargo, and
The Sacramento County Historical Society
Invite you to
The Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center's
Hearing Our History
2007 Open House & History Fair
Friday, May 11th, 2007
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95814

Experience the Sounds of Sacramento as you wander through displays documenting local icons like Tower Records, Bill Rase Studios, Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, Charlie Brandt Studios, and KFBK. Enjoy recordings from early wax cylinders and wire recorders to modern day audio tapes and compact discs. Stop and listen to early television and radio programming, and hear oral histories and sports broadcasts.

View SAMCC's recent acquisitions including:
Bion Gregory Collection - toys and games from the 1950s
Michael Himovitz Collection - artifacts and images from a pioneering art gallery
Joey D Collection - music, ephemera, and photographs of 1960s local rock bands
Joe Sun Collection - artifacts from the K Street clothier
George G. Gudie Collection - early twentieth century photography
Discover the diversity of Sacramento's neighborhoods as you meander through the History Fair and mingle with members of historical societies and history-related associations. Exhibits, publications, and brochures will be available for your enjoyment.

Participate in a silent auction on everything from gift baskets to performance tickets.

For your entertainment, DJ's JOEY D of Frantic Records and ALEC PALAO of Ace Records, will be spinning Sacramento tunes from the 1960s! Enjoy a special live appearance by Sacramento's own, THE SHRUGGS, at 8 p.m. These hip-cats will be grinding out goodies from an era when garage-bands ruled the scene, covering original tunes from Sacramento's rock-n-roll past.

Remember to bring your invitation and redeem it for a special gift sure to be a hit amongst collectors - an exclusive four-song vinyl EP, "Sound of Young Sacramento." This 45 rpm record includes the first rock-n-roll song recorded in the River City! This offer is only valid during the Open House. A real vinyl gem, the four-song vinyl EP is available that evening for $5 to anyone requesting a copy.

Light refreshments will be served, and food vendors will be on-hand. No RSVP is needed.