arena or not…

arena arial, from City of Sacramento
arena arial, from City of Sacramento

Whether the arena is built or not, I care little, and whether the Kings stay or not, I care not at all. But what I find interesting is that no one any longer talks about a public asset like this being located in the suburbs. When it was in the railyards, it was a downtown arena. As it is now proposed on the footprint of the mall, it is the downtown arena. It is the same in Seattle, where the arena location is not so central but is still part of downtown.

Sacramento has grown up! It realizes that downtown is the place for public assets. Downtown has a high density of public transit, walkable and bikeable areas, a grid street pattern, established businesses that can serve patrons of an events center, and yes, even freeways.

The ARCO/Power Balance/Sleep Train facility squats in the middle of acres of parking, a 12,000 parking space wasteland. It is far from light rail, is poorly served by bus (you can get there, but you can’t get home, for evening events, and not at all on Sunday, transit score 24, minimal), is in an un-walkable and un-bikeable area (all high speed arterial roads, walk score 48, car dependent), where almost no streets go through (the classic suburban street system of cul-de-sacs and streets that wind interminably). Why anyone ever thought an arena in Natomas was a good idea, I don’t know, but at least no one any longer thinks it is. And that is progress!

Downtown Plaza, the currently proposed location, has a walk score of 94, walker’s paradise, and a transit score of 67, good transit.

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