I live within the influence/taxation zone for the proposed Sacramento Streetcar, Sacramento Measure B, so I received a voter information pamphlet, and presumably will receive a ballot within a few days. Let me say right up front that I am voting yes. I support the streetcar for its economic and transportation benefits. However, I’d like to address some of the anti arguments.
The pro side is well represented at http://gosacstreetcar.com, and the other websites linked from there. I have not found a website for the anti side, but their arguments are in the information packet and on the sign above.
Here are the anti arguments, from the pamphlet, with my comments in green:
Today I walked the route of the proposed Sacramento Riverfront Streetcar. No, this is not part of the argument about whether pedestrians or streetcars are faster, going around the Internet recently, but I just wanted to see it all from a walking viewpoint, not on my bicycle. There is a map of the probable route on the website above, though oddly it leaves out some streets.
I picked up the route at L and 16th, just two blocks from my home, and headed west between Capitol Park and the brutalist Community Center Theater. The route turns north on 13th Street and apparently goes through the pedestrian plaza over to 12th where is would then use the SacRT light rail tracks (light rail would be routed to the north along H Street). The further west on K Street, the more depressing things are, with most buildings not only empty but abandoned. But, this is part of the reason for the streetcar, to support the economic redevelopment of this area. At 6th it heads north along the existing light rail tracks to H, and then west to Sacramento Valley Station (Amtrak).
The list of transit projects put out by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget includes $75,000,000 in Small Starts funding for the Sacramento Downtown Riverfront Streetcar. The FTA Project Profile is available with some detail that may be of interest.
The Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar is moving forward. Today there was a demonstration of a Siemens S70 streetcar (made in Sacramento, but unfortunately on its way to Atlanta) at the Township 9 (Richards & 7th St) SacRT light rail station. Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (West Sacramento), Councilmember Steve Cohn (Sacramento) and several others spoke about the future of the streetcar linking West Sacramento and downtown/midtown Sacramento. After the speeches, there was a ride downtown and back so people could see the streetcar in action, and informally discuss the project on the way.
Yesterday the SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) board allocated $5M in funding for phase 1 of the project, which is the initial planning, route selection, and environmental review of the system. SACOG is one of the project partners, along with the City of Sacramento, the City of West Sacramento, Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT), and Yolo County Transit (Yolobus). The remainder of the project costs totaling $12.3M are being provided by the partners. (Details of the SACOG application are at the bottom.)