The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Entertainment and Sports Complex (ESC, or arena) was released a few days ago, and this evening there was a public workshop on the DEIR. About 70 people were in attendance, perhaps 1/4 of them city and consultant staff, and about 1/4 were wearing Kings supporter T-shirts or other Kings clothing. I recognized a few faces from the active transportation world, but many I did not know. A speaker gave a quick run-through of the DEIR, sort of executive summary of the summary section of the DEIR.
Following the introduction, people went to the stations on the topics covered in the DEIR to ask questions (and of course make comments, though that was not the purpose of the workshop). At least half the people gravitated to the transportation section, as it seemed to be their area of most interest. Probably parking is the issue most on the minds of Kings fans, but for many, the issues of pedestrian, bicyclist, and transit access to events, and the potential impact on these, are of great interest. Continue reading “ESC workshop, and initial reading”
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.