biking to the midtown farmers market

The Sacramento midtown farmers market at J and 20th has been going for two Saturdays now. The market is somewhat different from the main Sacramento Farmers Market I usually attend because it has more prepared food, though it still has a good complement of fresh and dried food. The market is only 8 blocks from my house, though the main one under the freeway on Sundays at 8th and W is only 16 blocks, Chavez Plaza on Wednesdays is 11 blocks, Fremont Park on Tuesdays is 1 block, Capitol Park and Capitol Mall on Thursdays are 3 blocks and 12 blocks respectively. Clearly I’m blessed to be in the middle of so many farmers markets. This density of urban amenities is why I love living in midtown. I’ve heard great things about the Saturday Oak Park farmers market, and will visit as soon as I can.

bike valet at Midtown Farmers Market
bike valet at Midtown Farmers Market

The more unique character of the Midtown Farmers Market Sacramento, however, is that it encourages shopping by bike. Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) is providing bike valet service for the market, and a lot of people are coming by bike. There have never been less than two cargo bikes, and sometimes many more, and the large bike valet corral has at times filled up with bikes. Impressive!

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parklets for Sacramento!

3876 Noriega St (from San Francisco Planning Department)
3876 Noriega St (from San Francisco Planning Department)

SABA (Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates) and Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District are partnering to create demonstration parklets in Sacramento.  This is exciting! SABA has a couple of posts on their Facebook page, and I’m sure there will be a lot more discussion.

A parklet is a small space serving as an extension of the sidewalk to provide amenities and green space for people using the street (Wikipedia). They can remove the tension between street furniture and sidewalk life on the one hand, and sidewalks as a transportation route. Though Sacramento has wide sidewalks in some areas, it also has narrow sidewalks in a number of areas that are highly popular. As an example, 16th Street between P Street and O Street, right next to where I live, has a narrow zip-zag sidewalk, fenced cafe seating for restaurants, and a lot of people and a lot of bikes. There is a tension here, between cafe seating, bike parking, and the sidewalk’s function. A parklet would allow more street life without taking away from any of the other functions.

Parklets are often sponsored by the adjacent business, but since they are in the public right of way, they are open to all users at all times. Cafe seating is different in that the business has a permit for the exclusive use of that area, so it is often open only to customers and only when the business is open. Cafe seating and parklets are actually a great complement to each other, creating vibrant street life that neither alone could.

San Francisco has an official Pavement to Parks parklet page, with details about the spectacularly popular program and a series of photos. The photo with this post is one of my favorites. San Francisco Great Streets Project has a series of pages on parklets, with before and after photos, though it is not up to date.