William Burg started a wonderful conversation on Facebook about removing Business 80 from B Street to Hwy 50, returning the traffic to surface streets. The post is now up to 115 comments, and still going after two weeks. I believe that you have to be a member of Facebook to view this thread, but don’t need to be friends with William Burg (though you should). I agree with Jared that this topic should be amplified for Sacramento Press.

Some people think that this is crazy thinking, it will never happen. I think it will. Why? Not because it is a good idea, though it is, but because we will not be able to continue to keep these freeways open and in decent condition with future transportation funding. Caltrans and others have just spent or are spending $202 million on Hwy 50, basically just to keep in it usable condition. Not to improve it in any significant way, but just to keep it working. Where is the money going to come from to maintain Hwy 50, Interstate 80, Interstate 5, and Business 80 (Capital City Expressway)?

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Pedestrian Refuge Median

Pedestrian Refuge Median

I participated in the Walkable City live chat sponsored by Sacramento Press today, which featured Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, William Burg, and host Jared Goyette, which I advertised yesterday. I enjoyed hearing from both Speck and Burg. Burg is sort of the historian laureate of Sacramento, and his local perspective really added a lot.

You can review the recorded live chat by following the link from the live chat link above, and I highly recommend that you do. My take-aways from the conversation are:

  1. Jeff Speck reiterated his “General Theory of Walkability” which defines a favored walk as including the elements of useful, safe, comfortable and interesting.
  2. Speck said that in order to be walkable, a place must have “good bones”, short blocks in a grid pattern, with squares. Nearly always, these are pre-war neighborhoods. Burg pointed out that Sacramento downtown and midtown does have this, though our blocks are longer than many highly walkable cities, but our grid has been broken severely by the freeways and to some degree by the downtown mall and the convention center.
  3. Speck said that many cities that have a great reputation for walkability started with just one great street, or even one great block, such as LoDo (lower downtown) in Denver. The one great place increased the draw for young creatives, which led to more widespread changes. Continue reading