i realize the cynisism about these large scale projects is probably warranted. but all these concepts and diagrams are very well fleshed out, and more importantly, were completed by the firms chosen to lead the projects - not a city run community workshop. they are legit proposals and will soon be chosen. then comes the EIR, the construction bids, and the actual construction - which will begin at R street (5th image down)
the towers were in doubt a year ago, and i did not expect to see them on this round - but they're there, and are all planned at 30 stories. We won't see those for several years, though. They are all on Phase 2.
The main feeder street connecting the docks will actually be U Street. You're right that I-5 is a bitch, but the good news is that Old Sacramento has the same issues and has fared remarkably well considering the odds. I think the main contributer to that success is the river - people would cross I-5 on foot if that was the only way to get to it.
As for the Towe... I was under the impression that they were there to stay, but now i'm not so sure of it. All i can say for sure, is that their end of the project will be safe for a few years, while the north side Phase 1 in under construction.
About the rail planting... I have a lot of confidence in this Walker Macy group. And at this point, I don't think they're throwing out ideas just to make themselves look capable. While speaking to them, I was told that they are under a lot of pressure to get this project underway quickly. Below are a couple images of precedent projects. One being a freight train, and the other a streetcar. Do you happen to know the frequencey of the trains coming through there?