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  #81  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2007, 7:26 PM
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got this today from Thomas Enterprises:

Quote:
Jun. 25, 2007


Railyards Redevelopment in Sacramento Takes Faster Track


By Colleen Flannery
CREJ Staff Writer
With new potential funding in sight, efforts to reinvent Sacramento's historical rail yards into a model infill-development project appear to be rounding a crucial bend.


Thomas Enterprises Inc., which will redevelop the 240-acre rail yard site, has positioned itself to compete for November 2006 state infrastructure bond funding at a statewide level by speeding up its plans to develop the site, said Suheil Totah, the company's vice president of development. Totah said Thomas Enterprises expects to advance the plans for approval by the end of the year in order to compete effectively for the Proposition 1C transit-oriented development funding.
If approved by the state Legislature and the governor, new guidelines will spell out eligibility for transit-oriented development projects like the Sacramento Railyards. Projects closer to completion have a better chance of receiving this state funding than projects with slower timelines, according to local and state government officials.
Competition for funding under the November 2006 voter-approved bond measure will begin in 2008. If the project receives ample funding and the city approves the plans, infrastructure construction can commence next year.
"Proposition 1C funding is very important for projects like this," Totah said. "We are very hopeful we will be able to obtain funding."
Augmenting its competitive stance, the Sacramento Railyards project will integrate transit-oriented development features, including an intermodal transit station that will allow Sacramento residents to connect with Sacramento Regional Transit District transit options and with Amtrak trains. As many as 1.5 million people annually could pass through this station.
Smaller blocks in residential and retail areas allow roads to be built with fewer lanes, increasing their safety and multi-use appeal, Marty Hanneman, assistant city manager for Sacramento, said during a June 7 public meeting introducing the project's latest incarnation.
The city also asked Thomas Enterprises to scale back its planned traffic circles in order to improve its integration with the existing grid of city streets, and aimed for higher density of the project, which now sits at 67 units per acre.
Housing some 10,000 to 12,000 Sacramentans, the proposed project also has room for 2 million square feet of office space, 1.4 million square feet of retail and 485,390 square feet of "historic cultural specialty retail" that includes a newly proposed performing arts center.
These new ways of approaching transportation and infill development make the Railyards project a "viable" project that will prove very competitive for the Proposition 1C transit-oriented development funding, said Mike McKeever, executive director for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.
"In the world of trying to promote infill development in the region, that project is a smart-growth grand slam," McKeever said.
Because of the size of the state and the anticipated breadth of the expected guidelines, other projects will be competing for the transit-oriented development funding, McKeever said.
Totah confirmed the project likely would face competition. However, he said he was encouraged by the fact that top legislative officials like Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland, and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez actually cited the example of the Railyards project during 2006 hearings regarding the placement of Proposition 1C on the ballot.
Lawmakers On Board
Delivery of this key funding will begin after the passage of Senate Bill 46, written by Perata, which drafts broad potential guidelines for the state to use when doling out Proposition 1C transit-oriented development dollars. As approved this month by the Senate, the bill lays the groundwork for potential approval of transit-oriented development funding by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. It next faces hearings in the Assembly.
Perata's bill offers broad provisions for allocating infill money to deserving transit-oriented development projects in order "to encourage the development of high-density infill housing and mixed-use development for all levels of income and locations near job centers and transit stations, thereby reducing vehicle trips, commute times, vehicle miles traveled and vehicle emissions."
Because of its "novel" approach to transit-oriented development, the project has the support of Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, the senator's chief of staff Jim Evans confirmed.
Senators commonly indicate their support for a project by drafting letters or sending staffers to attend hearings when state agencies consider favored projects for funding. Evans could not confirm whether Steinberg would do so as the Railyards project advances through the funding process.
In addition to this potential Proposition 1C funding, the rail yards redevelopment also might qualify for funding under Proposition 1B, a transportation initiative also supported by the voters in November 2006, according to Totah. The money could be used to fund the intermodal, which could even be used to link a future high-speed rail line to Sacramento.
Next Stop, Arts and Recreation
Beyond the transit aspects of the project, Thomas Enterprises recently added plans to create a regional center for the arts, which Totah said would include a proposed California Academy for the Arts. The academy would teach college-aged adults, but also could include a charter arts school for younger students.
"It will be the Julliard of the West Coast," said Totah.
Thomas Enterprises' latest version of the project has scaled back 2006 plans to create a canal system similar to the city of San Antonio, Tex.'s famed "River Walk," Totah said, citing regulatory red tape and technical problems. In lieu of the waterside space, the rail yards' residents will have access to several community parks and green spaces.
A full assessment of the project's traffic, noise and environmental impact is slated for August 2007 completion. Meanwhile, the city is taking comments on the version of the plans released to the community this month.
City officials want to make the project a reality, Sacramento City Council member Ray Tretheway said June 7 at the community meeting.
"We've gone beyond the rail yards, beyond the city of Sacramento," Tretheway said. "I've got to think the world is watching us."

- E-mail Colleen_Flannery@DailyJournal.com


**********
© 2007 Daily Journal Corporation. All rights reserved.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 5:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
The tour and presentation were pretty swell--I'll post some photos tomorrow.


wburg, where are those photos???
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  #83  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 7:20 PM
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wburg, where are those photos???
I went and looked at the photos and I'm an awful photographer, they all came out looking like crud and I took fewer than I thought I did. The new Midtown Monthly will be out tomorrow, with my article on the latest Shops/Railyards news, and there will be some good photos in that (thanks to my editor, who takes good pics) along with a big 1920s aerial view of the Shops.
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  #84  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2007, 4:33 PM
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There will be a Review and Comment presentation on the Railyards this Thursday evening (July 12) at Planning Commission (Old City Hall) at 5:30. It's #10 on the agenda. No decisions to be made, just a solicitation of Planning's input (and public input) on the project and an update on any changes they have made since the last presentation.
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  #85  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 11:14 PM
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The Railyards Review and Comment session didn't really produce much new in the way of news to what most of us have seen already, other than the reason for the name Camille Avenue in the street plan: the street is intended as a shopping street, and they figured that a feminime-sounding name like "Camille" would resonate better with women (who do more shopping) than the mostly masculine-sounding names that will be associated with the Railyards streets.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 3:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
The Railyards Review and Comment session didn't really produce much new in the way of news to what most of us have seen already, other than the reason for the name Camille Avenue in the street plan: the street is intended as a shopping street, and they figured that a feminime-sounding name like "Camille" would resonate better with women (who do more shopping) than the mostly masculine-sounding names that will be associated with the Railyards streets.
perhaps paying homage to the camellia...Sacramento's city flower. Maybe they should just name the street Camellia to begin with. That would be appropriate. I don't think there is one currently.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 8:19 AM
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the reason for the name Camille Avenue in the street plan: the street is intended as a shopping street, and they figured that a feminime-sounding name like "Camille" would resonate better with women (who do more shopping) than the mostly masculine-sounding names that will be associated with the Railyards streets.
Well rodeos are masculine and the name "Rodeo Drive" doesn't scare away female shoppers.

"Camille" makes me think of a big hurricane.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 12:00 AM
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Actually they felt that "Camellia" was already overused, and there is already a Camellia Avenue in Sacramento. Personally I think "Jane" would work (after Jane Lathrop-Stanford, Leland Stanford's wife.) But they're still testing names right now.
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  #89  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 5:19 AM
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I can't help but think of Atlantic Station in Atlanta, whenever I hear/read/think about the Rail yards. If any of you have been to Atlanta recently you know what I mean. The project really changed the look of the city, adding high density housing, a few high rises, and nice stores all in a relatively small area. Overall it was very good for the city.

For people who didn't live at Atlantic Station, they used it more as a place to see a movie or go shopping. So in a way, it was just another place to shop. I just hope the Rail yards don’t turn into a big shopping mall surrounded by high density housing.

Check out Atlantic Station's website...I’m curious to see what some of you think.
http://www.atlanticstation.com/concept.php
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  #90  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 5:32 PM
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Thanks for letting us know about Atlanta's major brownfield redevelopment project. It's interesting to compare the Railyards with that project. First off the Sacramento project is larger -138 acres compared to 240-acres. I couldn't get a soild number on the total housing units at built-out for the Atlanta project or the densities. But I did notice that while there are higher density areas it looks like there are also many low-rise condominiums and townhomes and a large man-made pond. Not very urban.

And I may be wrong but it looks like virtually nothing of the old mill was saved in the Atlanta project. One the outstanding features of the Railyards will be the preservation and reuse of the historic shops.

Although touted as such, Atlantic Station is not all that transit-oriented. There's no MARTA station so vistors have to board a shuttle bus to get to closest station (and few people take shuttle buses). Also much of it is actually built above huge parking garages. So with no direct rail and easy parking the vast majority of people use their cars. And one of the main tenant is IKEA which is a big traffic generator. Even if it had direct public transport nobody's going to take their new poang home on the train.

In contrast, the Railyards will be home the regional transit hub and is much closer (within walking distance) to the heart of the city and major tourist destinations.

While I like the Atlanta project I think the Sacramento Railyards will be much more urban, complex and interesting. We'll have to wait and see.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 7:57 PM
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Not sure if any of you read the Sacramento Union but the latest issue has two essentially anti-Railyards articles. One claims that toxic remediation in the Railyards should stop because there might be a Chinese cemetery somewhere on the project site. It's kind of hard to tell from the tone of the article but they seem to simultaneously be arguing that (a) the railyard has a lot of toxics dumped in it (which we all know) and that (b) we shouldn't be moving all these toxics to Utah, even though by the standards of Utah and the feds, the material being moved aren't even considered toxic (although they are in California.)


The other is an editorial claiming that Measure A transit-improvement funds shouldn't be used to develop the intermodal facility site. (The previous editorial by the same author claims that the 15% low-income requirement means that the whole residential component will be Section 8 welfare projects--apparently she's unaware that "low-income" means someone making $36,000 a year.)

Anyhow, interesting reading from what I consider the local-press equivalent of Fox News...
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  #92  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 8:27 PM
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anyhow, interesting reading from what I consider the local-press equivalent of Fox News...
You mean they report the truth unfiltered through liberal eyes?

Thanks for the tip!
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  #93  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by travis bickle View Post
You mean they report the truth unfiltered through liberal eyes?

Thanks for the tip!
Filtered through another bodypart, I think, far more southerly located. If it makes you feel any better, I consider the SN&R to be a slightly more left-leaning version of Pravda. Such is the fate of political non-Euclideans like myself...

Anyhow, they seem to be vigorously anti-Railyards development, and pro-freeway/sprawl, which seems like it might cost them a few points among the folks here.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 10:53 PM
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One claims that toxic remediation in the Railyards should stop because there might be a Chinese cemetery somewhere on the project site.
Are they really serious?
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  #95  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 11:32 PM
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Are they really serious?
The article wasn't written as comedy. Here are some quotes:
Quote:
"But what about the possibility that this rapid progression may be disrespecting many Chinese people of Sacramento's early years, who lived in the railyards area and may have been buried in the very soil that is finding a new home in Utah?"

"Kanelos added that he is concerned that the community is not well informed about how highly toxic the soil is at the railyards, considering that the reason that soil is being sent to Utah is because of its highly toxic contents.
"An early railyards EIR report [sic] states that "landfills outside of California do not recognize California hazardous waste regulations" and "they frequently accept wastes that would be considered hazardous in California, but are not hazardous wastes according to federal standards."
The article presents some arguments that there may have been a Chinese cemetery somewhere in the vicinity of China Slough, but so far nobody is sure where the exact location of this cemetery might be, and nobody has found anything yet to pinpoint exactly where it is. They don't come right out and say that the railyards shouldn't be developed, but the main points of discussion are that (a) digging out the toxic material is somehow a greater environmental threat than leaving it in, and (b) there is a chance that human remains from an unknown graveyard might be shipped to Utah.

Reading the article as a historian, there are holes in the arguments that I could drive a truck through, but journalists are not held to the same standards as historians.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 11:42 PM
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The article wasn't written as comedy. Here are some quotes:


The article presents some arguments that there may have been a Chinese cemetery somewhere in the vicinity of China Slough, but so far nobody is sure where the exact location of this cemetery might be, and nobody has found anything yet to pinpoint exactly where it is. They don't come right out and say that the railyards shouldn't be developed, but the main points of discussion are that (a) digging out the toxic material is somehow a greater environmental threat than leaving it in, and (b) there is a chance that human remains from an unknown graveyard might be shipped to Utah.

Reading the article as a historian, there are holes in the arguments that I could drive a truck through, but journalists are not held to the same standards as historians.
Well, as much as I like to, it's hard to argue with you here.
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  #97  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 2:55 AM
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Well, as much as I like to, it's hard to argue with you here.
Sacramento seems to be the only place on earth where any project no matter what it is, or where it is, or who supports, is subject to so much scrutiny in the media, the public, special interest, nimby's, you name it, there is always someone or some group that attempts to stop projects one way or the other. Geesh, is there a place where this is not the case or its the opposite?
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  #98  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 6:23 AM
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Calling the Sacramento Union "journalists" is being very generous. The little puny rag is a joke. Its the right-wing curmudgeon "newspaper" for pathological tightwads, seriously senile people who think Nixon is still in the White House, losers who think that by always being on the wrong side of an issue somehow makes them more hip and righteous to boot, religious weirdos who think the devil invented government (minus the military), and all kinds of NIMBYS and NAGS. It is however a great paper for house training a puppy or to line the inside of your bird cage.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 6:28 AM
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w.b whatever the Union prints will have zero effect on anything -including the Railyards development.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 6:28 AM
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Calling the Sacramento Union "journalists" is being very generous. The little puny rag is a joke. Its the right-wing curmudgeon "newspaper" for pathological tightwads, seriously senile people who think Nixon is still in the White House, losers who think that by always being on the wrong side of an issue somehow makes them more hip and righteous to boot, religious weirdos who think the devil invented government (minus the military), and all kinds of NIMBYS and NAGS. It is however a great paper for house training a puppy or to line the inside of your bird cage.
I second that!
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