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  #41  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 3:52 AM
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rampant_jwalker: The current population of downtown/midtown is about 35,000 people on 4 square miles, and almost a quarter of that is the vacant Railyards and the Capitol Mall/State Capitol complex, which currently don't have any residents. That still averages to 8750 people per square mile, including that vacant chunk. Ten times that, 87,500 people per square mile, is a population density unheard of in the United States: Manhattan is about 70,000 per square mile, San Francisco average about 16,000 per square mile (which, funny enough, is about twice our central city's current density.)

You don't think the entire central city is limited to three stories, do you? Obviously it isn't--and there is plenty of room for vertical growth, especially in spots like the Railyards, Docks and River District. Part of the idea of city planning is providing definable, predictable areas for high-rise urban growth in the urban core, and part of that process means shifting development focus from farther-out point where land is cheap back to the city center.

Another component is maintaining existing urban fabric--lest, as we ended up doing in the 1950s and 60s with redevelopment, destroying so much of the central city that new development is actively harmed (that currently-vacant Capitol Mall area used to be the most densely populated part of the city.) Midtown is currently the brightest spot in our region--declaring open season for development would both deter builders from focusing their attention downtown and snuff out the flourishing urban culture that is happening in the central city.

Doubling the central city's population is a start--through effective use of strategies like alley activation, converting surplus commercial/industrial space to residential use, and high-rise residential in places like the Railyards, the Docks, the River District, Northwest Land Park and West Sacramento, it could be more like a tripling of density--which is more like the overall density of New York City, in the range of 25-30,000 per square mile. All while keeping our parks, and our existing neighborhoods, and adding high-rises and mixed use. But all of that depends largely not on what happens at the center, but what happens at the edges: as long as the Sacramento region continues to expand outward with greenfield suburbs, it's going to steal development energy from growth inward and upward, not just in Sacramento's central city but throughout the region.

Seriously, take a look at the Sacramento 2030 general plan at http://sacgp.org , check out the land use element and the land use map. It's interesting stuff.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 4:03 AM
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All that is good stuff, wburg,

But, I believe midtown could stand a bit more density and allow for some sections to build up to 5 to 7 stories without destroying the look and feel of midtown.

But, I agree the focus should be downtown and the railyards.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 4:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
BrianSac: Where did you get that bit about AEG? I have heard that the group proposing an arena hope they will put in that amount, comparable to what they put in for the Kansas City arena (in return for AEG having first dibs on profits from KC arena operations) but so far they haven't committed a cent--and if they did, you can bet it would be front-page news.

If the focus for midtown/downtown is the people who live there, then policy should focus on livability for the people who live here, not being a circus attraction for visitors. Not that being an attraction and being livable are mutually exclusive--but it does require management, both for parking and for noise.

In West Los Angeles along Sunset, there are private parking lots with employees waving people in every night, and street parking is metered until 2 AM--then there is no parking allowed 2-4 AM for street cleaning. When you leave the commercial corridor, you enter residential areas, mostly low-rise apartments and single-family housing. NO non-residential parking is allowed from 7 PM to 7 AM. Buses run until late at night.

In Wrigleyville along Clark Street, a thriving district with a baseball field and a nightclub district, again, there is limited metered on-street parking in commercial areas, private parking structures, a handful of commercial off-street parking, and public transit (both buses and the El.) Again, walk a half-block off the commercial corridor and you find low-rise residential buildings, single-family and apartments, with NO non-residential parking from 6 PM to 6 AM.

This sort of policy is useful on several fronts: it keeps the nearby residential areas comparatively free of night-time revelers, and encourages them to park nearer the club (often in pay lots) or take transit (which runs all night.) The residential areas benefit from close access to commercial uses--not just nightclubs and bars, but grocery stores, drugstores, clothing stores and every other conceivable retail use--but the simple act of limiting parking to residents means they are relatively quiet and safe, making them far more attractive as places to live.

In San Franciso, SoMa clubs faced a lot of pressure from residents who moved into the neighborhood during the dot-com boom, as old industrial and commercial buildings started converting to residential lofts. It took some dealing, but today if you visit SoMa nightclubs there are lots of signs mentioning "Please respect our neighbors by being quiet outside!" and club security is proactive about preventing a lot of noise from escaping the club and keeping visitors civil while outside.

In all of these neighborhoods, visitors are important but residents are even more important. It is already the case here in Sacramento: an MBA survey found that 50% of business in summer (and more like 66% of business in winter) at Midtown businesses came from people in the Midtown ZIP code, 95816, or adjacent ZIP codes. Considering that these people make up about 5% of the region, it means that each central city resident contributes as much as 15 people from farther away! Every additional central city resident is equal to 15 visitors in economic effect, PLUS the economic value of their presence in the city as renters or homeowners. And we could easily double the population of the central city under current zoning codes!

Downtown and Midtown can take lessons from this. People who are going to spend lots of money on a play, on an expensive dinner, on drinks or for a show will drop a few bucks to park their car in a secure parking lot, if they are discouraged from parking in the "free" spaces in nearby residential areas. The above examples prove that it can be done, and other cities do it. The only folks who would be actively discouraged from visiting are those who are NOT there to spend money!

A true urban neighborhood has both livability AND attracts visitors.

Arenas can and do host "the circus" but they are much more than that and you know it.

I can’t help but think you have issue with the Arena mostly because it may infringe on your historical sensibilities regarding the railyards.

You have never once acknowledged the value of arenas (and ballparks): How can you ignore NY’s madison sq garden, SF’s at&t ballpark and dozen other arenas and ballparks and what they bring to a region,

.......and how they mix livability with outside visitors.

You forgot to add Downtown LA around Staples center in your descriptions of urban dwellers akin to Your SoMA, Chicago, and West Hollywood descriptions.... again mixing urban dwellers with outside visitors.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 4:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rampant_jwalker View Post
So the minuscule population of downtown/midtown can double under current zoning codes... big deal! No offense but the population needs to do more than double in order to reach a notable urban density. And it can't get there with current zoning restrictions. The reason why this matters is that if the central city's population doubles while obeying the zoning codes that are in place, that means the development sites available get used up with relatively weak projects. Once the sites are filled and the population is doubled, what happens when even more people want to live here? Do we start tearing down buildings to make room for new ones? Not gonna happen unless the historic preservation mentality changes. That's why it's important to change zoning restrictions to create the potential for the central city's population to grow x10. There's a big difference between a 3 story neighborhood and a 6-8 story neighborhood in terms of efficiency, functionality, and the overall experience at street level. It's hard to predict how market forces are going to act on the urban environment, but I think the government should focus on creating opportunities for development rather than stunting the city's growth with too many rules.

Couldn't agree with this more. All of it. If the city wants to make real strides towards it's goals in the 2030 GP and SACOG's MTP/SCS, the revised zoning code has to aggressively push for higher allowable densities. Density minimums would be ideal.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 6:17 AM
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Originally Posted by BrianSac View Post
A true urban neighborhood has both livability AND attracts visitors.
Didn't say it couldn't. In fact, I gave several examples. In all of those examples, the visitors are not just left to run hither and yon--they are managed. This makes the experience better for the visitor and the resident, even if the visitor gripes about paying for parking sometimes. They'll gripe about paying for parking the next time they visit too, and the time after that, and the time after that...
Quote:
Arenas can and do host "the circus" but they are much more than that and you know it.

I can’t help but think you have issue with the Arena mostly because it may infringe on your historical sensibilities regarding the railyards.
Um, nope. It has nothing to do with "historical sensibilities" and a lot to do with a site that is too small and poorly placed, but selected because the city already owned it. Personally, if I was asked to pick a site for an arena, I'd put it on the north end of the Railyards lot, where the Measure Q/R site was going to be. It still has transit proximity, visibility, and central location, but has more than enough room (a 10 acre parcel zoned for recreational use in the EIR) and isn't jammed in between the train station and the tracks.
Quote:
You have never once acknowledged the value of arenas (and ballparks): How can you ignore NY’s madison sq garden, SF’s at&t ballpark and dozen other arenas and ballparks and what they bring to a region,

.......and how they mix livability with outside visitors.
Typically a lot of headaches, and not a lot of fiscal benefit. Generally the neighborhood comes first, THEN the arena.
Quote:
You forgot to add Downtown LA around Staples center in your descriptions of urban dwellers akin to Your SoMA, Chicago, and West Hollywood descriptions.... again mixing urban dwellers with outside visitors.
Again, housing came first. Downtown Los Angeles' revitalization had more to do with simplifying regulations that allowed property owners to convert vacant office buildings to condos without having to add more parking, density bonuses, etcetera--this tripled Downtown LA's population from 15,000 to 45,000 in eight years, and attracted new development alongside the existing urban fabric. Staples Center didn't have all that much to do with it. And downtown Los Angeles is still far from the kind of shape, in terms of livability, that those other neighborhoods are in--Pershing Square on a Sunday afternoon isn't any more lively than Cesar Chavez Plaza. But Los Angeles is responding by focusing their energy on rebuilding downtown LA via infill and reuse, not rezoning Melrose Avenue for high-rises.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 6:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltsmotorsport View Post
Couldn't agree with this more. All of it. If the city wants to make real strides towards it's goals in the 2030 GP and SACOG's MTP/SCS, the revised zoning code has to aggressively push for higher allowable densities. Density minimums would be ideal.
The densities allowed in the central city already conform to the 2030 general plan. And if you take a look at the land use categories in the general plan, you'll note that the applicable densities already have minimums.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 6:59 AM
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Didn't say it couldn't. In fact, I gave several examples. In all of those examples, the visitors are not just left to run hither and yon--they are managed.
So why can't 'they' be managed in downtown Sac with an Arena, regardless of where it is in the railyards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Personally, if I was asked to pick a site for an arena, I'd put it on the north end of the Railyards lot, where the Measure Q/R site was going to be. It still has transit proximity, visibility, and central location, but has more than enough room (a 10 acre parcel zoned for recreational use in the EIR) and isn't jammed in between the train station and the tracks.
This is the most positive thing you''ve said about a Sacramento Arena, but you still find little value in Arenas. How can you ignore one of the greatest arenas in the last 50yrs -- Madison Sq Garden.......Almost every great city has a large scale arena....and most are in the central core.

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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Typically a lot of headaches, and not a lot of fiscal benefit. Generally the neighborhood comes first, THEN the arena.
Yes but what about the historical, cultural and civic benefit?

It doesn't matter if the neighborhood came first. AT&T park had a direct affect on the SoMa-China Basin --- the stadium came first -- I know I lived in that neighborhood in a warehouse-loft conversion when most thought we were crazy for living "down there" and the few who lived there were crazily against the ballpark.

Have you been or seen the neighborhood around Yankee stadium? Chicago's Wrigley Field, Boston's Fenley Park? --- neighborhoods that came first and the ballparks didn't ruin the neighborhoods.

Raley Field - i guess you could say the neighborhood came first despite how tiny that neighborhood is. It doesn't matter.

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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Staples Center didn't have all that much to do with it. .
Well it does now. In this case, Staples Center came first, and now combined with LA Live and new residents it is a lively neighborhood. Parking is "managed" and public transit is highly used (LA's Red line(subway) and Blue line (light rail.)
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Last edited by BrianSac; Jan 10, 2012 at 4:12 PM.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 2:35 PM
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BrianSac: Sounds like this has stopped being about Sacramento's civic identity, and become entirely about the arena. Let's continue this in the arena thread.
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  #49  
Old Posted Feb 29, 2012, 2:23 AM
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Peception: Washington DC is full of gov't workers that create energy in the core and government money brings in private contracts and private employers to DC, yet somehow DC's gov't workers are cool and hip and Sacramento's state workers are not -- perception.

The feds have a blank check to spend and spend and pay better salaries in Washington DC. The state has limits in what it can bring to Sacramento.
This was a very good thread that I was watching while it was active and it came to a halt. Just wanted to put my two cents in.

What makes DC different as a government city is the proximity of so many high quality Universities. You get an influx of intelligent, active young people into the community and they stay because of the high paying federal jobs and opportunities. I went to a University in the area right out of high school and I can tell you that the vibe is different because of these reasons.

BrianSac is correct in saying that the demographics of Sac makes a huge difference in how this city grows.

Last edited by NME22; Feb 29, 2012 at 2:39 AM.
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  #50  
Old Posted Feb 29, 2012, 3:44 AM
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What makes DC different as a government city is the proximity of so many high quality Universities. You get an influx of intelligent, active young people into the community and they stay because of the high paying federal jobs and opportunities. I went to a University in the area right out of high school and I can tell you that the vibe is different because of these reasons.

BrianSac is correct in saying that the demographics of Sac makes a huge difference in how this city grows.
The Feds in Washington DC can print money and spend it on local projects
and Sacramento can't, that's another difference between the two... Sacramento can't even barrow money anymore.
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  #51  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2012, 2:35 AM
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dc is unique its more than just a city.......
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