While the arena deal might be dead, planning for the downtown railyards remains at the center of the agenda for Sacramento, and next week, city staff will present the city council with a report on the best way Sacramento can encourage development in the 240-acre site.
The basis for that presentation will be a recently-published report conducted by the city and the Urban Land Institute think tank, "Redeveloping the railyards to strengthen the urban core."
This Wednesday at noon, we’ll be chatting with one of people behind the ULI Report, John Hodgson, a land use attorney and founder and president of The Hodgson Company. The chat will be live streamed in this article. You can also join us via Google Hangouts.
We’ll dive into the details of the report, which at this point, provide the best blueprint for how the city plans to proceed with the railyards.
You can download it or read it in full below. Please post any questions you’d like us to ask in the conversation below this article.
The report was produced by a panel from the think tank and a Sacramento team that included Hodgson, Mayor Kevin Johnson, Assistant City Manager John Dangberg and Mike McKeever, executive director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.
John Hodgson is the founder and president of the Hodgson Company. He has headed numerous residential and mixed-use master-planned projects throughout the greater Sacramento Valley area. He also has a strong interest in urban revitalization and mixed-use development in the urban centers of the region.
Hodgson is a full member of the Urban Land Institute and recently served as chair of ULI Sacramento.
He served six years as the chair of the Capitol Area Development Authority. He currently serves as chair of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan and is also active in numerous civic organizations.
Hodgson is a member of the State Bar of California and a graduate of the University of California, Davis, and UC Davis Law School (King Hall).
From the report’s summary of recommendations:
— Rather than build a large facility that concentrates all the transit activity and connections, the panel recommends that the city consider separating the various transit modes(intercity rail, bus, and light rail) within an area that not only is accessible for travelers who need to make connections but also takes advantage of this activity by allowing development to occur around it and create actual destinations beyond the transit access itself.
— The panel also recommends that the city and the rail operators consider ways to share high-speed and Amtrak service on tracks at the same level or to relocate the high-speed-rail terminal. With itsoverarching canopy, the conceptual facility proposedby the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA)would be about 30 feet taller than the new Fifth andSixth street bridges, completely overwhelming themassing of the historic Central Shops buildings andobstructing their view from downtown or even fromthe Depot District on the other side of the tracks.
— The city and its partners should be mapping out and committing to completing a network of linked open spaces and great streets in discrete phases that together create an amenity that guides and shapes development but can accommodate incremental growth over time that could manifest in many different scenarios depending on the market.The current land use plan, while allowing mixed use in many places, seems to reinforce a segregatedoverall pattern.
— Rather than look at the site as a series of district plans, the panel recommends that the city
look at it as a series of component neighborhoods within a larger site that connect to their adjacent neighborhoods and can grow incrementally over
— Building neighborhoods, as opposed to districts,means building places that
— Are seamless, without hard edges, and held togetherby strong public spaces and streets;
— Create a strong open-space system by framing parks with development; and
— Celebrate the Central Shops buildings and other focal points within the site.