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City staffers are moving forward on the project to bring cars to K Street, saying Wednesday that the street will see its final days as a pedestrian mall in the fall.
Nader Kamal, a senior projects manager for the city, said the street may be ready for cars by November. People will be able to drive between Eighth and 12th streets once the project is complete.
Cars have been barred from K Street since the 1960s, when the city turned it into a pedestrian mall.
“It seemed to be the trend at that time,” city Transportation Department spokeswoman Linda Tucker said, referring to pedestrian malls.
Thursday, the Law and Legislation Committee — composed of four City Council members – will examine updates to an ordinance on pedestrian malls. The ordinance updates, which would allow cars on K Street, are technical changes. The updates will need to be approved later by the full City Council. The City Council decided last year to dedicate $2.7 million to prepare K Street for cars.
Kamal said construction on K is scheduled to begin in July. The construction work will include installing a new traffic signal at 11th and K streets, changing the existing traffic signals on the street and putting in stripes for two-way lanes.
City officials and the downtown business community have said that cars on K will help attract customers to shops on that street.
The increased traffic from cars “will create just a little more visibility on K Street,” said Denise Malvetti, a senior project manager for the city.
Vehicles will also make people feel safer on K Street because the cars will bring activity to the street, she said.
But Sacramento resident Linda Moss, 63, had a different view of cars on that street. “It’s pollution,” she said, while walking from K Street to a bus stop Wednesday.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.