Monday, November 17, 2008

K Street Pedestrian Mall Transit

K Street (between 9th & 12th Street) has got to be the saddest street in downtown from what it once was fifty years ago. What was once a street lined with entertainment, bustling stores, movie theaters and restaurants has since been turned into one effort after another tiring to revive that stretch of run down road.



Currently, the Design Commissions reviewing several options to permit vehicle traffic back onto K Street between 9th & 12th streets along with on-street parallel parking and drop-off facilities. Pedestrian-only retail streets, such as State Street in Chicago and Chestnut Streetin Philadelphia have now been widely recognized as a failure and many cities have now brought vehicular traffic back as away of revitalizing their downtown retail neighborhoods.

It's recommended that vehicular traffic be permitted to return to this portion of K Street so as to not impede the flow of light-rail transit and allow vehicular traffic to share the light-rail track lanes. Create short-term metered parallel parking on both sides.There are two options on the table as to how this would be done best, is this worth redoing again?



K Street: “Portland Option”
PRINCIPLE: Coupled with L Street, create a one-way traffic and transit pattern, similar to that found in Portland, Oregon, that permits auto traffic to share the transit travel lane & allows on-street parking on both sides of the street. The Portland model would allow auto traffic back ontoK Street and reduces potential conflict with light rail and streetcar vehicles by introducing a one-way street couplet with L Street between 9th and 12th Streets. As in Portland, auto traffic would be allowed to share the travel lane with the streetcar and light rail tracks, providing access to on street parking on both sides of the street.



K Street: “San Jose Option”
PRINCIPLE: Coupled with L Street, create a one-way traffic and transit pattern, similar to that found in San Jose, California, that creates a dedicated transit lane and allows on-street parking on one side of the street only. The San Jose model proposes a one-way couplet with L Street between 9th and 12th Streets and provides a dedicated one-way transit lane adjacent to the sidewalk, while allowing one-way auto traffic to use a parallel travel lane alongside. On-street parking would be limited to one side of the street only.

8 comments:

Jake Favour said...

K Street seems to be a reoccurring topic when it comes to downtown Sacramento and talk of urban revitalization. This is just one reason I'm working on a new design competition, to give a voice to local architects and designers to help foster new solutions for these types of issues. Sacramento needs fresh ideas now more then ever.

Kelly and Kevin said...

Keep up the good work. K Street needs all the help it can get! We have high hopes for K Street to become the booming area it once was. I agree with Jake Favours comment "Sacramento needs new fresh ideas now more than ever".

late nite said...

If cars are going to be back on K Street, they shouldn't dominate the street. Single-side parking (angled?) leaving room for very wide sidewalks and bikeways would be a pretty good way to go.

"One-way couplet with L Street" sounds a bit like making K Street as auto-oriented as L is now, but if the result is complete streets on both L and K, that's great.

Another thing that irks me with K Street now is that when you cross the numbered streets it feels like the ped street crossing the car street, not the car streets crossing the ped street. If they kept the textured pavement and gave K more continuity across the numbered streets, that would make it much more inviting.

Who is proposing this anyway? What level of the planning process is this at?

Zwahlen Images said...

late nite: these are recommendations by staff for the Design Commission. This info was in the final Draft: Central City Urban Design Guidelines and Plan, Part One (M05-084).

wburg said...

To me, one of the biggest problems with K Street is that it seems like there is a never-ending string of construction site after construction site--as soon as one project gets finished, another gets started! A building on a block gets a facelift, then the building next door gets its facelift. A block gets new sidewalk treatment, then the utility folks have to come in and fix things that tears up the new sidewalk treatment and patch the holes with that asphalt stuff and in a couple of years it looks like crap and they have to authorize a new sidewalk treatment and do it all again.

When light rail was put in, huge chunks of K Street went dead because they had to rip up the streets so much. If they're going to allow vehicular access, regardless of plan, they'll have to go through and rip up the streets just as a string of new businesses are opening (the Citizen, the Cosmo, etc.) I can't see that being finished quickly, either.

All of the whitewashing of K Street is just surface treatment. The bottom line is that IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW K STREET LOOKS if the fundamental problems of the street aren't solved. During the heyday of K Street, there was an awful lot of nearby housing, in residential hotels and boarding houses and apartment buildings. People of all social classes lived in these buildings--the rich and the poor. Until there is a lot more housing, for all social classes, the poorest will sleep on the street and the richest will stay at the suburban mall closest to their exoburb.

cole said...

This entire blog consists of a wet dream by delusional fruitcakes...and a bad wet dream at that...Jerde, Hahn and the City poured a ton of money into K Street, and Jerde and Hahn have more talent in their little fingers than exists in the entire city of Sacramento...came up a cropper...

Sacramento consists of people on the government dole, in one way or another...and they couldn't even support upscale JCrew...

For a real urban experience one needs a somewhat vibrant economic situation downtown, and that means private enterprise...doesn't matter what the freaking street scheme is...as long as cars run up and down the street...

There is no private enterprise in Sacramento, other than those who live off the government dole...

That's the reason K Street looks like it does...won't change no matter how much money you give Sacca or Nassi or someone else trying to dupe the people of Sacramento...

The Loft Gardener said...

I find it odd that the above contributor would undertake the effort of posting and then work so hard to ensure no one wants to read it... but I digress.

K Street needs a sense of place, continuity, and purpose. Previous efforts seem to have been focused on one significant infrastructure investment after another- "perhaps, if we just do "X" it will improve." As an alternative, pooling many smaller efforts in a coordinated way would have a much stronger effect.

Drawing from several above posts and additional ideas: 1) Continuity: Modify the intersections to emphasize the pedestrian. Could be as simple as streetprint (imprint asphalt ala Safeway entry on 19th) and/or shake-on color hardener for concrete 2) Place: mitigate ongoing construction by requiring placeholder street interactions: display window art galleries as one idea; 3) Continuity: allow bicycles back on K Street and improve bike access in downtown generally; 4) Place/purpose: more housing in a range of affordability levels; 5) Purpose: program the space- community market evening, evening/weekend concerts...; 6) _if_ cars are allowed back onto the street (note the comment above on disruption to emerging business investment) make it a San Jose style version, very minor auto access. Alternately consider opening up regular auto access only during short regularly scheduled times using the existing infrastructure; 7) Purpose: Allow street vendors, given basic setup and time of operation requirements. Paris, anyone?; 8) Place: Integrate a series of micro-parks with fairly open plans along the length of the few blocks to encourage people to spend a lunch break there. Don't rely on RT to provide an attractive place to sit down.

Zwahlen Images said...

Lots of good ideas Loft Gardener. I also prefer the San Jose style with parking only on one side. Until now, I have been in favor of leaving it as it is now with the assumption that all the proposals of the last few years would have transform the street. Now I'm open to almost any idea to improve the street since only a couple projects actually got completed. If they were to rip up the road again, how would it be paid for? The costs to do the work would be shocking for sure.