Thursday, October 27, 2011

Proposed Planning and Design Commission Consolidation

Tonight the Planning Commission will look over a report to consolidate both the Planning and Design Commissions, turning some of the Design panel’s duties over to the city’s planning commission. The elimination of the commission would both reduces staff time and costs to the city.
The seven-member design commission evaluates the architectural merit of proposed construction projects. As reported by the Sacramento Business Journal, its chairman, said it “does provide essential value to the city” but the pressure to reduce costs in Sacramento, which had to trim services to alleviate a $39 million budget shortfall this year.
It’s also been suggested to reduce stipends for commissioners; last year more than $100,000 was set aside for stipends. The proposal would disband the design commission and add two members with design expertise to the 11-member planning commission.
 The SacramentoBusiness Journal also reports that for years the city recived advice from developers and construction industry experts on streamlining operations. Combining the two commissions was one of the suggestions.
The current design commission was formed in 2007 when city leaders decided to separate design review and preservation functions into distinct boards.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Capitol Mall Design Competition

The city is looking to completely redesign Capitol Mall and the public is waiting to hear who the winner is. In about 3 ½ weeks a winner will be announced and the Big Idea catalyst will then move forward.

My hope is that the city goes with an idea where less is more, it’s a design phrase that describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art. Many of the most memorable public places are simple in design and gently draws your attention to the natural beauty of the area … by doing more with less.

All entries that planted trees in the center of Capitol Mall or want to build a structure that will block the view of the State Capitol from the Tower Bridge were all losers in my book. The Capitol View protection ordinance established in 1992 will immediately disqualify any of these ideas. More than half of the submissions did not even bother to read the instructions talking about the view corridor. Also, the removal of all vehicles driving up and down Capitol Mall rubs me the wrong way. Being able to drive down ten blocks up to the State Capitol a very unique experience and should be incorporated into whatever design is chosen.

Many designs incorporate blocks that are not even owned by the city  like the former Towers site between 3rd & 4th. I don’t get this at all? I don’t remember reading anywhere that CalPERS is planning on donating the land and the city clearly can’t afford to buy it in the near future.  

Anyway, you can look at all the submissions at the website, where you can vote for which designs you like the best!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sutter Medical Center Expansion

Glass windows started being installed on the Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center a few weeks ago giving a glimpse of the look and style of the new hospital.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Maydestone Grand Opening

The Sacramento Business Journal’s reporting that this Wednesday Sacramento officials are expected to gather at the Maydestone apartment building for the grand opening of a formerly burned out structure rehabbed into 32 units of affordable housing.

It could be one of the last projects funded with redevelopment dollars for a while, given the dispute between local government and the state of California over the use of such funds. Most future projects are on hold until courts resolve the dispute over whether the state can take redevelopment money to help balance the budget.

Sacramento infill developer D&S Development kept many of the building’s original features, including roll-out beds and built-in furniture. The company put in a vintage-style elevator to maintain a consistent look dating back to the building’s construction in 1915. Also left untouched is the mosaic tile in front of the building that spells Maydestone with a backwards “N.” This is a $7.2 million renovation.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

American River Crossing Study

The American river Crossings Alternatives Study will analyze potential crossings of the American River as called for in the Sacramento 2030 General Plan, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)  Regional Blueprint and the adopted Metropolitan Transportation Plan. A crossing has the potential to relieve congestion on I-5 caused by limited options for local traffic to utilize local streets to connect employee-rich neighborhoods north of the river with the jobs-rich central core.

The Study area runs along the lower American River between I-5 and State Route 160. The Study area is bordered by Discovery Park in the South Natomas Community Plan to the north and The River District in the Central City Community Plan to the south.

 Caltrans awarded (SACOG) a $270,000 federal Partnership Planning grant toward studying alternative American River crossings in an effort to identify the most feasible crossing locations. The City of Sacramento is the named subrecipient for this grant and will be conducting the study. Establishment of a CIP, execution of agreements, and appropriation of funds is necessary to begin work on the project.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Railroad Track Relocation

This project will relocate and realign about 2.3 miles of Union Pacific railroad track to make room for an expanded Sacramento Valley Station, which will be turned into an intermodal hub that will handle Amtrak and Capitol Corridor service as well as light rail and bus services. (Click here to enlarge photo)
Granite Construction Inc. was awarded $41 million last March for the track relocation project, which includes major utility infrastructure and site improvements, construction of multiple access tunnels for pedestrians and service vehicles as well as new passenger tracks and platforms.
The project is being paid for by 12 funding sources, including $26 million in federal stimulus funding, state bond funding and funding from Amtrak, the federal Department of Transportation and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments
The track relocation project is estimated to be completed by December 2012.