Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Streetcar Planning Study Complete

The City of Sacramento has compleated their initial study to support the reintronuction of streetcars to identify the logical first line. For nearly two decades, the concept of implementing a streetcar line in the core of the Sacramento region has surfaced in multiple plans and studies including the Downtown Sacramento Historic Trolley Study (1994), the SACOG Metropolitan Transportation Plan for 2035 (2008), the City of Sacramento and West Sacramento General Plans, and the Sacramento Regional Transit Long Range Plan (2009). Since May 2006, the City of Sacramento has worked in partnership with the City of West Sacramento, the Sacramento Regional Transit District and the Yolo County Transportation District to develop a streetcar project that will connect Downtown Sacramento (Downtown Riverfront Streetcar line) to West Sacramento.

As you can see by this starter line map, plans to run the Streetcars down Capitol Mall have been revised to instead go up 3rd Street and then east on H & I Streets by the proposed arena in the Railyards. I really liked the idea of Streetcars down Capitol Mall but I can only guess that it would not have created the same revenue as other more populated areas.

The estimated total project cost for the starter line is $125-135 million. This cost includes track installation, stop improvements including sidewalk improvements where needed, the conversion of Third Street to two-way operation from Capitol Mall to L Street, train signaling and power systems, streetcar vehicles, a storage/light maintenance facility, professional services (i.e., engineering design), and a project reserve. The annual operating and maintenance cost for the proposed starter line is estimated at $4 million, In 2008 the City of West Sacramento passed Measure K, which is a sales tax measure that includes revenues estimated at $1.2m per year for operation and maintenance of the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar.

Next Steps

The balance of the project cost would be provided by a combination of state, regional, and local funds. It is recommended that the partnership of City of West Sacramento, RT, and YCTD to pursue a federal Small Starts 5309 grant for the starter line.  The partnership would work collaboratively to pursue state and regional funds. The balance of the remaining funding needed, after any revenues generated from state or regional sources, would be provided by the two cities based on their fair share of the project costs.
It is also recommended that the City of Sacramento work in partnership with the City of West Sacramento, RT, and the Yolo County Transportation District (YCTD) to determine a fare and sponsorship strategy for the starter line. The approach to fares could involve one fixed fare (i.e., $2 is a typical one-way trip cost for other streetcar lines with a fixed fare), a distance-based fare, or a “fare free zone” in the core with fares for longer distance trips originating outside the zone (i.e., similar to the City of Portland’s fare structure).
Once the funding is in place, and environmental studies and design plans are completed, construction of the Starter Line is anticipated to take 18 months.

If this project does get funded, I vote that the city use vintage streetcars. They have a certian amount of charm that the modern streetcars don't have. Watching these old streetcars pass by is always a time-warp. They're colorful, elegant, and very functional, which is why they would be one of my favorite additions to the fabric of the city.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Arena Deal Achieved

This morning a tentative deal was announced to build a new arena in the downtown railyards and it  looks as if it will bridge the funding gap many people including myself did not see doable. Details are expected to be released in a term sheet by the city this Thursday. Thus far, here is what has been disclosed.

More than half the money would come from leasing the city's parking to a private operator, but the team's owners say they've also agreed to pay $75 million upfront.
The city will contribute $200 million to $250 million to the deal, primarily from leasing its parking garages to a private operator.
Other small pots of money include revenue from cell phone tower leases and electronic billboards. The deal does not include a hotel tax.
The city will collect a 3 percent to 5 percent surcharge on every ticket for every event at the arena, both sports and nonsports. That revenue will go directly into the city's general fund. That figure is expected to be in the millions of dollars annually, and will cover a portion of the $9 million in lost revenues from the city's planned lease of its downtown garages.
The Maloofs will pay off their current $67 million loan with the city. They will obtain a new, longer term loan, using the team and arena-related revenue as collateral.
Entertainment conglomerate AEG has agreed to pay nearly $60 million for the right to operate the city-owned facility
The City Council is expected to vote on the deal at its March 6 meeting.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Business Improvement Districts

Midtown Property and Business Improvement District

Next week the City Council will discuss renewing the Midtown Sacramento Property and Business Improvement District (PBID) for an additional five years and also form a new improvement district within the R Street corridor.  The Midtown district was originally formed in January 2008 to provide a marketing/advocacy program to create a positive business atmosphere in the District.
R Street Property and Business Improvement District

Participation in the proposed PBID is to serve the public interest by providing security services, street maintenance, parking services, and marketing efforts to enhance economic development. If the Midtown PBID is renewed, the City will participate as a property owner and will have a total first-year annual assessment of approximately $22,250. This is an increase by $1770 due to the assumption of SHRA properties.  If the R Street corridor PBID is formed, the City will have a total annual assessment of approximately $610. The City’s assessment will not increase for the five year authorization of the PBID.

Sacramento Granicus

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Consolidating the Design and Planning Commissions

Yesterday the City Council meet to discuss the merging of the Design Commission and the Planning Commission to be renamed the Planning and Design Commission. This newly formed commission is expected to be adopted on February 28thand the recruitment process for seating the new commission will take approximately three months. The City’s advisory board has recommended consolidating the Commissions but increasing the commission size to 13 members; and establishing required qualifications for each member.

A consolidation of the Commissions is anticipated on savings of multiple departmental staff time and resources. Currently estimated staff time directly associated with staffing the Design Commission meeting calendar is approximately $25,000. This direct amount would be a General Fund savings in the consolidation.

The Design Commission’s workload has dropped off since 2007 with only three (3) projects being heard in 2010 and only five (5) being heard in 2011. As you can tell by my postings here, things have really slowed down.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bustling Riverfront

This photo is courtesy of the Center for Sacramento History. It’s taken in the late 1930’s when the riverfront was lined with industries including boat construction.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

CADA's 40' x 40' lot

CADA has received two proposals for it's 40’ x 40’ vacant lot at 1610 17th Street, their asking price $64,000. Yesterday two developers presented their proposals to the Midtown Neighborhood Association in an attempt to gain neighborhood approval with future meeting scheduled for both the Neighborhood Residents and Friends of Fremont Park/CARSA & Sacramento Old City Association. CADA’s intent is to select a capable and qualified developer to purchase the lot and to develop a quality urban residential project that's suitable for small-scale residential development. Both proposals would be privately funded by the developer.

Hausman Architecture-Arcade Homes
 Proposer: Hausman Architecture-Arcade Homes
Architect: Hausman Architecture
Product Description: Single Family Residence with covered porch, Guest Studio,and one car garage.
Total Development Cost: $451,470
Single Family Residence (2nd and 3rd level): 1,825 sq. ft.
Studio (1st level): 465 sq. ft.
Total Sq. Ft. 2,290 sq. ft.
Start of Construction: August 2012
Completion of Construction: February 2013

Louis Kaufman/ Erin Boyle and Stefan Bloom
Proposer: Louis Kaufman/ Erin Boyle and Stefan Bloom
Architect: Louis Kaufman, Architect
Product Description: Single Family Residence with two roof terraces, Guest Studio and one covered parking space.
Total Development Cost: $497,500
Single Family Residence (2
nd and 3rd level): 2,152 sq. ft.
Studio (1
st level): 442 sq. ft.
Total Sq. Ft. 2,594 sq. ft.
Start of Construction: August 2012
Completion of Construction: February 2013

On April 27th CADA Staff will report on feedback received at Stakeholders and CAC meetings. CADA Board Selects Proposal. Read more here.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Companies Interested in City-Owned Parking

City staff are now examining the qualifications of 13 companies that responded to a request for firms interested in leasing city-owned parking operations. On February 14th the City Council will narrow down the list to the most qualified companies. After that, city staffers will ask the council to approve a formal request for proposals (RFP) that would lead to bids on the city's parking assets.

With hopes of raising as much as $200 million from leasing the downtown parking spaces, the City hopes to use that money to help finance a new sport and entrainment arena expected to cost around $400 million in the railyards. Last year, the NBA set a March 1st deadline for the City to show it has financing in place to build a new arena and if that did not happen it would allow the Kings' owners to explore moving the franchise.
A question that still remains is… where will the additional $200 million plus come from to finance the new complex? The Maloof’s might toss in something? Arena operator AEG has also been rumored as a contribute to the project? There is still a BIG money gap that has yet to be answered with less than 30 day till the NBA deadline.

SacBee article