Tuesday, February 21, 2006

fargo won't give up her quest to fuck shit up

Connie sent me this link about the City Council continually trying to fuck up our city. The city has failed with every proposal for that block that the old Woolworths was on. Now someone has floated the idea of a restaurant row. Despite the fact that probably all of the proposed restaurants would be steakhouses (maybe we can change our motto from Sacramento, city of trees, to Sacramento, city of steakhouses, or city of upscale American bistros) with luxury lofts on top, this is at least a better idea than trying to pick some theme that would turn it into a Disneyland-style "destination". But, no, the mayor and the council (as well as "community activist" Roxanne Miller, that upon googling her name, seems to have her finger in every pie around this town, hmm..let me take a wild guess and say that she might be some kind of businesswoman or stands to profit financially from the development of Sac. Maybe I'm just being cynical.) can't let go of the idea that we need to attract people from surrounding suburbs and cities to come downtown to spend spend spend.

Here's a quote from Miller, "We shouldn't be settling for a restaurant row," Miller said. "That would miss the opportunity for a unique destination that will draw people downtown."

Here's a quote from Fargs, "What I've been trying to do on K Street is promote the unique," Fargo said. "It may not be enough to just have good restaurants and good food."

And what "unique" idea does Fargs like? Well, if by "unique" you mean "copying another city's idea" I guess you could say it's unique to try to make our town look like the Holy Grail of revitalized downtowns, San Diego's Gas Lamp distict. I happen to have spent some time there because of a work thing and it sucks. It has all the "unique" destinations that attract out of towners, like a Hooter's, a TGI Fridays, etc. All that and fake old-timey street lamps and trolleys! Yay! Is your pulse racing yet?

43 comments:

omf said...

Hey- here's an idea... if you want people to go to K Street:
LET THEM DRIVE ON IT!

Wow! K Street used to be THE shopping street in downtown sacto. And when did it die?... When they decided to close it off and make it a walking mall. Every incarnation of K Street has failed since it's been closed to traffic... so why not TAKE THE FUCKING HINT and open it up? Let's just admit that it was a stupid idea to begin with and put it back the way it was.

There are probably concerns with having lightrail and autos on the same street, but hey, they made that work fine with the trolleys 75 years ago, so I'm sure with all our modern technology someone can figure out how it could work again.

werenotdeep said...

I used to live near San Diego, and so I know the gas lamp district well also. San Diego can afford to throw dollars into a stupid tank like that because it's San Diego. People are going to come to San Diego anyway.

Who goes to the Gas Lamp district? Locals who are bored and who can't afford the time or money to go to the Wild Animal Park or Sea World. For the out-of-towner, it's a total afterthought, if anybody even remembers it at all.

Sacramento has no reason to try to do anything like that. It would be like throwing money down the toilet. Of course there would be developers underneath the toilet catching all the money, but it wouldn't do anything for Sacramento at all.

On top of that, in ten years, it'd just be another, slightly new crumbling facade falling off the front of an old K street building.

If Sacramento's going to keep trying to re-invent itself, it's going to get to the point where in trying to discover it's history, it's not going to be able to find anything, because there'll be a 50 year blank period that pretty much just consists of constant failed reconstruction. Oh wait, isn't that what we have now?

werenotdeep said...

Oh yeah, and Amen to that Foster. Maybe all the crazy soap box preachers would dissipate if they had to deal with the threat of getting run over.

Anonymous said...

Before they do anything, they need to get rid of the SRO hotels and the greyhound station- it's like a bum factory over there. Also, get rid of the teenaged hoodlums who hang around K stareet, wasting oxygen and hollering at women 10 million miles outside their league (get a clue kids- it hasn't worked yet, and it never will).

Once the dirtbags are gone, the place will liven up a bit.

Uneasy Rhetoric said...

I wouldn't go for opening up K Street to traffic. It doesn't solve anything, I'm not convinced it would bring any more business to the street, and people in this town already try their best to screw up light rail. Allowing traffic on K Street would make that worse.

The problem isn't that there aren't eyes driving by, the problem is that much of K Street is a cesspool. Create a vibrant walking district and people will use it.

But, a district of chain restaurants (or Paragarys or sushi joints) doesn't work for me either. I agree with heckasac; we need to look beyond Gas Lamp.

Anonymous said...

Beckler-
They are probably still holding on to that plan they had a while back, the one that was going to put the new sports arena on the K st. Mall. If they just "settle" for restaurants and lofts (both of which we have too many of, in my opinion) then they are throwing away their opportunity to put a major sports stadium in a mall.

That about sums up the "uniqueness" of these nobs on the city council. Their idea of "unique" really always centers around a mall, some major league sports and for Sacramento to look exactly like every other city in the country. Boring.

I guess that is unique for people who think Granite Bay is a lovely place to live. Yuck.

Ella

Anonymous said...

> I guess you could say it's unique to
> try to make our town look like the
> Holy Grail of revitalized downtowns,
> San Diego's Gas Lamp distict. I happen
> to have spent some time there because
> of a work thing and it sucks. It has
> all the "unique" destinations that
> attract out of towners, like a
> Hooter's, a TGI Fridays, etc.

How could you forget the Gas Lamp district's Museum of Death???

President,
Sacramento Appreciation Society of San Francisco

Beth said...

I spent three days in the Gaslamp District and I was about to die from not being able to find any decent non-chain food. (Although it did make me even more depressed to come back to Downtown Plaza and see what a shit heap that place has become ... the Gaslamp District may be lame but at least the toilets at the mall still flush.)

But what I want to know is why exactly we want to attract suburbanites downtown, anyway. Aren't they the ones who drive around midtown on Saturday nights, throwing bottles at anyone who they think might be gay, or driving the wrong way down 21st Street, and otherwise disturbing the peace?

ammmmmanda said...

Roxanne is an "activist" but I think she is also a lobbyist, by trade. Can't remember who she lobbies for though.

Anonymous said...

http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Lobbying/Lobbyists/Detail.aspx?id=1147922&session=2005 The link above shows that Roxanne Miller is not only employed by the city of San Jose, but is cute as a button to boot! She is the ONLY lobbyist on their payroll. (If the link doesn't work, all you gotta do is go to the secretary of state page.)

I think OMF is correct about making K Street car-friendly. It is too late though. The ideas the city gets sold on regarding traffic would be funny if they weren't so damned dangerous. The "calming" project is a total failure. Now they're gonna make the one-ways two ways. Fuck no! (I did like how they made one way streets only two lanes though. THAT was a good idea, which must have been an accident.) There was one good idea buried in the article. A BOWLING ALLEY! It would be a "temporary quick fix" that would hopefully not be so temporary after all. Hell, the funky bowling alley smell is already in place. They could also have a place for eats. Maybe some pinball, an indoor miniature golf place. Endless possibilities and all pretty cheap too.

Ed

omf said...

"Create a vibrant walking district and people will use it."

Yeah.. that's what they've been trying to do since the beginning, so apparently it's not that easy.

The reality is that very few people want to be on K street after dark because it's isolated. And it's isolated because there is no traffic. there is *nothing* to be lost by opening K back up. What is the problem with having people just walk on the sidewalk?

The whole K Street mall debacle ruined a vital part of downtown Sacto's fabric. So far, the people in charge of Sacramento revitalization/development have had no sense of history and no idea what to save and what to gut. A perfect example is the destruction of a big part of the Crest's mosaic entryway when they reworked the light rail tracks. The mosaic could easily have been integrated into the new sidewalk design, but of course it was simpler to just hack it out. Idiots. same ones who allowed the Alhambra to be destroyed, same ones who eschewed preservation of the Meriam building at 13th and K.. it's a miracle they didn't get away with tearing down the Memorial Auditorium when that was suggested.

Anonymous said...

Remember, it's Sacramento's own residents, not just suburbanites, whom the "City" and others want to bring downtown. The largest obstacle, really, is really just changing people's perceptions of K Street. People always complain about the Greyhound station, the homeless crowd, the (perceived) lack of parking, etc etc. Maybe the retail options downtown are somewhat lacking in comparison to suburbia (to a certain segment of society at least). But that could change easily with re-tenanting of existing buildings. I agree, we don't need mega-projects to bring people down there. We just need people to stop worrying about how to make their car happy.

Good points made about putting cars back on K. The idea of a pedestrian mall had its time in the '70's & '80s around the country. In some places, attempts to reintroduce car traffic have been successful... you increase visibility, not necessarily access, and that's significant in terms of exposure. Yet a lot of $$ was put into bringing light rail onto K, you're not about to see RT rushing to undo that too quickly. The safety/engineering feasibility issues of shared auto/light rail could be resolved very easily, it's really a question of funding. RT doesn't have it, they're already having to compete intensely just to maintain the status quo.

As far as what to put in the Woolworth building -- I for one have a hard time with the argument that it's too cost-prohibitive to do anything but restaurants. There is plenty of money out there, but all these rich developers & investors are just too nervous to take a risk of only making a few million instead of dozens of millions. The ideas all made sense when we were still at the delusional top of the market. Give it a few years, maybe they'll change their minds. But I guess folks have been saying that for years. I think if the City (i.e. Economic Development) would just let go of the idea that redevelopment of this site has to drive the whole downtown revitalization, and focus on a collective rehab & restoration of many buildings with lots of potential, maybe it would make more sense to take the risk with Woolworth.

-Erik

Anonymous said...

Along the lines of OMF's comment about history: they better fuggin keep the greyhound station. That place is about a hunnert years old. It is antique. There maybe ought to be a moratorium on razing some of the old buildings downtown. Recently, some workers found a gold bar in the lower city. The native american who was there (presence required in case the bones of Miwoks or some other tribe are found). His response to the discovery: Big fucking deal. That crap is only 150 years old. Heh. We're losing what makes this place cool.

Ed

alice said...

erik,

what do you think they should put in the woolworth building? just curious since i don't know much about city planning. i like ed's idea of putting in a bowling alley or mini golf course. but many would probably just view that as a potential den of hoodlums.

beckler said...

It's typical that the only anonymous comment is the most obnoxious one:

Before they do anything, they need to get rid of the SRO hotels and the greyhound station- it's like a bum factory over there. Also, get rid of the teenaged hoodlums who hang around K stareet, wasting oxygen and hollering at women 10 million miles outside their league (get a clue kids- it hasn't worked yet, and it never will).

Once the dirtbags are gone, the place will liven up a bit.

OK, I won't be all Pollyanna and pretend that K street as it exists is great, it's not, but you can't just get rid of all the poor people. Oh sorry, I meant dirtbags. You just can't. If you want to get rid of all those hotels you need to offer the people living there a better option. The Greyhound station is packed and thriving (one of the only places on those blocks that this is true for). Yeah, it's thriving with poor people, and I know some people out there don't like to see that, but what would be your excuse for eliminating it? And how exactly would you eliminate the teens that hang out at the mall? Isn't that what teenagers do?

Anonymous said...

OMF wrote:
> The reality is that very few people
> want to be on K street after dark
> because it's isolated.
>
> The whole K Street mall debacle ruined
> a vital part of downtown Sacto's
> fabric.

I love Dennis Yudt's 1980s reference to K Street as being "a cross between a urinal and Disneyland." I can't cite what rag it was originally published because it was so long ago...

President,
Sacramento Appreciation Society of San Francisco

Stephen Glass said...

Oy, looking to Gaslamp quarter as a model. Talk of a "unique destination." And so on and so forth. Forcing things down K Street's throat is a recipe for failure. Sacramento should stop looking at what works in other, much bigger and quite different cities (Gaslamps, super-sized loft developments, downtown arenas) with the fervent, zealous belief that it's a guarantee that those will work in Sacramento.
This is why I moved to a town with one stoplight.
Okay, it has two.

Chingasas Mariposas said...

It is agianst the law to quote the master bastard and...

Word up, The City council is, and always has been, a fawking joke -mahn.

werenotdeep said...

Naturally, there is no money for this, but here's an idea: Chicago-ize the K-street segment of Lightrail. Raised tracks that traffic drives underneath. Of course, you'd also have to sever lightrail at it's apex while that construction was going on.

Yeah, it's obvious that the only people with the wherewithall to actually "save" downtown don't actually care about saving it, they care only about cashing in. There are a lot of options that would break profit, they just wouldn't break big profits, and they want something that they can take home in 5 or less years.

Smitty said...

Tthe Museum of Death moved out of SD years ago. It's tried to reopen in LA and Hollywood, but I don't think it's open anymore.

I've had more than one band from Berkeley walk around on K Street and say, "Wow, even more freaks than Telegraph". That was in the '90s though.

I like that real estate is dropping in Sac and they're building lofts all over. The Sac towers are going to be mostly abandoned.

Anonymous said...

The Master Bastard's description of the K Street Mall was actually "a cross between a RECTUM and Disneyland..."

The memory is not as it once was (yes, it's a sieve but it was a smaller sieve)...

President,
Sacramento Appreciation Society of San Francisco

beckler said...

Why has no one even brought up the idea of a petting zoo? Or a weinerdog racetrack? I need to run for the city council. Also, we need a bowling/karaoke room place (the kind with the private rooms that you can drink booze in). Ideally, run by Koreans who would also have a Korean restaurant inside. Bowl with kimchee in one hand. And move the Embers downtown. We have enough art theaters, how about an adult theater that shows classic porn? And a wine bar. You can call the whole complex heckasactown and I will be the mayor.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a petting zoo featuring the cow from UC Davis with the plexiglas porthole in its side (cud viewer) and maybe Cal the Crazy Guy

President,
Sacramento Appreciation Society of San Francisco

Anonymous said...

It seems one of the only times, in recent memory, that K-st "thrived" was during Thursday Night Markets. They should expand to every day/night of the week...with the farmers market being the one constant.

They could create a whole new city agency in charge of keeping it fresh and crazy. Music, classic porn, drag racing, organic produce and corndogs...

The thing that keeps people away is there is nothing unique going on there. Rather than totally gut the place (and I dig the outdoor mall aspect of it), it wouldn't hurt to try some shit.
Mario

ammmmmanda said...

Maybe pedestrian malls don't work in American becuase Americans don't walk.

werenotdeep said...

How about an all-male revue strip club bar? That's what I vote for.

Anonymous said...

The Thursday night market is an interesting case since it was cancelled because it was too succesful. There were a lot of complaints of supposed gang related tension & general troublemaking towards the end of the mall, that is, towards the Hard Rock by Joe Sun & I guess that became too much of a concern to keep doing it. But the fact is, it was packed & very popular week after week - it felt like the whole city was there. Why? Because people love having something social to do after work - especially towards the end of the week and especially outside. So instead of getting people to COME downtown, it was getting people to STAY downtown instead of heading back to the burbs right after work. Same goes for the outdoor Sammies concerts in the park. Those are always packed & those are not the same people that are at those bands other regular local shows for the most part. Sac at heart is a beer drinking, tail gate partying, bbq-ing town. Our hick rep isn't totally undeserved and I personally think it kinda sules that Sac has that rep. That isn't to say that a people here don't have good taste or dont enjoy the finer things, but we're surrounded by 2 rivers & nice weather & a million trees & it influences how you are. I feel that, while I don't have anything concrete in mind, the city should work with the Sac identity. The luxury lofts are constantly joked about because they're totally un-Sac. They just are. It's not only downtown upstarts who think that. Drop the world-class city idea because absolutely nobody believes that it's possible here. The only people trying to sell that line have no real interest in the city & most likely won't stay here once their fortune is made. The K St Mall is right in the middle of the "business district" & it's crazy how dead it is by 6:00. A few years ago, I would've disagreed with OMF but I do think cars on K St would be a good idea. It might make it seem less cut-off from the rest of downtown. I was against the thoroughfare between J & L by the convention center but now I think it's helped that area. And it was done in such a way, with the sculptures in the middle etc, where it still seems like pedestrians are priority so cars for the most part drive carefully through there. So yeah, there's gotta be a compromise somewhere in the huge area between a luxury loft steakhouse & a pinball hall & that's gonna be the most succesful in my opinion. Just try including everyone - it's not THAT hard. I know, I don't have any concrete ideas - but if my job were to spot really really bad ideas, Sac would make me a fortune. And that's all I'm asking, just not another really dumb idea.

miller

werenotdeep said...

On the point that Sacramento is not an international city, you know, no city that ever became an international city became an international city by trying to pretend to be something that it's not.

The whole misguided development thing reminds me ever so much of the "Monorail" episode of the Simpsons. In fact, it's so true to life, it's just sad.

beckler said...

Bring thursday night market back! I would go. We've brought this up on heckasac before. Have a farmer's market, maybe modeled on the one in Davis that is more yup-style than the one under the freeway. And a chuckwagon with haybales and brisket. And a weinerdog racetrack.

But seriously, these are good ideas but they're not big money ideas. Smiller has a good point about getting people to stay downtown. But getting people to stay and buy some organic produce and bet on their favorite weinerdog (my money's on Captain Gingersnap) won't make any developers as rich as another block of lofts or a big movie theater.

marianne said...

I don't think it's true that Americans don't walk, per se. Look at San Francisco, Portland and New York. The difference is that these are enjoyable cities to walk in. I took an urban planning class in college and there was a pretty hefty discussion about beautifying the streets. What if the city turned K street into somewhat of a garden and paid to clean the old buildings so they don't look so crappy. Also, there's nothing to do on K, except go to the Crest and IMAX(does anyone actually do that?). Couldn't we put in music venues, and more bars and cafes?

werenotdeep said...

Yeah, great ideas. Nobody's going to do those things, though, because nobody who has the kind of money to put into those sorts of things (those are long-term profit kinds of ventures from a developer's point of view) is going to do it.

And as far as putting money into making K street like a garden and all that? That's a great idea! Unfortunately, again, it requires a lot of money and doesn't make much.

Development in Sacramento has basically become a development grifter's goldmine, and the sad thing is that Sacramento just keeps letting them do it. That's why K street has looked like shit for the past 20 years and no attempt to revitalize it has ever worked.

Anonymous said...

Getting people to stay is a smart way to show the suckers on the city council that there is money to be made without spending a shitload in matching funds for some big project (like the lofts and so on). This money works downtown and is spent on lunch and shoes. But, then the money goes out to the burbs and gets spent out there. The thursday market was a great idea. I suspect that the gang rationale was just that: an excuse. I don't know who would be behind it, but there was an episode of the shield where there was a neighborhood that was denied emergency services so that the property values would go down and speculators could make a killing. Is that what is happening to the K Street Mall? Anyway, to expand on the bowling alley idea, how about...

the bowling alley at the basement level. A restaurant or two on the street level. (Maybe even a Chuck E Cheese, or some other tried-and-true, sure thing money-maker, like Pizza and Pipes.) And then, on the to-be-built third and maybe fourth floor, you'd have Beckler's karaoke bar. Maybe a few bars. One for drunken wannabe singers and maybe a more upscale cigar and old scotch bar with a rooftop balcony. It would cost about as much as a typical restaurant row, but the suckers could be suckered into thinking it is somehow more. Games, food and booze. Maybe get local celebrities to do signings and crap like that too. of course this makes too much sense and isn't new or fresh (just tried and true capitalism) so, it ain't got a chance.

Ed

Anonymous said...

It's silly though if they think they can just build this one big thing & that will be the magnet that K Street's needed. There needs to be some incentive for businesses to want to open on K St. because, as has been pointed out, there's not shit to do there right now. The small entrepreneurs have done all the work downtown & it's my belief that they're still downtown's main asset if it wants any real color. Temple, by taking a risk on that location, has already done more for that area than the city council has this last year. And the soup place - man, that is located on one of weakest blocks in that whole area & it does well. The people are here, they live downtown, and they're waiting for something to do. Even that damn ice rink gets people out in droves. An ice rink! A bunch of decent smaller places that are actually local (or hell, I can't even argue that Pyramid hasn't brought some life to that area), not K Street Wonderland or whatever crappy idea they're cooking up for Woolworth's, is the answer. I mean, if it's gonna be all about money, at least make it profitable for the city, not just the builders. People like to feel that their city is doing somethig for them. Nobody can tell me that it's not possible to still make money by taking people in to consideration. And by people, I mean the people who already live her, not the people they seem to want to lure here with shiny new things. Of all the baskets to put your eggs in to...
Another thing about the whole northwest end of Sac is that it's where the grid stops being a real grid. It has the highest consistency of buildings that take up blocks - the Capitol, the newer part of the mall, Old Sac, that huge apt complex on 8th & L where Gilhooleys was. I think it shuts off that area in some people's minds - it's hard to drive to say, the Crocker because there's only like, one way to get there. I think that's another reason why that's always been the difficult area to get going. Not that I'm saying pave Capitol Park, I've mainly just been thinking "what if K St was open to cars?" today.

miller

Darryl Rosen said...

Do not fret young hipsters,
Sacramento gentrification is right on schedule.

Simply Bow down and welcome your crappy steak house and Loft/Townhouse Overlords.

Eric said...

My job is to promote walkable neighborhoods and the modal shift from cars to peds and bikes, however, I agree with many of you that K Street should be opened to cars. Yes, this would be a very costly investment, but obviously the previous conversion has not worked. There are a few reasons why K Street in particular fails in my mind (along with many other failed ped streets around the world). First, you have to have the proper balance of building heights, street width, and sidewalk width. In this case, you eliminate the street, so now the sidewalk has to serve that balance. K Street is much too wide for the short height of the buildings. To make things worse, they added the light rail lines and buses to the street. I love public transit, but in order to make the Ped street sustainable, you have to have heavy transit ridership at ALL times of the day. How many people do you see riding the LR at night? Four or five per trip??

I really like the idea of Chicago-izing the street - elevating the rail. That's not going to happen here, neither is putting cars back on the street because that would mean admitting failure and is a risky gamble. I love the idea of a garden - like a linear park concept. Again, with the rails in place it would be very difficult to do. There is money available for projects though. the City of Sac has received tons of Federal and State money for projects. A project like this could receive funding under several different measures. Two that come to mind are Federal Transportation Enhancement dollars and SACOG's community grants program. And believe me, projects with a lot less merit have received funding. The competition for these and many other funds is not very tough because most people cannot write adequate grant proposals. It's half-tempting to form a non-profit and apply for grants, although good luck getting your money within this century. Anyway, enough about that!

My question to everyone is: Why is there so much attention placed on K Street while J Street is in terrible shape downtown, possibly even in worse shape than K Street in many spots? Take a stroll down J Street sometime and see what I mean - especially between say 7th and 12th maybe? All of the streets between K and J are also suffering.

Friday night Concerts in the Park really changes the landscape in this area, if only for a night. Why? Because there are PEOPLE! I'm hoping some of these lofts and apartments planned for this area bring more people downtown and you'll start to see a change. If you need some more evidence, take a stroll in the area around Fremont Park at night. There's a good number of people out and about every night and there's energy in the air. From what I hear, that area used to be pretty dead and the housing, cafes, restuarants, and bars have really turned the area around. I think the only thing that will realistically save K Street at this point is housing with ground-floor pedestrian-generating facilities that are open late into the night. I'm not talking about strip clubs (although, it has worked for some cities around the world ;) ).

By the way, Sacramento is in much better shape than most American cities. I guarantee you that it's on the brink of some big and better changes.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, sometimes we focus only on K, when it's really an area-wide downtown issue. But if you're not from Sac, you probably don't know about the public workshops that were held on the J/K/L corridors in late 2004. There are a lot of projects moving forward on J Street, and some new ones popping up on L Street too. Most of them are major high-rise/redevelopment things, which are pie-in-the-sky ideas that will probably never get built. But some of the new housing units are about to open up this year (i.e. 9th & J), which will bring new residents, just hope they don't all jump in their car and drive to Roseville to go shopping! Also, since bringing back cars to K is going to take many years, I think they should convert some of the north-south streets (7th through 10th) back to two-way. This was brought up by many participants at the 2004 workshops but so far I don't think the city DOT is taking it very seriously. They're afraid of anything that will interrupt their ridiculous "Level of Service C" traffic engineering standard.

-Erik

werenotdeep said...

Yeah, people will take those luxury lofts and all, sure, sure. No, they will.

Hey, I'm a recent addition to Sacramento myself, and whereas I've mostly only lived in tiny old apartments in those six years, I've only done that because I've been poor. Sure I'd rather live somewhere with some space and more comfort (albeit maybe not luxury, but now we're splitting hairs).

The problem is that they want a flood of people moving into these luxury lofts and whatnot, and people who already live downtown aren't going to move there, at least not very much, because for one, a lot of them won't be able to afford to, and even though there will be a lot that can afford to, they're probably not going ot want to because they're probably already happy where they are.

In the quantity that they're going up, if they're speculating that people are going to move in there, you know what they're thinking. People are going to move in from the burbs, mostly, and they're going to try to suburbanize the urban central area.

That of course comes to odds with the cultural differences between the 'burbs and downtown (even though this isn't exactly New York or Dallas, there's still a central urban area) but beyond culturally, it messes up the social/economic structure of the area.

Local businesses will close (and that's really the big one) houses will get torn down, murals will get painted over, people who might be just barely getting by with a roof over their head might become homeless, shelters and hospices might get closed or moved.

Now, granted, some of that kind of thing just happens. But if it happens a lot more and faster, those are problems, they're just problems that some people don't care about, they don't like admitting that it bites them in the ass.

Of course, that's kind of an extreme doomsday scenario, too, but ya know, it's not like we haven't seen stuff like that happen already.

I know a guy who lives downtown who is a suburbanite transplant, and the way he complains about downtown is rather typical, and when I brought up my concerns about some of the misguided redevelopment projects he practically yelled at me, like I had personally offended him, and accused me of wanting to make Sacramento a... "freak town like San Francisco". Interestingly enough, this guy spends about one weekend a month at least going to discos down in SF to get his groove on.

Alright, maybe that example is kind of burning a straw man, but well...people like that scare me.

Amelie said...

Okay, part of the problem? The stores on K and J street all close between 5 and 6 PM. Even when there was a Thursday night market, they didn't stay open. Which is their decision, of course, and probably written into their lease agreements. So, when vandals attacked (and I'm sure there were some jerks running around at Thursday Night Market), the absent merchants got pissed off. Duh. TNM was also a big "let's get this damn downtown plaza thing hopping", which is also why the cops routinely herded crowds towards the plaza in the evening. And when they thought the plaza was sufficiently marketed, they stopped the Thursday Night Markets.

I personally like K street, I like that you can walk on it, I even like the Bible Guy and all the homeless people. I don't give out money, I just say sorry dude and let them be mad if they want to be.

You want to know how to make K street nicer in the quickest, most responsible way? Daytime and whenever? Make it an enforced no-smoking pedestrian street. You'd have to stand on the light rail tracks to be the proper distance from all the gov't offices anyway, so just cut it altogether.

and bring Togo's and Tower back.

Eric said...

Yes, we definitely need funky places. But funky places rarely come about in a place where the cost of land is so ridiculously high. You almost cannot compare California cities with the rest of the country, because in a lot of other cities, you could buy several city blocks for what you would pay for a portion of a block in Sacramento. So, unfortunately, only the major developers can compete in this market it seems. I've spoken with some local developers that also say it's not worth developing downtown because of all the prohibitive zoning codes and archaic suburban-based parking requirements. Oh, and let's not forget CEQA. How can huge suburban developments get away with an MND while infill projects have to go through the EIR process and months of litigation? The intent of CEQA is great, however, it is so misused that it is almost laughable at times.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference, though, between "funky" & something that's just not huge. To use Temple as an example again, it succeeds because it fills a void. I feel there are a lot of those voids downtown. If you think that a grubbin' reasonably-priced hippie-style cafe (for example) wouldn't immediatley blow up downtown, you're crazy. Look at Crepeville. It's decent & totally convenient & it's been bustling since the first week it opened. Those are more the places I'm talking about. I don't believe downtown Sac can ever get back to the glory days of the 70's & 80's but I do believe that a modern version of those times is possible.

miller

werenotdeep said...

How about a museum that showcases all the crappy urban development and redevelopment plans that have failed/are failing/are doomed to fail in Sacramento? The transgendered Bull statue that was on 16th and K could be there, I dunno, maybe a statue of a big horse made out of auto parts...

Wild bill Hick Cock said...

I love long horned steer's with udders and glowing red eyes!

Lurch said...

Beth wrote: "Aren't they the ones who drive around midtown on Saturday nights, throwing bottles at anyone who they think might be gay, or driving the wrong way down 21st Street, and otherwise disturbing the peace?"

Yeah - me and DeeAnn and Downey are gonna load up on the Coors and head down there to kick all of your faggoty asses. Starting with Smitty and SMiller...