The Sacramento County Planning Department is about to start a project intended to lead to safer and more appealing walking, rolling, bicycling and driving conditions in a portion of Arden Arcade shown in the graphic below. The project is based on a grant from Caltrans for a “Sustainable Communities and Complete Streets Plan”. The intent is to determine design concepts and an area plan for transportation and land use. The County’s primary considerations are economic development, equity and environmental sustainability at the community scale. The County wants to hear from local residents and stakeholders about what we want for our community. Per the project website, the steps for the project are as follows:
- Inventory and analysis of existing plans, traffic analysis, and existing conditions;
- An online survey for which anyone can participate now
- Two one-week charrettes. Details to participate are available on the project website. They will be online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.Discovery Charrette – August 3-6 - to understand from us what we envision for our community, As part of this effort, the County is scheduling a series of 16 online small group interviews with 5-8 people per group to hear from stakeholders how “West Arden Arcade” could be enhanced. The interviews are an opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities within “West Arden Arcade” in a small setting with key community organizations, advocacy groups, business representatives, and public agency staffs.Design Charrette – October 2020 – to come back to us with designs based on the feedback from the Discover Charrette and the survey.
- Review and final adoption in early 2021
It’s a little weird that the County is looking to study part of our community, dubbed “West Arden Arcade”, in depth when the reality is the County’s officially designated “West Arden Arcade” area is much larger and the needs are far bigger than those in the study area they chose. And it is arguable that the chosen part of the community is the most in need of analysis and TLC. But that’s due mostly to how the County funds projects like this. The County always tries to use a maximum of “other people’s money” (even when we taxpayers are the ones paying the bill) and a minimum of “County money” (which is really our tax money). For this project, Caltrans, in its great wisdom, decided to focus on a specific area and the rest of the community can pound sand. Because the money “fell from the sky”as a grant, the County was happy to comply. Still, to Caltrans’ credit, they have dumped $354,971 into the project. The County is on the hook for a local match of $59,429 (all or most of which is probably based on citizens’ participation) bringing the total project cost to $414,400.
There is a bit of déjà vu in this project for those of us who have participated in similar exercises in the past. It feels a little like how Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown and snatches it away at the last minute, making him fall on his back. Maybe this time the project will have a different outcome. Hopefully something meaningful will come out the other end. We won’t know if we don’t play, will we? Anyone who is interested should feel free to contact Kristina Grabow of the County Planning staff. She can be reached at GrabowK@saccounty.net.