Location: Sacramento, CA
Sponsor: Sacramento Area Council of Governments; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Sacramento Area Municipal Air Quality District; Regional Transit; 10-Minute Walk Campaign
Subject Area: Parks, Pedestrian Infrastructure, Equitable Economic Development, Transit-Oriented Development
Panel Chair: David Leininger, Sasaki Associates, Dallas, TX
Background and Panel Assignment
A ULI Advisory Services Panel made recommendations to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and its partners about the future land-use and development around two transit stations in South Sacramento that will positively impact communities and spur $300 million in investment. In addition to SACOG, panel sponsors included Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Sacramento Area Municipal Air Quality District; and Sacramento Regional Transit.
In 2015, Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT) opened a 4.3-mile extension of the Blue Line light rail in South Sacramento. This $270 million investment connected South Sacramento neighborhoods to each other and to downtown Sacramento. The Florin and Meadowview stations used to be the end of the light rail line and as such, served as park and ride lots for commuters. With the Blue Line extension, Florin and Meadowview are now a mid-point on the light rail line.
These stations are now located on auto-oriented commercial corridors that were largely developed in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s (Florin Road was auto-dealer row). After the 1980s, the city continued to urbanize outward, other suburban communities developed, and private investment moved from the Florin and Meadowview commercial corridors to newer communities. Since that time, the properties along Florin and Meadowview have undergone significant disinvestment, to the point that many lots are blighted, vacant or underutilized. The surrounding residential neighborhoods went through similar disinvestment in the last 20 years. Today, many of the communities with light rail stations have fallen behind the region on several indicators, including income and educational attainment.
The sponsor’s goals for Florin and Meadowview communities are equitable, healthy, and inclusive community development. The panel sponsors asked the panelists to consider recommendations that:
- provide more convenient access to parks, housing, retail/services, employment, recreation and transit.
- offer active transportation choices, like trails, bike lanes, and sidewalks, to support health and reduce carbon emissions.
- deliver income growth, attainable housing options, good health outcomes, and healthy neighborhood amenities, such as parks and open space.
- minimize economic and physical displacement.
- leverage existing infrastructure and community assets.
ULI’s Advisory Services Panel was a first step to kick-starting an effort to retrofit and revitalize South Sacramento’s transit-adjacent neighborhoods into transit-oriented neighborhoods. The visit was part of ULI’s participation in the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, a collaborative effort with The Trust for Public Land and the National Recreation and Parks Association to increase access to urban parks in cities nationwide. The campaign’s goal is for all Americans in urban areas to live within a 10-minute walk of a high-quality park or green space.
SacRT owns a significant amount of property at Florin and Meadowview Stations that is not required for transit needs and could be productively programmed for important community development, resulting in upwards of $300 million in new investment. The reuse of these properties can also provide opportunities for housing options and connections to community assets, including parks and open space, as well as walking and bicycle connections.
Summary of Recommendations
Following a week of briefings, review of past plans and studies, study tours, and community interviews, the panel developed several strategic recommendations for South Sacramento. The panel’s made the following recommendations:
- Identify and strengthen leadership within the community.
- Develop a safe, connected, active, and green multi-modal transportation network to improve “last-mile” options.
- Build denser mixed-income and mixed-use multifamily housing to provide affordable units, draw higher incomes, and stimulate redevelopment along the corridor.
- Jump-start jobs and entrepreneurship with redevelopment and placemaking of available retail space.
- Create parks and recreation facilities, community gathering spaces, and healthy food opportunities through station area design and programming.
- Use arts and culture to enhance the community through programming.
SacRT owns a significant amount of property at Florin and Meadowview Stations that is not required for transit needs and could be productively programmed for important community development, resulting in upwards of $300 million in new investment. The reuse of these properties can also provide opportunities for improved connections to community assets, including parks and open space and walking and bicycle connections.