Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Doubling Down - Town

The New York Times has an article about the railyards in Sacramento changing into a new neighborhood. While the market is somewhat down from mid-decade, it seems as if industrial areas adjacent to downtown are still a hot commodity.
When completed, the old Union Pacific property will become an extension of the downtown, effectively doubling its size...

Although it is playing up the history of the site, Thomas Enterprises plans to make new and old buildings harmonize through the use of similar materials, notably brick and glass.“This will not be ‘suburban urban,’ ” said Mr. Rich, alluding to the faux-historical style of many recent outdoor shopping centers. The Railyards, he said, will be “gritty, like a city.”

This will also be the pass through for the DNA line phase 1.

11 comments:

Winston said...

Not only is Sacramento redeveloping the railyards, they are also planning to redevelop the Richards Boulevard area just north of the railyards concurrent with their construction of the first phase of the DNA light rail line. In fact looking at the map of what they have planned suggests that the railyards are just a small part of the total project. Here's an article on "Township 9" which is another part of the overall redevelopment of this area that is a bit further along than the railyards project. Additionally the city of Sacramento has convinced the state to move the California Lottery headquarters into this area which will be a 331,000 square foot, 6 story complex that will also house other state agencies.

Winston said...

This is a much better link describing Sacramento's plans for the area surrounding the railyards:
http://www.cityofsacramento.org/dsd/projects/documents/RiverDistXstake_05-28-09.pdf

Anonymous said...

I do wonder, what exactly will we do when we decide we want to make stuff again?

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

That's a good question anon. There are still some industrial areas that have use as industrial areas even though there is tremendous housing pressure. Hopefully we'll be smart about which areas we use to build things and which areas we use for housing.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Wow, thats an interesting presentation. Thanks for the link Winston.

Andrew said...

There's also a question of the need service trains both frieght & passenger.

Winston said...

Andrew and Anonymous:

Southern pacific had largely abandoned the Sacramento rail yard by the 1980's preferring the newer and larger Roseville yard in the suburbs to the east. This yard was last renovated in 1999 and is the largest rail yard west of the Mississippi with room to expand, the Sacramento railyards redevelopment doesn't represent a loss of industry to the city - rather it represents the cleanup of a toxic hole in the middle of town.
The story is largely the same for much of the Richards blvd area to the north of the railyard which was zoned to be industrial land because it had poor road access and was bounded by the railyards on one side, the city dump on another and the river on the third. Unfortunately, the poor access made it a fairly unsuccessful industrial area as well.
As it stands the Lottery headquarters is going in on the site of an abandoned cannery (which has relocated someplace more rural) and Township 9 is being built on the site of another long abandoned factory.
Sacramento has been pretty good about zoning plenty of land for industry, mostly on the periphery of the city, but even in the Richards blvd plan with all its new residential construction they're allowing light industrial uses in the area as well.

Jon said...

i understand they are still going to reroute the tracks through the amtrak station. but do the plans for this community take the HSR system into consideration which seems like it could really boost this area? i saw the sacramento HSR nc3d video segment showing elevated HSR tracks but how realistic is this? does HSR need some of this land near the existing station for its station?

Andrew said...

Though even local/regional rail trains need a place.

Winston said...

The plans do take HSR into account at least to the degree that the rail ROW is being left wide enough to accommodate HSR. The video accurately portrays Sacramento's plans for the Richards area and downtown, including building heights. However, I can't imagine Sacramento ever needing a 6 track HSR station. Realistically you're unlikely to see more than 4 HSR trains per hour and 8 locals per hour at this station, which can easily be handled by the two platform, 4 track station (with a bypass track) that Sacramento is planning to build with a bit of reconfiguration. The real challenge for HSR is going to be the the area near Sac State where the ROW is very narrow and there is lots of nearby residential development.

wburg said...

One feature of the Railyards project that Thomas Enterprises sometimes neglects to mention is that two of the surviving seven Railyards buildings will be the home of the Railroad Technology Museum, an expansion of the existing California State Railroad Museum. The existing CSRM will continue its focus on railroading's social history, while the RTM will focus on the technology of railroading. Half of the museum will be a display/exhibit area, in the old Erecting Shop, including steam and diesel locomotives (and plans for a modern HSR locomotive to be put on display as well) along with interactive interpretive displays. In the Boiler Shop, CSRM will continue its long-running restoration/maintenance operation: for the past decade or so, the main function of the old SP Railyards has been the maintenance and restoration of CSRM's collection, maintenance of the "Sacramento Southern" tourist railroad, and occasional restoration projects for other museums.

How this ties in to when we decide we want to build things: Part of RTM's mission will include a vocational program that will teach students how to repair big metal things like trains. The current "Sacramento Southern" crew already provides brakeman training for a local community college's Railroad Operations program, and this large-scale maintenance facility will continue its historic role of railroad maintenance--while inspiring kids to pursue careers in railroading, and training young adults how to keep trains running.