Tuesday, September 07, 2010

River District Plan Draft

I reviewed the plan draft and it is a wonderful strategy, which will finally link the downtown to the beauty of our two rivers, bringing housing, new business, parks and open space, and transportation, to the area.

An excerpt.

“The River District Specific Plan establishes planning and development standards for the redevelopment of approximately 740 acres of land located at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers, north of the downtown core of the City of Sacramento. The area is generally defined on the north by the American River, on the west by the Sacramento River, on the south by the recently adopted Sacramento Railyards Specific Plan area and on the east by parcels contiguous to North 16th Street (Figure 1.1). The land is mostly developed and divided into approximately 400 separate parcels held by over 200 property owners.

“For decades the River District, formerly known as the Richards Boulevard area, has been known for its light industrial, warehousing and distribution businesses. Access into the District was constrained by the rivers, the levee system, the old Southern Pacific Railyards and railroad tracks. The relative isolation of the River District with its limited number of streets into the River District has hindered private investment and redevelopment, and that isolation has contributed to the presence of a large homeless population. The opening of North 7th Street in 2004, connecting Downtown with the River District, has helped to reduce this isolation and recently changed the dynamic of the District by opening up opportunities for development.

“The River District Specific Plan supersedes the Richards Boulevard Area Plan, adopted in 1994. The Specific Plan and accompanying River District Design Guidelines will serve to guide future decisions regarding land use, intensity of development, circulation, public spaces, historic resources, urban design and the necessary infrastructure improvements to support future development. The Plan will provide a mechanism for ensuring that future development and infrastructure will be feasible, coordinated, and efficient.

“The River District envisioned in the Specific Plan will be a vibrant, mixed-use community connected to the surrounding neighborhoods by a network of local streets, light rail transit, and bicycle and pedestrian pathways. It will be bordered by a ribbon of parks at the rivers’ edge and have a wide range of employment, entertainment and housing options for families and individuals.


“With the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, the Sacramento area became inundated with gold seekers, followed closely by land speculators. In 1849, a “paper city” called Boston-by-the-River was laid out in the western portion of the River District now occupied by the water filtration plant. The new city of Boston was described as being “situated upon a broad and well-watered plain covered with many groves of magnificent oaks, and the largest class of steamers and all vessels navigating the Sacramento River can lie and discharge directly at its banks.” The new city was platted in squares consisting of eight buildable lots, 80 feet by 120 feet. It included a large public square, schoolhouses, churches and public buildings. Despite the promising plan prepared for Boston by-the-River, the community was never developed.

“Due to its location at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers, the River District was subject to flooding and drainage problems through the early 1900s. Over time, the American River was realigned to its current configuration, which is significantly north of its natural course.” (pp. 1-2)