Urban Fixed Rail Transportation

The record of success has not been good in Sacramento and the addition of another fixed rail system, the downtown/West Sacramento streetcar will, quite possibly, suffer the same fate.

It would seem that street car designed buses offer the most efficient way to get around the grid, and are a heck of a lot cheaper, with the huge bonus that they can move to where needed while fixed rail is, well, fixed.

An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee article about the streetcars.

Are streetcars, an early 20th century fixture, about to reappear on Sacramento’s 21st century streets?

That question likely will be answered this month when downtown residents living near a proposed trolley line vote thumbs up or down on the city’s proposal to create a streetcar special tax district.

If voters say yes, the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento could start construction as early as next year on a 3.3-mile rail line that would cross the Tower Bridge and include stops at Raley Field, the downtown train depot, the new arena, the convention center, the state Capitol and the K Street Mall entertainment district.

If they vote no, it means the dream of some city officials, business people and rail buffs likely dies. City Councilman Steve Hansen, the project’s most public proponent, said last week there is no plan B for local funds to help finance the project.

The vote will be conducted by mail over the next month, with ballots due back to county election officials by June 2.

Supporters, including downtown developers David Taylor and Mark Friedman, say the streetcar would provide a major economic boost to the two cities, helping create a more lively downtown and vibrant West Sacramento riverfront.

Others, including City Hall watchdog Craig Powell, contend the economic boom talk is hype, and that streetcars could be more of a costly nuisance than a benefit.

Here are some of the key questions surrounding Sacramento’s proposed streetcar system.

Q: What exactly is a streetcar?

A: It’s an electric rail vehicle, about the size of a bus, that would run on tracks in traffic lanes along with cars. It would stop at sidewalk bump-outs to pick up passengers at roughly 15-minute intervals. The streetcar floor would be the same height as the sidewalk. Tickets, sold from machines on the street and on-board, may run $1, or a little more. The vehicles are enclosed and air conditioned.

Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article20148363.html

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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