Sacramento officials are billing it as a shortcut to college – as well as the best new place in the city to see a train pass under your feet.
The city’s $11 million pedestrian and bicycle bridge north of Sutterville Road will open Wednesday evening, connecting Sacramento City College, the college light-rail transit station, the Curtis Park community and the emerging Crocker Village neighborhood.
City and college officials will hold an opening ceremony at 6 p.m. at the bridge’s west ramp next to the college light-rail station, near Hughes Stadium. The bridge was financed mainly by federal and state transportation funds.
The arched, 50-yard-long steel structure spans a row of heavy rail lines that separate Curtis Park from Land Park. The span is only a quarter-mile north of the Sutterville Road bridge, but city officials say its 12-foot width offers pedestrians and cyclists elbow room compared to the 3-foot-wide sidewalks next to the heavily trafficked Sutterville overpass, city officials said.
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Sacramento City College President Michael Poindexter said the bridge is about community building and pedestrian safety, “connecting two communities together and providing safer access to students.”
The arched bridge is designed to evoke the area’s rail history, said Ofelia Avalos, the city’s project manager.
“It’s light and airy and has a bit of an industrial, antique look to it,” Avalos said. “We could have built a boring pedestrian bridge like you see all over, but we wanted this to be iconic, (something) that would attract people and encourage people to take public transportation.
“The view from the top is spectacular. You can watch the trains go by and feel the wind.”
Union Pacific moves up to 30 trains a day through the corridor.
City Councilman Jay Schenirer said the bridge also will make the light-rail station usable for Curtis Park residents, allowing some to take the train to downtown or elsewhere rather than drive.
The bridge’s eastern ramp is close to a nearly completed senior housing project and a row of townhouses in the new development area called Crocker Village.
The 72-acre housing and commercial project, on the former Western Pacific railyard site, has undergone a $50 million transformation over the last decade to prepare it for development, including more than 500 housing units, according to its owner, Petrovich Development.
Much of the site remains unbuilt so far. The city and project developer have been at odds. Petrovich wanted a Safeway with a gas station as part of his project. The city said no to the gas station. Petrovich has sued the city.
The developer did not respond to a request for an update on Crocker Village work. City planner Antonio Ablog said the crews have recently been grading at the north end of the project, an area planned mainly for single-family detached housing. The commercial site at the south end of the project remains in limbo.