City leaders should jump at every chance to make Sacramento an even more livable place. So there’s every reason to explore promising ideas to encourage bicycling and increase green space.
Even better, City Hall would be a catalyst to efforts that already have public and private support locally and have succeeded elsewhere. These partnerships would be relatively inexpensive and quick.
The City Council will be asked Tuesday to give the go-ahead on three programs using city property:• Parklets. Introduced in San Francisco in 2010, these miniparks are carved out of on-street parking spaces. Sacramentans got a sneak preview one day last month when temporary parklets opened along 20th Street in midtown. Under the staff proposal, the city would work with business owners and neighborhood groups to find the right spots. If the pilot project is successful, the program could expand.
• Bike corrals. The city started providing some bicycle parking in its right-of way in 2009, and has tested corrals during recent bicycle months. Following other cities’ lead, the city would design, install and maintain more corrals downtown and along heavily used corridors. Converting an on-street parking space creates room for 12 bicycles.
• Bike share. In major cities around the country and the world, residents and visitors can rent bicycles for short-term use. Sacramento would be a partner in a regional project led by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, which expects to hear in December about a request for $3.8 million in start-up money. That would be enough to put 80 rental stations with 560 total bikes in key locations, such as the downtown Sacramento train depot, as well as a few in Davis and West Sacramento.
There are going to be complications. Some businesses might not want to give up nearby parking. Private sponsors are needed. The city is counting on parking revenues to finance most of its share of the proposed downtown arena, so it has to determine how many spaces it can give up.
But none of these concerns should stop the city from at least testing these ideas out.