McKinley Village development will add traffic, but city says that’s OK

An Amtrak train passes by model homes during a tour of the new McKinley Village
An Amtrak train passes by model homes during a tour of the new McKinley Village rpench@sacbee.com

McKinley Village, a 336-unit housing development under construction in East Sacramento, will cause commute-period traffic congestion at a number of nearby intersections, but that is an acceptable price to pay to increase the central city’s housing stock, Sacramento officials said in a report issued this week.

The report, an addendum to the city’s formal environmental impact statement regarding the McKinley project, was ordered last year by a state Court of Appeal, which said the city had not adequately reviewed the project’s traffic impacts.

That ruling came in a lawsuit brought by residents challenging the project. The ruling was limited, however, requiring the city only to further explain why it considers the project’s additional traffic acceptable. The state 3rd Court of Appeal dismissed charges by the East Sacramento Partnership for A Livable City that the city didn’t adequately review the health risks of housing near a freeway and railroad tracks.

McKinley Village, one of the most ambitious housing projects underway in the region, sits on a largely enclosed slice of land next to the Capital City Freeway, north of the East Sacramento community. It has one street entrance under the railroad tracks in East Sacramento and will add another on a bridge over the freeway into midtown sometime this summer.

The project remains under construction, with 68 homes built so far and 42 sold, project co-developer Kevin Carson of The New Home Company said this week. Ten buyers have moved into the development since November. Construction continues during the rains. Carson said he expects the project site to be fully constructed by spring of 2019.

The city’s amended environmental report says intersections along 28th, 29th and 30th streets will be hit with heavy traffic during commute times as a result of existing cars and added cars when the McKinley Village community is fully built. But city officials said that the city policies allow for that level of traffic in the central city during the main commute hours.

In its explanation, the city said it adopted the policy that allows for commute-hour congestion so that more residents can live “proximate to employment, entertainment, retail and neighborhood centers,” reducing overall vehicle miles traveled by regional workers who would otherwise have longer suburban commutes. City officials said that, based on that policy, traffic impacts are less than significant and don’t require added mitigation.

The McKinley developers previously provided some traffic improvement funds into a city account.

The city is circulating the amended environmental document for public review and comment through March 3.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak