City Beat

An urban shift toward West Sacramento

Christopher Cabaldon, West Sacramento’s mayor, made good on his promise to developers three years ago: If they build housing in the city’s new Bridge District, he would be among the first to buy.
Christopher Cabaldon, West Sacramento’s mayor, made good on his promise to developers three years ago: If they build housing in the city’s new Bridge District, he would be among the first to buy. Aseng@sacbee.com

The next meal you order in West Sacramento could get to your condo on a bicycle.

Delivering food on bikes seems like a very un-suburban concept, right? But if it seems odd, then maybe it’s time you start to rethink West Sac.

There could be a time very soon when the border between downtown Sacramento and the city on the other side of the river is blurred. The urban movement is already beginning, with modern townhouses and hundreds of apartments under construction near the West Sac side of the Tower Bridge.

Boosters on both sides of the river are planning a streetcar system that would start in front of West Sac City Hall and make the short trip over the bridge into downtown. While Sacramento leaders have some work to do to convince property owners in their city to help fund the project, West Sac is already on board to the tune of $25 million.

“The center of gravity (for the city’s urban core) is shifting west,” said Christopher Cabaldon, the mayor of West Sac.

What John Boyer and Brian Asch are doing is emblematic of that movement. They’re the creative minds behind Edible Pedal, the bike shop and food delivery operation that’s been working out of a rustic space in a midtown alley for the past six years. Soon, they’ll open another location, this one on Third Street in West Sac, a block or two from the I Street Bridge.

Standing in front of their West Sac shop, it’s easy to forget you’ve left Sacramento. The downtown skyline is visible from the parking lot. Their door is closer to the new Kings arena site than most of midtown.

And that parking lot? They’ll turn three of the parking spaces into a parklet, the kind of mini-park Sacramento leaders have talked about creating on city streets for years. Boyer and Asch want to build a gathering spot for a growing and diverse neighborhood.

Once they get going, Boyer and Asch plan to sell bikes and deliver food for neighborhood restaurants. They’ll start with the Green Thumb Deli, a funky sandwich shop next door. Insight Coffee, the Sacramento-based roaster with two shops in the central city, is planning to run a counter out of their shop, too.

“This continues that flow toward an even more livable community,” Boyer said. “And you’re going to see this area transform in a few short years.”

A bunch of urban farms are popping up in the neighborhood. Bay Miry, the developer changing the face of K Street in downtown Sacramento, owns the new Edible Pedal building and also has plans for an old empty firehouse across the street.

With all this happening, Boyer thinks the neighborhood’s transformation into an urban hub will be quick. “You can change things overnight,” he said.

That might also have to include how the region thinks of West Sac.

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at sacbee.com/citybeat.

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