Back-Seat Driver

‘Something airy looking?’ Congresswoman Matsui envisions new Sacramento River bridge

Planned new bridge would connect with Railyards Boulevard, at bottom of photo
Planned new bridge would connect with Railyards Boulevard, at bottom of photo rpench@sacbee.com

Congresswoman Doris Matsui is convening a group to make sure the planned bridge over the Sacramento River between West Sacramento and the railyard is “beautiful.”

“You go to any river city around the world, you’ve got bridges that are beautiful,” Matsui said. “We have a huge opportunity here.” Tower Bridge is iconic. The next bridge should be too, she said.

The mainly federally funded bridge will replace the car portion of the I Street Bridge, connecting West Sacramento’s redeveloping waterfront with Sacramento’s railyard, where new housing and businesses, as well as a Kaiser medical complex and a soccer stadium, are expected to be built.

The bridge is still several years away from construction, but the city will launch a design process in spring. The federal government allows about 5 percent of the budget for aesthetics.

Matsui’s vision? She threw her arms up in an arch. “It could be something airy looking.”

Folsom gets electrified

The big rig crash at little Natoma Street in Folsom last week caused some of the worst damage the Sacramento light rail system has ever experienced.

It caused high voltage electricity to momentarily course “to places it’s not supposed to go,” Mark Lonergan said. “It literally blew the doors off the signal case that controls the crossing gates.”

It may take two months to get it fixed. Meanwhile, trains go as far as the Iron Point Station. RT also is running buses from central Folsom to Iron Point.

Dixon strikes gold

The RE/MAX Gold real estate agency has offered Dixon $12,000 annually to rent the city’s quaint little train depot.

The city built the station with state and federal transportation funds a decade ago, but hasn’t been able to persuade Amtrak to stop there. A taxpayer group complained that the city was letting the Chamber of Commerce use it for $1 a month. The state ordered Dixon to find a real renter at market price, and to use revenue for transportation purposes.

Last week, in stepped rail buff James O’Bryon, president of RE/MAX. “I’m really excited by this space,” O’Bryon said. “It’s a unique building. It’s going to be neat.”

If the state and city OK the deal, the chamber catches a break: RE/MAX will let them keep an office there – for $1 a month.

Broadway has a hit

Broadway is a cool street. But it lost luster and got frayed on the edges after the W-X freeway cut it off from downtown.

Now, the city has a chance to spruce it up. The Sacramento Council of Governments last week OK’d a $2.8 million “complete streets” grant the city intends to use to make the street safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and more attractive for strolling among businesses.

The money is enough to redo the streetscape from either 16th or 19th street west to the Sacramento River. Much of the street will be narrowed to one lane in each direction with a continuous center turn lane. Bike lanes will be added. Pedestrian crosswalks shortened and highlighted. New Sidewalks will have vertical curbs, replacing the existing rolled curbs.

Business leaders on Broadway say the new look should bring more life to the street, which should help attract more business investment. Councilman Steve Hansen said he sees a revitalization something like sections of R Street are now seeing.

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