California Forum

The Conversation / Reconnect with Sacramento River

Kimberly Garza, a landscape designer, wants Sacramento to reimagine its connection with the river.
Kimberly Garza, a landscape designer, wants Sacramento to reimagine its connection with the river.

In the third essay of the series on “New Pioneers,” Kimberly Garza wrote that one of Sacramento’s best assets is the river. But we have few good connections with the Sacramento and American rivers. In last Sunday’s Conversation, we asked: What design ideas would you like to see Sacramento use to reconnect with the river?


Wanted: Leaders with imagination

Re “Design can reconnect Sacramento with its finest asset: the river” (Forum, Nov. 15): Finally, Kimberly Garza is saying what I have been thinking for a long time.

I have been afraid that they would simply build up the riverfront and forget about aesthetics. Please leave traffic in the background. Let’s walk it, bike it and enjoy its beauty. Urban kayaking? Oh yes! Do we need some new leaders who have bigger, broader imaginations?

Jeanette Leonard, Rancho Cordova

Three ideas to connect with river

Expand the bike path that runs between Old Sac and Discovery Park into a riverwalk. It could draw tourists to walk or rent and ride bikes to the future science museum, the pump house with its water spray playground, and to Discovery Park. Widen the current bikeway and smooth out the bumps. Add old style lighting, statues and markers for points of interest along the way. The statues and markers would commemorate historical people or events.

Second idea: Bring back the River Otter water taxi that took people up to Chevy’s and other restaurants, over to West Sac and back. It was a cute boat, the skippers were really nice, and it was a cheap way for families and their kids to get a fun boat ride.

Third idea: continue building connectivity between Old Sac and downtown Sacramento. Reduce noise from I-5. I wish we could cover I-5.

Chris Paros, Sacramento

Make it easy to get to the river

I love the idea of making the river more a part of the Sacramento scene. I live in Natomas, which is bound by I-80, I-5 and Garden Highway. My issue is that there is no easy way to get to West Sacramento or downtown Sacramento for bikes and pedestrians.

What I envision is a bike/pedestrian bridge that would cross the Sacramento River from Garden Highway and end up at the Welcome Center on the river in West Sacramento. That way, as West Sac develops the riverfront, there is an easy way to get to it from my side, and West Sac folks can get to all of the great places on the river off Garden Highway. It makes sense to have access to the river for all of the people in the area.

Geri Mohler, Sacramento

First, clean up polluted river

The Sacramento River needs to be cleaned up first before it can be considered an asset. Upstream from Knights Landing, the river is fairly clean. But standing on Knights Landing bridge, one can see where the pollution is coming from: agriculture runoff. We should not have an urban beach – “a place to play in the sand” – along a polluted river full of pesticides.

Bill Bruening, Sacramento

Adam Wong – Adapt the levees by Old Sac, the riverfront and TBD, and create a boardwalk with riverfront businesses.

Susan Roche Nelson – I like the idea of a crosswalk between Sac and West Sac, with vibrant businesses, entertainment and art on either side. Lots of great examples to model: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Vancouver.

John T. Johnson – We need to reroute Interstate 5 between downtown and old Sacramento. An example is the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The freeway was torn down and now they’ve got a beautiful, nice waterfront. Sacramento needs to do the same thing.

Robert Sousa – Relocate I-5 away from the river somehow. How about putting it underground? It would make any river redevelopment much more beautiful. Simple, right?

Austin Nevers – Cover I-5 and turn it into a tunnel. Create a wide boulevard over the tunnel like San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Several downtown streets would intersect the boulevard and go into Old Sac and new waterfront development.

Andy Alexis – Bring the bike trail around on the south bank of the American River from Discovery Park to Sac State.