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West Sacramento Reclaims Main Street

Landscape Architecture by MIG, Inc., Long Beach, Calif.





The West Capitol Avenue streetscape in West Sacramento, Calif., transformed historic Lincoln Highway 40 into a vibrant pedestrian-friendly main street, a prime example of re:Streets. [re:Streets - www.restreets.org - "accommodates people of all ages and mobility, promotes healthy urban living, social interaction and business, the movement of people and goods and regeneration of the environment."] The re:Street design here repurposed the street by reducing the number of lanes from six to four 11-foot wide lanes, and made way for dedicated bike lanes and as-needed parking lanes and bus stops. Crosswalks are clearly marked with complementary stamped patterns and colors in the asphalt, with generous pedestrian refuges in the 'conflict' zone and protective bollards.


The redesign and construction of West Capitol Ave shows how cities such as West Sacramento can turn existing right-of-ways into vibrant multimodal corridors. It's a prime example of "re:Streets," a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA)-funded initiative that encourages transforming streets into places not just for driving, but for living. re:Streets, such as West Capitol Ave., provide safe and convenient access for all modes of travel--especially pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users--and opportunities for other street functions such as social gathering, commerce, wayfinding, temporary events and green infrastructure.

 




BEFORE:
The fast moving 4-6 lane roads of West Capitol Ave. between Garden Street and Jefferson were dangerous to pedestrians and bicyclists.



West Sacramento is across the river and across the county line from Sacramento, its better-known neighbor and California's capital. The major east-west corridor of West Sacramento, West Capitol Avenue, is part of historic Lincoln Highway Route 40 that began in New York and ran all the way to San Francisco. But with construction of Interstate 80 in the 1950s, this corridor deteriorated from being the city's main street with a thriving row of motels and travel-related services, to a bypassed commercial strip. With as many as six lanes of fast moving traffic lanes and very long blocks, the road offered only limited connectivity for nonautomobile users and was extremely unfriendly to pedestrians as they tried to access the remaining amenities along the corridor.

 




Midblock crossings are ADA accessible, wide and directional to enhance pedestrian safety. Pedestrians and drivers are alerted to the crossings not only by street markings, but stamped asphalt, colored concrete and pavers. Truncated domes are placed on either side of the crossings. Seven-foot-wide contiguous bike lanes run on both sides of the street along its entire length. 'Maori Sunrise' flax is sprouting on either side of the median.



Driven by the desire of the West Sacramento community to reclaim their main street, the city embarked on a streetscape master plan led by MIG, Inc. The 2-mile corridor was envisioned as a series of five distinct but interconnected districts. Funded with redevelopment tax increments and a $7.2 million Sacramento Area Council of Governments Community design grant, the first phase helped construct two districts, East Gateway and Downtown Civic Center, from Garden Street to Jefferson Avenue. The dramatic transformation of the visible portion of the street with streetscape improvements is complemented by major underground utility work. Infrastructure improvements include new water and sewer lines and reparation of existing storm drainage system, which provide the infrastructure for future developments along the corridor.

Unique Aspects of the Project
A key design challenge of the project was to create multimodal connectivity, while still allowing for through traffic. The re:Street design solution repurposes the street by reducing the number of lanes from six to four 11-foot wide travel lanes, dedicated bike lanes and as-needed parking lanes and bus stops. This allows for wide, well-landscaped sidewalks and medians. The newly configured street has turn lanes at intersections and middle of blocks that enhance destination and emergency access traffic and allows future growth in traffic to move smoothly along this major arterial road. It also provides the foundation for a planned streetcar system to connect West Sacramento with the regional multi-modal Sacramento Valley Station in Sacramento.

 




While the east end of West Capitol Avenue has 10-foot buffered sidewalks, the more generous 20-foot sidewalks here in the downtown core reflect the civic mixed-use character envisioned for the area. Amenities include colored coordinated interlocking concrete pavers (Pavestone 'City Stone' series), 'Invue Mesa' decorative pedestrian lights (Cooper Lighting), 'Parker' benches (Wishbone Site Furnishings), Quickcrete customized precast single seats and 'Village Green' Zelkova trees protected by Ironsmith tree gates ('Sunrise') and tree guards. Other trees in the downtown are 'Tuscarora' Crape Myrtle, 'Autumn Flame' red maple and 'Yarwood' sycamore.



The multimodal connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists is achieved by creating safe and comfortable facilities along and across the street. There are now wide, ADA accessible sidewalks--buffered with landscaping--and seven-foot-wide contiguous bike lanes on both sides of the street along the entire length of the street. The character of the pedestrian experience varies depending on the district and adjoining building uses. While East End has approximately 10-foot buffered sidewalks, the more generous 20-foot sidewalks in downtown core reflect the civic mixed-use character envisioned for the area. Enhancing pedestrian connectivity across the street was critical to connect both sides of the street. As a result, crosswalks are regularly located at signaled intersections and in-between long blocks. Crosswalks are designed with generous pedestrian refuges and bulb outs (corners projecting into the street) so as to minimize the amount of space the pedestrian has to walk in the 'conflict' zone. Pedestrians and drivers are alerted to the crossings through special paving patterns that are articulated with stamped asphalt, colored concrete and pavers.

Each district has a unique visual and experiential identity. While the design of each district is distinct, a common palette of materials and site furnishings ties them all together. Key common site furnishings include pedestrian and streetlights, bicycle racks, and special paving at key locations. Overall, the planting palette contains a wide variety of trees, shrubs and ground cover, but with common plantings including Yarwood sycamore and Ballerina Indian hawthorne.

 




The sidewalks toward Jefferson Avenue integrate planters to capture stormwater runoff and improve the water quality before it drains into the Sacramento River. This approach to green infrastructure is carried out in the overall execution of the streetscape through planting 225 new trees, and replacing large portions of impervious surfaces with planted areas. The tree here is an Acer rubrum 'Autum Flame'.



The East End Gateway is identified by 50-foot-wide medians. A combination of five rows of trees and a lushly planted median provides a green sense of entry. The environmentally friendly landscape median replaced more than half of the original impervious pavement.

The focus area of the downtown core is the Civic Center Plaza that connects City Hall on one side of the street with the Transit Center, Community Center and Sacramento City College's West Sacramento campus on the other side. The urban plaza in front of City Hall is characterized by interlocking pavers, shade trees, a wide variety of seating opportunities in different settings, pedestrian lights and bicycle racks. The plaza extends across the street to the Transit Center and City College with rhythmic patterns of interlocking pavers, with stamped asphalt within the travel lanes. Statues of a baseball pitcher in mid-windup, ready to deliver the pitch to a batter located down the median, are a playful nod to the Sacramento River Cats, West Sacramento's popular Pacific Coast League team, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics. Overall, the plaza has become a focal area for social gatherings and key city events.

 




The bus shelters at Jefferson Avenue are easily spotted by the bright yellow W-shaped shelter design, the same color as the Tower Bridge that spans the Sacramento River and connects West Sacramento to Sacramento.



The bus shelters at Jefferson Avenue impart an identity to the area with the W-shaped design of the shelters and their bright yellow color, the same color as the Tower Bridge, the span over the Sacramento River that connects West Sacramento to Sacramento. The design of the shelters creates a gateway experience to the downtown Civic Center.

Integrated planters provide opportunities to capture adjoining stormwater run-off and improve the water quality before it drains into the Sacramento River. This approach to green infrastructure is carried out in the overall execution of the streetscape through planting nearly new 225 trees and replacing large portions of impervious surfaces with planted areas. Where possible, existing trees were maintained, including the heritage liquid amber tree in the Civic Plaza median. All trees were provided with ample planting room for healthy growth. Structural soil has been installed under sidewalks where planting areas were constrained, such as pedestrian paths in East Gateway.

 




Where possible, the project maintained existing trees, such as the iconic liquid amber tree in the median in front of City Hall.



The complexity of implementing the infrastructure and streetscape improvements was increased by the need to allow other multiple projects to be constructed at the same time. Various agencies, departments, designers and contractors had to regularly coordinate and cooperate to allow for other key projects to be completed, including the multipurpose West Sacramento Community Center, and Sacramento City College's West Sacramento Center campus, as well the West Sacramento Transit Center for local and regional Yolo bus service. Those projects have energized the street and attracting more amenities.

 




Here's something you may not have seen: seat walls in a median for socializing! 'Yarwood' and California sycamores, willow and interior live oaks, western redbuds and Strawberry trees populate the median. Manzanita, 'Ballerina' Indian hawthorn, evergreen currant, white groundcover rose and California fuchsia are among the shrubs. Groundcovers include grasses (dwarf fountain, deer, dwarf blue-eyed), and 'Anchor Bay' wild lilac. California poppies also proliferate.



At the end of Phase I, the city and community were able to reclaim their main street that now serves all modes of travel, plus pedestrians, bicyclists, buses and cars. It helps create an iconic downtown Civic Center and East End Gateway that, in turn, has helped catalyze new private investment in existing and new developments along the corridor, including the Capitol Bowl. With the dedicated work of the community, the re:Street of West Capitol Avenue was successfully realized.

 




The East End Gateway has distinctive 50-ft. wide landscaped medians separating the traffic lanes. Strips of no-mow dwarf turf-type tall fescue are interspersed with colored paving and seat walls. This environmentally-friendly landscape median replaced more than half of the site's original impervious pavement. Illuminated bollards (Cooper Lighting 'Invue Vision') provide additional safety at night.



_______________________

Project Team
MIG, Inc.
- Landscape Architects
- Streetscape Master Plan Consultants
Dokken Enginnering
- Civil, Electrical, Structural and Geotechnical Engineers
- Environmental Consultants
DKS Associates
- Traffic Engineers
Sierra Nevada Construction, Inc.
- Prime Contractor
Square Peg Design
- Bus Shelter Design
- Wayfinding
4Leaf, Inc.
- Construction Management & Inspection

 




Cast bronze baseball statues by artist Lisa Reinertson in the Civic Center Plaza are a nod to the Sacramento River Cats, West Sacramento's popular Pacific Coast League team, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics, who play at nearby Raley Field.



Manufacturers
Street Lights
Cooper Lighting
- Invue Mesa decorative pedestrian lights
- Invue Vision Bollard pedestrian lights
- Invue Icon Site Medium decorative area lights
Pavements
StreetPrint: stamped asphalt
Pavestone: City Stone Series interlocking concrete pavers
TMT Enterprises: CU-structural soil
Site Furnishings
Bike Racks: Creative Pipe Lightning Bolt Series
Litter and Recycling Receptacles: Forms + Surfaces Urban Renaissance
Park Benches: Wishbone Site Furnishings, Parker Straight Back & Backless
Tree Grates/Guards: Ironsmith 'Sunrise
Seating, custom precast concrete: Quickcrete
Irrigation System
Custom Pump & Power: Booster Pump Assemblies:
Rain Master Evolution DX2 Controllers (distributer by John Deere Green Tech)
Hunter Industries Remote Control Valves, Spray Bodies and Nozzles







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