Sacramento To Celebrate Return Of Car Traffic On Former K Street Mall With Parade

K Street Mall, Sacramento

It is official… cars and their traffic will return to Sacramento’s former K Street Mall. And to celebrate, the City of Sacramento is celebrating with a parade on 12 November 2012 (4PM to 9 PM PST), which perfectly coincides with this month’s Second Saturday.

What a coincidence!

November 12 Festivities

12th & K Stage

4:00 PM – Opening Ceremony & Car Parade
5:30 PM – Ballerinas & Breakdancers (courtesy of Rowena & Takashi)
6:00 PM – Sizzling Sirens of Burlesque (courtesy of Marilyn’s on K)
6:30 PM – Smirkers (courtesy of Marilyn’s on K)
7:30 PM – Mariachi Latino (courtesy of Mayahuel)
8:00 PM – Spazmatics
9:00 PM – Stage closes

See Downtown Sacramento Partnership for more activities, including a walking tour.

Long Time Coming

It has been a long time coming for K Street Mall. A pedestrian mall was a great idea for the corridor decades ago. It did not work for various reasons.

The most significant reason would be sprawl. Sure, shopping malls had impacts, but when more people lived outside of the Central City than inside, there really was too much competition.

A lack of downtown residents did not help either.

While that may seem obvious, given how much money the City of Sacramento pumped into reviving K Street Mall through the decades, there was definitely a lack of consistency in policies as City Councils continued to approve new fringe development (think Natomas and thankfully not Greenbriar) while also trying to spur downtown economic development–two conflicting policies indeed.

[photo via Hi-Lo [Sacramento]]

K Street Mall Needs More Housing-Obviously

K Street Mall - Sacramento, California

Pedestrians malls haven’t seemed to work in the United States. Ask Fresno and its Fulton Mall. Sacramento leaders have desperately tried for decades to make the K Street Mall work.

Recent openings of new restaurants and bars have somewhat revitalized K Street Mall and nearby Downtown Sacramento. It is encouraging to see pedestrians out and about after business hours on weekdays or any non-Second Saturday. But more is needed.

According to a recent Sacramento Business Journal Business Pulse Survey, K Street needs more residential development than either a renovated Westfield Downtown Plaza, more restaurants and entertainment, or a return of vehicular traffic. I agree.

Sure, Sacramento has increased the number of residential units within downtown, but as I understand it those units are market-rate and not selling well. The area needs additional housing options and diverse residents.

K Street Mall Survey

Interesting none of the survey commenters suggested a downtown sports arena. Yes, homelessness is problematic. Frank Casanova is correct that the area needs a more coherent mission; a “Concept Plan” or Specific Plan would be beneficial to better focus efforts to revitalize the area (instead of some hodgepodge of redevelopment activities). Surprisingly the Central City Community Plan does not discuss the K Street Mall in detail. Ironically, the Community Plan’s cover displays a full page photo of K Street.

UPDATE: Official unscientific survey results are in.

[photo via PublicCEO | image via Sacramento Business Journal (29 June 2011, 5:28PM PST)]