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Dragons, Bicycles and Trees: Some Of The Reaction To The New Arena EIR


In the oval foyer of City Hall about a dozen city staff stood behind tables and next to easels, chatting with people for, against, and unsure about a new arena.  

Alex Kelter from West Sacramento asked if anyone knew how bright the lights from an arena would be and if that would bother people living in nearby high-rises.

"To me, housing downtown is even more important than having an arena downtown," said Kelter. "So, my interest is in making the housing environment as attractive as possible.  And that's one of the issues that I hope they consider.

Nearby, Midtown resident Jim Adams  asked Roberta Deering, a planner with the city of Sacramento, if any of the heritage trees on L Street would have to be removed and what might replace them. 

READ: Draft Entertainment and Sports Center Draft EIR Report

"Would it be possible to specify the mitigation further, that a mature tree be replaced if anything were to happen to those instead of 20 or 30 years to get to kind of the stature that those were?" Adams said.

"Those are good things to put in as your comments," said Deering, "But just as the daughter of a landscape architect, you want to have a smaller tree so it can grow more strongly."

Adams agreed.

One area of the city that has been largely ignored in arena discussions is the Chinatown District near J and fifth streets.  Elizabeth Wong wanted to know if the arena will generate foot traffic and a return of Chinese families to a mostly vacant district. Wong said people would have to walk through to get to transportation.

"Transportation's on one side, other side's the stadium," said Wong. "They're not going to go around the block, they're going to go through it. So right there alone, it's right in the middle, bring it back to life. It's a sleeping dragon."

The proposed venue would change the landscape of the Downtown Plaza and J, K, and L Streets.  Jeanie Ward-Waller of Sacramento wanted to see how bicycle access will be incorporated into the arena plans.

"I don't like the mall the existing mall in terms of bicycle access.  You can't bike through the mall," said Waller. "The adjacent streets aren't bike friendly.  So, we have an opportunity to improve bike access in that area."

The draft report details impacts a new arena could have on the traffic, economy and environment.  People have until the end of January to submit suggestions or comments that will be part of the final environmental impact report.  The City Council is expected to vote on that document in April.

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