ESC workshop, and initial reading

Sac_ESC-DEIR_workshop2The Workshop

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Entertainment and Sports Complex (ESC, or arena) was released a few days ago, and this evening there was a public workshop on the DEIR. About 70 people were in attendance, perhaps 1/4 of them city and consultant staff, and about 1/4 were wearing Kings supporter T-shirts or other Kings clothing. I recognized a few faces from the active transportation world, but many I did not know. A speaker gave a quick run-through of the DEIR, sort of executive summary of the summary section of the DEIR.

Following the introduction, people went to the stations on the topics covered in the DEIR to ask questions (and of course make comments, though that was not the purpose of the workshop). At least half the people gravitated to the transportation section, as it seemed to be their area of most interest. Probably parking is the issue most on the minds of Kings fans, but for many, the issues of pedestrian, bicyclist, and transit access to events, and the potential impact on these, are of great interest.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report

In preparation for the meeting, I read a portion of the DEIR, the Transportation Management Plan (TMP) which is appendix L. I will need to read it again, and other parts of the DEIR about transportation, but what jumped out at me initially was the lack of commitment to increasing light rail service so as to increase the transit mode share. The management plans notes that service when evening events get out is two-car trains (rather than the four-car trains that run during the day on weekdays), and that service is only ever 30 minutes (rather than the 15 minute interval during the day on weekdays). The TMP predicts transit mode share of 7% initially, increasing to 11% by 2035.

I think that mode share for transit could be increased to 20% or more with some simple though not free proactive steps:

  1. On game nights and evening entertainment nights, operate the blue and gold light rail lines with four-car trains running every 15 minutes, for 60 minutes after let-out.
  2. If the event lets out less than 90 minutes before the normal end of service (varies from 8:59PM to 12:30AM, depending on line, direction, and day of the week), then run until 90 minutes after let-out with a normal evening two-car, 30-minutes service.
  3. Service should not be funded by SacRT, but by the ESC, with other potential sponsors and funders.
  4. Set up a pilot program for the entire first year of operation of the ESC to see what levels of transit use occur and can be generated with an effective marketing program, and perhaps an incentive program, and then adjust from there.

The transit, walking, and biking mode share for AT&T Park where the San Francisco Giants play is 50%. The ball park was designed to be welcoming to people who arrive by these modes, including bike valet and a new San Francisco Muni line that stops right next door, but those are not much different from the situation in Sacramento. Peninsula Transportation Alternatives has an article about AT&T Park, and there are many other references available on the Internet. Though mode shares for many stadiums and arenas are available, the compilations seem to be either out of date or unavailable.

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About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for San Juan USD, Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.
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