From Councilman Cohn's office....
As you know, the City Planning Commission recommended approval of the McKinley Village project on March 27th. I am concerned that the Commission glossed over the neighborhood’s traffic and safety concerns. In preparation for the City Council hearing on the project on Tuesday evening, April 29th, I am hosting a community forum on Monday, April 21, 2014, at 6:00pm at the Clunie Community Center, 601 Alhambra Boulevard.
The biggest issue with McKinley Village has always been traffic and access to the project site. Recently, I convened a meeting of representatives from neighborhood associations in East Sacramento and Midtown. All agreed there must be access to the project site at Alhambra Boulevard to reduce the traffic volumes at the 28th and 40th Street entries. This is particularly important because the proposed density of the McKinley Village project is more than 50% greater than the rest of East Sacramento, as well as 50% greater than the Sutter Park project that is scheduled for Council approval on April 8th.
Some of the other issues identified were: (1) the need for neighborhood traffic calming mitigation in Midtown and East Sac, including safe routes for children to walk to neighborhood schools; (2) the need to dedicate developer park impact fees for offsite park improvements at Sutter’s Landing and McKinley Park; (3) the impact of the project on student overcapacity at Theodore Judah School; and (4) the noise, air quality and safety impacts on project residents who would live in such close proximity to the freeway, railroad tracks and closed landfill.
City staff tried to work with the developer and the community to fashion appropriate conditions to satisfy these concerns and make the project compatible with our neighborhood. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the proposed conditions are adequate to ensure neighborhood compatibility. In particular, the Alhambra extension was not made a condition of approval. There is no guarantee that the Alhambra Boulevard extension under the Union Pacific (UP) tracks will ever be built, whether as a 24-foot bike/pedestrian tunnel as originally proposed by the developer, or as a 38-foot wide vehicular tunnel investigated by City staff.
Finally, many of you have voiced concerns about Caltrans’ proposal to close the E Street on-ramp to Business 80. Whether or not the McKinley Village project is approved, I do not support this band-aid approach to resolving the larger problem of congestion on Business 80 at the expense of pouring more traffic into our neighborhood.
In short, we have a lot to talk about. I look forward to seeing you on Monday, April 21st at Clunie Community Center and on Tuesday, April 29th at City Hall.