16th Street blockbuster

Sacramento’s 16th Street could have a new look

Midtown Sacramento’s busy 16th Street corridor could soon receive a makeover.

With the community’s involvement, a local development agency plans to transform the area between Fremont Park and S Street into a distinct destination, one that is both environmentally and pedestrian-friendly.

“CADA is leading an effort to upgrade the public right-of-way in a way that increases pedestrian safety, improves the look of the street, introduces more trees and green space, reduces the storm-water burden,” said Marc de la Vergne, development manager for the Capital Area Development Authority.

Once considered a gateway to Sacramento and the state Capitol when Highway 160 passed through town, 16th Street has more recently had a checkered history. In the 1990s, large parts of the street became known for low-end motels.

In the last decade, 16th Street has evolved into a mix of the hip and the have-nots.

Blocks near Fremont Park have landed new condominium complexes, Starbucks and other popular amenities. Further toward S Street, however, there is still underused space.

With this in mind, CADA—a public agency that partners between the city and the state—has developed a roughly $2 million plan to add more crosswalks, brighter and more energy-efficient streetlights, planters, and two mini-plazas at the corner of 16th and O streets and 16th and S streets.

Also in the works are plans to add a lighted sign arcing over the three-lane street next to Fremont Park. Both the design of the sign and a possible new name of the district are still being determined.

“CADA is in the process of collecting survey responses to this very question. We will tally the results at the end of November,” de la Vergne told SN&R. He added that community advocates are pushing to have the sign be a unique art piece, and CADA hopes to sponsor a competition next year.

CADA conceived the project with feedback from local businesses, residents and community groups. A Berkeley design firm, MIG, which also worked on the R Street revitalization, is also on board.

At this point, CADA anticipates the 16th Street corridor project to be shovel-ready by 2013, providing it receives the needed funding.

“It remains a heavily traveled commuter corridor into the downtown from the south and out of town during the afternoon,” de la Vergne said. “The CADA projects will contribute to this section of 16th Street being one of the most vibrant districts in Sacramento’s central city.”