OPINION: “Sacramento’s Measure B” Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley

Sacramento's historic street cars
For years, The Trolley, The Street Car was the mode of transportation for Sacramentians.
Today, many cities in the US have restored many of these cars and the iron beasts are again transporting people.

Next month, the City of Sacramento would like the voters to approve Measure B.    A 3.3 mile street car route that would begin at Civic Center in West Sacramento to 19th Street in Midtown.

The route would pass some of the area popular destination . Raley’s Field, Old Sacramento, The New Downtown Arena, Memorial Auditorium, Convention Center and Midtown

Those For Measure B Say

 Measure B will benefit all our neighborhoods by improving mobility between midtown, downtown, and West Sacramento with an affordable transit system that is authentically Sacramento.

Measure B will keep transit affordable for all Sacramentans. The Sacramento streetcar plan calls for inexpensive fares and will allow existing transit pass holders to ride for no additional cost.  A Yes vote on Measure B will simplify driving and parking downtown, saving money.

Measure B will help clean our air and reduce traffic congestion in our neighborhoods. The streetcar will connect to the light rail and bus system and allow easy connections to Amtrak, and eventually the airport.

Residential properties in the district will pay less than 1% of the cost for this project with 99% of the costs paid by the federal government, the State of California, the City of Sacramento, the City of West Sacramento, the County of Sacramento, and commercial property owners. Renters will pay nothing under Measure B. Seniors and residents living in affordable housing will pay nothing under Measure B. The project is a great deal for the people of Sacramento.

Measure B to improve our economy. Streetcars create a vibrant local economy, which means more small businesses and more jobs in downtown and midtown.  The streetcar project will help create 12,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in economic development over 20 years.

Streetcars will provide an inexpensive, safe, and fun way to get around Sacramento.  Measure B will allow seniors, students, visitors, workers, and central city residents to go car-free.

Streetcars are part of Sacramento’s legacy and it’s time to bring them back. Neighborhood leaders, community leaders, and business owners urge you to Vote Yes on Measure B. Help Sacramento construct an affordable and practical system to connect our neighborhoods.

Those Against Measure B Say

Six Reasons to vote NO on the Streetcar Tax:

(1) The streetcar district tax will pay only for construction.  It will cost district property owners $90 million over 30 years, and will be passed on in commercial and residential rent hikes to tenants.

(2) The streetcar project will operate at an enormous annual loss. Ticket sales are expected to cover about 20% of cost of operation; the other 80% will require a subsidy.  The shortfall will likely come from the City’s General Fund, reducing local services such as parks, bike lanes, street repairs, the homeless, and police.

(3) Are you willing to park several blocks from your home to provide arena parking solutions? With 150-200 arena events annually, look for an invasion of out-of-town drivers.  Streetcars will transport arena patrons to and from cheap parking in nearby neighborhoods.  The result: circling traffic and a severe loss of parking for residents, their visitors and businesses.

(4) The streetcar project is wasteful transit duplication.  It runs on, or near, the same Streets served by existing light rail and buses.  It will worsen mobility for pedestrians and those using the existing public transit system.  Tracks add danger to bicyclists.

(5) The project worsens traffic by adding slow-moving, frequent-stopping streetcars. These will create delays at intersections and to-and-from I-5, especially on the 3rd Street route that crosses L, J, and I Streets.

(6) Politicians hype the streetcar as a catalyst for development.  However, development is already happening on K, R and 16th Streets and other parts of the Central City.  Why squander scarce City resources on an unnecessary project?

The streetcar project is essentially an amusement park ride rather than an important transit improvement.

Sactomatoville Post Opinion 

Sacramento a needs good  24/7 comprehensive transportation system.  Regional Transit is one of the largest systems in county  covering over 420 square miles. However, it seems  designed for state employees, it doesn’t serve the airport or popular destinations
On the surface,Measure B covers all the bases.  It connects most of the areas popular destinations.  In other cities the street cars supplement transit by connecting popular destinations .  Supporters say Measure B will help clean our air and reduce traffic congestion in our neighborhoods.   The reality is majority of the people who attend events at the Raley’s Field, The New Arena,  Convention Center live east, north and south of proposed route who currently drive to these events will continue to drive to those events. 
 So the question becomes, who would ride this trolley? 
The proposed route would go through sparsely populated neighborhoods of both cities. The citizens of West Sacramento currently use Yolo Bus to take them to Amtrak and the other attractions downtown. Those who take RT will continue to take RT to downtown.   
I support public transportation. After 6pm, light rail is looking for passengers. When the New Arena opens next year there will be severe traffic challenges downtown.  In a perfect world, a Transit Center would open near the arena with sizable staging area for buses and light rail that might encourage attendees to take public transit .
 Without venturing into taxes and costs to business and citizens, you have to address need. Sacramento isn’t currently a major tourist destination. There are fewer than 3000 hotel rooms downtown.   Regional Transit is in desperate need of money and creative minds. to resign a system for an rapidly changing region.    At one point in the near future, Sacramento might benefit from a trolley line from West Sacramento to Midtown.  But were not there yet.   Vote No on Measure B