R Street Reconstruction provides opportunities for new development and public art

The City of Sacramento finished construction of the second phase of the R Street Streetscape Improvement Project, and is one step closer to becoming a transit-oriented, bike and pedestrian friendly community.

Construction features on the 16th to 18th R Street block include wider sidewalks, one travel lane in each direction, tree canopies, street lighting, and improved storm drainage system. The R Street Streetscapes Improvement Project builds on phase 1 from 10th to 13th streets, which was completed in 2012.

“The completion of this phase is such an integral part in the overall project,” said Jerry Way City of Sacramento Public Works Director. “The streetscape not only improves connectivity within the corridor, but provides a safe and attractive area that encourages private investment in transit-oriented development.”

The streetscape is an important feature in the planned Ice Blocks Development. The former Crystal Ice Plant will be converted into a new mixed-use space including residential, retail, and offices.  The improvements made will also better connect the neighborhood and the 16th Street light rail station to and from the R Street Market where Safeway is located.

The area is already a popular attraction among local artists who recently installed PORTAL, a temporary installation that serves as a flexible space for community members to visualize the future of the region. The installation is a mirrored walkway with programmable LED light panels that responds to social media interaction.

“Public art has proven to be a creative vehicle for cultural expression in cities across the country,” said Todd Leon R Street Development Manager at CADA. “Attractions like PORTAL exemplify the type of innovation, experimentation, and unique, culture building activities we hope to see more of in our City’s public spaces.

The recent wave of current and planned developments has spurred various community celebrations which will be happening throughout the summer and into early fall, which includes: concerts, block parties, food festivals, yoga classes, and civic engagement forums. A listing of events can be found here. Planned street closures on the 16th -18th R Street block will be included in the City’s traffic alerts

The total project cost of Phase II of the R Street Streetscape Improvement Project is $4.5 million. Funding was provided by federal and local matching funds.

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