Like most cities, Sacramento is always looking for ways to bring in more revenue and entice visitors to stop in. That’s why some city planners are now pushing to build up Sacramento’s alleyways.
Sacramento has approximately 350 alleyways spanning 37 miles throughout the city. Many of these alleys are already decorated with murals and other such alluring scenery. The logic behind the move to develop these alleyways is that they’re already a draw due to their decorative nature. Adding businesses like small shops, restaurants, and cafes would do even more to boost commerce in the city.
In addition to building up the city’s alleyways, those behind the project are pushing to improve them by repaving streets and making landscaping enhancements. Currently, there is no public financing being proposed to fund this initiative. However, the city does have some wiggle room in its budget thanks to transportation funding that could potentially be allocated to the project. In fact, the alleyway development plans are actually being built into a long-term transportation project called Grid 2.0, which the Sacramento City Council expects to review come April. Additionally, local property owners might be willing to help fund improvements to the city’s alleyways if it means seeing an uptick in business or helping their investments gain in value.
Of course, this proposal comes with certain obstacles to overcome, including potential legal and property rights issues. Developing these alleys means increasing noise levels and foot traffic, which may be good for business owners but not so much for residents. In fact, Old Soul alley, one of the city’s most well-known alleyways, is known to be the subject of numerous complaints from locals who aren’t fans of the noise and crowds.
Still, the idea of turning Sacramento into a hip, romantic city full of winding alleyways with hidden gems carries a lot of appeal. The city began the practice of naming its various alleyways back in 2011. Naming the alleys was a process. Those tasked with assigning names had to take steps to follow established regulations for naming streets. In addition, approval for the alleys’ names was required from various agencies, including the Sacramento Police Department, the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Postal Service. These agencies had to work together to integrate the new alleyway names while ensuring that the city didn’t run into any problems with duplication.
In the end, the city came up with a fairly easy-to-follow system: Each of the named alleys begins with the letter of the street it is directly south of. Furthermore, naming the alleys has made them more recognizable and easy to find. Some of the city’s most well-known alleys include Chinatown Alley, which runs through some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and Blues Alley, which runs through the northern part of the city.
If these alleys are indeed developed in the relatively near future, it will be interesting to see which emerge as the most popular and high-profile. Either way, building them up could do some very good things for Sacramento and those who live there.