For what seemed like an eternity during the summer of 2010, West Capitol Avenue between Garden and Jefferson was a mess. At the time, I was commuting by car to and from downtown Sacramento for my job and it was such a bottleneck with lanes closed, heavy equipment blocking the way, dirt piles here and there, and orange cones directing traffic this way and that. However, once this first phase of the streetscape finished last October, I was ecstatic. It is truly was worth the wait.
Phase 1 of West Capitol Avenue Streetscape. Designers kept the original large tree across from City Hall.
The street, crosswalks and sidewalks are wide and pedestrian-friendly, broken up with attractive benches and landscaping. I am thrilled the designers decided to retain the huge tree across from City Hall. It is a magnificent centerpiece and focal point. And those new bus stops are so cool. According to project manager Jay Davidson of the City of West Sacramento, there has been little vandalism to that to date, which is refreshing. Davidson says the first phase of the streetscape was funded through redevelopment and federal funding.
Phase 2, which extends improvements further down West Capitol to the west, is in the design and planning stage. Figuring out funding is a stumbling block, Davidson says, as redevelopment funds may not be available with the state budget in crisis.
The streetscape was created to “reclaim the public realm away from the automobile” and toward bicycle, pedestrian and public transit use, according to the City’s website. Phase 1 definitely has accomplished this task.
The new West Sac bus stops are very cool, and have remained relatively unscathed so far.
The 2011 West Sac Little League parade on March 19.
One of the joys of spring in my neighborhood – in addition to the flowers blooming and hay fever (oh, well maybe not that) – is the annual parade that marks the opening day of the West Sacramento Little League. Fortunately for me, the parade has motored right by my front door since I moved here in the 1990s. It usually occurs on a Saturday morning about 10 a.m. around the time of year we make the switch to daylight savings time – March or early April. This year it was held last Saturday, March 19.
Even though I don’t have a child or grandchild who plays Little League, I thoroughly enjoy watching the kids of all ages – from little five-year-olds to larger teens – dressed in their uniforms and throwing candy to me from the back of a pick-up truck or trailer lovingly decorated to honor their teams. The kids are all so excited and love it when we wave to them and catch their jawbreakers, Tootsie Rolls and Double Bubbles. (Though most of it becomes inedible as it winds up in the dirt or smashed to bits by a car). And rain doesn’t stop them, as evidenced by this year’s appearance.
Several of the Little League team names crack me up. Some represent real major league teams: Phillies, Giants, Dodgers, Red Socks and A’s. Others take on minor league names such as our own hometown Rivercats, Knights, Bulls, Grasshoppers and Iron Pigs (yes, it’s the Phillies minor league team in Pennsylvania). But other team names are obvious creations with input from children: Hot Rods, Sea Dogs, Volcanoes, Blue Claws, Lugnuts and Sand Gnats (well they do bite!).
Hmmm...I'm guessin' she's with the Blue Claws.
The parade wends through the neighborhood and winds up at Memorial Park on Delaware Street for opening day pitches and games. This year, the games were cancelled. But that didn’t stop the band from playing the Star-Spangled Banner, which I could hear in the distance from my home, and the opening pitch from being thrown. Hope everyone has a fun season. Check out the links to a slide show of opening day and the parade at West Sac Web. Love the baseball songs that accompany the images, including John Fogerty’s “Centerfield,” Trace Adkins “Swing” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.”