Saturday, May 29, 2010

Move of Greyhound station in vicinity of Union Gospel Mission going forward

The Sacramento City Planning Commission has approved plans for the construction of a temporary Greyhound bus station on Richards Blvd, in close proximity to Union Gospel Mission and a VOA family shelter on Bannon Street, an article in the Sacramento Press informs us. Work to build the facility is expected to begin in four months.

The bus station is currently downtown at 715 L St., at a site city officials hope to upgrade with a more-upscale business. The temporary station on Richards will be in existence for from eight to fifteen years, until construction of the new regional transit facility at the Railyard Development is well underway, which will include a new and permanent Sacramento bus terminal.

A huge concern, addressed at length in the Sacramento Press article, is the matter of "transients" [i.e., homeless people] being drawn to the bus station to panhandle or hang around or otherwise cause the bus station to seem seedy and unsavory. Quoting the article, titled "Greyhound terminal moves forward," by Suzanne Hurt:
The city plans to install attractive wrought iron fencing around the entire site, and additional fencing on nearby parcels, after nearby business owners represented by the River District Property and Business Improvement District asked for fencing, landscaping and maintenance that would discourage transient loitering.

"Our area is swarming with homeless and transient individuals that negatively impact our businesses," River District PBID Executive Director Patty Kleinknecht said during the public hearing. She noted a McDonald's restaurant and a nearby gas station have problems with aggressive panhandlers and loitering.

"People don't feel comfortable in that environment. We all know we tend to avoid those business environments and areas where we don't feel comfortable," she added later. "In this economy, businesses need all the customers they can get."

The new bus station will include a ticket checkpoint so that anyone can't just come and go throughout the station, a problem at the current station, [city senior planner Rachel] Hazelwood said. "We want to break the cycle of the [homeless] problem."
Comments at the Sacramento Press website regarding the matter were unanimously negative for several reasons. One was that the move didn't fix "the transient problem" that now exists on L Street.

Another issue is that the existing "Streamline Moderne terminal" on L Street is an architectual wonder, adorned with "Gladding McBean Terra Cotta," that shouldn't be raised for construction of just another shiny, boring skyscraper.

A third issue is that the temporary terminal on Richard will cost a great deal of money - especially so for a building that will be useful for only eight to fifteen years.

A fourth issue was what commentor Naga called "the hating on the homeless, poor and carless rather than solving social issues." Naga said the whole matter was a "lose/lose/lose situation" that was "World Class Shitty!!!"  It is "insanity, waste and toxic elitism all in one!!," Naga wrote.

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