Reunited! City of Elk Grove, Sacramento Regional Transit Bury The Hatchet

August 26, 2015 | If a portion of tonight's regular Elk Grove City Council meeting had a soundtrack playing in the background, t...

August 26, 2015 |

If a portion of tonight's regular Elk Grove City Council meeting had a soundtrack playing in the background, the appropriate song would have been 1978's Reunited by Peaches and Herb.

Such was the mood last night as the city council unanimously approved a collaboration agreement between The City of Elk Grove and Sacramento Regional Transit Authority. According to the staff report, the agreement is designed "to ensure that the common interests shared by COEG and SRTD are addressed in a manner that ensures the enhancement of the region’s current and future transit services."

The agreement represents a 180-degree change in Elk Grove's attitude since its incorporation in 2000. In its early years, Elk Grove eschewed regional cooperation and adopted a go-it-alone stance on several issues, including mass transit.

More recently, the city has tried to shed that image and has recognized the need to cooperate on a regional basis. The epiphany came after the city's proposed 12-square mile expansion via its sphere of influence application was denied in November, 2013 by the Sacramento Area Local Agency Commission who said the expansion was inconsistent with the so-called Sacramento Area Council of Government's regional blueprint.       

Appearing on behalf of the Sacramento Regional Transit (SRT) was General Manager Mike Wiley, who expressed optimism about the collaboration between the entities. Wiley also said that SRT is developing plans for free rider days for Elk Grove transit users.

"It is a whole marketing program communicating with Elk Grove citizens, and I would like to have it be more than one day,'' Wiley said. "So that is the effort we are working on now with your staff." 

Developing Elk Grove ridership from the new Blue Line Station at Cosumnes River College (CRC) that opened on Monday connecting to Downtown Sacramento has been seen as crucial not only for the line's success, but also bringing SRT Light Rail to Elk Grove. In the spirit of regional cooperation, Elk Grove is exploring discontinuing their e-Tran express commuter bus routes to Downtown Sacramento and feeding those riders to the CRC Blue Line Station.

When Elk Grove floated the idea of discontinuing the popular commuter express bus routes in recent months, the idea was met with stiff resistance from riders who cited safety and cleanliness concerns of Light Rail cars. Subsequent to that, Elk Grove scuttled those plans but has hired a consultant to do an operational study of the e-Tran bus system and make recommendations for route restructuring by May 2016.

Speaking in support of the new agreement between the City and SRT was Mike Barnbaum, a mass transit advocate and representative of Sacramento-based Ride Downtown 916. Barnbaum stressed that the old animosities between Elk Grove and SRT came from five former city council members, "not this city council," he said.

"Relationships are stronger when they stretch sometimes," Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis said. "This is a good way to memorialize the positive direction we are going in."   

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Anonymous said...

I will harp on this until I'm blue in the face. CRC is not in the city of Elk Grove and our leaders including RT leaders shouldn't expect mass amounts of Elk Grove residents to drive, bike, or take a bus to CRC to take Light Rail. It's not a rejection of Light Rail or public transit it's a rejection of the inconvenience of traveling outside the city to transfer modes of transportation. The entire drive to my office downtown is 18 miles. Driving to CRC is 7 miles and includes waiting through the metering lights on Laguna Blvd at Highway 99. I would then need to exit at Calvine. It make no sense. For some who live in the northern parts of Laguna the CRC or the Franklin stations will be convenient but the majority of Elk Grove residents are too far from Light Rail.

At a previous meeting the Mayor brought up how Folsom residents have embraced Light Rail. The comparison is weak at best. Folsom has 3 stops within their city limits including their historic old town. Since Folsom is about half the size of EG almost all of their residents live within 2-3 of a station. In Elk Grove we have zero stations within the city and only a small fraction of our residents live within 2-3 miles of CRC or the Franklin stations.

Anonymous said...

"memorialize"? Could I maybe suggest a statue of Mayor Davis in the park memorializing this event?

Lynn said...

Anonymous 23:14 I agree with your comment regarding light rail. I was very vocal about light rail coming into our city, however the responses I received was it is to expensive, it is to expensive, it is to expensive, it will only bring crime to our city, it will only bring crime to our city.
Folsom had the right idea as a team player in the region and has benefited from the light rail. Our leaders down zoned properties along the rail line that was to come into our city...this hurts federal funding.
What is the cost of not fighting for light rail to our city....high!! As we heard city manager say most likely, and rightly so, light rail will travel through Natomas and to the airport before coming to our town.
I am glad to see leaders efforts to mend fences in the region; however let us not forget their mending fences is about the SOI and city expansion. They alone do not get to vote that one and the members of LAFCo are from the entire region.....It is all about the politics!
I like light rail and take it every opportunity I can when going downtown for the day....drove to Meadowview to do so. Did it when going to school; my work was not far from the station.
I now see the CRC station as a real plus; park and into Sacramento for the Arts events, food etc....
I have felt safe on Lightrail; as crime as increased in our own city; crime happens everywhere!
LightRail; travel to Sacramento, Folsom...Enjoy a day or evening.

Connie said...

It’s nice to bury the hatchet, but there would have never been a hatchet to bury in the first place had the original Council listened to their constituents. But those were the days whereby we had a city manager, city attorney and a Council hell bent on empire building, thinking Elk Grove could be a stand along city.

What do we have to show for it: Tens of millions of dollars from reserves are gone and a reputation in the region that has taken 10 years to re-establish. We will never know what we really lost. As Lynn stated, Elk Grove could have had light rail before Folsom due to the sheer numbers of our population.

However, as the saying goes, if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you are bound to repeat them. We can only hope with the new stage of building on the Council’s wish list, a soccer stadium, the civic center, the Veteran’s Hall, the Senior Center, the Animal Shelter, revitalizing Old Town, etc., the Council realizes that the list is too long and the money is gone.

The Council needs to learn a lesson from their predecessors and instead of doing everything at once, prioritize the projects and just get one of them completed.

Anonymous said...

"prioritize" is not a word they understand at this point. It's much more newsworthy when they see their names on the news with some hugh project in the hopper, never mind that there's no money to complete them.

I was not here during the original Council period, but is that not what we have now... "a city manager, city attorney and a Council hell bent on empire building, thinking Elk Grove can be a stand along city"?

Anonymous said...

Yes Anon 8/27/2015 @08:57, we should build our first elected Mayor statue to celebrate his leadership. The perfect place for Mayor Davis Statue is in THE DOG PARK.

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