One of the foundations of safe, walkable communities is the built environment. The design of buildings and streets, the relationship between buildings and the street, and the arrangement of land uses influence people’s decision to walk or not. In the past 60 years, because our communities have been designed for the use of automobiles for all transportation, there has been a great loss of knowledge about how to design buildings and communities for walking. WALKSacramento works to fill in that gap, by reviewing development proposals that have been submitted to the planning departments of local jurisdictions. WALKSacramento staff make suggestions on the project design to help make the final product more of a place where walking and biking are easy and safe.
WALKSacramento reviews development project proposals that range in size from single-lot commercial projects to specific plan areas or planned unit developments on hundreds of acres with thousands of homes, millions of square feet of office and retail, miles of streets, and schools, parks, community facilities and open space. Which elements of the built environment that we consider in our review depends on the type and size of the proposed project, but we basically look at site design and circulation, street design and circulation, and applicable local policies, standards, and guidelines.
Our development review is focused on projects of various sizes primarily in the City of Sacramento, with some attention to projects in the unincorporated area of Sacramento County. Occasionally we are able to review projects in Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Galt, and West Sacramento. The review of development projects typically results in submission of a comment letter to the planning department of the local jurisdiction with recommendations to improve walkability. WALKSacramento may also follow up with verbal comments on projects at planning commission meetings, planning advisory groups, and at community meetings.
WALKSacramento also leads the Design and Development Review Committee, composed of representatives from partner organizations with common interests in active transportation. The committee provides an efficient way for several organizations to meet with the project planners, architects, and developers, and to provide them with valuable feedback on how to make their projects more walk-friendly.
The Design and Development Review project is funded in part by a grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.
For more information, call us at 916-446-9255