Last week I visited the Sacramento History Museum, tucked neatly between the California State Railroad Museum and the Sacramento River at the top of Front Street. One part of the museum I wish I’d had more time to examine was a temporary exhibit called Place and Replace: The Making of Old Sacramento. While I was growing up in the eastern corner of Sacramento County I was only vaguely aware of the major changes to the Sacramento riverfront some 25 miles away. From the demolition of the city’s West End neighborhoods, the construction of Interstate 5, and the development of Front Street and Old Sacramento State Historic Park, there’s been a good amount of controversy and compromise.
One issue is that the placement of I-5 seems to cut the city off from its own riverfront. Plenty of other cities have replaced their heavily traveled roadways with attractive greenbelts, but I’m not sure Sacramento is prepared to make such a drastic change. In the meanwhile, the city has opened more access points — including a new ramp from the Capitol Mall to Front Street — and added improvements to the K Street Tunnel.