A group of local officials and residents went for a walk Tuesday in an area they all agreed isn't the easiest place to get somewhere on foot: Folsom Boulevard.
Three local government bodies have two grants and more than $2 million to spend on improvements around Sacramento-area light rail stations and transit hubs. Some of their target areas will be five light rail stations from Watt Avenue to Hazel Avenue, with the goal of making public transportation more attractive and convenient.
Bob Grandy, a principal with consulting company Fehr and Peers, said the grant spending will seek to connect light rail stations and other transit centers with the surrounding areas.
"[It's about] looking at the area around the transit station as a broader community," Grandy said.
Judy Robinson, a Sacramento County Infill Coordinator, said the grant spending from the county, the city of Rancho Cordova and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) will make infrastructure improvements and ease zoning requirements.
She said one possibility is improving sidewalks and adding more shade trees - "improvements that make it more encouraging to walk."
She also said the zoning requirements along Folsom Boulevard could be eased to allow mixed-use development, where residences and businesses can be on the same property.
"It helps promote people moving around their community," she said.
Robinson was one of about a dozen people who met at the Watt/Manlove light rail station and walked around the area looking for places to make improvements.
Walk Sacramento Executive Director Teri Duarte pointed at the backs of business complexes as she walked along Folsom Boulevard, saying residents behind them would be more likely to walk somewhere they didn't have to go all the way around the properties.
"It's about the environment we've created in which we've engineered physical activity out of our lives," Duarte said, adding that people would be healthier if they took regular walks to the store or performed other "utilitarian physical activity."
She said a better mix of land uses would encourage more walking, and said there should be more corner grocery stores and businesses in the residential areas of Rosemont.
The walk Tuesday was part of a preparation for three upcoming workshops, where officials will ask residents what they'd like to see along Folsom Boulevard:
The Watt/Manlove and Butterfield light rail stations will be the subject of a May 24 meeting, to be held at 5:30 p.m. at , 8887 Folsom Blvd. An optional walking tour of the area will be held prior to the meeting, at 4:30 p.m.