Under the Freeway and Through the Parking Lot, to Amtrak’s House We Go

If you want to walk from historic (and tourist-oriented) Old Town Sacramento to the train station, you are directed across a parking area, under two or three freeway ramps, and then through another parking lot. (The yellow sign says “TO AMTRAK STATION” and the sign on the parking lot booth behind it says “PAY HERE.” Indeed, we are paying dearly for the privileging of the automobile in the last century).

To Amtrak Station

(Ironically, this photo was taken about 50 feet from the entrance to the California State Railroad Museum.)

Pedestrian access from the direction of downtown and the capitol isn’t much better—you have to cross this wide boulevard designed to be a freeway feeder, and there’s only one crosswalk at one corner of one intersection. And of course there is a parking lot to traverse on this side of the building as well (the Amtrak station is the brick building visible behind the trees):

I don’t know why I’m continually surprised by all the little ways that American cities have been designed to accommodate cars at the expense of other modes of transportation, but I am. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lucky to spend most of my life in cities which retain a lot of their pre-automobile design. (In fairness to Sacramento, much of it seems like a fairly livable, walkable city, at least in the neighborhoods surrounding the city center, and its flat terrain makes riding a bike easy too.)

4 Responses to “Under the Freeway and Through the Parking Lot, to Amtrak’s House We Go”

  1. Becks says:

    Yeah, I hate the walk from Amtrak to downtown Sacramento, but Sacramento is overall an extremely walkable city. I’ve rarely used a car (or even a bus or light rail) there.

    Unfortunately, the walk from downtown Oakland to Amtrak isn’t much more pleasant.

  2. dc says:

    “Unfortunately, the walk from downtown Oakland to Amtrak isn’t much more pleasant.”

    Very true. It’ll be greatly improved if we can get Interstate 880 demolished.

  3. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    And with all the flying pigs getting to JLS should be cake.

  4. Becks says:

    We can dream, can’t we? 🙂

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