ChinatownMapChinatown is a six-block 29-acre urban infill site that is located in the center of the City. To the immediate west across the tracks is the Intermodal Transportation Center and to the immediate south also across the tracks is the old downtown. Despite this advantageous location, it is physically separated from the surrounding downtown communities by railroad tracks and the Main Street underpass which is not simultaneously passable by bicycle and by foot, nor is it ADA compliant. The Chinatown neighborhood is both literally and metaphorically, “on the other side of the tracks.” Though only two blocks from the National Steinbeck Center, the centerpiece of the redevelopment of Downtown Salinas, it is economically, culturally and physically a “world away.”

historyDuring the ensuing decades, the Chinatown area and much of downtown Salinas was neglected. This gave rise to crime, drugs, prostitution and homelessness in both areas.

In the 1970’s, the City of Salinas began to revitalize the downtown district. Marginalized individuals were steadily pushed northward toward Chinatown. The segregation of the railroad between downtown and Chinatown increased disconnect between these two areas effectively isolated Chinatown from the rest of the City of Salinas.

A Neighborhood Forgotten from Seth Pollack on Vimeo.