Year: 2012

Amtrak California Ridership Update

Nothing quite says Christmas like fresh graphs and Amtrak ridership stats. Since I haven’t done one of these Amtrak California ridership updates since August, I figured we were well overdue in taking a look at the most recent trends. In my last update, we had ridership stats up to May, today I have until September.

The San Joaquin continues to be the line showing the greatest gains in ridership. The Capitol Corridor and Pacific Surfliner are not showing much growth, as they are pretty stable compared to last years numbers (up a bit, then down a bit). Next year should continue to show growth on all lines as the economy improves, resulting in more people moving about. Megabus has started service between Sf and Sacramento which may impact Amtrak ridership in that corridor. Click to read more!

FAX moving towards strike?

In another example of the city of Fresno not realizing the importance of a functional bus network, the council today made a move that looks to push FAX closer to a strike….a strike that will jeopardize thousands of jobs as people have to miss work and may get fired.

The city fails to understand that buses connect people with jobs, and so fails to fund a network for the city of 2012. FAX hasn’t grown since 2000, and has actually cut routes since then. Bus service ends at 9:30pm, making commutes to evening jobs impossible. And now, the city doesn’t want to pay the drivers. Click to read more!

Bakerfield: Goodbye neighborhood, hello highway

If you thought the era of plowing through an established neighborhood to build a brand new highway was over, then Bakersfield and Caltrans would like to have a word with you.

I’ve often said that Fresno is a lot like Los Angeles of 20 years ago; mimicking many of the bad choices, eventually receiving many of the trends (yay froyo, when will cupcakes hit!?) and having a downtown that will hopefully follow the path of redevelopment that LA eventually took.

Bakersfield, smaller and less developed than Fresno, is a few years further behind. Fresno made the decision to bulldoze neighborhoods over a decade ago, when highway 180 was erected through the area between downtown and the tower district. Now it’s Bakersfield’s turn to do what their cool peers Fresno and LA did, and put highways before people. Click to read more!

Fresno to get a new 10-story building

The Fresno office market has been pretty dry for the past few years, but it looks like things are moving again, in a pretty big way. A developer has asked the planning council to allow a 10 story, 150 foot building in northeast Fresno. The site is currently zoned for 6 stories (98 feet). 150 feet is the maximum allowed in the city outside of the downtown core, and is the upper limit of what the city defines as a “mid-rise”.

The building (when eventually built, don’t expect shovels any time soon) will be in an office park, nearby another relatively tall (for Fresno!) building you’ve probably seen off 41. Click to read more!

A satellite view of what’s new in Fresno

Two weeks ago, Google refreshed their satellite imagery of the Fresno region with pictures taken on August 26, 2012, replacing what was seen on April 25, 2011.

Here’s a brief tour of the more significant changes in that year and a half. Some good, some bad. There’s a good amount of positive changes downtown, but many not so good changes on the urban edge.

I’m providing a link to the map, if you want to explore the area on your own, and also when relevant, a post I may have written on the subject. Click to read more!

Fresno’s best chicken and waffles closing, come and get it while you can

It was with great sadness that I read this week that “Come and Get it, Chicken and Waffles” will be closing at the end of the month.

Besides having some truly delicious Chicken and Waffles, the restaurant was unique in many ways. The owners took a big risk with location, and their attempt to help grow downtown surely had some affect, as they drew customers from all around.

They first located on the Fulton Mall, but then moved on to an even less commercially successful district, Fresno’s own Chinatown. Click to read more!

Megabus officially skipping Fresno again

A month ago, I wrote about Megabus making their return to the California market. Sadly, for the Central Valley, their announced route structure is mostly a repeat of what they offered the state in 2007 and 2008, before pulling out.

They will be offering the following routes (no intermediate stops, aside from a possible rest stop for 15 minutes)

Los Angeles – San Jose – San Francisco
Los Angeles – Oakland – San Francisco
Los Angeles – Riverside – Las Vegas
San Francisco – Sacramento – Reno (Sparks) Click to read more!

Just to make it extra clear….

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Fresno Bee is littered with stories every day about pedestrians being killed, motorists dieing, people shooting cyclists, and so on and so forth. I posted a screen capture indicating the toll that autoviolence takes on the region.

I just wanted to make it clear that I didn’t cherry pick a list of headlines. It really is something we see day in and day out.

It really is a pattern. And it’s time that it changed. City government and the local police need to take a look at the violence and maybe start connecting the line between the number of unnecessary deaths and the way the roads continue to be designed. Click to read more!

Spot the pattern?

Here’s a screen capture from the headlines on the Fresno Bee website on Saturday November 25, 2012. It’s not a special day, it’s something you notice pretty much every time you read the paper. The same type of stories, week in and week out.

There’s a theme, I think, and it doesn’t take much sleuthing to figure it out.

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Fresno, and the entire Central Valley has a serious problem, and it revolves around the way the streets are designed.

As the area continues to ignore the transportation and economic consequences of the auto-based design, maybe it’s time those in charge start to pay a little bit more attention to the crime, injuries and deaths it facilitates. Click to read more!

Will early Black Friday push people to shop online?

It’s Thanksgiving, a day of relaxing, eating, conversation….and standing in line for hours in the cold to shop?

Many retailers announced this year that they will open as early as 8pm on Thanksgiving day. That means, to get a good spot in line, you’d have to leave the house no later than 5pm – for some, many times earlier. Retailers want people to abandon their Thanksgiving dinner and time with the family to save some money on unneeded goods.

Of course, that’s an individual choice, but what’s worse is that millions of people who choose not to partake are forced into it….all the men and women who work in retail who now have to clock in at 7:30pm on Thanksgiving to staff the store. Some must start earlier for crowd control. Add in commuting time, and their dinner gets cut short as well. Click to read more!