Month: April 2012

Bike lanes: Keeping fast cars safe from opening doors

You know how it seems like most American bike lanes are almost entirely in the door zone?

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And you know how most local governments will claim it’s just an unfortunate side effect of limited road space?

Well, the Fresno Public Works Department has decided to be extremely candid about the REAL benefit of bike lanes. That is, bike lanes are great because they keep drivers safe from those pesky doors that may suddenly be opened.

Behold the department’s report to the city council about an upcoming road diet. Click to read more!

Can it really be? Expo line finally opens

It finally happened. After delayed and more delays, the Exposition Light Rail line in Los Angeles has finally opened.

The first public Expo Line passenger train was a sweep train departing from 7th/Metro at 4:54 am on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

I’ve written about the line three times before, and it was always about the never-ending delays.

9/19/2011 Expo line delays should not be tolerated
11/26/2001 Expo line to miss 2011 opening
3/24/2012 Endless Expo delays coming to an end…?

See a theme? Click to read more!

What chain could “anchor” downtown Fresno?

When people talk about ways to get shoppers and visitors to downtown Fresno, a common theme is the idea that a single well known anchor would bring enough shoppers to have the entire area pick up.

Of course, the anchor has to be a chain. Fresno loves chains. You can open the world’s best….well, anything, but if it’s not a chain, than expect sparse crowds. People will camp overnight for the grand opening of a chain like Buffalo Wild Wings, but ask people if they’ve ever heard of “Come And Get it Chicken and Waffles” which offers much better food, and the answer will obviously be no. Click to read more!

FAX: Wasting money on ads about bad signs

Once again, a Fresno Area Express (FAX) ad in the Fresno Bee newspaper caught my eye. The ad was absurd, almost comical really. It was an ad about the transit agency putting up new signs at bus stops.

I found many things about the ad to be absurd. Simply the idea of spending money to tell Bee readers that bus stops will have new signs is odd. I’m all for giving the Bee advertising revenue, but this doesn’t exactly seem like a good use of transit money. Also, if you’re going to be spending money on something like this, I’d hope that the signs would be amazing. On the contrary, the new signs appear to be quite poor, and the three bullet points explaining the virtues of the new signs are pretty bad. Super bad. Finally, the last time FAX ran an ad in the Bee, it was for service changes that never happened. Click to read more!

For the longest time – traffic signal fail

I’ve been planning on writing a post about how building bigger streets can actually slow down traffic. A central point of that post will be how bigger roads require lengthier traffic signal cycles.

I got lucky, or shall I say, unlucky, the other day as I found myself driving home and yet again getting stuck at Herndon and Fowler. Mind you, it’s not really luck. As I’ll talk about later, the wider the road, the more likely you’ll get red….

There is a signal here that is not working properly, and while I reported it to the city back in January (the 7th), no change was made. Click to read more!

Fresno: Use TOD funds to open pedestrian mall to cars…?

The mayor of Fresno, Ashley Swearengin, made one of her central campaign focuses a revitalization of downtown Fresno. That is certainly a great thing. Unfortunately, one of the center pieces of her plan involves ripping up the city’s one and only pedestrian mall and making it a street like any other.

The Fulton Mall today, the city does little to maintain it
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Her logic is as follows:
The mall is in bad shape. It has a high vacancy rate and the shops that exist are low end. To get shoppers and developers back, the street needs car traffic (because apparently cars are big spenders). Click to read more!

More thoughts about Philly – East Cost Trip Part 3

Here are the rest of my thought about Philly, in which I spent a whole day! Part 2 is here.

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When we left off, it was evening and I was walking around center city. This was on a Monday, and things were oddly quiet. Certainly not the hustle and bustle of NYC.

I noticed an oddly placed sharrow for bikes.

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The city has great signage for pedestrians. Lots of signs and even maps. This was was oriented so the top of the map is “forward” making it very useful for pedestrians. My one complaint was the location up there makes it hard to read for those with poor eyesight.
Photobucket Click to read more!

Using homeland money to actually help transit riders?

Something odd caught my eye in a recent Clovis city council agenda. Two things I’ve talked about before on this blog being found together on the same agenda item in a way I didn’t expect.

Homeland Security.
Bus tracking technology for riders.

The second is something I’ve talked about before as being a great way to show respect for transit riders and increase ridership. Indeed, implementation directly led to more riders in Visalia. The same would be true in Clovis, which has an extremely infrequent bus system. If a bus comes only once an hour, knowing exactly when it will arrive is critical. Click to read more!

Thoughts about Philly – East Cost Trip Part 2

Last Monday, I was in Philly. Ok, I was there for a wee bit on Sunday night as well, but it was pretty much one day. Here are my pictures and thoughts.
Part 1 was Jersey


Arriving in Philly was fun. After transferring to SEPTA in Trenton, I boarded a train for Philly. I had purchased a ticket to 30th station, but was told I could get off anywhere downtown, so I went one station further to “Suburban”. The name is a bit misleading. The station is a lot like Penn Station in New York, in that it is very subterranean, and you have no idea where you are. As it was Sunday, it seemed like every stairway was closed, but when I did manage to find my way out, the first thing I saw was this. Click to read more!

Clovis crosswalk update

The fancy pedestrian crosswalk I mentioned being built in Clovis is almost done.

Remember how I was a wee bit pessimistic about it? That is, while I’m thrilled to see a trail connection and the installation of a much safer crosswalk, I wish they had done it right and built the safest crosswalk possible. So what they’re building is good, but far from great.

I posted this rough diagram showing what I was expecting they’d build in terms of sidewalk extensions (in red) and what I would build (in green). Well, my pessimism wasn’t even right, as they’re only building an extension on the east side. Mind you, even my green drawing could be improved, as the entire intersection could be raised and built with pavers for maximum safety. The best way to build it would have allowed crossing at all points, as the location of the crosswalk means school kids have to cross two streets instead of one. Click to read more!