Month: May 2012

Why is Fresno Bee being so critical of HSR?

And why hold the project to a higher standard than anything else?

The Fresno Bee has taken to writing a front-page article about the California High Speed Rail (HSR) project every Sunday. On their part, it’s an excellent idea. HSR is a huge project, not just for Fresno, but for the entire state and the country. Because Fresno is ground zero for the project, as construction is slated to start here first, it makes sense for the Bee to stake their claim and try and become the authoritative source on all news related to it. Not only will that preserve their subscription base, but it grows web readership as their articles are linked into from around the country. Click to read more!

Reaction to LA bag ban shows same old story

Just a couple of days ago, the city of LA decided to implement a ban of disposable plastic bags over the course of the next year. The news caught me by surprise, as I try and follow developments regarding movements to ban or tax plastic bags.

What didn’t catch me by surprise are the comments that followed the decision. I’d seen them all before.

The reason is, it’s just another example of how in the internet age, ideas still travel slowly. When I wrote that just a week ago, I focused on transportation projects, but the bag ban is the exact same deal. Click to read more!

Fresno State: $4 million to turn trees to asphalt

If you’ve heard only one thing about the California State University system in the past couple of years, then it’s probably the words “budget cuts”. Details like “enrollment slashed” or “tuition hiked”. “Classes eliminated”. Remaining classes “doubling in size”. That’s what we’ve been reading in the news every month for the past few years.

So it’s especially maddening to see this piece of news which hit every station in Fresno today. Click to read more!

Clovis PD launches bike registration program, profiling included

The local ABC news station has a good story about Clovis PD taking bike theft seriously. Due to an increase in bike thefts, one of which I talked about here, the city is pushing to get people to register their bike serial numbers with the city so it can be easier to recover them.

Since the beginning of the year, 100 bikes have been reported stolen and even though 30 have been recovered, a very small percentage have been returned to their owners.

That’s because many people don’t know their bike’s serial numbers. The new program launched by the Clovis Police Department allows people to register their bikes with the police department so they can be more easily returned. Click to read more!

Final Gettysburg bike lane community meeting today

When Fresno makes changes to a road, there is usually very little public outreach. What typically happens is that Public Works says a change is needed, it goes out to bid, the council approves the bid, and the change comes. That’s how it has typically been for small changes like repaving and larger changes like widening roads. Many times, the public doesn’t find out about the proposal until they read the city council agenda where the bid will get voted on.

Last year, councilman Larry Westerlund decided that the process wasn’t working well, at least when the project in question was a road diet/bike lane repaving project. So he ordered up a community meeting which allowed him to delay the bike lane project for a good six months. (Part of that delay was because paving season ended). Click to read more!

MBTA station interiors added to Google Maps

If you’ve ridden a subway in a new city, you’ve certainly found yourself exiting a train and not knowing which way to go. Many stations offer a multitude of exit options, but which one takes you closer to your destination? It can be a confusing experience, as there are no landmarks to guide you.

Apparently, the folks at Google know that feeling well, because they have teamed up with the MBTA to offer maps of the inside of stations on the Android version of Google Maps. Previously, all that the maps would offer was a single subway station logo, giving you a good idea of where the station was, but no details on the many exit options. Now, every hallway, stair, restroom and information booth has been mapped. Click to read more!

Even with social media, ideas still travel slowly

This is a continuation of the post “In internet age, ideas still travel slowly” in which I discussed how hard it is for cities to adopt best design practices because ideas are still slow to travel. It doesn’t matter how connected we’ve become, it seems like every city must “discover” an idea for themselves to be able to implement it, delaying the process immensely.

Can social media play a role in speeding up the process? You’d think so, based on the amount of hype that concept has had over the past couple of years. Click to read more!

The new FAX bus signs

A few weeks ago I wrote about FAX taking out an ad in the Fresno Bee to promote new signs coming to bus stops. I thought it was absurd. The sign itself wasn’t very good, and the concept of a bus agency taking out an ad in the paper to tell people about a new sign was baffling.

There is some good news. Kiel Famellos-Schmidt of archop posted a picture of a new sign today and I was happy to see that large route numbers were included, even though the ads didn’t mention them.

Photobucket

Where do those routes go? What is the service frequency? What are the service hours? Who knows, but at least the sign does do the bare minimum and inform people of the routes that stop there. Click to read more!

In internet age, ideas still travel slowly

We’re all very familiar with the idea that if a volcano blows in Indonesia, a plane crashes in Paraguay or a riot breaks out in Helsinki, news of the event will reach every corner of the globe in a couple of hours. The world is of course connected and news can travel quickly.

Theoretically, ideas can travel as quickly as news, and yet it seems that it isn’t the case. Indeed, new ideas, which may be fantastic, well-proven concepts, can take years to be spread and accepted.

When it comes to adopting proven best-practices, that’s a huge roadblock. Click to read more!

One more post about Reason and Expo

I know I said any time spent discussing the Reason article proclaiming terrible Expo Light Rail ridership is time wasted, and yet here I am, typing away. They’ve gone out of their way to link to me, so I might as well point out a couple more problems I have with their critique of the Expo line. But then no more, I’ve got too much of a backlog of stuff I’ve been wanting to talk about.

Here is their response to my previous post on the subject, which Streetsblog picked up on.

The too-early-to-judge complaint is one you hear all the time about rail, but curiously never about cars, movies, burgers, condominiums, software, new fashion lines, tech gadgets, or pretty much any other product that is brought to market. For all the palaver about “soft launches,” “slow rollouts” and the like, your opening sales figure is almost always a good indicator of how you’re going to do over the Long Tail. That’s why they call it the “Long Tail” and not the “Long Trunk” or the “Long Opposable Thumb.” Click to read more!