Month: March 2013

Downtown vacancy rate not so bad

Last week the Bee ran an interesting graphic showing office vacancies around the city. One would expect that with all the doom-and-gloom surrounding downtown, that the vacancies there would be much higher than elsewhere.

Surprisingly, that is not the case.

For the entire city:

The vacancy rate at the end of the year was 13.01% compared
to 13.03% at the end of 2011, the report said. That means about 2.7
million square feet of office space out of the 25 million square feet of
office space in the market, which includes government-owned offices, is
empty.

Downtown, the vacancy was 11.66% – or below the city average. East Shaw had the absolute worse vacancy rate, at 20.48%, with West Shaw not far behind.

It’s relevant to note that while the city wants to destroy the Fulton Mall to “bring back business”, the very auto-focused Shaw has the highest vacancies in the area, well above the pedestrian oriented downtown. It’s no surprise that Clovis got a grant to attempt to revitalize their portion of Shaw, and that the feedback given was to make the area friendlier to non-automobile users. Click to read more!

Bakersfield in unexpected places

I did not expect to see a sign advertising the country music of Bakersfield while making a layover in the Nashville airport.

It was my first time stopping in that airport, and while I was expecting country music (there sure was a lot of it), one never expects to find references to Bakersfield or Fresno outside the valley, and yet, they’re strangely common. I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this.

 photo 2013-03-16145744_zpsdf8127d1.jpg

Speaking of airports, I find that the food available inside tells you a lot about the city. Dallas, for example, has an enormous airport, but absolutely terrible food – basically just bad fast food. I’ve no interested in visiting that city. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, you’ll find an assortment of local restaurants – pricey, with small portions, but very tasty. IE, what you’ll find outside the airport. In Boston, you’ll naturally be overwhelmed by the number of Dunking Donuts locations and Legal Seafood outlets. Click to read more!

Oakland Airport Connector, a year of testing?

The city of Oakland is building a new elevated rail line to connect their BART station to the airport. It’s not a complicated line – like most airport shuttles, an unmanned train will simply shuttle back and forth every 5 minutes. I believe they’re using the cable technology common for the application.

Construction is moving along well, but this certainly caught my eye:

The connector will replace the Oakland AirBART buses, operated by the
Port of Oakland, that now take passengers to and from the airport using
local streets. Construction is expected to end late this year, and will
be followed by about a year of testing.
SFGate Click to read more!

Latest excuse to knock over buildings downtown: A park

Fresno likes knocking down buildings downtown. Perhaps love is a better word, as it seems to be some kind of never-ending fetish. Recently, two such adventures in demolition have gotten the city in trouble. In one lot, near Community Hospital, the city authorized GV Urban, an apartment developer, to knock down two century-old homes. The houses were torn down, and now a year later the lot sits empty, tangled in a historic preservation lawsuit. Elsewhere downtown, a property owner wants to eliminate the old YMCA. The replacement plan? A surface parking lot. Click to read more!

SimCity 5 arrives to abysmal reviews, 1950’s planning

It was just over a year ago that I was pleased to report that SimCity 5 had been announced, and would be released a full ten years after the fourth iteration in the series. However, as details of the game trickled out throughout the year, I began to lose interest and resigned myself to an eventual disappointment.

There were two major concerns:
1) The release would do nothing to rectify the previous urbanism mistakes of the series
2) The always-online requirement would be an enormous failure and idiotic burden on consumers Click to read more!

Just what Clovis needs, another Mcdonalds

Not content with having opened two new locations in Clovis in the past couple of years, and rebuilding the other two, Mcdonalds will be adding yet another location to the fine city.

The location will naturally be open 24/7, have dual drive-thrus, and operate in one of the most visible intersections of the city.

The new location will be at Shaw and Clovis, across from the Sierra Vista mall and the Fresno-Clovis bike trail.

New location is x, existing Mcdonalds in the immediate vicinity marked as well.  A and C are the Mcdonalds outside the Wal-mart and the Mcdonalds inside the wal-mart, a theme that you find at every regional wal-mart. B is a mile away on Ashlan and Clovis and was completely rebuilt last year. Click to read more!

Downtown speed limit to rise

A minor item in this weeks city council meeting involved raising the speed limit of P street downtown from 25 to 30mph. While a small change, it’s probably one in the wrong direction. P street is close to City Hall, the train station, and a fair amount of pedestrian-oriented businesses. Raising the speed limit might help a driver save 3 seconds, but will negatively impact the safety and comfort of the street.

The two sections being raised are on P between Divisadero and Fresno, and between Tulare and Ventura. In green is the section remaining at 25mph Click to read more!