Month: May 2013

One councilman destroys a road diet three years in the making

The events of this post took place last Thursday, at the city council meeting. I didn’t write about it that night because I was furious. Four days later, I’m still upset about what went down, and how easily it was to ignore years of public and community work, and a panel of technical experts.

What happened is that Fresno County proposed a road diet on Fruit Ave, between Shaw and Herndon. Like all road diets, this was to take a 4 lane road, and make it three lanes, with two bike lanes. It was pretty much a sure thing, so much so that a month ago, I wrote about it saying we could expect to see the new diet, and new bike lanes, by this fall. Click to read more!

LA’s newest light rail line ignores the pedestrian

This past week, I was in Los Angeles and rode the Expo Light Rail Line for the first time, from end to end. I’ve written about the line before, and taken pictures of its construction, but had never been on board since it opened last April. The line runs from downtown LA to Culver City, with an under-construction extension to Santa Monica scheduled to open in 2016.

One thing I’d observed during the construction phase was the seeming lack of attention to how riders actually get to the line. A transit line cannot only focus on the immediate tracks and stations – people need to arrive safely and comfortably. And because we’re talking about rail transit within a city, many passengers will arrive on foot or by bike. Ignoring them doesn’t just depress ridership, but it can be dangerous too. Click to read more!

Who do the city councilors represent?

Last week, the Fresno City Council voted to support a proposal for a new medical college. The problem is, the proposed campus isn’t actually in Fresno, or even really near it – it’s 20 miles away from downtown, in an area currently used for farming and recreation.

Granville, the housing development company behind the medical college, owns large tracts of land by the lake, and wants to use it to build thousands and thousands of new suburban homes. They plan on using the medical university as an anchor, and what I see as bait to get public opinion to support the plan. Click to read more!

Amtrak Comet trains now testing in California

Back in September, I posted about Amtrak California buying trains built in 1968 from New Jersey transit to be used in California. The purpose of the move is to bring needed rolling stock to lines that have seen large gains in ridership. Amtrak has an order in for brand new trains, but deliveries take years.

The “new” single -level train-sets will be used exclusively on the San Joaquin line, and two of the existing trains will be broken up and used to add capacity on the Capital Corridor and and Pacific Surfliner. The “new” trains are expected to run on the San Joaquin line early morning and late nights – mid-day trains will continue to see higher-capacity two floor trains. Click to read more!