Year: 2014

Will Fresno council kill infill general plan?

Developers aching for more sprawl versus everybody else. Sound familiar?

Sometimes Fresno feels like a broken record, and this time it’s no different. Tomorrow, the City Council may finally vote on the 2035 General Plan Update. The plan supports infill development as an attempt to curtail the ever-expanding city boundary. It won’t BAN sprawl, it will just aim to decrease it. But for some, that’s too much.

Naturally, the developers of tract homes aren’t pleased, and they have the attention of Chief Tea Party Council President Steve Brandau who helped killed the fully funded BRT project, and has also eliminated every road diet proposal that comes his way. In his mind, everybody in Fresno is well-off, everybody drives, and everybody wants to live the suburban dream. After all, that’s what he wants, and so naturally, that’s all that matters. Throw in some free market voodoo, and you have yourself the developers best friend. Click to read more!

Shock! Journalist finally realizes that rail is cheaper and more reliable than flying

One of the most frustrating parts about journalism in California, especially in regards to high speed rail (HSR), has been the inability of reporters to see beyond their personal bubble. Many times, it seems like these journalists take their own experience, and extrapolate it to be the “California experience”. For example, if they drive everywhere, then “everybody drives”. Or, when it comes to travel within the state, “everybody flies”. For a rambling discussion at the bar, that’s not an issue, but when these journalists write for major newspapers and get to set the tone, it loses all its amusement. Click to read more!

The Westlake sprawl project, with artificial lake, is dead!

Yesterday’s election news keeping you down? Maybe this surprising development will brighten your day.

This week, the Fresno Bee reported that the massive Westlake sprawl project has been put on hold – for at least a decade. The news came as a great surprise because last December the developer, Granville, began mobilizing bulldozers to flatten the land.

Developer Darius Assemi, president of Granville Homes, said the timing isn’t right for his Westlake development, which lies beyond Fresno’s city limits. The cost to build is too high and he’s waiting to see the city of Fresno’s growth plan for the area before moving ahead with the project. Click to read more!

New Citibike owners stumble on day one with price hike lie

It’s
a new day for the Alta Bicycle Share company, under new ownership, and new management. Sadly,
it seems like the new boss is a lot like the old boss when it comes to making
promises and then not following through with them. Alta became quite well known
for never delivering on their promises, and on day 1, the new Alt, now owned by
Related Companies and Equinox, has kept up the tradition.

For months now, there have been rumors that Citibike, Alta’s flagship system,
would see a price hike for annual memberships under the new ownership. The
official announcement yesterday confirmed the hike, but included a disclaimer.
On the official announcement and in the email they sent to all existing subscribers last night: Click to read more!

No Central Valley Colleges on Bicycle Friendly Awards List

Last week, the League of American Bicyclists released their updated list of “Bicycle Friendly Universities.” The list ranks universities with a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum award for being bike friendly.

The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU)
program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and
providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors. The
BFU program provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create
great campuses for cycling.

The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates applicants’ efforts
to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement,
education, enforcement and evaluation/planning, known as the Five E’s.
Applications must be submitted online.
http://bikeleague.org/university Click to read more!

Work underway at GV Urban’s Met Block development

Way back in February of 2013, GV Urban went before the city with their newest apartment proposal. The plan involved building up the Met Block, named after the old Met Museum. The block is between Van Ness and Fulton, and between Calaveras and Stanislaus.

The plan involved keeping the Met (top corner) and restoring the only other building left standing, on the left.

Problem was, the plan sucked. GV Urban proposed sticking in the exact same template they’ve built five other times downtown, but this time with a hideous façade. Click to read more!

Would High Speed Rail have kept the SF Giants affiliation in Fresno?

Last week the news in Fresno was all
about baseball. After a 17-year partnership with the AAA Grizzlies, the San
Francisco Giants decided to end their affiliation agreement and instead back
the Sacramento River Cats.
One of the major reasons cited for
the switch was how Sacramento is closer to SF than Fresno, which allows for
faster and more convenient moves between the teams when needed. Now, we all
know the public reasons for any major decision aren’t the only ones. There are
always layers of strategy and money under the surface. However, the public
reason certainly did come into play.

Click to read more!

Central Valley misses out on TIGER grants, again

On Friday, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the 2014 winners of the TIGER grant program. That program is handing out $600 million to 72 transportation projects.

California won some awards, but nothing for the Central Valley.

 photo tiger_zpse97398ae.png
-Off topic – The placement of Puerto Rico on that map is very poor…

Anyway, as reported by Streetsblog, the program is quite competitive, with 797 applications and only 72 winners. In that context losing isn’t that much of a surprise… Click to read more!

Barstow near Fresno State to get bike lanes

A critical east-west connection in Fresno will be getting bike lanes in the near future, as Fresno State received a grant that will help fund construction.

The following map shows Fresno State and existing the bike infrastructure. Barstow is the only east-west route, as Shaw has been designed to be very dangerous for bicycles. The A-B line is the rough extent of phase 1.

 photo bikeways2_zps3ce300bb.png

Back in August, the state released the list of projects to be funded under the Active Transportation Program for 2014.

Here’s what Streetsblog wrote: Click to read more!

A picture review of the latest from GV Urban

So I took these pictures back in May. And this is how long it’s taken me to finally get around to this post… Better late than never right? I hope you enjoy.

I’ll start with the Crichton Place project, built on L and San Joaquin. I last posted about these in January, when they were still wooden frames.These pictures were taken shortly before they opened at the end of June. Obviously, they have landscaping now.

We start off here, not too much to say, aside from the standard too-narrow sidewalk. Click to read more!