Tag: blackstone

Surprise! Fresno FAX bus routes changing Monday 2/19/2018

What’s the best time to let people know you’re making some major changes to bus routes? If you’re FAX, Fresno’s bus system, the answer appears to be “the day of.”

On Monday February 19, Q launches, which is Fresno’s new rapid bus service on Blackstone and Kings Canyon (recent construction photos here). The route was chosen because it covers two of the busiest transit corridors. Naturally, those corridors have existing bus services, which will change once the new system is introduced. Click to read more!

Is the Manchester Center Food Hall Really Coming?

I love food halls, or em, an “artisan food community”. I’ve enjoyed them in Los Angeles, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. So naturally, I was excited when one was announced for Fresno back in September 2016. Especially because the location was to be inside the Manchester Center Mall.

The plans include a new mall entrance, a redesigned facade with signage, a marketplace or “artisan food community” for chefs, food trucks and restaurants, an exterior shopping area and an outdoor events plaza.
Fresno Bee Click to read more!

A Final Look at Construction on Fresno’s New Fake BRT Line “Q”

Fresno’s new fake “BRT” (bus rapid transit) line, branded as “Q” is set to open Fall of 2017. Well, that’s what the website says.

Key Dates
Construction Kickoff: June 2016
Construction: 2016-2017
Testing: 2017
Launch: Fall 2017

In reality, the bus line was delayed yet again to February or March of this year (originally, it was expected way back in 2012).

And this time they really mean it, so they’re hosting public meetings to educate people on what the bus line is. The first one is this week: Click to read more!

A Look at Construction on Fresno’s Fake BRT, and New FAX15 service

Improvements have arrived to Fresno’s bus system (FAX). The most impactful, for riders, was the introduction of FAX15 on January 9th. The initiative saw the return of 15-minute frequencies on portions of route 9 and 38, from 6am to 6pm. What most cities consider “standard service” is a luxury Fresno riders will be happy to have.

FAX15

Oddly enough, none of the marketing for the new service mentioned what routes were affected. The new webpage said “Shaw and Cedar.” fax15 ABC-30, the Fresno Bee, and all other reported the same: =&0=& The route maps, and the system map, indicate the enhanced service area with a dash system.A PDF was also created that sort of shows it.

So why is this happening? 
You might remember recently I posted about how Fresno held a workshop on emphasizing frequency over bus coverage. In that plan, the idea was to keep the FAX budget constant, while increasing frequency on key routes. The cost came from pulling buses on other routes, along with savings from route changes and finding efficiencies. 
None of that happened this month however. The FAX network continues to look almost identical to the system designed in the early 1970’s.
So where did the money come from?
Well, you might remember that about a decade ago, Fresno already had 15-minute frequencies. Indeed that lasted for three years.
In both cases, then and now, the answer comes from Federal Grants. Grants for funding operations are incredibly rare, and yet Fresno has benefited twice. Of course, last time, once the grant ended, Fresno didn’t add a single dollar into the budget, so frequencies fell back to 30-minutes. However, this caused immediate overcrowding, as the 15-minute “trial” was a success. By moving buses around, FAX compromised on 20-minute rush hour frequencies on the main 3 lines, at the expense of other routes which have since vanished. Click to read more!

Can Manchester Center Mall be saved?

Built in 1955, Manchester Center Mall was Fresno’s first foray into the suburban enclosed mall template*. Three and a half miles north of downtown, the Mall promised ample parking and an escape from the weather. The concept was indeed successful, and the mall expanded as the decades went by.

Well, for awhile anyway. Fresno kept expanding north (Fashion Fair opened in 1970), and Manchester Center was left behind. What was once the edge of the city became the inner city. As popularity waned, so did the investment. By the mid-90s, the mall was in serious trouble. And in 2009, when Gottschalks (139,500 square feet) closed, it was left with only Sears (186,000 square feet) as an anchor and a handful of stores catering to lower incomes. Click to read more!

The Smart and Final saga concludes: A victory for the Fresno master plan!

I actually began writing this post in early April, and was getting ready to publish under a VERY different title: “Fresno caves on proposed shopping development – goodbye master plan, we barely knew you.”

But here we are in June, and what at early glance appeared to be a swift win for a suburban developer, and a loss for the residents of Fresno actually has ended up with a happy ending for all involved, well, almost all. As far as land use planning goes, this was one exciting ride.
 
It all began in mid-March, when the Fresno Bee ran an article on a proposed development on Blackstone and Clinton: Click to read more!

No one noticed, but Fresno killed its proposed BRT system

Nashville, and the ludicrous attempts to ban bus rapid transit (BRT) there by state legislators, has been getting all the news lately, but it’s not the only BRT system to see its future flushed down the toilet by short-sighted elected officials.

After two months of “retooling,”  the Fresno BRT project returned to the City Council a few weeks ago; problem is, there was no BRT left to approve.

Back in January, the Fresno city council put a temporary hold on the $50 million BRT plan which had been in the works since 2008. Even though the process had gone through dozens of public workshops, council presentations, and other forms of outreach, the council acted as if this was the first time they’d heard about it. I wrote about their “concerns”  here. Click to read more!

Is Walmart changing the way they plan their new stores?

There was a surprising announcement in the Bee today: A new Walmart store in Fresno.

Walmart will open a supercenter in the former Mervyn’s that has sat empty for five years at Blackstone and Ashlan avenues in central Fresno.

The retail giant plans to open the store — which will include clothing, electronics, a full grocery department, but no auto center — this summer. At 107,000 square feet, the store is slightly smaller than a typical Walmart Supercenter, but larger than the average Walmart store. Click to read more!

Is the Fresno city council about to give the finger to fed funding?

BRT is in the news again in Fresno. It’s sad for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they’re arguing about funding when the system was originally supposed to open this year. Fun fact: the RFP for the BRT buses went out in 2011. A winning bid was selected but obviously the buses have not been ordered.

Today, the city council will vote yet again on approving funding. Not city funding, but federal funding, free money that has fallen from the sky and is intended to help the city fix a portion of its terrible transit system. Click to read more!

Federal budget includes more money for Fresno BRT

Part of the recent release of the 2014 federal budget included a list of what the FTA will fund as part of their “small starts” program. That budget includes another piece of the Fresno BRT (bus rapid transit) funding puzzle – another $10 million. The Fresno Bee last reported on the initial $17.8m grant over two years ago. No money was handed out in the 2013 budget.

BRT in Fresno is supposed to improve bus service along Blackstone and Kings Canyon, via downtown (and eventually the high speed rail station). Those are currently the corridors with highest bus ridership. Click to read more!