The California High Speed Rail Authority have recently posted aerial shots of the various construction sites that are well underway in the California Central Valley, primarily around Fresno. They tend to post updates on their official Flickr account once or twice a month, but most are taken at ground level. Since the Google Earth satellite images are unfortunately over 2-year old at this point, these new photos, taken last week, provide a unique vantage point. Seeing the action from above, you can really understand the scale of the various bridges, and make sense of how they fit in.
One of the most obvious signs of High Speed’s Rail’s (HSR) coming arrival to downtown Fresno has been the demolition – and now reconstruction – of the Tuolumne street bridge. The bridge was two lanes wide and carried traffic eastbound over the Union Pacific right of way. It was paired with the Stanislaus Street bridge which carries two lanes westbound.
Both bridges will be demolished and replaced by a single bridge carrying traffic in both directions. The bridge will feature wider sidewalks as well. The reason is that aside from being 50 years old (or more?), the current structure of the bridge does not allow enough room for the new High Speed Rail tracks to fit. Once the new bridge is in place, and the Stanislaus Street bridge has been demolished, more serious work can be done downtown to create the new tracks and station.
I’ve mentioned a few times in this blog that as part of the High Speed Rail (HSR) project, Gryehound has moved from their old location to the Amtrak station. For a couple of years, the old station will be used by HSR personnel, and then it will be demolished when it is time to build the new rail station in that very spot. Presumably, Greyhound will then move back.
Let’s start by taking a look at the old station.
Here we see the station with the baseball stadium in the background.
About a month ago, I went out and took hundreds of pictures around downtown Fresno. The intention was to post them quickly, but that obviously didn’t happen. My post about the changes at Fresno State took a few days to put together, and then I was away from the internet for a week due to a planned surgery.
This set of pictures was originally intended to show the current state of High Speed Rail (HSR) construction in Fresno. However, a lot has happened in a month, so they’re no longer current in regards to construction activity on the project itself. Instead, they will serve as a benchmark of what downtown Fresno looked like right before serious construction started in earnest, and before private investors started taking note of the prime empty lots.
Is 2016 finally the year for High Speed Rail (HSR) in California? Construction has been underway on the boring part for over a year now – relocation of utilities, and demolishing of abandoned buildings. However, for most people, that type of invisible work doesn’t count. It’s hard to tell if a hole being dug in a street is for HSR or one of 200 other possible reasons, after all.
We want to see real construction – that means bridges, tracks, tunnels, etc.
And so a couple of weekends ago, I decided to tour the High Speed Rail construction sites in Fresno to take a close up look at the real progress. I’ve done this tour before, for about three years now, and each time came up with a big pile of nothing. Was the January 2016 edition any better?
Due to upcoming High Speed Rail (HSR) construction, Greyhound will be relocating from their own station near Chukchansi Park to a vacant section of the Fresno Amtrak Station. This move is scheduled for later this year, and will remain this way until the new HSR station is constructed, with space for Greyhound. That is, the lease runs for 10 years, but Greyhound is allowed to leave whenever their new waiting area is finished.
Greyhound ticketing and waiting will be kept separate from Amtrak, as can be seen in the site plan:
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.
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.
Was Elon Musk’s s mega-announcement really just a last-ditch attempt to sabotage the California High Speed Rail (HSR) project, rather than a serious proposal to revolution travel? Something smells very fishy, so let’s take a look….
By now you’ve probably heard about Elon Musk’s widely publicized proposal to build a tube transit system that can get you from LA to San Francisco in 35 minutes.
I was excited to hear about the proposal, as there had been some hype attached to it. Elon Musk is a serious guy – founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Pay-Pal – so when he says he has something big, it makes sense to listen.
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.