Fresno State, officially California State University, Fresno, has for decades been a driving university. The campus arrived at its current location in 1956, and at the time it was located far from the city. That was intentional – with agriculture as a core mission, the University purposely surrounded itself with farms. Even today, the 388-acre main campus is attached to the 1,011-acre University Farm. As such, one was expected to drive to campus. Especially because students came from all over the Central Valley.
The Fresno area trail system is growing slowly, but every few months a new contract goes out to bid for a half mile or so here and another mile there.
Here’s what has been approved this summer:
Veteran’s Boulevard Trail, between Hayes and Polk, approved 7/16/2015.
Here’s an interesting one. Veteran’s Boulevard is a long-planned 6 lane highway to cut diagonally across the west side of Fresno. It is currently scheduled to begin construction in 2020, but it looks like a small trail section, which will parallel the highway, will open sooner.
This is a couple of weeks old, but I’ve fallen behind in posting again (work, and then sick). Fear not, there are plenty of posts in the draft box.
The US Department of Transportation has announced that they will sprinkle money around the country to help count bicycles and pedestrians. This is important because transportation funding is always data oriented, and without data, there’s no possibility for funds.
That is, if we want more funding for people walking and biking, we need to know how many people do it! You may have heard stats like “less than 1% of people bike” for example, but these statistics are purely related to journey to work. As the press release points out:
If you’ve been past Fresno State on Shaw any time this year, you’ve seen construction underway at Campus Pointe. It’s yet another shopping center for Fresno, in a part of town that isn’t exactly lacking in retail options. The project is a joint development between Fresno State, and the people who brought us River Park.
The “selling point” is that it is directly next to Fresno State, so it’s being advertised as a place for students to visit, and somewhere they can do so walking or biking. Sadly, the fundamentals are missing which make it a real walking or biking destination, and parking is a huge center-piece, as expected. As is the case in every Fresno development, the main street (Chestnut in this case) is fronted by parking.
Over the past 3 weeks, three were killed by motorists, and one by a train. This is actually the second time this very year in which three pedestrians were killed in such a short span of time. I don’t know the total, but I would wager it’s trending higher than the 14 last year.
The latest incident happened at an intersection adjacent to Fresno State. The person killed was a high-school special ed teacher, who apparently was also studying at Fresno State. It happened on Shaw, between the college campus and the student neighborhood, filled with apartments, frats, and some restaurants. You know, the kind of place one finds heavy pedestrian traffic.
Once upon a time, “I didn’t see him” was not an excuse. The rule was, if you hit something or someone, you were “driving too fast for the conditions,” or “not exercising due caution.” Most cops, it seems, have forgotten the rule, and take “I didn’t see him!” as a perfectly valid excuse. Fresno PD seems to have recently expanded that leniency in the death of a pedestrian this week in Fresno:
Officers also determined it would have been impossible for the driver
to see the pedestrian because of the driver’s short stature and seating
position. The driver faces no charges.
Few major chain corporations out there actually listen to the customer. A year ago, I emailed some companies about their lack of bike racks. Rather than receive relevant replies about racks, I was told I was not being considered for a job. Seriously.
Earlier this year, I again sent along an email to CVS’s corporate HQ, but this time about a more serious matter: an apparent ADA violation. Unlike bike racks, an ADA violation can result in a swift lawsuit.
CVS listened; they replied by email, contacted me by phone, replied to my follow-up, and actually did some work on the ground to fix the problem.
Less than a month ago, I noted that LA hired a pedestrian czar, and one of her first duties was to begin installing continental (ladder-style, or zebra) crosswalks at dangerous intersections. I called on Fresno to follow suit, both in hiring a bike/ped expert, and in beginning an inexpensive, but highly effective process of converting crosswalks to the more visible style.
A continental crosswalk in downtown LA
Well, according to a local TV station, LA has upped their game.
Last year, Murphy, along with former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
announced a project to test the system by upgraded 50 of the most
dangerous intersections, including 7th Street and Alvarado Street,
Hollywood Blvd and Highland Avenue, Slauson Avenue and Western Avenue,
as well as others.
A couple of weeks ago I posted about Los Angeles’s new pedestrian czar, a position Fresno really needs to add. Well, that’s not the only thing Fresno can mimic from LA.
Los Angeles and Fresno both share a street downtown with the same name: Broadway. Both have/had theater activity, and were once bustling centers of activity. Today, Broadway in LA is still full of merchants, but almost all are low rent. Almost every theater is shuttered. Fresno’s Broadway is in worse shape – most buildings have simply been demolished. Of course, there are some bright spots, like the Rainbow Ballroom and the Crest, and even some new projects in the work, such as a large residential development.
I’ve mentioned before how in a lot of ways, Fresno tries to be the LA of 20 years ago. Unfortunately, that means mimicking failed policies that LA has thrown out the window. One mistake LA made was to ignore the pedestrian, but things have finally started to change.
LA recently hired a “pedestrian coordinator,” a person whose only job is to improve transportation for pedestrians. What’s interesting is that this person was not a traffic engineer, but someone with a much more varied background