Clovis is getting a new roundabout

At the request of Caltrans, Clovis will be converting a signalized intersection at Temperance and Alluvial into a roundabout this year.

State Department of Transportations love roundabouts. Unlike traffic signals, roundabouts allow for a continuous flow of traffic, which the highway folks love, especially near major freeways. That’s because traffic signals can cause traffic on highways to back up past the exit lane into the general highway. A couple of years ago, most of the exits along CA-41 in Fresno were widened because this was happening.

Here’s a road north of Albany, NY, where the highway folks went roundabout crazy. Click to read more!

Fresno Eliminates All-Door Boarding on “BRT” Route

A small announcement appeared on the FAX website last week: fareboxes are being added to buses on Route 1 (Q) and all-door boarding is being eliminated.

Fareboxes will soon be installed on Route 1 – BRT buses.  Once installed, passengers must board through the front door and use the farebox to: Pay in cash, Validate ride cards, or Activate passes 

FAX

On Twitter, I confirmed with the agency that all-door boarding will end, even for those who choose to pay at the machines.

Pre-payment and all-door boarding was one of the only “BRT” features that hadn’t yet been eliminated. As a reminder: Click to read more!

Central Valley Media Needs Help More than Ever

It’s almost the end of 2019, and you’ve probably seen a bunch of those “10-year challenge” posts (#10YearChallenge) where people look back at 2009/2010 and compare themselves or things with how they are now.

Sadly, it’s not something you’ll really see from local media. If the Fresno Bee did a #10YearChallenge post, it would probably look something like this. with the old Bee on the left, and the current Bee on the right.

Unfortunately, even as Central California has continued to grow at a very rapid pace, the fourth estate has been heading in the opposite direction. This year, the decline in local journalism appears to have accelerated, with the Bee ending their Saturday edition and the Fresno State Collegian sounding the alarm that they might only make it one more year. Click to read more!

Fresno Launches Parklet Program

The Business Journal reported last week that Fresno has launched a parklet pilot program. (Header image is theirs).

A parklet is a low-cost, mini park that is built in what used to be a parking space (or two, or three). The intention behind them is to turn a space previously used for private car storage into something that can be used by everybody. In many cities, they are built in partnership with a local business, usually a food-related one, to create new outdoor seating. In most cases, the businesses agrees to maintain the parklet, but they are not allowed to restrict it to customers.

A parklet in southern New Jersey

The first one opened by Bitwise as a way to provide some outdoor space for the company. Click to read more!

Fresno councilors trying to kill infill general plan again

Developers aching for more sprawl versus everybody else. Sound familiar? It should, because in December of 2014, I published this post: Will Fresno council kill infill general plan? with that exact sentence.

Five years later, here we are again.

As a reminder, the 2035 General Plan Update (enacted in late 2014) directed Fresno to focus on infill development instead of continuous sprawl. Local developers were furious, and pulled every trick they could to block it. Fortunately, the council at the time did listen to the people of Fresno, who throughout the public process strongly preferred curtailing sprawl. Click to read more!

Amtrak San Joaquin…without Amtrak?

ABC 30 ran an interesting news article last week: Manager of Valley’s San Joaquin trains may ditch Amtrak as operator

The executive director of San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), Stacey Mortensen, told the House Transportation committee that Amtrak charges three times as much per passenger to run the San Joaquin trains, compared to the Altamont Corridor Express or ACE.

Mortensen is the leader of both the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which manages the operators of both routes.

“Amtrak, exceeds its own budget projections year after year with little or any explanation. Their only remedy has been to seek additional funding from our state,” said Mortenson.

If the agency’s issues with Amtrak can’t be resolved, Mortensen feels the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority may be forced into looking for another provider to operate passenger trains on the San Joaquin route. Click to read more!

Fresno gets $2.2m for bus stop ADA upgrades

FAX, Fresno’s transit system, received a $2.2 million grant to build ADA upgrades at several stops around town. According to FAX:

The funding will provide an accessible location to wait for the bus and an accessible pathway for passengers to get to and from the sidewalk to a median bus island bus stop.  Improvements include:  adding or enlarging concrete bus stop landings, construction curb cuts, and adding new bus stop amenities such as shelters, benches and trash receptacles.

Fresno Area Express

The agency created a hilariously basic render of what these improvements could look like, which you can see at the top of this post. Click to read more!

Fresno Saturday night bus service has launched

This weekend, FAX, Fresno’s transit agency, added Saturday night service to five lines, with “night” meaning bus runs between 6pm and midnight.

When I posted about it a few weeks ago, the schedules were not posted. I asked FAX about it, and they said they would be uploaded “when the schedules go into effect” which seems like a poor way to get the word out.

Well, the schedules are now in effect, and they can be downloaded at the following links:

1

9

28

32

38

Saturday night service is noted by a shaded area on the weekend page. Looks like they might need to fix the PDF though, as there is overlapping text. Click to read more!

Madera Amtrak Station will relocate again

I have mentioned it in passing, but plans are underway (PDF) to relocate the Madera Amtrak station within the next three years. The title of this post says “again” because the station was moved to its current location in 2010.

Why do they want to move it? Because it has the lowest ridership of any station along the San Joaquin line, and the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority thinks the location is to blame. At least that’s the official reasoning. I propose my own theory at the end of this post.

Madera has a population of 65,000, which is higher than Hanford (56k), and Corcoran (22k). Those stations get more Amtrak ridership because the train stops downtown. Unfortunately for Madera, the rail line runs well to the east of the city. That is, it doesn’t matter where the station is located, it will never serve downtown. Click to read more!

Sears Closing: What does it mean for Manchester Center?

It was inevitable, but it still comes as a shock: the Sears at Manchester Center is closing.

Last time I toured Manchester Center, in January 2019, I asked “what will happen first: the food hall opens, or Sears closes?” Now we have our answer.

Last January, the store was shrinking.

While Sears may not be the hottest shop in town, it still draws some shoppers. The Sierra Vista location, which they lease, is profitable enough that it will remain open (at least for another holiday season). Their Manchester Center rent is zero, as they own the building and the land it sits on. While the store is connected to the mall, it’s not actually part of it, which is why the store entrance is not centered (title image). Click to read more!