Month: March 2011

180 and farmland – Part 3

Let’s continue moving east. Is there more destruction of prime valley farmland? You bet!

2009: Thompson to McCall

2010: Thompson to McCall

Here’s something interesting…they’ve built a parking lot in the middle of nowhere. It looks to be a park and ride. A transit element you’d think, a place to park a car to take the bus. But no, not here in Fresno County. I’m guessing there’s some kind of “reward” for including park and rides in projects, because these little (useless) parking lots are popping up next to all the freeways….but there’s no corresponding bus service! Carpools perhaps? Maybe, but none of the highways here have carpool lanes…. Click to read more!

180 and farmland – Part 2

As I noted yesterday, I am going to be taking a look at the extension of highway 180 and the effect it is having on agriculture. All you see below can easily be found on google maps, I’m just putting it in one place so it’s easier than switching back and forth between the aerial and satellite imagery.

We begin at 180 and just east of Temperance (Locan pictured), which was built only a few years ago, and from there move east.

You’ll note the highway goes from farmland…to more farmland. No urban area in sight, at least not yet. Once the developers see all those pretty off-ramps, subdivisions will be sprouting up like weeds. Click to read more!

180 and farmland – Part 1

One of the arguments being used against High Speed Rail in California is the impact it will have on agricultural land. After all, the valley depends on the prime farming land for our economic needs, and it just doesn’t make sense to pave over productive farmland.

The argument itself isn’t a bad one. Yes, high speed rail will take up farm space. Yes, high speed rail will require taking people’s property.

But my question is, why aren’t these same people bringing up these concerns when it comes to other transportation projects in the valley?

Some like to bring up the building of I-5 as an example, but I don’t think it’s a good one. The same people protesting today were in a very different place 40 years ago, so I can’t blame them for not bringing up the concerns in the past. After all, people’s opinions change, and people generally become more informed as time goes on. Click to read more!

Airport Expansions – Carte Blanche

Anyone who follows rail, and in fact most transit in general knows that any proposal involving tax monies receives a lot of backlash.

“How dare we spend so much money on a train to nowhere, or on an empty bus!”

Except of course when we talk about air transit. It seems as if airports have found a way to avoid any criticism when it comes to dumping money into them (although of course they get criticized when it comes to noise).

Take Sacramento International:

In what Sacramento International Airport officials called a milestone moment, crews hoisted the first of two automated people mover vehicles onto an elevated guideway Thursday morning as part of the airport’s $1 billion expansion program. Click to read more!

Lofts in Old Town Clovis?

This article appeared in the Fresno Bee last week:

Downtown Clovis, known for its old-fashioned Western charm, could soon be getting a piece of the urban lifestyle: residential lofts with ground-floor shops and offices.
Granville Homes is proposing to build 35 loft-type condominiums above commercial and office space at the site of the old Clovis City Hall and the former state Department of Motor Vehicles office. A plaza at the front of the project would serve as an entryway into downtown Clovis where Bullard and Pollasky avenues meet.

This is a promising development.  Old Town Clovis is small, well defined and in relatively good condition compared to downtown Fresno. But it’s far from perfect, as there are many surface parking lots and buildings in bad condition. Click to read more!

Fresno “Smart Growth Conference”

I managed to make it to the first day of the Smart Growth Conference. I thought the presentations were to begin at noon on Wednesday, but a small free lunch was served (sandwiches, salad, cookies). That gave me time to explore the art museum and meet a few people.

The presentations were interesting. One was about AB32 and how cities need to plan their growth to meet the targets. Another talked about land use in Fresno, and how downtown has the cheapest infrastructure but the highest tax revenue – even though so much of it is vacant. The last presentation was about density, and what it looks like. Click to read more!

Fresno Hosting a “Smart Growth Conference”

This weak, Fresno will be hosting a series of talks about smart growth and transportation in Fresno County.

According to the website, the goal is as follows:

“The purpose of the Public Transportation Infrastructure Study (PTIS) is to identify strategies for land use and transportation investments that will result in measurable reductions in vehicle miles traveled and provide increased mobility for County residents.”

Wednesday, March 2, Noon to 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 3, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fresno Art Museum Auditorium
2233 N. First St.
Fresno, CA

The schedule looks pretty interesting:

Noon Registration
12:30 p.m. “Building From the Blueprint” – Michael McCoy, Urban Land Use and Transportation Center, UC Davis
1 p.m. “Meeting SB375 in the San Joaquin Valley” – Jerry Walters, Fehr & Peers
2 p.m. “The True Cost of Growth on the Urban Fringe” – Dena Belzer, Founder and President, Strategic Economics, Berkeley
3 p.m. “Transit Supportive Density for the Fresno Market” – Glen Bolen, Vice President of Fregonese and Associates, Portland
4 p.m. “Alternative Financing Options for TOD” – Dena Belzer, Principal, Strategic Economics Click to read more!