Month: September 2011

Chaffee Zoo construction pictures

I visited Chaffee Zoo last week, and took a few pictures of the construction of the “Sea Lion Cove” project.

While I am against the expansion of the zoo (and enormous parking lot) into public areas of Roeding Park, I have no problem with expanding exhibits in existing zoo property, or property being used for non-park purposes (asphalt).

The size of the construction project surprised me.

So here are a few pictures of the dirt being moved.






Bonus: Hungry bear

Council shouldn’t let political games get in the way of common sense approval

According to the Fresno Bee, what should be a routine approval from the City Council this week has become a “battle”.

I’m talking about one of the three projects I highlighted earlier this week, the restoration of Hotel Fresno.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and City Council President Lee Brand are headed for a fight over the fate of the nearly century-old Hotel Fresno building.

She wants to spend taxpayer money on what she calls a risk-free project that will spark downtown.

He thinks she is pushing taxpayers into a disaster.

Swearengin’s administration on Thursday will ask the City Council to approve a loan of nearly $860,000 in City Hall-controlled federal housing money to help jump-start the rehabilitation of the Hotel Fresno. Click to read more!

Air Pollution Control District should be given power to act

Last week, the San Joaquin Valley was hit with a $29m fine because an air monitor in Clovis passed a federal threshold for the 4th time.

It pushed Clovis over the federal limit for one-hour ozone violations in a three-year period. In 2010, Clovis had three similar violations for one-hour readings – which are the highest daily readings at each monitor.

Fresno Bee

Now every motorist in the Valley will have to pay an extra $12 on their vehicle registration to help pay the fine. Early this year, local lawmakers decided that the penalty should be paid for by motorists, and not industry.

The fine is supposed to be the stick that will motive that valley to clean up its act when it comes to ground level ozone pollution. The money from the penalty will be used to help decrease local pollution by buying cleaner school buses, subsidizing purchases of clean farm equipment, etc. Click to read more!

Council approval could lead to more housing downtown

The September 29th agenda for the Fresno City Council meeting has a few interesting lines about potential upcoming projects. I say potential, because we all know that even approval and loan guarantees don’t necessarily mean the project is seen to completion.

Nonetheless, they are exciting proposals, and if all are completed, downtown will get just a little bit more pleasant. The first project began planning a year or so ago, and the other two have been in the works for much longer (2007 and 2005).

The first I would like to note is a proposed project by GVUrban, the people behind recent downtown projects I highlighted last week. Click to read more!

Visalia gets GPS tracking on buses, how about FAX?

GPS tracking on buses hit the scene a few years ago in America in major cities like San Francisco and DC, courtesy of a company called Nextbus. The technology had already been wildly deployed in Europe for many years.

Now Visalia has joined the party, but Fresno, with the largest bus agency in the central valley, hasn’t given its customers the tools they need to have a better bus experience.

So why is GPS tracking important for riders? In cities like Fresno, where buses are infrequent at best (the two most popular bus lines have the best service at a bus every 20 minutes), missing a bus can lead to a very long wait. Some buses come just once an hour, and missing the bus can mean losing a job. This means passengers must arrive extra early and waste their time with no idea of where the bus is, when it is coming, and if the journey will be completed on time. Click to read more!

Quick look at apartment construction in downtown Fresno

I was downtown a couple of days ago and stopped by the two Granville (GVurban) construction projects. For those of you outside of Fresno, these small projects are significant because downtown saw no residential construction for a 25 year period ending a few years ago. Since then, there has been some slow progress on new housing downtown, even during the recession.

These projects may be small, but they’re better than the empty lots they are replacing, and they bring new hope of redevelopment in the urban core.

Here are the two sites I visited:


Fulton Village is in red, and the Van Ness Cottages are in blue. Click to read more!

Expo line delays should not be tolerated

In Los Angeles, the Exposition light rail line has been under construction since mid-2006, with planning starting well before that. After countless delays, word is coming in that the start date of service will once again miss the plan, this time slipping well into 2012, almost 2 years late. And this time, it’s managerial incompetence that fueling the next delay in service.

Too many delays

Like all major projects, there have been delays and cost overruns. Some nature of delay should always be expected; when a project is so large and complicated, a small delay in the early stages can quickly affect delivery dates later in the project. Some delays cannot be avoided, such as unexpected weather events, civil disturbances (strikes for example) and even unexpected shortages in material. Click to read more!

Please do not cross at trail crossing

A few days ago I wrote about a bike/ped trail I “discovered” in north Fresno.

As you can see in that post, I detailed how the city was apparently unaware of the trail that had been in place for over a decade. The trail does not appear in maps, and doesn’t seem to have a name.

Well, upon closer examination, it appears that the city is aware of the trail, but not in the way we would hope.

Let’s look at where the trail crosses 1st St.


Simple enough crossing. Two lanes each way (+bike lanes) with a safe median to stop. Speed limit is 40, like most streets in Fresno.

Photobucket Click to read more!

More on Broadway redesign (Fresno)

Last week I mentioned that the city will be holding a meeting on Thursday to discuss major changes on Broadway, downtown.

Edit: Just been told the newsletter had the wrong day. The meeting was held yesterday.

As I will not be able to attend, I emailed the city, and they were kind enough to send along a diagram of the proposed changes.

I was correct that the project will end at Divisadero, so the project length is indeed the following.

I was wrong about what I guessed the layout would be. I had guessed it would be angled parking on one side, and parallel parking on the other. Instead, the city is proposing to make parking angled on both sides. Click to read more!

A new mile of bike lane coming to downtown Fresno

This Thursday, the Fresno City Council will take up, and supposedly approve, the striping of one mile of bike lane on Fresno Street west of downtown. Bike lane striping is a routine issue for the council and I don’t expect any objections or serious debate on the matter. The bid has already been put out, and came in under expected cost. Further, the city has added miles of lanes to downtown Fresno without any negative consequences. That’s why I’m jumping the gun and putting this post up before official approval.

The City of Fresno seeks to construct commuter bicycle lanes along both sides of Fresno Street from California Avenue to ‘C’ Street. The scope of work includes grinding of existing striping, slurry seal, new Class ll bike lane striping and signage, and street striping to reduce Fresno Street from a 4 Lane Arterial with no bicycle facilities down to a 2 Lane Arterial with new Class ll Bicycle Lanes. The project is located in City of Fresno Council District No. 3. Click to read more!