Alternate title: I’ve built a new trail for Fresno!
Multi-use trails aren’t exactly the most common thing to find. Most cities treat them as recreational tools, and so they’re one of the first things to be cut during times of hard budgets. And since the budget is always tough, we find ourselves with a very slow growing network. In reality, while they do serve as scenic leisure rides and walks, trails can also work as highways for people on bikes, and shortcuts for those on foot.
Because they’re uncommon compared to the endless roads and sidewalks, you would think that a city would want to highlight a trail in the city. After all, even if they only see it as a recreational asset, it’s still something worth promoting, isn’t it?
Which is why I find it odd that Fresno has a nice trail but the city doesn’t seem to acknowledge that it exists, even while promoting use of other existing trails.
Let’s look at the Fresno-Clovis bike-trail network.
In dark blue is the longest and best trail, known as the Fresno-CLovis rail trail or the Sugar Pine trail. Leading off from it, in lighter blue, is the Dry Creek Trail.
In bright red, at the top of the map is the Lewis Easton trail, heading north from Woodward park along the San Joaquin river.
In the south side of the city, in wine-red is the Mckenzie trail.
I’ve marked two trails in pink on the left side of the map. One, going north-south is the Van Ness trail, which was built many years ago, and has not been kept up, so it’s not very usable. The east-west line in pink is along Herndon. It’s brand new, but is being built extremely slowly in unconnected segments, making it impossible to use for transportation. Basically, these trails do not count.
So as you can see, while trails exist, there aren’t that many.
But there is one more.
Can you see it? Google didn’t mark it as a trail. (It would be in dark green, light green are bike lanes)
The Fresno-Clovis bike map (from 2007) doesnt show anything.
How about the 2010 Bike Master Plan, which was reviews by city officials, members of the pubic, and bicycle interest groups? (Dark green are trails, purple are bike lanes)
Nothing. The master plan even provides a zoomed in map of the area..
I finally did find a document showing the path. Parts of it anyway, not the whole thing. In the Bike Master Plan, under “proposed network” which includes fantasy projects, we finally see some of the existing trail. Some, but not all.
We’ve finally found it!
It’s quite easy to find on satellite.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. The plan was from 2010, clearly this is just brand new.
Lets use the google time machine.
And the most we can go back is 8/16/1998
So yeah, clearly not new.
The next assumption might be “it’s not suitable for bikes”
But it appears to have been designed for bikes.
You’ll note that it’s around 10 feet wide, use the car as a comparison point
10 feet is more than enough space for a shared path.
Here you see that the trail connects to road, not sidewalk
And it’s even designed for two way traffic.
So I’ve gone ahead and added it to google maps. And because I discovered the trail, it shall hereby be known as the “Great James Trail of Fresno”
Enjoy your new trail folks, lots of time and effort went into drawing those green lines on Google maps. 1.5 miles of new trail isn’t cheap or easy, but I’ve done it.