Month: February 2012

A frontage road with a frontage road…?

I was using Google Maps the other day to find the location of an office, as I had a medical appointment to get to. The office was located off Herndon, a street Fresno has developed into a limited access highway. There are no driveways or mid-block turns on Herndon, the only way on and off are at intersections .5 miles apart. So to get to the medical office, I was looking to see the best intersection to turn off.

That’s when I noticed something quite odd, and very wasteful. A triple road.

Sections of Herndon were developed with a “frontage road” which is where all the driveway entrances are, and where street parking is allowed. This isn’t surprising, as Fresno has many frontage roads. I’ve always thought them to be a waste of space and money, but oh well. Mind you, as far as I can tell, frontage roads are a thing of the past and are no longer being developed. Click to read more!

Fresno building a new trail, but doing it badly

Fresno has finally begun to take advantage of its extensive canal system by starting to build a section of a multi-use trail, one of hundreds of planned miles. But what if the trail is being built to satisfy lines on a plan, and the design choices make it clear that accessibility or ease of use was never really considered? Below, I take a tour of a recently completed section of trail and document many of the design flaws, including terrible access for those in wheelchairs.

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The Fresno area, thanks to the agricultural roots, is crossed by many canals which bring much needed water to farmers. As the city grew, and buildings replaced farms, the canals remained but the city turned their back on them. The canals weren’t seen as a place to enjoy, but as a place to be kept off limits. This is odd because the area is lacking in water features. There are no natural lakes in the region, only artificial ones, like the bird habitat at Woodward Park or the dam-reservoirs up in the mountains. The San Joaquin river marks Fresno’s northern boundary, but access to it is limited and difficult. Indeed, because of the way development was organized, it has become isolated, leading to drug use and prostitution along its banks. This only scares off people wanting to enjoy a water feature. Click to read more!

Jazzhop growing in popularity

In November, I attended the inaugural Jazzhop event, which was an extension of the existing ArtHop concept. The concept involves opening up studios and galleries downtown to the public, for free. Jazzhop added to the art by introducing local jazz musicians to the scene. These events are held once a month on a Thursday evening.

When I attended in November, I was impressed by the music and scope of the options, but very disappointed in the amount of people. Fortunately, that seems to have changed, and the event held last week was much more popular, even though more venues were added. Part of the credit goes to the Fresno Bee, which produced a large spread in the Sunday issue prior to this month’s event. Click to read more!

The implementation is the problem, not the technology

This is a post I eventually plan on writing about transit, especially BRT. But today, the subject will be about self-checkout lanes at supermarkets, because I saw an article pop up about them the other day. Said article appears to pop up every few months.

How is transit related to the supermarket? It’s related because if you botch the implementation of a technology or service, people assume the shortfalls are because of the technology, instead of being because of bad management.

Despite an almost universal dislike for standing in long or slow checkout lines, an overwhelming majority of shoppers opt for cashier-assisted lanes instead of self-service, according to the 2011 “Food Retailing Industry Speaks” report published this autumn by the Food Marketing Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based trade group. Click to read more!

FAX making changes to major bus routes

FAX = Fresno Area Express, Fresno’s bus system which also (just barely) serves Clovis and Fowler, and county islands.

A small ad in the paper the other day (yes, an ad, not a news story) mentioned that changes were coming to Fresno’s bus routes. The small ad only said that routes 26, 28, 30, 32, 39, and 58 would undergo changes, and one could read about said changes online. This got my interest because that included the busiest bus routes in the system.

What could it be? Were they finally going to expand service, after over a decade of contraction? Would they begin serving areas that had grown greatly over the past 20 years, but were ignored by a route map that looks like it was designed in the 60s? Would they close gaps? Would they completely shift routes to serve origin-destination pairs that riders want? Click to read more!