Year: 2012

The ferry price paradox

I recently found myself near Manhattan in Jersey City and Hoboken. Besides enjoying the view of Manhattan, I noticed the great pieces of infrastructure known as the ferry terminals, which offered very quick (and wonderfully scenic) trips to Manhattan.

Everybody loves ferries. They’re fun. They’re not claustrophobic. They are quick and can be very direct (no trudging up and down stairs in large stations). The fresh air, the smell of the breeze….it’s the most refined way to cross a body of water.

Problem is, they’re not as popular as they should be, and the reason for that is price. Click to read more!

Wouldn’t a functional transit system be nice for times like this?

The big news this week in California is a “perfect storm” of events which led to gas prices skyrocketing in an unprecedented way.

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The surge isn’t expected to last long, but it may take over a week for prices to return to the $4.10 level they were in Fresno at the beginning of this week.

Even a short term surge can wreck havoc on low income families that are forced to depend on cars due to a bad transit system. Fresno has the highest density of poverty in the country, one of the highest unemployment rates, and a city built around the car. That’s a recipe for disaster. Click to read more!

Lamp Post Bar closing

It was less than a year ago that I wrote a review about the Lamp Post Bar and Cozy Thai restaurant that had recently opened downtown. Cozy Thai closed a couple of months ago, and now the Lamp Post will close on the 8th (announced via their facebook).

It’s a shame to see two new business close their doors so soon, especially because they brightened up a rundown corner of downtown….which is also probably the reason they didn’t make it. Fortunately, Lum’s Chop Suey is still there and does brisk business at lunch.

The businesses were located a quick walk from the corner of Divisadero and Fulton, which always has people thanks to the Iron Bird businesses and Fulton 55. Unfortunately, while the Lamp Post was only .2 miles away (Google estimates a 3 minute walk) they felt like they were in a different city. Click to read more!

New old trains coming to Amtrak’s San Joaquin

Thanks in part to some of the stimulus money of 2010, Amtrak California will be receiving 42 new rail-cars to service the three in-state routes it runs. Sadly, that process is slow, and the builder of those trains has only just been announced, with deliveries not set to begin until 2015.

With rail ridership on a non-stop upwards trend now, what can the state rail agency do to increase capacity in the short term?

The answer lies in buying used.

Or in this case, VERY used.

California earlier this year made a subdued announcement about the work they’re doing to bring new train cars to the valley. I haven’t seen the media report on this, but there was a presentation a few weeks ago that shed light on the work. Click to read more!

Bee actually mentions “unmarked crosswalk” in report

The Fresno Bee ran a sad story today about a mother and her daughter being hit by a motorist driving a pickup truck while crossing the road on the way to school. A vehicle in one lane had stopped to let the two cross and the other driver decided to ignore that and continue past the stopped vehicle, hitting them. The daughter is ok, the mother is in the hospital.

Many things can be said about the story, but this is what caught my eye:

The driver was eastbound on Clinton Avenue as the woman and the girl
were in an unmarked crosswalk walking to the north side of the street.

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/09/27/3008728/pedestrian-truck-crash-closes.html#storylink=cpy

I don’t know if it was the reporter, Jim Guy who noted this, or if it was brought to his attention by Police Sgt. Anthony Dewall who was interviewed for the article but…. Click to read more!

Time running out to enjoy farmer’s markets

As summer comes to a close, one of the best parts about living in Fresno goes into retirement for 8 months….the farmer’s market.

I was foolish enough to spend over two years in Fresno without enjoying one of the many local farmer’s markets. Last year, when I finally got around to seeking out the time and location of them, I discovered that by October, most had closed, and I had missed out for the season. Earlier this year, I made it a point to visit early in the summer. Since then, I have visited many local farmer’s markets, and purchased many delicious fruits and other goods. Not all the farmer’s markets close for winter, but the biggest certainly do. Click to read more!

Boston’s Hubway bike system finally nears 100 stations

The Boston area bicycle share system, officially called “New Balance Hubway”, faced a rocky start as it saw multiple delays and many missed expectations. Fortunately, the system is finally getting its act together and has been marching towards adding its 100th station. This summer, the system began expanding into neighboring cities, and new stations are being added every week.

2011: 57 stations
Spring 2012: 61 stations
End Summer 2012 (current): 95 stations

An additional batch of stations is expected this month, taking the system over 100. While it may not have the expansion goals of Mexico City, the system is finally covering a respectable geographic area. Click to read more!

An analysis of Fresno/Clovis rail-trail (2): Gettysburg to Old Town

This is the second part of a series of posts touring and analyzing the Fresno-Clovis Rail Trail.

Part one, South of Shaw can be found by clicking that link.

Today I start where we left off last time (Gettysburg) and continue north across Shaw towards Old Town Clovis.

This section of the trail sees some improvements (more amenities) but many of the same failing as before, such as terrible road crossings. This area also introduces tunnels.

Fortunately, the many drawbacks of the trail could be easily fixed. The trail itself is not terrible – it’s wide, well maintained and feels safe and welcoming. Most of the problems I will point out are missed opportunities that a little bit of attention and investment could fix. Click to read more!

5th FUSE Fest this weekend

I won’t be able to attend, but if you’re in Fresno this weekend, the 5th annual FUSE music festival should definitely be on your radar.

The event is a series of concerts held in close proximity, for a single $20 ticket. You can walk back and forth between venues and experience many kinds of local bands. Unhappy with one band? Then walk a block to the next venue.

The Fresno Bee has a great write up of what you can expect from the concert series
Fresno’s FUSE Fest unites local bands of all genres

Here are my impressions, including pictures, of last year.
Review and pictures of weekend FUSE Festival Click to read more!

Mexico City bike share getting large expansion

Mexico City launched a bike share system (Ecobici) in early 2010 with 70 stations and over a thousand bikes. After seeing a very small expansion in 2011 (15 stations), the system will finally receive a Phase 2, which is to be installed this month.

The numbers:

Stations: From 90 to 275
Bikes: From 1,000 to 4,000
Annual Subscribers: From 30,000 to 73,000

This will make the system the 7th largest in the world.

The system is the ClearChannel kind, which is popular in Europe. Unlike the B-Cycle and Bixi systems found in other North American systems, the ClearChannel stations do require installation, so the roll-out is a bit slower. Instead of simply being dumped off a truck, these stations require some digging and electrical work. That means installation of Phase 2 will take all of September. Click to read more!