I’ve been angrily hammering away on an article about the proposed Smart and Final project, but fortunately I found something in this weeks City Council Agenda that has temporarily soothed my nerves:
Approve a first amendment to agreement with BKF Engineers in the amount of $76,600 to provide professional engineering services for the evaluation of Class IV bicycle facilities between Downtown Fresno and the Tower District and the preparation of a feasibility study for a Class I bicycle trail along the Herndon Canal and Mill Ditch canal banks and to authorize the Public Works Director or designee to sign and execute the standardized agreement on behalf of the City (Council District 1, 3 ,4 and 7)
(a) Bike paths or shared use paths, also referred to as “Class I bikeways,” which provide a completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.(b) Bike lanes, also referred to as “Class II bikeways,” which provide a restricted right-of-way designated for the exclusive or semiexclusive use of bicycles with through travel by motor vehicles or pedestrians prohibited, but with vehicle parking and crossflows by pedestrians and motorists permitted.(c) Bike routes, also referred to as “Class III bikeways,” which provide a right-of-way on-street or off-street, designated by signs or permanent markings and shared with pedestrians and motorists.(d) Cycle tracks or separated bikeways, also referred to as “Class IV bikeways,” which promote active transportation and provide a right-of-way designated exclusively for bicycle travel adjacent to a roadway and which are protected from vehicular traffic. Types of separation include, but are not limited to, grade separation, flexible posts, inflexible physical barriers, or on-street parking.
A cycle track, in Fresno!?
Sure, San Francisco has them….
and Los Angeles has them (as of last week)…
and cities like Chicago, Washington, New York and Boston have had them for years, but it looks like modern engineering has finally arrived in Fresno!
So where might they be built?
…an evaluation of Class IV bicycle facilities along Van Ness Avenue and Fulton Street between Divisadero Street and McKinley Avenue.
Van Ness Avenue and Fulton Street are the preferred connection between Downtown and the Tower for both motorists and people on bicycles. They each are one way, and were some of the first Fresno streets to get bicycle lanes added after construction (most new streets are designed with bicycle lanes in mind, but only within the last 5 years did Fresno start adding bicycle lanes to existing streets).
Because the Tower and Downtown were developed in the streetcar area, they are also the best place in the metro region to walk and bike for transportation. Further, with Fresno City College on the north end, it is by far the best corridor to install high quality bicycle infrastructure.
You can see the existing bike lanes, and project length here:
Today, Fulton and Van Ness are both wider than they have to be for the traffic they get.
This is an excellent opportunity to fix this CALTRANS created disaster:
Of course nothing is set in stone yet. This is just the first design step, although a required one, and there is plenty of room in the process for Council Stooge Brandau to kill yet another project. That is, let your council member know how strongly you support safe bicycle infrastructure so that their shoulders aren’t shrugged when the inevitable attempt at sabotage arises.
Oh, and as for the other part of the funding:
The funds will also allow for the preparation of a feasibility study for the construction of Class I bicycle trail segments along the canal banks of the Herndon Canal and Mill Ditch between the Shields Avenue and First Street intersection to the McKinley and Clovis Avenues intersection.
Don’t get confused about the name, the Herndon Canal does not run along Herndon. The proposed trail would go here:
Building trails alongside canals is a no-brainer. In this case, the council isn’t the obstacle (as it doesn’t threaten their precious car-lanes), but the irrigation district, which controls the right of way, isn’t eager to have people share their land.
If it was up to me, every canal in the region would go from looking like this:
To looking like this:
Hopefully the feasibility study agrees.
Oh, and as for that post I’m writing on the Smart and Final project? I hope to have it up this week, if not Sunday. It’s not good news though, not at all.