Category: Fresno

Posts about Fresno!

COVID-19 Impacts to Fresno Area Transportation as of March 29, 2020

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the last few weeks reading a LOT of news about COVID-19 (coronavirus). All the bad news has taken away most of my motivation to write blog articles, and not just because “regular” news is on pause, but because it’s been pretty exhausting. I also figured that because the news has been changing so quickly, there was little reason for me to write. This isn’t like a new trail, where posting two weeks late is still timely. By the time I get around to posting any news, it has likely changed.

That being said, I’m thinking there may be some value in having a static record looking backwards. Because of the volume of news, six months from now, it will be pretty difficult to do a Google search to find exactly what the transportation impacts were. So the goal of this post (and a probable follow up), is to have one place summarizing what the impacts of the virus were on Fresno-area transportation. Here is what the impacts looked like as of March 29, 2020. Click to read more!

Your Annual Manchester Center Photo Update

Is it really a construction update if not much construction is going on? Perhaps that’s a bit of a spoiler as I do my annual tour of what’s going on with Manchester Center. As a reminder, here are some previous posts on the topic:

The photos I’m posting today are a few weeks old, but with these timelines, who cares?

We start outside where the only real changes could be found. Ironically, all the construction has taken place at Sears – which is owned independently. That is, while the Sears building is connected to the mall, it’s not part of it. If you weren’t aware, last year Sears decided to empty out half their store and lease the space to two (or three?) other companies. This year, they decided to vacate the remaining space as well (hence the store closing signs). Click to read more!

FAX considering changes to several bus routes

For the first time in forever, Fresno Area Express (FAX) is seriously considering some pretty major changes to bus routes. This could include the much-needed Herndon route, and a bus line to the new Amazon and Ulta warehouses built in southwest Fresno. However, the new service comes at the expense of existing lines. In this post, I take a look at how FAX is getting the word out, and what those changes are.

Public Outreach

FAX has started holding public events and workshops on the proposed changed. This looks to be an extensive outreach effort, with the following pop-up events at bus stops throughout the system: Click to read more!

It’s taken Fresno over 3 years to rebuild a bus stop

On January 9, 2017. the Manchester Transit Center closed for renovations. It has been over three years and it is still closed for remodeling.

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The Manchester Transit Center is one of three spots in Fresno where multiple bus lines meet, allowing seamless transfers. Or at least that was the case, as those buses were rerouted for the “temporary” construction project.

It’s not a particularly challenging project. It’s a surface level bus stop with 6 spaces for buses to stop. There are benches. There is a light canopy. There’s a trashcan or two. The FAX office is there, which sells passes, but that was never touched, and looks hilariously outdated. Click to read more!

Fresno City College Axes Free Bus Passes, Celebrates $18m Parking Garage

Last week, at the bottom of a newsletter, FAX dropped the bombshell that students at Fresno City College would no longer enjoy free rides on local bus routes.

In 2017, when the program was initiated, officials boasted that it would ease parking concerns, help students save money, and decrease emissions.

Apparently, those concerns no longer matter. According to State Center Community College District Vice Chancellor Christine Miktarian:

“Parking revenue is supposed to be paying for the maintenance of our parking lots, and so since we’ve been using bus passes, we have been not doing the maintenance we should have been for the last couple years,” says Click to read more!

Fresno Eliminates All-Door Boarding on “BRT” Route

A small announcement appeared on the FAX website last week: fareboxes are being added to buses on Route 1 (Q) and all-door boarding is being eliminated.

Fareboxes will soon be installed on Route 1 – BRT buses.  Once installed, passengers must board through the front door and use the farebox to: Pay in cash, Validate ride cards, or Activate passes 

FAX

On Twitter, I confirmed with the agency that all-door boarding will end, even for those who choose to pay at the machines.

Pre-payment and all-door boarding was one of the only “BRT” features that hadn’t yet been eliminated. As a reminder: Click to read more!

Central Valley Media Needs Help More than Ever

It’s almost the end of 2019, and you’ve probably seen a bunch of those “10-year challenge” posts (#10YearChallenge) where people look back at 2009/2010 and compare themselves or things with how they are now.

Sadly, it’s not something you’ll really see from local media. If the Fresno Bee did a #10YearChallenge post, it would probably look something like this. with the old Bee on the left, and the current Bee on the right.

Unfortunately, even as Central California has continued to grow at a very rapid pace, the fourth estate has been heading in the opposite direction. This year, the decline in local journalism appears to have accelerated, with the Bee ending their Saturday edition and the Fresno State Collegian sounding the alarm that they might only make it one more year. Click to read more!

Fresno Launches Parklet Program

The Business Journal reported last week that Fresno has launched a parklet pilot program. (Header image is theirs).

A parklet is a low-cost, mini park that is built in what used to be a parking space (or two, or three). The intention behind them is to turn a space previously used for private car storage into something that can be used by everybody. In many cities, they are built in partnership with a local business, usually a food-related one, to create new outdoor seating. In most cases, the businesses agrees to maintain the parklet, but they are not allowed to restrict it to customers.

A parklet in southern New Jersey

The first one opened by Bitwise as a way to provide some outdoor space for the company. Click to read more!

Fresno councilors trying to kill infill general plan again

Developers aching for more sprawl versus everybody else. Sound familiar? It should, because in December of 2014, I published this post: Will Fresno council kill infill general plan? with that exact sentence.

Five years later, here we are again.

As a reminder, the 2035 General Plan Update (enacted in late 2014) directed Fresno to focus on infill development instead of continuous sprawl. Local developers were furious, and pulled every trick they could to block it. Fortunately, the council at the time did listen to the people of Fresno, who throughout the public process strongly preferred curtailing sprawl. Click to read more!

Amtrak San Joaquin…without Amtrak?

ABC 30 ran an interesting news article last week: Manager of Valley’s San Joaquin trains may ditch Amtrak as operator

The executive director of San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), Stacey Mortensen, told the House Transportation committee that Amtrak charges three times as much per passenger to run the San Joaquin trains, compared to the Altamont Corridor Express or ACE.

Mortensen is the leader of both the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which manages the operators of both routes.

“Amtrak, exceeds its own budget projections year after year with little or any explanation. Their only remedy has been to seek additional funding from our state,” said Mortenson.

If the agency’s issues with Amtrak can’t be resolved, Mortensen feels the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority may be forced into looking for another provider to operate passenger trains on the San Joaquin route. Click to read more!