Category: Uncategorized

Fresno Fulton Mall / Street September 2017 Construction Photo Tour

This is a comprehensive look at the Fulton Mall (future Fulton Street) in Fresno, 2 months before construction is scheduled to end. Fresno is spending around $20 million to eliminate a pedestrian mall and re-open it to vehicles and vehicular parking. The intention behind it is to bring economic vitality to the corridor.

My last update was in January. Back then, we were told construction would end in May 2017, a delay from the original date of November 2016.

Previous posts
January 2017
May 2016
August 2015 (construction diagrams) 

I was looking forward to this walk, hoping things would be looking up after a year of damaging construction. Sadly, the corridor looked the worst that I have ever seen. Most businesses were closed, many permanently. Click to read more!

Old Town Clovis Construction Update

I must admit, losing all those photos in the old blog posts was discouraging. While I still have all those photos saved on multiple hard drives, there are just too many to find, upload, and relink. It essentially made years of posts useless.

And that discouragement made July suddenly turn to September.

But I am back now, with fresh photos that will be hosted on Flickr. Are there any guarantees that Flickr won’t do the same thing? Nope, but I guess that’s a risk we must take.

I’m starting with a nice and easy post: a look at the newest construction in Old Town Clovis.

Last updates:
February 2017
May 2016  Click to read more!

Photobucket just broke years of my posts

Where did June go? This month blew past me. I have about 4 posts in various stages of completion, but I have some unfortunate news to share first:

This blog has been around for a few years, and when I started, the best solution to hosting images online was Photobucket. Back in the day, it was the standard. This blog uses a lot of images, so that’s a pretty significant thing to note.  That is now a problem. 


Embedding images on a website or in a forum post is a very common practice, with those images usually living on one of the many well-known image hosting websites. One such host is Photobucket, but a recent change to its subscription tiers means many millions of images across the Internet are no longer going to load outside of Photobucket’s own site.

Photobucket changed its terms and conditions and removed the 3rd Party Hosting feature from the lower subscription tiers. If you want to continue using that feature then a Photobucket Plus 500 subscription is required. It costs $39.99 per month or $399 per year.  Click to read more!

The best bicycle infrastructure in the country…is in Florida?

When it comes to transportation, most agree that things work best when every mode gets their own exclusive right of way. Mixing cars, buses, bikes, pedestrians, and trains results in poor or dangerous experiences for all. The speeds of the various modes aren’t the same, which generate conflict, and the patterns of travel are different as well.

As such, many bicycle advocates look with envy at cities or countries that have invested great deals of money in keeping the transportation modes apart. Being able to bicycle to work, or the store, or to dinner, completely separate from cars, on a direct trail? Yes please. It’s safer. It’s more pleasant. It’s FUN. Even substandard improvements, like 8-foot trails that spill out onto sharrows are major victories in places like New York. A protected intersection? Groundbreaking. Click to read more!

Fresno’s new night bus service comes with some big asterisks

Fresno’s bus system (FAX) recently launched “night” service on May 1st. When I wrote about this news, details were quite sparse. Indeed, the FAX website didn’t update with the new schedules until the first day of the extended service. Unfortunately, some of those details have been disappointing.

Here are the issues which really only became clear AFTER service launched.

  • Only Monday to Friday
  • 1 hour wait between buses after 6pm 
  • Only 5 routes offering “night” service 
  • ….and only on select portions of those 5 routes

What is night service? 

The reason I am putting quotation marks around “night” is because in most cities, the announcement of night service tends to mean buses running at 2am, 3am or 4am. In Fresno, “night” means new service between 9pm and midnight. Critically important, yes, but a reflection of how poor service used to be. 

Only Monday to Friday 

I had guessed the first point, based off the newsletter announcement, so it wasn’t as much of a surprise. However, it is still ridiculous that bus service on Saturdays, across all of Fresno, ends at around 7pm. To be fair, service was not reduced on weekends, so there has not been a decline in service. That being said, the new “night” service highlights how poor weekend service is. That is something that should be addressed.

Long headways 

Another concern is that nothing pre-launch talked about frequencies at all. Earlier this year, FAX launched “FAX-15,” or buses running every 15 minutes (vs every 20 or 30) on select lines. However, that service level ends early, before 7pm. On route 38 for example, one of the busiest lines in the system, buses arrive every 15 minutes from start of service (6:15am) until 7pm. Then there is a 35 minute wait, followed by a 57 minute wait, and the last 4 runs are an hour apart. Line 30, the busiest route, and the future fake BRT line, is actually less impressive. 6am – 5:30pm – every 15 minutes Then 20 minutes, then 35 for 3 runs, then 45 minutes, and finally once an hour from 9pm to midnight.

It’s also important to note that FAX STILL lacks a bus tracker. So an uneven schedule is even worse for riders, since you can’t memorize the times.

Limited routes 

The biggest asterisk came with the reveal of the new map. Mind you, it’s a nice looking map.  FAX night map That’s missing huge chunks of Fresno West Fresno isn’t even invited to the map. Riverpark, apparently, is the northern border of the city. East-west travel is not advised. On the other hand, the routes they chose are decent. With the exception of route 32 (which I would guess was political), the highest ridership lines received new service. However, does a downtown transfer hub make sense at 11pm? That’s not where the jobs are. That’s not where the residents are. And frankly, that’s not where people want to be standing around waiting for their connections. Downtown obviously needs service, but running both 30 and 28 so close together south of Shields seems unnecessary. A Shields crosstown bus would probably impact more people. 

Limited sections

Aside from only covering 5 routes, the chosen routes will not run their entire length during the “night” service. The reason seems to be to keep the entire night operation running with a grand total of 9 buses.  Route 32, for example, usually runs all the way up to Riverpark, as does 38, which actually terminates downtown via south Fresno. Route 28 usually ends at Fresno State. I’m not saying the 5 chosen routes shouldn’t be shortened – making modifications absolutely makes sense. I’m just saying it’s a surprise.  Well, except in the case of Route 32. Here is the normal run.

FaxRoute32-1_Page_1

The problem, is that the (extremely) shortened route is scheduled as follows:

Aerial Shots of California High Speed Rail Construction Released!

The California High Speed Rail Authority have recently posted aerial shots of the various construction sites that are well underway in the California Central Valley, primarily around Fresno. They tend to post updates on their official Flickr account once or twice a month, but most are taken at ground level. Since the Google Earth satellite images are unfortunately over 2-year old at this point, these new photos, taken last week, provide a unique vantage point. Seeing the action from above, you can really understand the scale of the various bridges, and make sense of how they fit in.

The Cedar Viaduct is probably the most important construction area right now because of the impact it will have. The bridge will take trains over CA-99, which sees around 95,000 vehicles passing by every day. Many people are still unaware that HSR is actually happening, so seeing the bridge take shape will have a large impact. Click to read more!

United brings mainline service back to Fresno

fat1
Passengers boarding a flight in Fresno

About a year ago, I took a look at air service available from Fresno Air Terminal (FAT). In that post, the news wasn’t good. Fresno had lost service to Las Vegas by US Airways and United, leaving only Allegiant. Allegiant dropped Honolulu, but added Mesa (Pheonix), which they apparently are no longer selling tickets for (as of last week!). Frontier left, again. Bakersfield lost Houston, and Visalia lost all service. The switch away from propeller airplanes meant Fresno got larger planes – but less frequency. Click to read more!

A look at Amtrak California ridership – February 2017

With the news that the San Joaquin line is looking to get a new 8th daily train next year, I felt it was time to take a new look at Amtrak California ridership. This post looks at the most recent Amtrak report, which covers February 2017. Here are some older posts:

Since we last checked in, the San Joaquin received a new 7th daily train. Unfortunately, the addition of a new train has not resulted in higher ridership. In fact, it has gone down a tad.

The entire Amtrak system was down around 3%, compared to last February, which makes sense when you consider that February 2016 had one more day (leap year). Maybe doing these in February wasn’t the best idea, woops. Click to read more!

Fresno will finally expand bus service past midnight on weekdays!

With a population of 520,000, Fresno is not a small town. And yet until now, the bus system, FAX, has acted like it serves a population of 50,000. Currently, service ends before 10pm on weekdays – all trips depart their last run around 9pm. On weekends it’s even worse – the buses are in their garages by 7pm.

This will finally change in 3 weeks. 

A FAX bus downtown

On May 1, weekday service until approximately 1 a.m. will be launched. Weekend service bus frequencies will improve — most routes will deliver
service every 30 minutes.
FAX Newsletter

The new schedules haven’t been released yet, so I am interpreting “until approximately 1 a.m” as the buses will start their final runs around midnight, concluding service at around 1am. Click to read more!

Amtrak San Joaquin on Track for 8th Daily Train

It was just last June that the Amtrak San Joaquin line received a 7th daily train, and now planning for an 8th daily is well underway. The current target, according to the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, is January, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that slip a month or two.

The plan is to offer a “morning express,” with service between Fresno and Sacramento. Currently, all trains originate in Bakersfield, with 5 going to Oakland, and 2 to Sacramento. Riders can reach either location the full 7 times thanks to bus transfers.

Currently, to reach Sacramento, Fresno customers can board a 6:18am train, and transfer to a bus in Stockton, arriving in Sacramento at 9:45am. OR, they can board a train at 7:53am, with direct service into Sacramento arriving at 11:20am. Click to read more!