A few years ago, I made a post about how Bakersfield was planning to bulldoze a neighborhood to build yet another freeway. I am rarely in Bakersfield, so in those 5 years, I didn’t really follow the project, aside from knowing it was chugging along. (I actually did stop in Bakersfield in August for dinner, coming back from Six Flags, but didn’t explore). Usually, big infrastructure projects take years to happen. At the time, Bakersfield was looking at alternative routes. If it takes Fresno 10 years to build improved bus stops, Boston 30 years to extend a trolley route, and NYC 60 years to add a subway station, surely things in Bakersfield would move slowly. Demolishing an existing neighborhood is no small feat.
Amtrak California was supposed to be welcoming a whole new fleet of bi-level trains this year. or last year. Who knows. They were funded way back in 2010 as part of stimulus package. You know, the package intended to create jobs fast with shovel-ready jobs.
|The current two level trains and low floor platforms|
Well something odd happened with that contract. The winning bidder (Nippon-Sharyo) couldn’t deliver. Here’s an article from April 2016.
A Japanese company hired to build new passenger railcars for regional Amtrak service has fallen years behind schedule and likely won’t complete the order before federal funding expires.
The stalled production undermines an ambitious plan to upgrade Amtrak service in California, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri and has highlighted the complexities foreign companies face in complying with made-in-the-U.S. requirements. Funding for about three-quarters of the 130-car order is tied to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
After repeated failures, engineers are now redesigning the car’s body shell. That and additional testing will take about two more years to complete, according to people familiar with the matter. The entire job was to be finished in 2018, with the stimulus-funded portion due for completion in 2017. Now, Nippon Sharyo isn’t expected to start production until 2018, people familiar with the work say.
Amtrak’s new 7th daily San Joaquin train will launch on June 20!
A few months ago, I reported that final touches were being put on a new 7th daily train between Bakersfield and the Bay Area. Although they missed the predicted launch date of June 6, you can now purchase tickets reflecting the new schedule that kicks off on the 20th.
That’s how I was able to see what the new times look like, because the full version has not been posted on Amtrak’s page, Let’s take a look!
We start by looking at northbound trips from Bakersfield to Oakland. The blue trains in the image go to Sacramento. That means that in Stockton you transfer to an Amtrak bus if you want to reach Oakland or San Francisco. The red “train” in this image is actually a bus. It is intended for folks coming from Southern California, and terminates in Fresno. It requires purchase of a connecting rail ticket, due to lobbying by Greyhound.
June 6 is the planned date for when a 7th daily train will begin service on the Amtrak San Joaquin route which serves California’s Central Valley. Currently, 4 trains a day run from Bakersfield to Oakland, with two running from Bakersfield to Sacramento. Additional thruway bus service offers connections to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and a dozen other cities. The new train will run between Bakersfield and Oakland.
Final preparations for this addition to the schedule have been underway for about 6 months now. Although the service is run and branded by Amtrak, it is funded by California and currently managed by the “San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority” which took over from Caltrans in 2015. Since they took over, they have pushed to make the new 7th trip a reality. The new service will cost $7.4 million a year.
Last week, the League of American Bicyclists released their updated list of “Bicycle Friendly Universities.” The list ranks universities with a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum award for being bike friendly.
The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU℠)
program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and
providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors. The
BFU program provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create
great campuses for cycling.
The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates applicants’ efforts
to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement,
education, enforcement and evaluation/planning, known as the Five E’s.
Applications must be submitted online.
about baseball. After a 17-year partnership with the AAA Grizzlies, the San
Francisco Giants decided to end their affiliation agreement and instead back
the Sacramento River Cats. One of the major reasons cited for
the switch was how Sacramento is closer to SF than Fresno, which allows for
faster and more convenient moves between the teams when needed. Now, we all
know the public reasons for any major decision aren’t the only ones. There are
always layers of strategy and money under the surface. However, the public
reason certainly did come into play.
On Friday, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the 2014 winners of the TIGER grant program. That program is handing out $600 million to 72 transportation projects.
California won some awards, but nothing for the Central Valley.
-Off topic – The placement of Puerto Rico on that map is very poor…
Anyway, as reported by Streetsblog, the program is quite competitive, with 797 applications and only 72 winners. In that context losing isn’t that much of a surprise…
Except that this is year 6. That’s six chances to win grants. How has the Central Valley fared?
If you thought the era of plowing through an established neighborhood to build a brand new highway was over, then Bakersfield and Caltrans would like to have a word with you.
I’ve often said that Fresno is a lot like Los Angeles of 20 years ago; mimicking many of the bad choices, eventually receiving many of the trends (yay froyo, when will cupcakes hit!?) and having a downtown that will hopefully follow the path of redevelopment that LA eventually took.
Bakersfield, smaller and less developed than Fresno, is a few years further behind. Fresno made the decision to bulldoze neighborhoods over a decade ago, when highway 180 was erected through the area between downtown and the tower district. Now it’s Bakersfield’s turn to do what their cool peers Fresno and LA did, and put highways before people.
I love concerts. Unfortunately, many of the big (and middle sized) names don’t stop in Fresno. But those that do, usually stop by in the Fall. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed. We get a sprinkling of concerts from January to August, and then it pours for the rest of the year. Of course, the Fresno fair helps in that regard.
Here are some of the big (and middle sized) names of note coming to the Fresno area.
This list is not all inclusive, just the names I would enjoy. I will update the list as needed.
Updated: November 21
August 27……….Y & T at Tower Theater
September 8…….Molotov at Rainbow Ballroom
September 9…….OneRepublic at Madera Fair
September 10-11 Wet Electric: Lil Jon, Richard Vission, Marcus Schossow, EC Twins, DJ Vice, DJ Bl3nd, Liquid Stranger and more at Island Waterpark
September 10……Tito el Bambino at Rainbow Ballroom Delayed or cancelled?
September 13……Tears for Fears at Table Mountain
September 16…….Gloria Gaynor at Woodward Park
September 17 ……Cheap Trick + Everclear + Tesla + Candlebox (Blazefest) at the Regional Sports Complex
September 27……Santana at Bakersfield Robobank Arena
September 30……FUSE Fest Multiple Venues in downtown Fresno
September 30……FUSE Fest Multiple Venues in downtown Fresno
October 3………DJ Tiesto at Selland Arena
October 5………ZZ Top at Fresno Fair
October 7………Sick Puppies at Fresno Fair
October 7………Smash Mouth at Chukchansi Casino
October 12……..Journey at Savemart Center
October 13……..Billy Idol at Fresno Fair
October 14……..Incubus at SaveMart center
October 14……..Uncle Kracker at Fresno Fair
October 15……..Godmsack at Fresno Fair
October 22……..Rocktober: Lit and others at Woodward Park
October 25……..Judas Priest at Bakersfield Robobank Arena
October 28……..Ladies Night Out 2: Bell Biv DeVoe, Color Me Badd and H-Town at Savemart center
December 3……..Steve Aoki at Rainbow Ballroom
December 8……..Salvador Santana at Fulton 55 $10-$12
December 10…….Rise Against, A Day to Remember, Awolnation at Selland Arena
December 23…….Wiz Khalifa, Common and Aesop Rock at SaveMart Center $45
February 7……..Attack Attack at Rainbow Ballroom $20