Tag: central valley

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!

Are public electric car chargers finally coming to Fresno?

It’s amazing to think that almost three years ago, I wrote about Fresno finally getting its first public electric car charging station. As the region with the worst air quality in the country, the lack of support for electric vehicles was alarming.

And here we are in 2015, and the situation is almost the same as it was in 2012!

In that post, I wrote about how the first public car charging installation was coming to Blackbeard’s. Well three years later, it hasn’t actually happened. Here’s what progress looked like last month:

 photo IMG_1183_8202_zpsefhbxtfd.jpg

The solar panels were never installed, nor was the charging station.

To be fair to Blackbeard’s, they’re a mini-golf and arcade place, where revenue arrives in the form of quarters. But how are everybody else doing?

Here’s what the charging map looked like in 2012….two Nissan dealerships.



Here is what it looks like today.

 photo ev1_zpsfaazwrbk.jpg

Good amount of growth right? Well, not really. Other dealerships got in on the action (Toyota, Fiat, Mercedes)  but it’s unfair to count them, because they exist primarily to charge their cars for test drives. There’s also an RV park shown, and a couple that are only available to employees of the company (Pelco, and Air District), which means they’re not really public.

So removing those out, we are left with…

 photo ev2_zpsh9wf6vdg.jpg

Two Best Westerns, a highway rest stop. a DMV, a hospital and a gas station. A grand total of 6 public charging stations in a metro area with 1 million people.

That’s shameful.

For comparison, here’s the significantly smaller Santa Cruz

 photo ev3_zpsyhnognkt.jpg

Obviously, places like San Francisco are on a completely different level. You can explore the country with this cool website: http://www.plugshare.com/#

Why are public chargers important? Because so many people will never buy an electric vehicle due to range anxiety. You can drive almost anywhere in the world and know you will find a gas station, but the fear of running out of power can be enough to scare someone away from a non-polluting vehicle. This is even more true because their range is so much less than a gas car.

To truly be wildly adopted, chargers are needed everywhere. And unlike gas stations, they need to be in places that people plan on parking in anyway, like the mall or a favorite restaurant.

Fortunately, a solution may be coming, as announced last month:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company asked state regulators for permission to build an estimated 25,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers at sites across its service area in Northern and Central California. If approved, this program would be the largest deployment of EV charging stations in the country.

The chargers would be located at commercial and public locations, including multi-family dwellings, retail centers, and workplaces. Approximately 10 percent of the chargers would be installed to support disadvantaged communities. PG&E would also provide tools and educational materials for site hosts and customers to learn about the benefits of electric vehicles.
PG&E Click to read more!

Central Valley misses out on TIGER grants, again

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.

 photo tiger_zpse97398ae.png
-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?

Transportation For America has put together a cool map showing the winners for all 6 years. The Central Valley gets one dot.

 photo tiger2_zps71ea16bb.png
The marker, in Fresno, is funding to remove the Fulton Mall, money which the city won last year. That’s right, six years of grants, and the only Central Valley proposal to win money is the project that actually destroys a transportation asset.

That’s quite the track record.

I wasn’t able to find the list of 2014 grants submitted by Central Valley cities, but the numbers from 2013 are quite telling as to what planners in the Central Valley strive for.

In 2013, Bakersfield submitted two applications…for highway construction. Yeah, that highway.

Reedley submitted an application for a “Central Valley Transportation Center”. Sounds exciting right? It’s a planned fueling station and car-wash for school buses.

Merced County applied for funding to build a bypass around Los Banos. You know, the city that has an economy based around drivers stopping to eat and get gas, the county wants to route driver away from that. 

Tulare applied for a highway interchange.

You get the point, and the other (losing) Central Valley applications weren’t much better.

What kind of projects DO win?

From LA:

The Eastside Access Improvements project will upgrade the streetscape,
including street furniture, lighting, planting, and storm parkways,
pedestrian facilities, including crosswalks and sidewalks, and bicycle
facilities, including walk-bike esplanade, Class I and II bicycle lanes,
cycle tracks, within a one-mile radius of the 1st/Central Station of
the Regional Connector rail line, set to open for service in 2020 in the
Little Tokyo neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles. Click to read more!

Hyperloop proposal: Bad joke or attempt to sabotage California HSR project?

Was Elon Musk’s s mega-announcement really just a last-ditch attempt to sabotage the California High Speed Rail (HSR) project, rather than a serious proposal to revolution travel? Something smells very fishy, so let’s take a look…. =&0=&