Tag: construction update

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!

Manchester Center Renovation Moving at Glacial Pace

One year ago I wondered if “the Manchester Center Food Hall was Really Coming?” I recently took a stroll around the mall to see if we could get an answer to that question. I have some good news and bad news.

The good news: Some work is being done.

The bad news: The pace at which the work is being done indicates that there is a single person working on his weekends to complete it. At the current pace, we will all be dead before that person is done.

Background: In May 2015 a company announced a renovation of Manchester Center. A year later, nothing had happened. In September 2016, the Bee reported that work was beginning and phase 1 would be done by Spring 2017. Click to read more!

California High Speed Rail Posts Summer Update Video

The California High Speed Rail Authority used to post videos every month or two summarizing their construction progress. Unfortunately, that ended around October of last year. Now they’re back with a new video highlighting what has been going on. At under four minutes, it’s a good watch.

While they’ve been stingy with their videos, they have continuously updated their Flickr account. Usually new photos go up every 3-5 weeks.

Here are some of my recent favorites. I especially like the ones from angles I cannot get myself.

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I’m hoping that in 2019, we see these various construction sites linked up with rails and walls. I think that once that happens, the project will really seem to be real, even though we know train service is still far away.

Additionally, one other major piece of infrastructure was recently “finished,” and that’s the train station in San Francisco.Or at least the box where it goes. Streetsblog has a tour here.

Of course, I wish this all was moving faster. But it’s still nice to see that it is moving at all.

January 2018 Old Town Clovis Construction Update

All the changes at FAX took my attention last month, but now I finally have time to post my latest update on the changes going on in Old Town Clovis!

Previous updates:

September 2017
February 2017
May 2016
July 2015
February 2015 

We start in the center, which is the area surrounding the new Centennial Plaza. Construction here is all done, and the new new buildings and plaza are looking good.

For reference, this is what the area looked like in 2011, according to Google Streetview:

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And after the plaza was built, but before the buildings went up:

Here’s what we have now:

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I like the sign.

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Everything looks good except this little service alley – way too exposed.

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Sidewalk is tight, but it wasn’t a big lot.

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I really like this indoor/outdoor dining area.

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Moving to the side of the building. The entrance to the dining area is via the plaza.

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And the back. They did a really good job here, as this side is just as attractive as the front.

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This is what the other new building looks like from the back. Not as nice.

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Reminds me of a motel.
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By comparison…

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Ok, moving to the second building, there is also retail on the first floor. Here is the entrance.

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Plaza to the right, Pollasky to the front

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It is part of the Me n Eds chain. This is the view from the street.

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Plaza in the center looks nice.

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On Pollasky, this is the front.

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This entrance is a disappointment. The stairs lead to an entrance to Blast and Brew…but a sign points you to the side. There is also a retailer up these steps.

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And from a little bit down the street.

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For reference, this is what was proposed, specifically the building on the right side of the plaza. The clock feature wasn’t built, the retail isn’t at street level, and windows were removed.

Final photos of this project:

 

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Overall a success, although I would declare the building on the left the winner.

It’s good added infill in “downtown” Clovis, and improves the street. Instead of a parking lot, there are two new buildings with retail on the ground, and a decent product above them.

Moving away, we see progress on the hotel being built on Clovis Avenue. This one is “special” because the parking will be underneath the building, something uncommon in the area where surface parking dominates. Construction has been really slow.

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It’s ok.

And finally, our last bit of Clovis infill. These new homes are unique because they front the Fresno-Clovis rail trail, instead of a street. I was excited to see what they’d do, but the end product is pretty disappointing.

Part of the project included building the same crap you see everywhere else, except the driveways front Sierra, which is rare for new development.

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Here is the alley where vehicles can access the new trail homes, on the right.

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The back of these homes looks like the front of most other places, except the fence is there to hide the backyard. It looks odd.

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I feel like they should have just fenced the entire back yard in.

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No idea if this parking is legal.

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And there we see the bike trail and an existing hotel.

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The trail is pretty popular.

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Looking back at the new homes, the front is a whole bunch of fencing too.

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It’s like a house with no front or back, just sides.

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Ok, fine, this is the front. But it sure is ugly. Windows too expensive these days?

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The other new one has nicer shielding.

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I understand they would want a fence to make it clear this is a private property and not part of the trail, but why does it look like a chicken coop?

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And then the fence for the homes that front Sierra.

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Boring boring boring

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Lots of bikes out though.

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So that’s it for Clovis infill!

Once that hotel is finished, I’m not aware of any “real” infill construction in the city coming up. And no, I don’t count a CVS being built on a strip mall parking lot as infill. That’s a little disappointing. The first project here is a big win, and the other two are better than the status quo. Shame nothing is in the pipeline. I guess my attention will shift back to Downtown Fresno, which had a couple of years of construction inactivity (aside from Fulton Mall), but is supposed to be picking up again.

A Look at BRT Construction in Fresno

Construction should not take this long.

We last looked at BRT (“bus rapid transit”) construction in Fresno back in January. Eight months later, the thing still isn’t done. We’re not talking about a new tunnel, a new corridor, or anything of significance; just sidewalk extensions and shelters. And apparently that’s just too much for Fresno to manage in a timely manner. It is embarrassing how little is being built and how long that is taking.

This is a project that has been in the works since around 2008. The city council finally signed off on it in 2014. It was supposed to be done, this time for real, in 2016. Now it is supposed to be done in 2018. Maybe.

High Speed Rail is also plagued by delays. The Central Valley segment was supposed to be finished up by the end of this month. In that case though, the delays are a little bit more understandable. It is a brand new corridor, full of tunnels and viaducts. Republican lawmakers have thrown every bit of obstruction that they could muster at it. Property owners took up lawsuit after lawsuit. Out-of-state interests poured in money to kill it.

So more understandable, but certainly still disappointing.

Anyway, this post will look at BRT construction, next one will be HSR.

We start with a typical “station” on Blackstone Avenue. All along the route, sidewalks have been bumped out to provide space for these stops. This one is located adjacent to a delicious Ethiopian Restaurant.

There is nothing about this that screams “two year construction project.”

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Some of the branding is in place with the ticket machines.

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The placement of this station, as is the case with many of them, is pure garbage.

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Look at where the nearest marked crosswalk is.

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This stop further up Blackstone is even worse.

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This is how you encourage illegal crossings.

And then get sued when someone dies.

Now we move to Manchester Center. This is a transfer center that closed in January for construction. One of the busiest stops in the bus system. Surely a priority right?

The main building (where passes were sold) is still there.

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All the other shelters are gone. Does this look like 9 months of hard work?

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On my last post, I mentioned a brand new crosswalk and curb ramp at a new traffic signal.

So brand new that in January it wasn’t officially “open” yet.

January.

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Now.

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What a ridiculous waste of money.

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January

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Now

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And now onto the downtown transfer center, which does look close to being done.

Coming from Fulton Street, you see a new traffic signal.

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BRT buses will actually stop in the center of the roadway, rather than entering the station loops.

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The new median platforms. Really the one and only true BRT feature.

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The BRT stop has a unique design where the two directions face each other.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the station got new shelters as well. While the new ones are certainly more modern and more attractive, the old ones appear to be larger and provide more shelter.

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New

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There is a variety of seating, but not enough shade.

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Another loop area

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And the opposing BRT platform

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I’ve seen 200-house developments go up faster than this. They need to hurry up and get it done.

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.=&0=&

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 

The most obvious change is that the two new buildings next to Centennial Plaza are almost done. Not only are they new (a novelty in old town), but they’re the biggest yet. 3 stories isn’t exactly a skyscraper, but they do make an impression, and frankly, a nice one. I’m not in love with the architecture, but it will do.

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I am impressed that both buildings went up.

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And here they are seen on a day where the air quality wasn’t quite the best

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The only other development in Old Town Clovis right now is the new hotel which will be placed over parking. Not the most exciting development, but I believe this makes for more non-road construction happening in Downtown Clovis than Downtown Fresno.

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And finally, Sierra Vista Mall, just outside Old Town, has a great new laser tag arena + kids play area. The laser tag was a blast!

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High tech too. You can watch other people play, and they have someone monitoring to make sure no one is cheating. Other high tech features include multiple weapon types + a health system (you can be a medic).

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Bonus:

Don’t forget to check out the Farmer’s Market before the season ends!

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They have a museum I had never noticed.

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Next post will be a complete look at construction on the Fulton Mall.

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.

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All photos courtesy of the CA HSR Authority

In downtown Fresno, they’re finally finishing the new Toulumne Street bridge. This bridge will carry cars, bicycles and pedestrians over the right of way. The Stanislaus Street bridge, seen above it, will be demolished because it is not tall enough.

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A bit north, they’re tunneling under CA-180 to let the trains go through. The trains will go under the highway, under the freight line, and under the canal.

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They’ve also rebuilt CA-99 to create a new right-of-way for the rail line.

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Another hugely impact project, in terms of visibility, will be where the rail line crosses over the Union Pacific tracks and then over the San Joaquin River – all right next to busy CA-99. This will be extremely visible to passing motorists.

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The wet winter means the bridge over the river has been stalled since December.

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Rural drivers will go over the rail line in a new overpass, in Madera.

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A bridge almost done over a creek.

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And the very first active construction site, a bridge over the Fresno River, is wrapping up.

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Wrapping up? Yes, the first construction package was for the heavy stuff in the Fresno area – bridges, tunnels, and viaducts. The train stuff – tracks and wires – are part of another construction package that hasn’t been handed out. The idea is to have the full right of way cleared, prepped, and ready to go, and then the last crew comes in and places the rail quickly and uniformly. 

Once again, check out the photos in the official Flickr account and keep them bookmarked because new photos get uploaded at least every month, and usually more frequently.

Clovis Infill – A Photo Update

It feels a little odd talking about infill in Clovis. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, as the city is known for its endless subdivisions. And yet in 2017, Old Town Clovis appears to have almost as much infill construction as Downtown Fresno going on.

I reported on two of these projects in July 2015, but I’ve added a few other ones here.

  • Centennial Plaza
  • La Quinta Inn
  • Rail-Trail Housing
  • New Library
  • Sierra Meadows Park
  • Clovis Community Hospital

Centennial Plaza

Let’s start with the big one: Centennial Plaza. This is the heart of Old Town on Pollasky, and I last took a look in May 2016 when the new plaza was finished. That update was focused on the street improvements, but now new buildings are rising up to frame the plaza.

Only 3 stories tall, the new building does make an impression in a downtown where a second story is a novelty.

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No basement here

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Close to the street

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Construction has also started on the building framing the other side of the plaza

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La Quinta Inn

A wee bit south, we find construction has finally started on La Quinta Inn. I reported on this one in May of 2015. Aside from building on a vacant lot, what makes this development interesting is that the hotel will be built over parking. This signals that demand for development in Old Town has increased to the point where large surface parking lots no longer make economic sense.

It’s a start.

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Rail-Trail Housing

In that same post from July of 2015, I talked about an approved plan to build new homes on an oddly shaped lot at Sierra and Clovis. What made the plan unique was that two of the homes would front the regional bicycle trail.

Construction has begun:

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The existing homes are very modest

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The alley will allow for rear driving access

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The existing homes are getting carports added

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Construction 

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 View from the trail

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New Library

The existing Clovis library is a disgrace. It’s about twenty years overdue for a replacement, and fortunately, one is coming soon.

Here we see the completed Old Town trail, looking towards the new library complex

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Nothing has started yet, but it is expected soon.

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The new complex will be behind this existing resting point

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As an aside, that little station has a trail map which is actually updated every year

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Looking north, the property is still on the right

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It will link to Clovis Avenue

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Here is the exterior of the existing library, which will be retained as another government building

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Odd?

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I stopped by on a day they were closed. Whoops. However, you can see how narrow the building is…

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Sierra Meadows Park

Moving to the more suburban areas, we have Sierra Meadows Park. This is quite possibly the slowest park project in California. It appears that every year they add one little feature. Over the past five years, they’ve added benches, some lighting, and bags for dog waste. 2017 is supposed to see the arrival of restrooms.

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This might be where the new restrooms are going

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Someone posted an overhead video on Youtube taken from a drone. It does an excellent job of showing that 90% of the park is still just empty space. The plan includes adding a lake, auditorium, playground etc. Maybe by 2030?

Clovis Community Hospital 

This hospital doesn’t stop growing. Admittedly, the one type of development I rarely follow is that related to hospital construction. While they’re open to the public, they’re not quite public spaces. They’re also very insular.

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However I stopped by to see if any work has been done on connecting the regional bicycle trail network. Green shows what exists, red what is proposed.

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The Clovis Trail maps show the proposal

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I did find some trail, which appears to have been built in the past two years. Not the connector though.

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Walking to 168 to see where the tunnel would go

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And I think that’s it for Clovis. The infill anyway. Like always, there are 500+ homes tract under construction at the city edge.

A Look at Construction on Fresno’s Fake BRT, and New FAX15 service

Improvements have arrived to Fresno’s bus system (FAX). The most impactful, for riders, was the introduction of FAX15 on January 9th. The initiative saw the return of 15-minute frequencies on portions of route 9 and 38, from 6am to 6pm. What most cities consider “standard service” is a luxury Fresno riders will be happy to have.=&0=&