Tag: construction update

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!

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.

Old

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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=&

Fresno Fulton Mall January 2017 Deconstruction Photo Tour

It’s been eight months since I last looked at the Fulton Mall. Back then, major construction had started in most parts, with fences everywhere. Concrete had already been poured on the parking areas at the southern end. I assumed it would be mostly done by now, but not even close. Let’s take a look at the current status (current as of last week).

Note: Pictures taken on New Years Day, so most businesses closed for the holiday, but if you look closely you’ll note many have been run out of business thanks to the abysmal construction staging. Also, please let me know if you have trouble viewing the image. As google has killed Picassa, which was integrated with Blogger, I have moved to Flickr. 

We start at the north end, by Warner’s Theater. Nothing had happened in May, so the changes are pretty major.

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The sidewalks have been built as planned, with the odd, but acceptable use of different crosswalk ramp treatments

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As I mentioned way back when I went over the construction diagrams, this is the best part of the project. 3 wide lanes become 2 narrow lanes.

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Having the sidewalk extension be the entire length of the box office would have been nice though

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Nothing has happened to the orphan road

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It is hard to get pictures in an order that makes sense because the fences are serious barriers

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A relocated fountain is being built

Back in May

Now
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Across from the CVS, moving south

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By Hotel Fresno (no progress on that project) at Merced Street.

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The construction phasing, by the way, is an absolute disaster for
retailers. Like worst case scenario. If they wanted to put everybody out
of business, they could not have done a better job. The signs were
terrible and the walking paths a mess.

Detour? To where?

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I could not figure out how to access this block of the mall, so I took a detour through the alley.

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Looking north, odd construction phasing

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This next section hasn’t changed at all. Why did they even start with the destruction only to pause for 8 months?

May

Now:
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May:

Now

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May:

Now

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This building is looking great

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The dumbest road

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Mariposa towards Brodway

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This won’t change hence the DUMBEST ROAD

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It will dead-end here

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I can’t tell if this is restoration or abandonment

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BONUS FONT

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Remember, this alley will be a critical part of the new vehicle circulation plan

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Looking north

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The stop light remains in use, but there is no pedestrian crossing

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It is a pedestrian maze

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Zero effort made to create a safe, accessible pedestrian crossing during construction. 

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Plz come shop the stores are open we claim

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The southern end was the quickest to move. Concrete was put in 8 months ago. Asphalt 4-5 months ago. Now lights are in. Still not open to the public

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 New lights. I don’t know how I feel about them. They feel modern and dated at the same time. LEDs on the modern cobra overhead.

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 The new ped lights send light out sideways, rather than down

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Tree well I assume

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Removing the tarps make the fence maze seem less like a prison escape haunted house at six flags. However, they should maximize pedestrian space.

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Too small for trees, what are these holes for? Notice the double lights and the odd lower lighting well

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The sidewalk is new btw, in the same style as the mall.

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Midblock crossing to only section that will remain pedestrianized

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Maybe too many light posts

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Across the street looking north. These are the “super wide sidewalks” the proponents have continuously lied about.

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While the sidewalk is a nod to preservationists, I admit it looks a tad dated

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You can barely tell what is new or old

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Just hurry up and end this construction

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They rebuilt the river fountain with bridge. Bridge aligned with retail entrance. Smart. However, the sidewalk overhang demonstrates the failure of the new lights. Why light up the 2nd floor?

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What is this

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The usable sidewalk space is not that large

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SUDDENLY FROM ABOVE

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Looks very sad without the trees

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Supposedly this lot will be a building soon. Any day now they say.

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The southern intersection is also improved with curb extensions

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Fresno’s Playground

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New midblock crosswalk, with Fulton Mall pavement treatment. 

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A billion new lights and they couldn’t orient one over the mid-block crossing, where IT IS MOST NEEDED? Seriously.

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Looking north is a dead end

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Walking to the end

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New sidewalk extension is large, but very grey. No green infrastructure?

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I can’t tell if they’re adding angled parking, but the turn lane is gone. I guess continental crosswalks were too much for the budget.

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New vs old

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And the end

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And that’s it. Lot’s of photos coming up in the next couple of weeks  – the rest of downtown, Manchester Center update, BRT, and Clovis.

BONUS DROGE BUILDING

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A quick update on downtown Fresno cconstruction projects

It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to post photos of what has been changing in downtown Fresno. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to explore the area and take photos, so I present to you a different type of update. Here are some photos I took in May, along with a look at what those projects look like this week, with photos sourced from friendly people around the web. It’s amazing how much (and how little!) can change in 3 months.=&0=&=&1=& When I last visited this project, it looked like this:=&2=&=&3=&

A quick look at the reconstruction of the Tuolumne bridge for HSR

One of the most obvious signs of High Speed’s Rail’s (HSR) coming arrival to downtown Fresno has been the demolition – and now reconstruction – of the Tuolumne street bridge. The bridge was two lanes wide and carried traffic eastbound over the Union Pacific right of way. It was paired with the Stanislaus Street bridge which carries two lanes westbound.  

Both bridges will be demolished and replaced by a single bridge carrying traffic in both directions. The bridge will feature wider sidewalks as well. The reason is that aside from being 50 years old (or more?), the current structure of the bridge does not allow enough room for the new High Speed Rail tracks to fit. Once the new bridge is in place, and the Stanislaus Street bridge has been demolished, more serious work can be done downtown to create the new tracks and station.

Meanwhile, other construction is underway just north of downtown, as they have begun to build a trench. However, I was unable to get any good pictures. The construction area is surrounded by private property or the highway. 

Let’s take a look at the work on the bridge. I will begin with pictures I took back in January to see what it looked like a few days before closing forever. Below them are the pictures I took two weeks ago showing the current progress.

Here is the bridge back in January, taken from the sister bridge.

Frankly I don’t understand  why so much space has been wasted for 100 years.

 The bridge itself

 Not the best of sidewalk conditions.

I’m sure the structure itself was on its way out.

 Coming back you see the official sidewalk path – not ADA

The old pedestrian path also didn’t inspire much confidence in safety.  

 Frankly, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable parking here.

But these folks did.

There she is.

Wasn’t surprised to see this.

Looking towards Fulton.

That was January!

Now let us look at some recent pictures, starting from the other bridge again:



As an aside, here we are on the same bridge looking north.  No other construction is visible.

  

 I don’t know if this bridge will also be rebuilt (max zoom!) 

Oddly, they removed the traffic signal head but kept the signal functioning. What was the point, huge waste of time. Should be blinking red.

Bridge used to touch down here.

A new view of these lofts. I don’t know if they’re losing their parking lot?

Now from H street.

The other bridge.

The new supports.

H is blocked off for construction.

I hope the new bridge has good lighting underneath, especially because it will be much wider.

 And now walking back.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!