Tag: crosswalk

A look at Fresno’s improved bus stops

Last November, I reported that Fresno Area Express (FAX) received funds to update various bus stops. The upgrades include making them ADA accessible, so they can be used by those in wheelchairs, and adding new amenities like seating and shelters. Unlike the three-plus year odyssey that has been the reconstruction of the Manchester Transit Center, FAX has moved very quickly with these updates, and they’re almost all done.

For reference, here was the render they shared:

And here is what they look like in real life. Remember, they were previously just a sign planted on dirt.

You can see the new crosswalk and accessible ramps from the sidewalk to the island. Click to read more!

Old Town Clovis Bike Trail Missing Gap Complete!

I’ve been wanting to share these exciting pictures for some time now, but had serious internet issues at home that caused my picture uploads to keep failing. Fortunately the internet company has finally fixed the problem. The pictures are no longer hot off the presses, but they’re still very exciting, and I haven’t seen any pictures posted elsewhere.

The longest bike trail in the Fresno area runs from Riverpark, up along Shepherd, and then down across Clovis, ending south of Sierra Vista Mall. It’s a great recreational asset, a lot of fun to ride, and great for commuting too. It’s known as the Sugar Pine Trail and also the Old Town Trail.

Originally it was a rail line, which is why it cuts across town. Sadly, at some point after the rail line was abandoned, and before the bike trail was built, Clovis allowed a parking lot to be built across the right of way near Old Town. That meant that for over a decade, there was a gap in the trail.

The gap wasn’t particularly onerous – a two block detour on a quiet street with bike lanes. Unfortunately, there was zero signage indicating that the trail continued, and while the bike lanes were fine for me, they’re a no-go for many riders. Not too many families riding with kids on training wheels would be comfortable on an on-street bike lane.

You can find an extensive picture review I did of the previous conditions here.

The gap before, this is where the path suddenly ended coming from the south:

What you had to do at the southern end:


Northern end was much worse:

The solution was obvious. I made these in 2012.

And that’s almost exactly what they built!

In September 2013, the city approved plans to build a connection.

In April 2014, the plans were released.

Construction happened during the fall.  Overall, the trail looks great, except for one very significant flaw…Let’s take a look!

Riding from the south, we approach the area…

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 Almost there…

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And there it is! The old crosswalk stays the same, but now the trail continues beyond. Oddly, the building that was on the lot has disappeared.

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Visibility continues to be poor approaching the crosswalk though, but that was always the case:

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And there we go. Unlike other sections of trail, here they decided to separate the two directions of travel with trees and lights. It’s a shared space, also used as a sidewalk. However, aside from Big Hat Days and Rodeo Days, one never finds people on the sidewalk here, so conflicts won’t be an issue. 

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Good, wide ramp.

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New lights…don’t really fit any scheme though. odd choice.

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Benches and trash cans added in center area

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One still needs to be careful on the trail due to driveway crossings

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Water fountain is conveniently between both travel directions. Also, make note of how close the lights are to each other. Near the end of the post, I have pictures of them at night. 

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I wasn’t the only user

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Halfway down, there’s a T-intersection. The good news is, they DID built one ramp. The bad news is, they only built one, and decided not to paint a crosswalk. The current planning/engineering team at Clovis does not believe in crosswalks, and actually removed three on Clovis Avenue.

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Stepping back, you can see they built a bulb out for the crosswalk

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Ramp is fine, but no crosswalk

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The other crosswalk, not so good

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 The other side of the street got sidewalk extensions as well, but they couldn’t be bothered to orient the ramps properly

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Continuing on…

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They built the path right up to the existing building. However, see those garage doors?

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Apparently they’re not used, as the curb cuts were eliminated!

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Now we get to 3rd street, where a new crossing was built, and yes, a painted crosswalk. However, they installed that idiotic sign that contradicts state law (traffic is required to stop for crosswalk users).

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Brief detour…

They used the opportunity to modernize the other ramp, and add some landscaping. Sadly, they didn’t bother to orient the ramp in the proper direction, as requested (but not required) by ADA

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Even the area across the street saw some substantial addition, and the road was made narrower!

Compare before (use utility pole as reference to width)

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and now

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Shame the utility poles weren’t removed.

Ahem, back to the brand new crossing…

There’s new signage for drivers, and you can see the road narrow on both sides

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But they really should have used zebra striping, as recommended by modern design guidelines. The transverse lines are barely visible.

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The turn is rather sharp, but there is space, and the ramp is well built. Very wide.

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There is one, very, very serious problem with the crossing though.

Remember all the lights on the trail? Yeah, none here. Zero lights for the road crossing, in any direction. It’s recklessly irresponsible design, and I have some pictures at the end showing it at night. Any pedestrian or cyclist attempting to cross here after dark will be invisible.

Anyway, the new trail continues on this side of the road

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And connects with where the trail used to suddenly end right here (you can see the different concrete patterns).

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The trail continues for many miles that way…

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Looking back, the trail used to spit you out here

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And also looking back, we see the crossing from the other direction

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So overall, the new trail connection looks very good. Attractive, wide, plenty of amenities, and connects properly in both directions. The driveways are a big shame, and one needs to be careful, but heavens forbid the city lose parking spots for the trail where the right of way used to be. It would be nice to see additional signage at the driveways to warn motorists, but I don’t see it being a big issue.

Except for that one potentially fatal flaw: zero lighting at the new crosswalk.

Let’s take a look at the trail at night. The main trail itself is very well lit, much more so than any other section of the trail actually.(Pictures taken on automatic settings, no manipulation on computer).

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From across the street: 

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Unfortunately the lights point up. This contributes to light pollution and creates shadows below it, which is a poor purchasing choice. However, the lights are still better than any other trail section in the county.

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The crosswalk on 4th (the t-intersection) has a streetlight, so the lighting is ok.

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But now we reach the crosswalk for 3rd. See any difference?

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Lets take a step back to compare that again…

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Look where the lighting ends…right where it’s needed most!

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The section of trail on 3rd has zero lighting too

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Until you get to the little rest area (was there before)

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Incidentally, this is how most of the existing trail is lit. There are lights, but set way too far apart.This is an existing section of trail from before.

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….but the real problem is where the cars are

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Extremely dangerous.

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I keep forgetting to write to the city, but I will to see how they plan on fixing this. I encourage others to do the same.The new trail is great, but the lack of lights at the crosswalk ruins it.

The worst part is, I did mentioned this to the city back in 2013, when the plans were still in design. They said they would “look into it”.

Two years later: Clovis crosswalk STILL not done

How can you tell that a city prioritizes vehicles over pedestrians? Clovis might be revealing their hand with this absurd level of incompetence.

In the past two years, they’ve added well over ten miles of lanes in widened roads, installed and began operating multiple new stop lights, and resurfaced various streets.

And yet they can’t quite finish a single crosswalk that connects an elementary school, a church, and two residential neighborhoods. I guess the safety of children in no one near as important as adding new lanes in rarely used places.

You might remember back in April of 2012, when I looked at the slow construction. A year ago, in June of 2013, I went back and saw that the safety component of the project – the lights embedded in the pavement – had still not been activated.

Here we are in June of 2014 and it’s still not done.

To add insult to injury, while the other four crosswalks with lighting in Clovis are automated, this one requires pushing a button, which has never been uncovered.

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They did find the time to install a blatantly false sign, which forgets the state law on crosswalks (yes, cross traffic is required to stop when you use the crosswalk)

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There’s no light above the crosswalk, contrary to state standards, so it can be hard to see at night without the embedded pavement lights working. The elementary school is on the left, the church is on the right. A trail runs next to the church connecting to a residential area.

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What a sad state of affairs.

Enterprise Trail Construction Under Way

It was only a month ago that I posted about Clovis getting a new trail extension. The Enterprise trail currently runs adjacent to a canal from Nees (near Temperance) to near Fowler and Shepherd.

The new extension starts at Temperance and runs along the canal towards the 168 freeway.

Oddly enough, the new construction does not connect to the existing trail. existing is green, new is in orange.

Let’s have a look at what’s been done:

While a gravel road runs along the canal, as is always the case, the trail runs besides that. I think it’s a shame because you don’t get to run/bike along the water.

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Unlike the rest of the trail, this segment is on the south side of the canal.

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It’s obvious where it’s going.

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Oddly, it runs right by this building.

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Looking back

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The area is still rural in character, but the subdivisions are popping up everywhere. 

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After running by the weird building and a large ranch home, the trail will  parallel a lot that’s been empty for quite some time. Without looking it up, I’d wager it’s zoned commercial, due to the highway.

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 The construction loses some definition.

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I can’t tell if construction ends here of it that work is part of the trail.

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Assuming the work is trail related…

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Looking back

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This is the definite end of construction.

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As seen from above, the trail will end randomly and abruptly, at least for now.

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Back at the beginning, I am unsure what provision will be made for a road crossing.

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You can see where the trail ends on the right. To the left, the road has no crosswalk here, but a depression so that canal maintenance vehicles can cut across.

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I am unsure if a future trail will run on the north or south side of the canal, to connect to the existing trail. 

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The existing intersection is not convenient for crossing.

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There is some good news though. The Bee indicates that road work will be done for the trail….does this mean embedded pavement lights at a crosswalk?

The article lacks in any sort of informative detail on the work:

Lane and shoulder closures will occur through February along
Temperance Avenue between Alluvial and Nees avenues in Clovis.

A contractor will be working on improvements to the Enterprise Trail.

Motorists are encouraged to plan their routes so they can avoid the area or have more time to travel where needed.
Fresno Bee

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/21/3725467/in-clovis-road-closures-coming.html#storylink=cpy
Previous work in which a crosswalk has been built with embedded lights has resulted in a road closure of a month or so.

I’ve put in a question to see if this is the case here.

Edit: Received a reply from the Bee:

“It’s improvements to the trail. All we were told. “

Sigh. Isn’t the job of a reporter to get specific answers…?

Add “short driver” to the list of excusable reasons when a pedestrian is killed

Once upon a time, “I didn’t see him” was not an excuse. The rule was, if you hit something or someone, you were “driving too fast for the conditions,” or “not exercising due caution.” Most cops, it seems, have forgotten the rule, and take “I didn’t see him!” as a perfectly valid excuse. Fresno PD seems to have recently expanded that leniency in the death of a pedestrian this week in Fresno:

Officers also determined it would have been impossible for the driver
to see the pedestrian because of the driver’s short stature and seating
position. The driver faces no charges.
Fresno Bee

Does the driver not deserve blame for failing to adjust their seat properly? Perhaps an inquiry as to why someone who can’t see the road is driving in the first place? Of course not. It’s not their fault they were dealt a short deck, and driving is a right after all.

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Apparently legal now

Did I mentioned the driver was maneuvering a Fed-ex big rig? I guess being a commercial driver of an enormous truck does not obligate one to be able to see the road…. or feel a collision.

The driver of the rig had no idea he had struck and seriously injured the pedestrian, Fresno police said Tuesday.

If you can run someone over in downtown Fresno, and not even notice, something is wrong.The driver failed in adapting to an urban environment. Fed-ex failed in assigning this person to a large truck, and the state licensing system failed in giving them a commercial license without restrictions.

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It turns out, the “gangsta lean” is a sophisticated method to waive liability in a collision

According to a witness, the pedestrian was at fault because the truck had a green light. Based on the investigation being concluded in under 24-hours, it seems as if the police department have taken the word of the witness as fact. I’d bet a large pile of money that no video evidence was obtained, or even searched for. Never-mind an investigation into speed and cellphone use.

Now to be fair, this specific part of town is home to many transient individuals who do occasionally have a habit of randomly wandering into the road. I once had quite the scare when I encountered a homeless lady standing in the middle of a lane, in pitch darkness. Of course in my case, as it was so dark, I was driving at a speed which allowed me to come to a complete stop without hitting her. Novel concept, I know.

In this case, the collision happened around noon, so visibility wasn’t a factor. And even if the pedestrian did step into the road without the light, the driver should have seen him coming.

This is what the driver would have seen, approaching the light. Any pedestrian would be clearly visible well in advance of entering the roadway. To not only be unable to see a pedestrian AND not notice the collision is highly troublesome.

 photo kid4_zpsd0586c88.pngAll four corners are highly visible

 On the plus side, the Bee reported this as a collision, and not an accident.That’s progress.

 Meanwhile, on Sunday, just 15 miles away…

A pedestrian was killed Sunday evening after a GMC Suburban
hit the man while he was crossing at an intersection in Selma, police

The victim, believed to be in his mid-30s, was walking north
crossing the intersection of 2nd and Sylvia streets about 5:20 p.m.
when the woman driving the Suburban fatally struck him, Selma police
Sgt. Terry Reid said. The woman stopped and has not been cited, Reid
Fresno Bee Click to read more!

Old Town Clovis Trail Gap to Finally be Closed!

It’s finally happening!

The two blocks in Old Town Clovis where the regional bike trail disappears will apparently be completed as soon as this year.

The next city council agenda has this surprise:

City staff intends to bid and construct the Clovis Old Town trail connection on the west side of Hughes Avenue from Third to Fifth streets in the 3rd quarter of 2013.
Council document (PDF)

The gap is especially notable, because it’s in the heart of Clovis, and there is absolutely no accommodation to direct trail users through the missing area.

Here’s where the gap is, Clovis Avenue is the large road on the left. The red lines are the existing trails points, where they suddenly end. A parking lot was built on the rail right of way (ROW).

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About a year ago, I wrote about this section of the trail. The most unfortunate part is the complete lack of signage and accommodations at the intersections. Car traffic has no idea the trail just pops out there.

Cyclists must make an awkward turn to find the rest of the trail. They hopefully have seen a map before riding it, so know where to go.

Going north:

Going south there are no crosswalks, signs or bike lanes.

In the post I linked above, you can see some pictures taken from the ground.

In that post, I proposed an easy fix: using the wide road ROW to make a cycletrack.


What will they actually build? I don’t know – I put in a request for diagrams but was told they won’t be made public until October. I guess Clovis isn’t a believer in the “public input” side of things. So until October, we won’t know if they’re building an on-street path, a wider sidewalk extended into the road, or a wider sidewalk into the property.

There is one bit we do know, and it’s good news:

A request is being put in for a full stop where Hughes meets 4th. Right now, 4th has a stop, but Hughes doesn’t, and there are no crosswalks or curb ramps. The Clovis Veterans Memorial District is specifically asking for a crosswalk and stop sign, and wants to install art along the trail.

Here’s that intersection today, the trail would be on the left side of the street.

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Of course I’ll post an update as soon as they release the plans for the trail connection.

What Fresno can learn from LA: Pedestrian Czar

I’ve mentioned before how in a lot of ways, Fresno tries to be the LA of 20 years ago. Unfortunately, that means mimicking failed policies that LA has thrown out the window. One mistake LA made was to ignore the pedestrian, but things have finally started to change.

LA recently hired a “pedestrian coordinator,” a person whose only job is to improve transportation for pedestrians. What’s interesting is that this person was not a traffic engineer, but someone with a much more varied background

Ocañas holds master’s degrees in both business and international
affairs from Columbia University, studied Mandarin in Singapore as a
Fulbright scholar and worked for Austin-based Dell Computers when it was
a scrappy startup. She has a nose for business, and it comes from an
inspired place. “I’m a Quaker — that’s how I was raised — and there’s
always been this element of social responsibility,” she says. “There’s
always been a slant in my professional career toward how to use finance
and economics and direct them toward a public good.”

Her economic sensibility allows Ocañas to convince hulking,
budget-challenged city agencies that L.A. should spend money humanizing
its streetscape. “Coming from the private sector, there’s a real demand
for analytically based ‘deliverables,’ ” she says, “so being very
comfortable in that data world really helps.”
LA Weekly Click to read more!

Chipping away at the Clovis trail system – again.

A few years ago, Clovis developed master plans for future residential areas of the city, namely the Harlan Ranch and Loma Vista areas. Both of these master plans required that all new development include a new trail system, and provide the necessary connections so that cyclists and pedestrians can use the trails for recreation and commuting. 

Most developers comply with the requirements and build the trails. They realize that it’s an important asset that will increase the value of their property and make their new homes easier to sell. Residents who move in expect that the planned trails will materialize.

Some developers, however, disagree. They care only about the shortest of terms, and request that the trail requirement be removed so that they can fit in one extra lot, or a larger backyard somewhere.

Sadly, the city is usually quick to agree to these changes, even when the developer wants to block existing trail connections with a masonry wall.

This month, another developer is at it again, and is requesting that their new subdivision not include any trail at all. Like usual, the city is ok with it, even though once these homes are built, the missing trail will be all but impossible to build in the future.This type of policy not only hurts future residents, but current residents who bought their homes with expectations that the master plan will be followed. 

Map showing the proposed trail link being eliminated, in the red bubble

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Image showing the existing trail was planned to continue straight….now it will just end. Existing homes to the north will lose a planned amenity.

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That’s not all – in the master plan, this property was zoned for high density residential (15.1-25 units per acre) and the developer asked for the city to change the zoning to medium density (4.1-7 units per acre). Of course, they got that change. So the developer wants to build suburban housing instead of apartments, AND they want to eliminate the path requirement? 

The item being discussed (PDF) goes before the planning commission on April 25th, which is open to the public if you want to speak against the change.

Incidentally, if you look at the previous image, notice something….even though everything you see here, the roads, houses, sidewalks etc were all built within the past 8 years, it was done wrong. The crosswalks don’t connect. Three curb ramps point diagonally and one only points in one direction. In all cases, pedestrians and cyclists must leave the crosswalk and enter the center of the intersection to cross the road.

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