Tag: herndon

FAX considering changes to several bus routes

For the first time in forever, Fresno Area Express (FAX) is seriously considering some pretty major changes to bus routes. This could include the much-needed Herndon route, and a bus line to the new Amazon and Ulta warehouses built in southwest Fresno. However, the new service comes at the expense of existing lines. In this post, I take a look at how FAX is getting the word out, and what those changes are.

Public Outreach

FAX has started holding public events and workshops on the proposed changed. This looks to be an extensive outreach effort, with the following pop-up events at bus stops throughout the system: Click to read more!

Is this new park the worst in Fresno?

A couple of months ago I went to visit Northwest Fresno to see the new Tesla Supercharger. It’s a part of town I rarely go to, so I made the effort to hit a few other spots and see the progress on bicycle trails and the like in the area.

I stopped by point 1 on the map below to see if there had been any progress on the Veteran’s Boulevard Trail, which was approved last July.

There wasn’t. Looked the same as it did 10 years ago.

Returning to Herndon, I drove up the street and while waiting for the traffic signal, point 2 in the above map caught my eye.

A park. With a playground. Brand new.

Built adjacent to a regional expressway with a 60mph design speed (50mph posted), 6 lanes of through traffic, and 3 turn lanes at intersections (for a grand total of 9-10 lanes at intersections).

Unfortunately, Google Satellite Image is over a year outdated as this point, so you can’t see the park or the new lanes, but you can see them taking shape.

Streetview caught the city hard at work widening away, which is not visible in the above image. The new park can be seen on the right.

One can never really have too many lanes.

The park itself is, well, it’s a Fresno park. Plenty of dead grass (we’re in a drought you know), modern, but boring play equipment, and trees that maybe in 20 years will provide shade.

I guess pleasant enough, except for the highway in the room.

Hard to miss.

Here’s the crosswalk for the newly widened residential street. Yes, residential street. Note the yellow crosswalks, which mean this is a school zone.

The new housing development across the street is what prompted the addition of even more turn lanes.

What is interesting about this neighborhood is that access is completely blocked off except on Herndon. To the north, a private country club. To the east, a railroad. So there are only two ways in and out, shown in green.

That’s not a huge surprise in Fresno. Some top tier circulation planning is at work.

However, the neighborhood was 90% developed before the new homes at the corner went in. Is the addition of those few homes really enough to warrant the addition of two new turning lanes at the intersection? I guess so.

But back to the park. Who would want to bring their kids here?

You don’t have to know anything about health to know that diesel fumes from trucks and heavy traffic is not good for you or your family. And yes, Herndon eastbound will be widened in the next couple of years, to 3.5 lanes.

Here’s a reminder of why this is bad:

Traffic-related air pollution is a main contributor to unhealthy
ambient air quality, particularly in urban areas with high traffic
volume. Within urban areas, traffic is a major source of local
variability in air pollution levels, with the highest concentrations and
risk of exposure occurring near roads. Motor vehicle emissions
represent a complex mixture of criteria air pollutants, including carbon
monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM), as
well as hydrocarbons that react with NOx and sunlight to form
ground-level ozone. Individually, each of these pollutants is a known or
suspected cause of adverse health effects (1–4). Taking into
consideration the entire body of evidence on primary traffic emissions, a
recent review determined that there is sufficient evidence of a causal
association between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and asthma
exacerbation and suggestive evidence of a causal association for onset
of childhood asthma, nonasthma respiratory symptoms, impaired lung
function, all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and
cardiovascular morbidity (5).
CDC Click to read more!

An Attempted Look at High Speed Rail Construction in North Fresno

Is 2016 finally =&0=&year for High Speed Rail (HSR) in California? Construction has been underway on the boring part for over a year now – relocation of utilities, and demolishing of abandoned buildings. However, for most people, that type of invisible work doesn’t count. It’s hard to tell if a hole being dug in a street is for HSR or one of 200 other possible reasons, after all. =&1=&

Fresno’s First Tesla Supercharger About to Open

In November I reported that Fresno was finally getting a Tesla Supercharger – high speed electric chargers that can “refuel” a Tesla in 30 minutes. Although originally scheduled for 2015, Tesla missed that goal, although it looks like they’re about ready to open up.

Let’s take a look:

The Supercharger is being installed at Herndon and CA-99, in a new shopping center anchored by Target.

Conveniently placed by plenty of electricity, see the green fence in the background?

Peeking over the fence, here’s what it looks like now, with 10 charging stalls (one didn’t fit in the shot):

Still some minor work left.

Up close:

Stepping back, you can see the site is currently fenced off. However, note that little shed? (Not the ATM)

There’s some heavy duty equipment inside:

Tesla puts these superchargers in shopping areas because while they’re faster than a standard plug (30 minutes vs 8 hours), it’s still much slower to charge than pump some gas. Tesla occupants need something to do while they wait.

Target is a hike across the asphalt.

Some other food places to the right:

And to the left:

My personal favorite, Robertito’s is at the far end of the center. A quick 5 minute walk which seems like miles in the endless burning hot asphalt (thinking of Fresno summers). Most Tesla drivers will probably drive to it and use the drive-thru.

There’s also a McDonald’s and Panda.

Note that Telsa superchargers only work with Tesla vehicles.

While the charger won’t be a huge help for Fresno residents, it will incentive more Tesla owners to use CA-99 rather than I-5 when coming up the valley, and hopefully stopping at more places than this soulless strip mall – such as downtown.

Speaking of soulless, I have another post coming up looking at how this shopping center and the new one on Friant do when it comes to bicycle parking.

Hint: Not well.

Fresno area trails to get a little bit longer

The Fresno area trail system is growing slowly, but every few months a new contract goes out to bid for a half mile or so here and another mile there.

A quick refresher on some recent construction:
Old Town Clovis Trail Gap Filled
New Clovis Trailhead 
Enterprise Trail Section

Here’s what has been approved this summer:


Veteran’s Boulevard Trail, between Hayes and Polk, approved 7/16/2015.

Here’s an interesting one. Veteran’s Boulevard is a long-planned 6 lane highway to cut diagonally across the west side of Fresno. It is currently scheduled to begin construction in 2020, but it looks like a small trail section, which will parallel the highway, will open sooner.

On the north end, it will terminate at Herndon and Polk. It will then follow the curving line of homes and reach Hayes, where a tiny segment has existed for at least a decade. The trail will be 12 feet wide and include lighting.

The dashed section is what will be built this fall. Solid green are existing sections.

 photo veterans1_zpspbygrbpy.png

Here is the southern end, connecting to the existing road

 photo veterans2_zpsar9c7ylk.png


Clovis has also just hired a consultant (Fehr and Peers) to develop an Active Transportation Plan to help increase walking and bicycling. The Clovis Bicycle master plan was last updated in 2011, so this would be published 5 years later. There will be two public meetings, dates to be announced. Hopefully the new plan is a bit more progressive than the last one, which  as focused only on recreation. (But to be fair, many miles of it has been built).


This last bit of news is from May, but I did not post about it previously.

Swearengin’s 2016 budget aims to keep the momentum going. Among the budget’s highlights:

Construction of more than three miles of new trails, including two grant-funded projects to build the first segment of the Bankside Trail on Shields Avenue between First and Fresno streets.
Fresno Bee

Shields has sub-standard sidewalks and inconsistent bike lanes which only exist at random intervals. The trail is proposed to run adjacent to the canal. Here the canal is dry, although it usually carries water. I am not sure on what side of the canal it will run, but I would guess closest to the road.

 photo veterans3_zpsk2d17upu.png

When finished in many years, it will make for a good crosstown options, and also a recreational opportunity for a section of the city with limited park space.

My big question is, do they have plans for crossing 41 and 168? It was criminal to build these highways with onramps that make walking and bicycling in the area extremely dangerous.

And on a random note, a friendly comment let me know that Caltrans has released their bicycle guide for the Central Valley.

Did you know that you can bike on I-5 over the Grapevine? I did not! In fact all of I-5 is open to bikes in the valley.

The guide is 99% about where you can and cannot bike on state highways, and you can download it here: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist6/planning/docs/BicycleGuide.pdf

Small Gap in Herndon Bike Path to be Filled

There’s a small improvement coming to the Fresno bike network.

As everyone from Fresno is well aware, if you’re in the north part of town, Herndon is the only way to go east or west…if you have a car. 6 lanes of 50mph traffic might get you across quickly in a motor vehicle, but it’s an obstacle by bike. Sure, it’s legal to bike on Herndon, but no one would ever actually do it.

The streets to the north of Herndon are calm and quiet…but they don’t really connect. You can always go south, but that’s a .5 mile detour just to get to the next road.

The city is attempting to solve this issue by creating a multi-use path on the north side of the avenue. Why wasn’t it built when the six lanes of asphalt were? I don’t know. But for now, every year some money trickles in which is used to fill in gaps.

This time, it’s for the gap between Fruit and Palm.

Here’s what the path does west of Palm.

 photo herndon1_zps72410a8a.png
And here’s what the path does east of Fruit

 photo herndon2_zps9a601b11.png

According to this resolution (PDF), $260,000 will buy about .3 miles of trail. The cost seems very high to me, but it’s in line with what Clovis paid for a trail expansion earlier this year.

Once this is done, one will be able to bike comfortably along Herndon from Ingram to Marks, which is 2.5 miles.

For the longest time – traffic signal fail

I’ve been planning on writing a post about how building bigger streets can actually slow down traffic. A central point of that post will be how bigger roads require lengthier traffic signal cycles.

I got lucky, or shall I say, unlucky, the other day as I found myself driving home and yet again getting stuck at Herndon and Fowler. Mind you, it’s not really luck. As I’ll talk about later, the wider the road, the more likely you’ll get red….

There is a signal here that is not working properly, and while I reported it to the city back in January (the 7th), no change was made.

Basically, the signal operates on rush hour timing at all times during the day, instead of reverting to sensor/demand mode at night.

I decided to finally document the frustration that comes with this signal. I had my camera with me, and I came to a full stop, pulled it out and began filming. So note that I, on Herndon (the 6 lane, 50mph major road), had red for at least ten seconds prior to the start of this video.

Take special note of the amount of cars that cross this intersection during my seemingly endless wait.

(Warning: Radio music is slightly loud at first. Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time” would be better I’d think)

That’s a hell of a wait. Watch the whole thing, and I promise you;ll smile at one point.

At 1am, or whenever this video was taken, the wait is absurd, and a waste of time and gas.

But now imagine this same wait during the day, with 20, 30 or more cars on Herndon just sitting there, enjoying the cycle.

Doesn’t seem like the best way to manage traffic, does it?

I’ll have the full post next week.

A frontage road with a frontage road…?

I was using Google Maps the other day to find the location of an office, as I had a medical appointment to get to. The office was located off Herndon, a street Fresno has developed into a limited access highway. There are no driveways or mid-block turns on Herndon, the only way on and off are at intersections .5 miles apart. So to get to the medical office, I was looking to see the best intersection to turn off.

That’s when I noticed something quite odd, and very wasteful. A triple road.

Sections of Herndon were developed with a “frontage road” which is where all the driveway entrances are, and where street parking is allowed. This isn’t surprising, as Fresno has many frontage roads. I’ve always thought them to be a waste of space and money, but oh well. Mind you, as far as I can tell, frontage roads are a thing of the past and are no longer being developed.

A common frontage road off Herndon

What caught my eye is a locations where there is Herndon, a frontage road (no name)…and then another road! Three parallel roads! And three medians!

I know land is cheap here, but come on!


And then behind those 5 homes? An alley. That’s a whole lot of road space. Those homes must be really important if their driveways need a private frontage road, and an alley buffer in the back.

Here’s a useless comparison, but one way to think about how space can be allocated.

The distance between the edge of Herndon and that alley, where they’ve just managed to squeeze in a few homes, is 423 ft


Which is much more than what the empire state building and the two streets that serve it take up.


Clovis sprawls north, wonders how to revitalize south

As I mentioned yesterday, Clovis is holding community meetings on ways to revitalize the Shaw corridor. Today, I will discuss the problems facing Shaw. Before attending the meeting, I was baffled about how they’re being held just weeks after development began on a massive new commercial center just two miles north. I wondered if those in charge were failing to draw the connection between approving new development elsewhere and the abandonment of existing retail corridors. =&0=&