Number 12 in the Transport in a Fine Fix Series.
Motor vehicles traveling north and south on Fulton Street through the historic Fresno Fulton Mall are to return. A Fresno judge blocked a local advocacy group’s attempt to keep cars and trucks and what-not from transiting through on the portion of the pedestrian promenade that presently traverses the mall. (See story and details here). It makes no sense that allowed on and through the iconic (symbolic) mall that Fulton is, would be motorized traffic, which the venue is currently cut off from.
I first brought the information to bear here in Sept. 2013 in: “Fulton Mall to get polluting cars; what is Fresno, fed thinking?!”
- On Friday, Sept. 6th, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx pays Fresno and the Mall a visit, presenting the city a federal check for almost $16 million.
- Money will be put toward $20 million Fulton Street do-over on the Mall’s six blocks between Inyo and Tuolumne streets.
A vision of Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is to open the mall to traffic; part of the plan to revitalize Fulton Mall and downtown.
Fulton Mall, when finished in 1964, ushered in the era of American outdoor pedestrian malls.
In that Sept. 6, 2013 post, meanwhile, I offered: “In its current form, the six-block-long mall is a pedestrian-and-bicycle-only venue and first opened in the mid-1960s. However, subsequent to the mall’s completion, area developers turned their attention northward and with that a mall left bereft of sufficient patronage, resulting in the venue falling on economic hard times and it has been that way since.”
But, I also argued: “When it comes to transportation in Fresno, the car is king, obviously. So, quite honestly, it comes as no surprise really that in an attempt to cure the Fulton Mall of its modern-day affliction, adding the motor vehicle element as catalyst to try to boost mall business and patronage and in the process alter its pedestrian-and-bicycle-only orientation, is what is presently being pursued and hence the federal cash contribution.”
As it relates and as long as the automobile continues to be promoted at the expense of more environmentally sensible means of mobility and travel, especially in an area with some of the country’s worst air pollution, how is the community and region ever going to comply with San Joaquin Valley, California and federal ozone and fine particulate matter standards mandates? My thought: It won’t.
So, what would prove to be a more environmentally sound resolution?
Right off the bat I can think of several.
Adding a substantial downtown residential component will enable a sizable amount of area sidewalk foot traffic, though, please note, this type of inner-city development has been very slow-going.
Next, with presumably hordes of pedestrians pounding downtown pavements, new entertainment, office, professional and retail venues to name a few, most likely would follow.
Finally, updated, accessible, affordable, safe, efficient, frequent, high-quality if not high-capacity public transit having an extensive reach will not just go far to provide downtown residents with a viable means with which to frequent venues beyond the downtown periphery, but such as well would do much to give area suburbanites more flexibility when it comes to moving about the entire city, and that includes the central business district, thus allowing for a greater coalescing of two parts of the community that, right now, seem as disparate as disparate can be.
In rounding out the discussion I’ll repeat what I earlier wrote in “Fulton Mall to get polluting cars; what is Fresno, fed thinking?!” because I believe it is still fitting: “Cars on the Mall: Is there something I’m missing here?”