Monday, August 25, 2014

A picture review of the latest from GV Urban

So I took these pictures back in May. And this is how long it's taken me to finally get around to this post... Better late than never right? I hope you enjoy.

I'll start with the Crichton Place project, built on L and San Joaquin. I last posted about these in January, when they were still wooden frames.These pictures were taken shortly before they opened at the end of June. Obviously, they have landscaping now.

We start off here, not too much to say, aside from the standard too-narrow sidewalk.

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Not my favorite color scheme, but Fresno seems to love it.

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Moving back a second, this is the property off frame in the first photo

I believe GV owns this?

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Across the road, the colors look a little better

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It makes a streetwall, but where are the trees?

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Across the street, unsure what's going on here

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Spacing between buildings

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I was curious if this beauty would remain...

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A look at their Facebook page reveals that the lighting was indeed replaced with the historic crap.  Why crap? This design shines light into the sky, and into bedrooms, rather than onto the sidewalk and street where it's needed.

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Installed directly in the way of course

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Ending the block...

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We go around the corner and find the entrance to cars land

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These guys came to see what all the point and shooting was about. I'm thankful that they didn't actually say anything. They're well within their right to come and look at me, and I'm glad they were apparently trained to not harass people not on the property. Good job guys.

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Anyway, looking towards the end


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And looking back. Note the change in sidewalk again.

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And across the street.

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Now we head over to 1612 Fulton, which has been done for quite some time, but I last took pictures in June of 2013, also right before it opened. Here's what a year of activity looks like.

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Somehow the city managed to never stripe a crosswalk here, and actually make the stop line placement worse.

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Good job city.

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Surprised they actually managed to lease retail space

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And the biggest absolute failure in the entire GV Urban catalog

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It was obvious this was going to happen. And the city allowed this crap.

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And this is the alley GV Urban couldn't be bothered to use for access

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Anyway, moving back to the front, the Fulton frontage is quite nice. Balconies add a cool effect, and look, trees

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Anyway, GV has another project, on Broadway. Back in May it looked like this.

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According to their Facebook page, it now looks like this, and will be called "Brio on Broadway"

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....So that shouldn't have taken so long to post. But now it's been posted! Yay.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Now you can help fund the future of distracted driving!

Last week, I ran across an article at Engadget about a new crowd-funded product that the tech world is excited about. Thanks to the magic of cookies, the product has followed me to my Facebook timeline in the form of an ad, which reminded me to write this post.

They're talking about Navdy, a product that makes you "feel like you're driving in the future," or at least a future where distracted driving is taken to new and exciting frontiers.

What the product does is project information from your phone onto your windshield. Some of that information is relevant to driving, such as map navigation, and possibly in the future parking information from SF Park. The rest? Not so much.

Apparently driving is so boring that drivers cannot resist texting and checking emails for the duration of their trip. Navdy comes to the rescue by blowing up your text messages onto your windshield so you don't have to deal with the monotony of driving by instead engaging in a titillating text-based conversation.

The worst part is that this group of entrepreneurs is trying to pitch this as a way to PREVENT distracted driving. Their reasoning is that drivers won't be looking down at their laps, but will continue to look forward.

Their video says "you need your eyes in front of you - you need Navdy" 

Problem is, that's not how distraction works.

On their website, they contrast two images. The first, shows a phone in full sharpness, with the world around it blurred away.

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Right on; when you're focused on your phone, you're not focused on the road.

But then when they show their product, the whole world is clear when the person is reading their text.

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But that's not how our brains work. When we're focused on reading text, the world in the background may TECHNICALLY continue to be perfectly clear (as our eyes aren't limited in focusing like cameras are), but that doesn't mean our brain is processing it. In reality, it's just as blurred because we've stopped paying attention to everything but the text. Go ahead, look at the image above and read the message - that's all you really see.

As another common example, have you ever been reading a book, newspaper or report, and not noticed someone walk up to you, directly in your eye line, until they made a noise, thus startling you?

They may have been in your field of vision. Your eyes might have even seen them. But that doesn't mean your brain did. They were ignored - it simply wasn't processed because you cared more about the text in your book.

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Even a dragon might go unseen if the text is demanding our full attention



It will be the same for drivers. Just because the text message and the pedestrian are in the same line of sight, doesn't mean they will both be seen.

Incidentally, the image they chose isn't doing them any favors.  A cable car where passengers get on and off in the street, two cyclists, a  truck, an intersection... Does the driver really need to be making coffee plans?

The website has a fun video showing you how exciting this product is. But when you watch it, look at the speaker's eyes. At minute 1:20, the demonstration shows how this device can read your texts to you, so you don't have to read it yourself, but the eyes give it away - even with audio, the driver is focused on the device, and not the road. 

Also from the video: Of course it's safe! That's what pilots use! Please. Aside from the fact that pilots are limited to important navigational information, not twitter, they don't exactly have to worry about a pedestrian or cyclist crossing in front of them. It's a ridiculous comparison.

Navdy may be safer than having a phone in your lap and looking down at it, but it doesn't mean it's a huge improvement. In fact, by making the distractions even more accessible, it might just mean more dangerous results. When your phone vibrates, you can choose to ignore it. When your new message pops into your windshield, showing that restraint becomes a little more difficult.

The team behind it knows that they're playing in a grey area.

"In our interpretation, it's a transparent image, and it doesn't obstruct your view," Simpson says. "The laws that apply to us are about stickers and tinted windows, not HUDs." Navdy hopes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will ultimately say HUDs are a good thing since they let people view data without looking away from what's in front of them.
The Verge
Hopefully the NHTSA sees otherwise, as we can assume they'll run real tests, and not marketing hypotheticals. Sadly, that agency moves slower than the Muni F-line, so it's likely thousands of these things will be on the road well before a ruling comes out.

That being said, at $499, cost might slow things down faster than the feds will.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

One week remains to comment on Fresno general plan update

All the information you need is on this page, but a quick summary here.

  • Last general plan update was November 2012
  • This proposed one is controversial because developers dislike how it mentions focusing on infill vs sprawl 
  • The draft General Plan is available for a 45-day public review period commencing on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 and ending on Monday, August 18, 2014
The middle point is why public comment may actually be important. Don't let the developers sabotage the plan, let the city know you support infill development. 

Mind you, the developers have already managed to water it down:

"The Council's modified (plan) shifted more development to single-family housing and with more focus on growth west and southwest of State Route 99, but maintained a strong commitment to Downtown and major corridor revitalization, Complete Neighborhoods, and more compact development."

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/07/28/4044808/editorial-fresnos-2035-general.html#storylink=cpy

The Bee strongly endorses a plan that moves away from sprawl

If you care about Fresno's future and having a development guide that attempts to rebuild older, deteriorating neighborhoods and finally apply the brakes to urban sprawl, you should support this plan.
Fresno Bee


Also, if you like maps and data, the plan is fun to look at.

This is the direct download link (large PDF) 

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/07/28/4044808/editorial-fresnos-2035-general.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Quick look at new trailhead construction in Clovis

It's embarrassing how long it has taken me to get these pictures up, but I'm almost done! What that means is that construction will be much further along than noted, but thee pictures give a good idea of the space being taken up.

I'm talking about a new trailhead being built for the Dry Creek Trail, and eventually (maybe), the Enterprise trail.

This map shows the existing Dry Creek Trail in blue, and the enterprise trail in purple. The dotted section has a property in the way, so we may be looking at 10+ years for that to happen.


The trailhead parcel is quite large



We start across the canal

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Dry Creek indeed...

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It's an interesting piece of trail architecture

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Sadly, because neighbors complained, the park is walled in!

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This is part of the canal access road, and not the trail

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Looking backwards

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We reach Shepherd which has wide sidewalks

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This will be a meandering trail sidewalk, rather than against the roadway

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And then looking down Sunnyside

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This canal access road gets you to the existing Enterprise Trail. Crosswalk? Of course not

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And this is what it will look like