Monday, September 12, 2011

Fresno has a secret bike/ped path

Alternate title: I've built a new trail for Fresno!

Multi-use trails aren't exactly the most common thing to find. Most cities treat them as recreational tools, and so they're one of the first things to be cut during times of hard budgets. And since the budget is always tough, we find ourselves with a very slow growing network. In reality, while they do serve as scenic leisure rides and walks, trails can also work as highways for people on bikes, and shortcuts for those on foot.

Because they're uncommon compared to the endless roads and sidewalks, you would think that a city would want to highlight a trail in the city. After all, even if they only see it as a recreational asset, it's still something worth promoting, isn't it?

Which is why I find it odd that Fresno has a nice trail but the city doesn't seem to acknowledge that it exists, even while promoting use of other existing trails.

Let's look at the Fresno-Clovis bike-trail network.

Description below
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In dark blue is the longest and best trail, known as the Fresno-CLovis rail trail or the Sugar Pine trail. Leading off from it, in lighter blue, is the Dry Creek Trail.

In bright red, at the top of the map is the Lewis Easton trail, heading north from Woodward park along the San Joaquin river.

In the south side of the city, in wine-red is the Mckenzie trail.

I've marked two trails in pink on the left side of the map. One, going north-south is the Van Ness trail, which was built many years ago, and has not been kept up, so it's not very usable. The east-west line in pink is along Herndon. It's brand new, but is being built extremely slowly in unconnected segments, making it impossible to use for transportation. Basically, these trails do not count.






So as you can see, while trails exist, there aren't that many.

But there is one more.

Can you see it? Google didn't mark it as a trail. (It would be in dark green, light green are bike lanes)

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The Fresno-Clovis bike map (from 2007) doesnt show anything.

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How about the 2010 Bike Master Plan, which was reviews by city officials, members of the pubic, and bicycle interest groups? (Dark green are trails, purple are bike lanes)

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Nothing. The master plan even provides a zoomed in map of the area..

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Nope.

I finally did find a document showing the path. Parts of it anyway, not the whole thing. In the Bike Master Plan, under "proposed network" which includes fantasy projects, we finally see some of the existing trail. Some, but not all.

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We've finally found it!


It's quite easy to find on satellite.

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Now, I know what you're thinking. The plan was from 2010, clearly this is just brand new.

Lets use the google time machine.

4/25/2011

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5/2/2004

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And the most we can go back is 8/16/1998

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So yeah, clearly not new.

The next assumption might be "it's not suitable for bikes"

But it appears to have been designed for bikes.

You'll note that it's around 10 feet wide, use the car as a comparison point

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10 feet is more than enough space for a shared path.

Here you see that the trail connects to road, not sidewalk

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And it's even designed for two way traffic.

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So I've gone ahead and added it to google maps. And because I discovered the trail, it shall hereby be known as the "Great James Trail of Fresno"

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Enjoy your new trail folks, lots of time and effort went into drawing those green lines on Google maps. 1.5 miles of new trail isn't cheap or easy, but I've done it.

5 comments:

  1. Nice detective work. I need to find similar missing trails in San Diego

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  2. As long as google maps keeps updating with clear aerial images, it's easy to spot hidden features like this. I've found a few hidden parks that weren't visible from the map overlay.

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  3. no clue if you'll respond to this, but is there any way you could give the coordinates or share a pin? your photobucket links are broken and it'd be nice to ride this trail!

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    1. Thank you for letting me know! You cant see any of the images?

      The trail Im referring to can be seen here:
      https://goo.gl/maps/nzLq7noZ8QP2

      It is now 90% visible on Google Maps

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  4. For one year, I went to the elementary school that is next to this path. That was during the 1988-1989 school year, and the path was already there. It has been there for at least ten years longer than your map shows. I don't recall it being wide enough for a shared trail, but it has been a good five years since I ran on it. However, I believe you have it running through an alley on the turn, and that isn't a through street to Fresno (yes, I know it looks like it on the map, an apartment complex has it blocked off). So, basically you discovered a short sidewalk, that everyone who has had an association with Lincoln Elementary has known about for year.

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