Mark your calendars for June! There's exciting news for fans of the most important trail in the Fresno area. I'm talking about the Sugarpine/Old Town Trail which runs from River Park in Fresno, up to Shepherd, down through Old Town Clovis, and then ends south of Sierra Vista Mall.
The trail has had a missing link through Old Town, where the old railroad was turned into a parking lot. In that section, the trail mysteriously vanishes, and trail users must find there way to the next section through a local street.
While the local road isn't particularity problematic for experienced trail users, there is absolutely no way-finding signage. Those not familiar with the trail may assume it just ends there. There are also no intersection treatments, and lighting is poor.
This post has an on the ground perspective.
This summer, the gap will finally be filled. I had previously suggested a cycle-track along the road, which would be a cheap way to add infrastructure.
Clovis will essentially be building this proposal, but with a sidewalk extension, which puts cyclists on a different level from the road. That's even better.
The more permanent engineering is also the reason this project has been moving so slowly. Extending the sidewalk messes with drainage, and that means more engineering is needed. It also means digging, which will require utility relocation.
Here's what the plan looks like (it is not final, but don't expect many changes). North is to the right.
As you can see, the treatment is almost the same as my beautiful MS Paint sketch above. Trail users will cross at the existing raised crosswalk, and then the sidewalk will be extended to the east.
An interesting design treatment is a row of trees that has been proposed in the middle of the trail. This will help beautify the street and also work as a division between trail users going north and side.
The city has marked that they will be installing a ramp at the 4th Street intersection. I am glad to see this, as many of the intersections the trail goes through lack such a basic feature. In fact, when I talked to the city, they said they weren't sure about it. There should be no question about adding a ramp. Under California law, crosswalks exist at every T-intersection. Not installing a ramp isn't just a huge hassle for cyclists, wheelchair users and those with strollers - it's an ADA lawsuit I am confident the city would lose.
I've raised a concern that the proposed ramp looks way too narrow for comfortable bike usage, and the city promised to take a look at it.
The project also lacks lighting at the crosswalks on both ends, which is a serious omission, and a major safety concern. I have also asked the city to consider adding lights over the crosswalks as the area is very dark at night.
On the northern end of the project, the trail will be extended on the north side of 3rd street. While the plan doesn't show it, a painted crosswalk is planned.
It will be exciting to see this project finally move forward this year. Construction is expected to start in June and proceed through the summer.