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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Work underway at GV Urban's Met Block development

Way back in February of 2013, GV Urban went before the city with their newest apartment proposal. The plan involved building up the Met Block, named after the old Met Museum. The block is between Van Ness and Fulton, and between Calaveras and Stanislaus.



The plan involved keeping the Met (top corner) and restoring the only other building left standing, on the left.

Problem was, the plan sucked. GV Urban proposed sticking in the exact same template they've built five other times downtown, but this time with a hideous façade.



For quite possibly the first time ever, the city pushed back against GV Urban. Aside from the ugly façade, the city was concerned that such a prominent block should break GV's 3-story barrier, as to match the height of the Met.

 photo met1_zpsf76044a8.png

So the project went quiet for over a year, at least in the public eye.

Two weeks ago, the Downtown Fresno Blog posted that work had begun, and included this picture:

 photo met1_zps5fcd6cdb.jpg

That caught me off guard. I had expected to see a new proposal go through the planning board...

And indeed one had, back in May (massive PDF). Looks like I missed that meeting.

So what changed?

Almost nothing. Looks like GV Urban gets their way, again. The site plan is almost identical to what was presented in 2013. That plan included destroying a public park to replace it with private parking and an indoor courtyard. Classic Fresno. The public alley will also be privatized.



The diagram above is from last year, but is easier to see than the updated version, which to my eyes, is identical. It includes:

12 two-story triplex buildings
4 three-story fiveplex buildings
3 three-story mixed use

Total = 85 units 

As for the concern about heights? Not addressed. The buildings still top out at 3 stories, except now it looks just a wee bit taller, thanks to slightly more pitch on the roofs. And the hideous façade? Well, it sort of appears slightly less terrible.

 photo met2_zps156799d4.png

 photo met3_zpsf96bb19e.png

I'm assuming Granville pulled the "you let us do what we want or you get nothing at all" card and the city caved.

While it's great to see another 100+ people moving downtown, it's a shame they're doing so in such a mediocre project, especially on such a significant block.

On the plus side, the construction is so cheap that no developer will hesitate to knock it down in 20 years to build something better.



 On a completely different subject...

In May I also missed Brandau killing yet another road diet project, while voting yes on every road widening and traffic signal project possible. 

5 comments:

  1. How on earth do they justify parking for about 50,000 vehicles...?

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  2. Hey James i couldnt figure out how to get in touch with u so I decided to leave a comment so here goes....Y is it that seema like everytime I drive n LA mostly DTLA, I always seem to have a near miss with a pedestrian crossing the street with a "walk" sign while I have a general green light and Im turing Left?? Seems like LA doesnt have enuf "leading lefts" with a green left turn arrow??? I never have this prob while driving n Fresno. Is it bcuz Fresno has alot more "leading lefts" with green left turn arrows? Or is it that I dont notice the pedestrians too much bcuz not too many people walk n this city!?? Please help bcuz I need to get to the bottom of this.

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    Replies
    1. Sure. If I understand correctly, you're talking about protected left turns, which Fresno is addicted to, but are less common in LA. Every year there are less and less traffic signals in Fresno that don't offer a left turn signal.

      The reason Fresno loves them is safety, As long as people obey the signals, nobody crashes.

      Why doesnt LA have them? Well, theres a tradeoff. When you add a signal for left turns only, youre taking away green time for everyone else. That is, if you have a standard intersection with 2 streets, you can do one way for 28 seconds, the other for 28 seconds, and 4 seconds for all red (a safety feature). So every minute, you get 28 seconds of green. Thats 47% of the time you get green, 53% of the time you get red.

      Say you add left turn signals in every direction.
      10 seconds left
      28 seconds green
      2 seconds red
      10 seconds left
      28 seconds green
      2 seconds red

      So now getting through a single cycle takes 80 seconds. So if youre going straight, now you get 28 seconds of green every 80 seconds, or 35% of the time, youre looking at green, and 65% of the time, youre looking at red. Odds are, when you reach the intersection, it will be red.

      So adding a protected left is safer, but you get a red light more of the time, causing more delay (and impatient drivers)

      Or to put that in video form, it leads to this crap...
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y35SCsF59Qg&list=UU9nRQLqP7KY_5VWKhuiCtaQ

      And if you think of pedestrians, in the first example, you never have to wait more than 32 seconds for green. In the second example, if you just miss the signal, you might have to wait a whole 52 seconds to get a walk signal! People dont want to wait that long, so more people jaywalk.

      Optimal solution? Ben left turns. That means you get the safety AND and shorter cycles, but some people have to take a longer trip. That would work in places like downtown Fresno and LA where the blocks are small, but not in north fresno where going aroudn the block means an extra mile. Politically though, that's hard...

      Also, theres one more reason why LA has so few protected left turns (aside from a policy choice)... simply, they have more older lights. Drive around south Fresno and youll see many more signals without left turn phases because they were installed 50+ years ago. In north Fresno, all new signals have left turn arrows by default.

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  3. Hmmmm wooow intersting James. Thanks for the clarification. So I guess the main reason LA doesnt have protected lefts is for "Flow of traffic". The only time I can recently recall going through a unprotected left turn was goin south on Van Ness and making a left turn onto Ventura. Geeze. Just the little thing I think about lol. I thouroughly enjoy your blog. Wish you would post more often. But im sure you have alot on your plate.

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    Replies
    1. Some of the last signals in "north" Fresno without left turns are on west shaw.

      But yes, Ventura, Butler, Tulare etc still have many due to their age.

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