Sunday, February 8, 2015

Old Town Clovis Bike Trail Missing Gap Complete!

I've been wanting to share these exciting pictures for some time now, but had serious internet issues at home that caused my picture uploads to keep failing. Fortunately the internet company has finally fixed the problem. The pictures are no longer hot off the presses, but they're still very exciting, and I haven't seen any pictures posted elsewhere.


The longest bike trail in the Fresno area runs from Riverpark, up along Shepherd, and then down across Clovis, ending south of Sierra Vista Mall. It's a great recreational asset, a lot of fun to ride, and great for commuting too. It's known as the Sugar Pine Trail and also the Old Town Trail.

Originally it was a rail line, which is why it cuts across town. Sadly, at some point after the rail line was abandoned, and before the bike trail was built, Clovis allowed a parking lot to be built across the right of way near Old Town. That meant that for over a decade, there was a gap in the trail.

The gap wasn't particularly onerous - a two block detour on a quiet street with bike lanes. Unfortunately, there was zero signage indicating that the trail continued, and while the bike lanes were fine for me, they're a no-go for many riders. Not too many families riding with kids on training wheels would be comfortable on an on-street bike lane.



You can find an extensive picture review I did of the previous conditions here.

The gap before, this is where the path suddenly ended coming from the south:



What you had to do at the southern end:




Northern end was much worse:


The solution was obvious. I made these in 2012.




And that's almost exactly what they built!

In September 2013, the city approved plans to build a connection.

In April 2014, the plans were released.


Construction happened during the fall.  Overall, the trail looks great, except for one very significant flaw...Let's take a look!

Riding from the south, we approach the area...

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 Almost there...

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And there it is! The old crosswalk stays the same, but now the trail continues beyond. Oddly, the building that was on the lot has disappeared.

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Visibility continues to be poor approaching the crosswalk though, but that was always the case:

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And there we go. Unlike other sections of trail, here they decided to separate the two directions of travel with trees and lights. It's a shared space, also used as a sidewalk. However, aside from Big Hat Days and Rodeo Days, one never finds people on the sidewalk here, so conflicts won't be an issue. 

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Good, wide ramp.

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New lights...don't really fit any scheme though. odd choice.

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Benches and trash cans added in center area

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One still needs to be careful on the trail due to driveway crossings

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Water fountain is conveniently between both travel directions. Also, make note of how close the lights are to each other. Near the end of the post, I have pictures of them at night. 

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I wasn't the only user

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Halfway down, there's a T-intersection. The good news is, they DID built one ramp. The bad news is, they only built one, and decided not to paint a crosswalk. The current planning/engineering team at Clovis does not believe in crosswalks, and actually removed three on Clovis Avenue.

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Stepping back, you can see they built a bulb out for the crosswalk

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Ramp is fine, but no crosswalk

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The other crosswalk, not so good

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 The other side of the street got sidewalk extensions as well, but they couldn't be bothered to orient the ramps properly

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Continuing on...

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They built the path right up to the existing building. However, see those garage doors?

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Apparently they're not used, as the curb cuts were eliminated!

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Now we get to 3rd street, where a new crossing was built, and yes, a painted crosswalk. However, they installed that idiotic sign that contradicts state law (traffic is required to stop for crosswalk users).

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Brief detour...

They used the opportunity to modernize the other ramp, and add some landscaping. Sadly, they didn't bother to orient the ramp in the proper direction, as requested (but not required) by ADA

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Even the area across the street saw some substantial addition, and the road was made narrower!

Compare before (use utility pole as reference to width)

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and now

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Shame the utility poles weren't removed.

Ahem, back to the brand new crossing...

There's new signage for drivers, and you can see the road narrow on both sides

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But they really should have used zebra striping, as recommended by modern design guidelines. The transverse lines are barely visible.

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The turn is rather sharp, but there is space, and the ramp is well built. Very wide.

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There is one, very, very serious problem with the crossing though.

Remember all the lights on the trail? Yeah, none here. Zero lights for the road crossing, in any direction. It's recklessly irresponsible design, and I have some pictures at the end showing it at night. Any pedestrian or cyclist attempting to cross here after dark will be invisible.

Anyway, the new trail continues on this side of the road

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And connects with where the trail used to suddenly end right here (you can see the different concrete patterns).

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The trail continues for many miles that way...

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Looking back, the trail used to spit you out here

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And also looking back, we see the crossing from the other direction

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So overall, the new trail connection looks very good. Attractive, wide, plenty of amenities, and connects properly in both directions. The driveways are a big shame, and one needs to be careful, but heavens forbid the city lose parking spots for the trail where the right of way used to be. It would be nice to see additional signage at the driveways to warn motorists, but I don't see it being a big issue.

Except for that one potentially fatal flaw: zero lighting at the new crosswalk.

Let's take a look at the trail at night. The main trail itself is very well lit, much more so than any other section of the trail actually.(Pictures taken on automatic settings, no manipulation on computer).

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From across the street: 

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Unfortunately the lights point up. This contributes to light pollution and creates shadows below it, which is a poor purchasing choice. However, the lights are still better than any other trail section in the county.

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The crosswalk on 4th (the t-intersection) has a streetlight, so the lighting is ok.

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But now we reach the crosswalk for 3rd. See any difference?

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Lets take a step back to compare that again...

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Look where the lighting ends...right where it's needed most!

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Seriously?

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The section of trail on 3rd has zero lighting too

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Until you get to the little rest area (was there before)

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Incidentally, this is how most of the existing trail is lit. There are lights, but set way too far apart.This is an existing section of trail from before.

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....but the real problem is where the cars are

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Extremely dangerous.

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I keep forgetting to write to the city, but I will to see how they plan on fixing this. I encourage others to do the same.The new trail is great, but the lack of lights at the crosswalk ruins it.

The worst part is, I did mentioned this to the city back in 2013, when the plans were still in design. They said they would "look into it".

3 comments:

  1. A future opportunity exists for Clovis to improve that 3rd Street crossing.

    In your picture showing the stop sign at the 3rd street crosswalk, the buildings across the street (the taxidermy shop and old barn) are the land recently purchased for a new Clovis library, senior center, and transit center.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/12/05/4271620_new-library-senior-center-transit.html

    The problem is it will be several years before those projects will be built.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice pics. I like seeing new infrastructure. It seems though that Clovis, or PG&E, is still using the 5000k blue rich leds in their street lights.Given it's odd blue color, it's not the most inviting light. It's a dissapointent on my end. I had recommended Clovis use warm white LED street lights some time ago, and it looks like they're still going with the blue rich lights.

    ReplyDelete
  3. James,
    I have tried to locate a means of sending you an email but have been unsuccessful. I would like to visit with you about a blog post you did on Paul Gilchrist and Farmers Market a few years back. I am not sure if this will provide a means of you contacting me so if you can send an email to daveg(at)buzinessasusual.com with a way to reach you, it will be very much appreciated.
    I wasn't aware of your blog until I started searching for the information I needed and gotta say dude; GREAT JOB. Nice perspective and great presentations. I am going to sign up and begin reading your stuff.
    Dave G

    ReplyDelete