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.

 photo DSC09859_zps7025a1a7.jpg

 photo DSC09860_zps82407879.jpg

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

 photo DSC09861_zps913a2924.jpg

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

I believe GV owns this?

 photo DSC09857_zpscbc2fe19.jpg

Across the road, the colors look a little better

 photo DSC09862_zps3c9b99c8.jpg

It makes a streetwall, but where are the trees?

 photo DSC09858_zps685a0e2d.jpg

Across the street, unsure what's going on here

 photo DSC09863_zps669c1cc1.jpg

 photo DSC09864_zps32145e95.jpg

Spacing between buildings

 photo DSC09866_zps05f076f9.jpg

 photo DSC09865_zpseb747d0c.jpg

I was curious if this beauty would remain...

 photo DSC09867_zps152947f4.jpg

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.

 photo 11277_670024129743072_641127700294790123_n_zpsb8e104a5.jpg

 photo DSC09879_zps0148bdd3.jpg

Installed directly in the way of course

 photo DSC09878_zps09dc3ad1.jpg

Ending the block...

 photo DSC09868_zps667e0bb6.jpg

 photo DSC09870_zpsa08d5d33.jpg

 photo DSC09871_zps208d39be.jpg

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

 photo DSC09872_zps2af9b7d2.jpg

 photo DSC09873_zpsbadf81a6.jpg

 photo DSC09874_zpsff3008c8.jpg

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.

 photo DSC09875_zps68f2637f.jpg

Anyway, looking towards the end

  photo DSC09876_zpsb8c0dece.jpg

 photo DSC09880_zps9443cad5.jpg

And looking back. Note the change in sidewalk again.

 photo DSC09882_zps27ccd8d0.jpg

And across the street.

 photo DSC09885_zps45a02d4a.jpg

 photo DSC09886_zps1f688d3c.jpg


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.

 photo DSC09889_zpsce2783d7.jpg

 photo DSC09888_zps567cfc25.jpg

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

 photo DSC09890_zps8000427b.jpg

 photo DSC09891_zps28844687.jpg

Good job city.

 photo DSC09893_zpsdd574afd.jpg

Surprised they actually managed to lease retail space

 photo DSC09894_zpsed324e9a.jpg

 photo DSC09901_zps498b2fbc.jpg

And the biggest absolute failure in the entire GV Urban catalog

 photo DSC09892_zps18769fe3.jpg

 photo DSC09895_zps752479c1.jpg

 photo DSC09896_zps3237bd10.jpg

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

 photo DSC09898_zps3d25c536.jpg

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

 photo DSC09899_zpsdded3baa.jpg

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

 photo DSC09900_zpsaf065d5c.jpg

 photo DSC09903_zps9495c472.jpg

 photo DSC09904_zps81168813.jpg


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

 photo DSC09906_zps2e14fbbc.jpg

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

 photo 10353638_674550292623789_4905035879300787960_n_zpsb198c19c.jpg

....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.

 photo distracted1_zpsf977cda5.png

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.

 photo distracted2_zps857823ea.jpg

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.

 photo distracted3_zps1aaae61d.jpg
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:

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:

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

 photo DSC09748_zps643b2e6d.jpg

 photo DSC09749_zpscbf36de4.jpg

Dry Creek indeed...

 photo DSC09750_zps2497cbdb.jpg

It's an interesting piece of trail architecture

 photo DSC09753_zps1d8492f6.jpg

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

 photo DSC09755_zps2ee5891c.jpg

 photo DSC09754_zpsc11334a6.jpg

 photo DSC09756_zpsdbe74a80.jpg

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

 photo DSC09757_zps2fd4062d.jpg

Looking backwards

 photo DSC09758_zps151cc146.jpg

We reach Shepherd which has wide sidewalks

 photo DSC09761_zps1ea21047.jpg

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

 photo DSC09762_zps87dd2c6a.jpg

 photo DSC09763_zpsac228137.jpg

 photo DSC09767_zpsa19935a5.jpg

 photo DSC09768_zps76985b9b.jpg

And then looking down Sunnyside

 photo DSC09769_zps97f92439.jpg

 photo DSC09771_zps2a8be0c6.jpg

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

 photo DSC09772_zpsf3992ff9.jpg

And this is what it will look like