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Chapter 7: Palm Avenue

The City of Fresno received a $1.4 million Active Transportation Program Quick Build grant to install Class IV separated bikeways, also known as cycle tracks, on segments of Palm Avenue and Belmont Avenue.  After the protected bikeways are installed on Palm Avenue, the proposed Palm Avenue crosstown ride will begin on Belmont Avenue and wind its way through established neighborhoods such as the Tower District and the Fresno High School neighborhood and end at Dakota Avenue.  Ideally it will connect with the San Joaquin River Parkway and with other bike paths in Clovis.

There are few protected bikeways in Fresno, and hopefully this is the beginning of things to come.  The bikeway will offer riders added protection from motorists and will stretch nearly 13 miles from downtown Fresno to the San Joaquin River Parkway if and when it is completed.  Whether it gets completed depends on getting additional funding, County sign-off on a stretch of Palm Avenue in a County island between Shields and Shaw Avenues, and the concurrence of residents along the proposed route.

As envisioned, the project would reduce vehicular travel lanes from four to two and a center turn lane.  The older streets in Fresno tend to be narrower and, thus, do not provide enough room for the creation of a protected bikeway for bicyclists without removing travel lanes.  The bikeway will have flexible posts every 8 feet that will separate bicyclists from traffic.  Critics of the bikeway say that reducing the number of lanes will severely restrict traffic and reduce traffic speed, but proponents of the bikeway say that reducing traffic speed will make the route safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.  

“Cities across the state offer cyclists protected bikeways that add an extra layer of protection for riders and drivers,” City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria said in a news release.  “As the fifth-largest city in the state of California, Fresno should already be at the forefront in providing a safe experience for our cyclists.  This project will connect the north and south parts of our city and will open the doors to more protected bikeways in other areas.”

The jurisdictional issues notwithstanding, there is much agreement in Fresno regarding the value of providing a bikeway that will connect the downtown area to the richness of the San Joaquin River.

We hope you enjoyed this chapter from Juan Flores' Bicycling in Fresno.

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