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Planning commission supports cars on Fulton Mall … but we’ll await City Council’s judgment

In other Fresno governance news, the planning commission last night voted, 6-0, advising the City Council to certify an environmental report and designate the six-block-long stretch of the Fulton Mall as a street.

Those blocks are currently designated open space/pedestrian mall.

This is the latest in the debate on the ultimate fate of the mall and a step closer to seeing at least a portion of it opened to traffic. It did not come without debate. There are those who would like to see the mall kept intact (with needed improvements), though the likelihood of such action seems to be shrinking. Only two options will be presented to the council in the next few months and both involve streets and cars.

A third option, calling for preservation of the mall, seems to have disappeared altogether.

Of course, the commission’s recommendations are just that, and will likely have little impact on the city council’s vote. While federal officials have approved a grant of nearly $16 million to help fund the project, the council (or a majority at least) has proven (as recently as last week) they’re not above sending money back where it came from, or disregarding recommendations entirely to suit their own political agendas (like running for mayor perhaps?). Likely, the council will use the mall much as it did BRT, as leverage against the general plan, forcing the mayor (and anyone interested a revitalized downtown) to make some hard choices about the future of the city.

Responses to "Planning commission supports cars on Fulton Mall … but we’ll await City Council’s judgment"

JJJ says:

Amazing how they were able to recommend certifying the EIR without looking at the law-mandated replies to the public comments.

The entire process is flawed.

Dixie Salazar says:

Does anyone think the 16 mil would be enough to do what they want to do? Does anyone else smell another impending financial debacle? Do they care what the public thinks or wants? We got our answer to the last question last night.

Delaine Zody says:

I keep remembering the Metropolitan Museum debacle. Everyone thought it was such a great idea to tear down the museum and build something new. Look where that got us.

Josh Tehee says:

The MET didn’t get torn down. It got a much-needed retrofit that would allow it to not only stay relevant, but increase its offerings to the city. The building still stands and is now being used as the home of the Community Media Access Collaborative.

That said, there were obvious missteps and a lack of oversight in that project (especially given the amount of city funds involved). You are not incorrect in calling it a debacle (though my reasons for thinking that may not be the same as yours).

And while there also parallels to be drawn between the MET and the Fulton Mall projects (mostly in terms of the perceived benefits to public good and/or downtown revitalization), I don’t it’s fair to use one as reason to oppose the other.

Let’s argue the merits.

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