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.