The 7 Worst Traffic Problems In Fresno

Like you and most Fresnans, I do a lot of driving. I even do it for work so I get around Fresno a lot. I see things. Things I can’t unsee. But that is not what this is about.

This is about Fresno traffic. We are not even close to the kind of stuff the Bay, Southern California or Sacramento sees, but we most certainly have problem areas.

These are the ones that stand out to me while puttering around town.

BULLARD & 41. This is especially true heading West on Bullard but it sucks overall. If you have no interest getting onto 41, it’s best to use Barstow or Sierra instead.

SHAW & 99. Mostly it’s the traffic heading East as it gets backed up to Polk. It’s a one-lane bridge, for freak sake even though it’s a major entry point into Fresno. And don’t get me started on how Caltrans has never landscaped this portion of 99 and the highway has been around 60 years or something. Although they did just do some half-assed planting of trees around the Southbound offramp, so that’s something I guess.

THE MCKINLEY CURVE. Maybe Fresno’s most famous traffic area. Heading North, 41 dangerously curves just as 180 dumps cars onto it. It’s never not sketchy.

BLACKSTONE & NEES. Ya got River Park. People getting onto 41. People getting off 41. Occasional protesting. Begging. In & Out. It has all the things!

FRIANT, FRESNO STREET & 41, FRIANT EXIT OFF 41. This is going to get worse. And worse. And worse. More retail building. More building around Copper River. One day there will be, like, a seven-story office building right there. Not fun.

180 WEST AT 99 NORTH EXCHANGE. From about 3 PM to 6PM, if you are on 180 and you want to get to 99 North, ya need to be gettin’ over to the right lane once 41 South has completed dumping its traffic onto 180 and yes now I am thinking of The Californians sketch from Saturday Night Live.

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HERNDON & GOLDEN STATE. This actually flows pretty well when there is no train. But when there is, look out man, it backs up super fast.

HONORABLE MENTION
  • Shaw, Barstow, Chestnut and 168 anytime there is something happening at Save Mart Center.
  • Exiting 41 North onto Shaw.
  • Shaw & Golden State Blvd when there is a train.

Please feel free to leave your picks for worst traffic areas in Fresno, in the comments.

Alright, that is settled, time to watch some Californians.

I Rode My Bike To A Thing In Fresno and Nobody Flipped Me Off

I decided to ride my bike to a Fresno beer thing last week (Happy Anniversary, Pine & Palm Brewing). One, because obviously, it’s better to ride a bike with a couple pops in ya than drive. Second, because I always preach riding your bike in Fresno but don’t do it enough. So I did.

My destination? Pine & Palm Brewing. 2nd Anniversary Party.

My route? Fruit, North to Herndon. Herndon to Palm (via trail pictured above). Palm to Bedford. Bedford to brewery.

I begin on Fruit. The same section that some council asshat stopped a fully funded and approved road-diet on because he sat at a corner for an hour and allegedly didn’t observe any bikers. (Yeah, I’m still bitter)

Are We Getting Better Or Was It A One-Time Thing?

As I was stopped at the light at Fruit & Bullard, I chose to rest on the white line dividing the two lanes because there was a car coming up behind me that wanted to turn right so I wanted to give them space to do that. As the light turned green, I went back into the lane knowing there we no cars behind me so I could safely use the lane. But the car that was turning right decided not to and is now directly behind me.

Normally, Fresno drivers get pissed-off that they are having to wait for a bike, even though said bike as a right to be using the lane. I got over quickly for fear of a bottle being tossed at my head. When the car passed, there was no bottle. No finger. No “Get the fuck off the road!” The car uneventfully went by.

Fresnans just might be getting more mellow with sharing the road.

Let The Drinking Begin!

At Pine & Palm Brewing, having some beers, celebrating two years of the brewery in their new taproom, getting slightly annoyed at the soccer fans that have taken over the Taproom.

I now get word that there is a group of Perfect Pour people over at the newest Fresno drinking spot, just around the corner. I leave the soccer fans to their fun and head over.

A Bar In An Industrial Park!?

Yep. There is a new craft beer and wine bar in Fresno and it’s in an industrial park in Pinedale – well, I refer to it as Pinedale anyway. It’s called Tap & Cellar. Check it:

Great beer list. They have kegs of beer that you can’t find anywhere else in town. Good addition to the scene.

Time To Ride Back.

Before I get too deep into day-drinking, it’s time to bike home. I took a slightly different route back and discovered a small, but effective, path that comes close to the Herndon path:

This little trail runs along Harrison Ave, behind (to the West) of the Palm Bluffs area.

Finishing the ride at home, I was pleased with Fresnans because nobody seemed to get pissed at me – at least they didn’t make it known. There is hope. Maybe Fresno can be a bike-friendly place after all.

The One Fresno Restaurant To Take Visitors To

Another title for this post could be “How Cuca’s Become THE Restaurant To Represent Fresno!”

Cuca’s. Yeah, dude. Cuca’s Mexican restaurant in the Tower District.

Surprising? Yes. Wrong? Maybe. Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion and you can see if you agree with me.

So this very cool dude, Mike Rohde, who wrote the Sketchnote Handbook, was in Fresno to do a sketchnote workshop with some Fresno Unified School District teachers. A rad and progressive thing for FUSD to be doing, by the way.

It was the first time Mike had come to Fresno. He lives in Milwaukee.

He happened to have a free evening, knew I was a fan of his, and asked if I wanted to meet for dinner. Normally I would run away from such a request given my crushing shyness. But I saw this as an opportunity to be a Fresno embassador, so I worked past my anxiety and called Mike up to work out a place to meet.

HERE ARE MY PARAMETERS FOR FINDING A DINNER PLACE
  • Having only a few minutes to think about where.
  • Mike is staying downtown at the Radisson and can only Uber.
  • Budget is a concern for myself, not a giant concern but I can’t just go to any place in town regardless of how much the dinner bill would be.
  • Mike has been to Limon and Hop PK already.

Knowing Fresno is known for Mexican food and tri-tip, I wanted to plant the Fresno flag in one of those. Given that Mike is a creative guy and he had not been to the Tower District, I decided on figuring out a place to eat in the Tower.

No place in the Tower District comes to mind when I think tri-tip. So I am going with Mexican. Bobby Salazar’s is too damn bro-heavy on a Friday night. So, what I am left with (in my head) is Casa De Tamales or Cuca’s.

I have been going to Cuca’s for many many years. Never had a bad meal. Never had to wait for a table. Always quiet but not too quiet. Service is solid. Prices are reasonable. Cuca’s it is.

GOOD FRESNO TIMES

We met up. Had a great meal. Both had the carne asada plate. Mike told me he knew nothing about Fresno before he came here. I explained the inferiority complex Fresno has in relation to San Francisco and Los Angeles. He explains Milwaukee has the same thing in relation to Chicago.

Mike says that FUSD will probably bring him back to Fresno in the future. Maybe next time we’ll go for tri-tip.

By the way, here is a sketch Mike did of his meal at Limon:

A post shared by Mikey Seay | The Fresnan (@thefresnan) on *Picture taken from here

An Open Fulton Street Allows Fresno To Move On

I didn’t want this. The Fulton Mall open to traffic.

I wanted the mall to be cleaned up. I wanted the art refurbished. I wanted the fountains to be working. But I didn’t want cars. That wasn’t possible.

It became “street or the same”. The same was a bad option. Same was an ignored Fulton Mall with little to no working fountains, forgotten art and too many people not comfortable with parking in garages and lots where they can’t see their car.

So I then begrudgingly became a supporter of traffic returning to Fulton. Better a shiny new sidewalk with working fountains and freshly polished art, than overgrown trees and neglect with no end in sight.

Saturday is the big thing-a-ma-jig to celebrate Fulton Street opening. For me, it will be more of a wake for Fulton Mall. But, it will be one of those fun wakes. The kind where you have a couple drinks and celebrate the life the person lived. Just, in this case, the person is a concrete open-air mall.

At Least Fresno and Downtown Can Move On To Other Things

We have debated what to do with the Fulton Mall for over a decade on Flowing With Famous. It’s going to be weird no longer needing to talk about it. Sure we still need to watch how the shops and restaurants will do now that there’s traffic. But we all get to move on now.

What is next? What should Fresno tackle now? Chinatown maybe? It will (fingers crossed) get a Hi-Speed Rail Station. That could be the push Chinatown needs to start getting some much-needed attention and renovation. It’s my pick anyway. Leave a comment on what you think the next project Fresno needs to tackle.

In the meantime, we have a wake to attend. I’ll see you out there. I hear they’ll have beer and it’s a safe bet it will be tough to get a parking spot.

Shameless Harrison Ford Tangent Ahead!

BTW, the Draggin’ the Main theme gives me yet another chance to use one of my favorite clips from American Graffiti, a movie about life growing up in the Central Valley in the 50’s (Modesto to be exact), so it’s relevant to Fulton Street, mmka?

A movie with, none other than Mr. Harrison Ford. Please tell me Bob Falfa dragged Fulton once:

*Pic was stolen from here.

I May Have Ruined Fresno’s Chance At A Fieldwork Taproom


I’ve been trolling Fieldwork Brewing’s Twitter account.
Occasionally when they announce a new beer being released at one of their taprooms, I re-tweet and add something like “And soon our Fresno Taproom”.

You see, California allows breweries to open up a certain amount of “remote” or satellite taprooms. Remote being a taproom not on the grounds of the brewery or in their home city. Fieldwork has one in Berkley (main brewery) and four remote taprooms: Napa, San Mateo, Sacramento and soon to be Monterey. State law allows five remote taprooms.

Fieldwork has only one left to give. I want it to be Fresno.

Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing is arguably the hottest brewery in the state. They make damn fine beer. It would be a real kickass thing to have them open up their taproom here. We are on the look out for coolass things for Fresno after all.

Hell, maybe a rooftop Fieldwork taproom in Downtown Fresno? Sounds pretty freaking sweet to me and you can add it to the Ale Trail, bro.

But don’t get excited, Fresnan. I may have been trying too hard and messed it all up – the story of my life. 

At first, a recent Twitter troll looked promising.

SUCCESS! They want to take a tour! I’m The Fresnan and on a craft beer podcast, I can show them some cool junk! Let’s do this!

But then they started researching shit.

“Wait until the fall”? That is basically “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” DAMMIT!

But as long as there is still a chance for the one remaining taproom to come to Fresno, I’ll keep trying. I don’t care how many beers I have to drink while waiting. I will not do it for me, I will do it for Fresno!

*pic stolen from thebrewermagazine.com

 

Foo Fighters! Foo Fighters Show In Fresno! Foosnooooo!

It’s the kind of news that turns a bad day into a good one. The Foo Fighter’s lifelong dream of coming to Fresno is finally a real thing!

They will be here December 1st. That’s a Friday night show, brotha! Foo on Friday! #FooFriday. Tickets on sale, June 29th, at the old classic time of 10 AM. Check out their website for pre-sale.

The super important question already being asked. Will Dave use the tired “I think this town should be called FresYES not FresNO!” joke?

But isn’t Dave Grohl too cool for such a joke? I hope so. I think so.

I will accept an “I don’t call this place FresNO, I call it FOOno!” joke. But if Dave does the tired and corny “I don’t say FresNO, I say FresYES!” joke, I will boycott the next song by sitting down in my seat, folding my arms and staring Dave down with a very disappointed smirk.

I’m getting away from the fact that it’s so freaking awesome that the Foo is finally coming to Fresno. This news will make the summer so much easier, having this to look forward too in December.

So, good job Fresno. And we didn’t even have to gather all the town’s musicians to convince them to come.

*Pic stolen from here.