Do you love Fresno? Do you love art? If yes, the... Enter Now
Are you kidding me: The future of Fulton is cars?
Here's one that screams Fresno.
A front-page story in the daily paper under the tag "state of downtown" with a headline that reads "CARS URGED FOR FULTON."
And my stomach drops.
The story is a recap of the Mayor's annual State of Downtown breakfast, which was held Tuesday morning and was by most accounts (I wasn't there, but I knew plenty of people who were and was following along on Twitter) a success. The event got front-page and editorial coverage and all kinds of Twitter/Facebook love. For someone who cares about downtown in a real way (I live/work/play there), this is a net positive. The more people talk about downtown and realize we need to face its issues, the better.
That said: Is this where we are at? Is the major component of the future success of downtown cars? Or, quoting from the story: "Cars, cars, cars. 'Cars animate a place,' Beer said" (Beer is an urban planner and the event's keynote speaker).
The story is no doubt skewed for readers (gotta sell those papers), but this makes me want to pull out my f'in hair.
Look, I won't argue the economics. I have heard the spiel and seen the stats and I trust that the mayor (and the Downtown Partnership and others) are super smart (smarter than me) and they have Fresno (and downtown's) best interests at heart.
And yes, Fresno is car centric to the max. It would be naive to ignore that.
Therein lies the problem.
I want to be naive. I want downtown to be the one place that stands against the status quo, that really works to guide the city toward a new way of thinking (and living), instead of capitulating to what we know works. Otherwise we get another River Park (or, to a lesser, though more acceptable extent, the Tower District).
Stories like this hurt my heart. Sure, this might be exactly what we need to bring downtown (and Fresno in general) to economic stability. But will it make it a place I want to live?