Tower District Redesign?

August 7, 2009 8:33:53 PM PDT
Major changes are planned to the layout of Fresno's Tower District. But residents and business owners are divided.One of the most talked about proposals is adding traffic circles to the Tower's two busiest intersections. Olive and Wishon ... and Olive and Van Ness.

The Tower District has not seen widespread improvements in more than a decade. City planners and residents want to make the neighborhood more walkable. The proposed changes include, opening some streets two way traffic and adding traffic circles.

Aaron Ball works and lives in the Tower District. He loves the Tower like so many who call it home. But Ball does not agree with all of the proposed changes.

A rendering shows how a traffic circle would look at the intersection of Olive and Van Ness. It is a similar concept for Olive and Wishon, in front of the Tower Theater.

Fresno State has one of the city's newest traffic circles. Some engineers believe these are actually safer than stop lights, because the design forces drivers to slow down and pay attention to their surroundings.

Planners also want to add more trees, widen sidewalks, and enhance neighborhood plazas.

We found Council Member Blong Xiong on Friday, walking the district. Xiong explained the city has $250-thousand dollars to pay for the changes. More money may be needed to achieve their goal.

Southbound Wishon and Northbound Van Ness are two major corridors. Both are one way. The new plans would allow two way traffic.

Neighbors will have a chance to ask city planners questions, the next public meeting will be held at Roger Rockas. A date has not been scheduled, but it is suppose to happen late August or September.

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