City of Fresno takes big step towards making it easier to walk and bike through town

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After delaying action for weeks, the Fresno City Council finally listened to those who feel the city needs to encourage walking and biking. (KFSN)

After delaying action for weeks, the Fresno City Council finally listened to those who feel the city needs to encourage walking and biking.

"Fresno is currently an unsafe place for people to walk and ride their bikes, our cities high injury and fatality rate among those walking and riding has literally put Fresno on the map," said Austin Hall, Walk California.

Hall cited a Federal Highway Traffic administration study which lists Fresno as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Long time rider Mike Lawson knows the hazards too well.

"I was on a recreational street and made a nice corner on the street-- a car actually cut the corner and T-boned me, put me in the hospital, I have a broken leg with a pin in it right now."

With a combination of bike lanes on streets and separate trails, the Active Transportation Plan would turn some canal banks into walking and biking trails.

Isabell Valencia who regularly walks along the dirt canal on McKinley approves.

"I think that would be awesome-- a lot of people come around here and they love to run around, walk the dogs, it would be perfect, honestly I think this area really needs it."

The ultimate goal is 165 miles of bike paths, 800 miles of bike lanes, and 800 miles of sidewalks. While much of north Fresno already has recreational trails community groups are pushing to make sure the whole city becomes easier to get around.

"There are people in south Fresno who really need to walk and bike out of necessity, because they can't afford a vehicle," said Genoveva Islas, Cultiva La Salud.

Safely keeping pedestrians and cyclists separated from cars and trucks is a welcome priority.

"You never know what's around the corner, there's a lot of bad drivers out there and you think you are prepared but you are not," said Lawson.

This is a long term plan, and the city staff is in the process of putting together a list of priorities. One of the first project will be the midtown trail, running from Manchester Center on Blackstone to Clovis Avenue.

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