Fresno Releases First Draft of HSR Station Plans
The city of Fresno last week released a first draft of high speed rail station area concepts – the city’s initial effort to lay out the plan for the HSR station and the surrounding area. The station will be located along the Union Pacific tracks between Fresno and Tulare streets downtown, near the Fulton Mall. As you can see in the image above, the station and HSR tracks would be to one side of the UPRR tracks – either to the west or east – and would involve various amounts of transit-oriented development, as well as adding thousands of new parking spaces.
The HSR station design appears to be intended to act as a gateway for travelers to downtown Fresno, guiding them toward Mariposa Street and toward Fulton Mall just to the northeast of the station area. With Chukchansi Park nearby, the HSR station concept would help position the area as a new centerpiece of downtown Fresno. One question is how much density would be surrounding the station, with planners initially proposing a low-density model and a high density model. The high density model is shown below:
Over at the Fresno Bee, Tim Sheehan offers some insight on the draft plans:
The 20-page document, posted without fanfare on the city’s Downtown & Community Revitalization Department website, is “really just a first draft” of ideas that will serve as a launchpad for more detailed plans, department director Craig Scharton said.
The city of Fresno has quietly published a draft plan that envisions a high-speed train station downtown between Fresno and Tulare streets.
“Nothing is approved or officially adopted or reviewed,” Scharton said. “We just wanted to get some ideas on the size and layout, and the different conditions that could happen.”
The plans emerged last fall during a one-day gathering of engineers, architects and interested members of the public — one of a series of brainstorming sessions organized by city leaders to generate ideas on how to revitalize downtown Fresno.
The station does not appear to be an ARTIC-style mega-station, and while the external architecture is not yet determined, the station design itself seems to be a understated one, intended to not so much serve as a destination itself as a gateway to Fresno – and for Fresno residents, a gateway to the rest of the state.
That could change – this is just a very early draft – but I think Fresno should indeed go in that more modest direction. I’m much more a fan of the simple station designs, rather than turning every station into either a grand building or another place to show off Santiago Calatrava-style architecture (I’ve said before that I’m not a big fan of his Gare do Oriente in Lisboa, Portugal, preferring something more like Madrid Atocha).
The goal of a station should be to provide a clean and comfortable place to wait for a train, with good traveler services, and help get people to the surrounding community easily. From what I can tell, Fresno is headed in that direction. It will be interesting to see how this develops, but they’re on the right track (forgive the pun).