Photo by Ron Sundquist
By Diana Giraldo
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, along with other prominent community members including Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig, announced the creation of the Midtown Trail project in mid-June.
The new project will connect the Clovis Old Town Trail with a new seven-mile trail extending to Blackstone and Shields Avenues in central Fresno, which will result in a continuous 17-mile metro system from Blackstone along Shields to Millbrook Avenue, south to McKinley Avenue, east to Clovis and north to the Sugar Pine Trail.
“As a result of this major project, we will connect Central Fresno, the city of Clovis and North Fresno,” said Mayor Swearengin. “We’re finally providing the infrastructure that not only makes walking and biking more convenient, it also marks the opportunity for more transportation options that can make our community a healthier place to live.”
The project is a part of the City of Fresno’s 2016 Active Transportation Plan, which was created to encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking.
Magsig said the trail was just one of the ways the two cities have collaborated to create more recreational opportunities to individuals who live in the area.
“The midtown trail is a great example of the cities of Fresno and Clovis working together around transportation issues, specifically active transportation where it encourages people do get out of their cars and run and ride their bikes,” Magsig said. “Having class 1 bicycle trails and running trails is fantastic for our metropolitan area because it provides protection for both runners and individuals who ride their bikes and keeps a great separation from vehicles.”
The $9.5 million Midtown Trail project was recently approved by the Fresno County Transportation Authority and Fresno City Council and will begin groundbreaking in the fall of 2017.
The project will be funded by a federal grant and Measure “C”. Not to be confused with the recently passed Measure C, which will help fund the refurbishing and maintaining of the five community colleges within the State Center Community College District; the measure funding the trail project was approved in 1986. Enacted as half-cent sales tax aimed at improving the overall quality of Fresno County’s transportation system, Measure “C” delivered more than $1 billion of improvements to state highways and county roadways in its first 20 years and has helped with the building of additional lanes and freeway improvements throughout the county.
Once completed, the Midtown Trail will connect nearly 50,000 residents living immediately adjacent to the trail and thousands more residing along established trails in Clovis.