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Author Topic: Old US 99; Fresno  (Read 852 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Old US 99; Fresno
« on: September 08, 2017, 09:01:52 PM »

I don't have my road blog on this topic yet since I don't think my research is complete, but I decided to try to track down what I could actually drive of the original US 99 alignment in Fresno today:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm4BqfsE

Really I drove old US 99 sections from Kingsburg all the way into the city of Fresno.  Basically the rough alignment of US 99 through the city limits of Fresno would have been the following heading northbound based off what I've found in my research thus far.

-  Railroad Avenue
-  Cherry Avenue
-  Broadway
-  Divisadero Street
-  H Street
-  Golden State Boulevard

Cherry Avenue is gapped over the railroad along with Broad from Inyo Street north to Tuolumne Street. 

But with all that said the question I have based off my drive today is regarding Van Ness, did it ever carry US 99 northbound one-way at any point?  Some of the older State Highway City Map inserts from 1930-1936 to suggest that Van Ness might have been briefly part of US 99, the California of Highways Map is too zoomed out to be certain.  I'd like to sort this question out before I start writing a road blog on this topic.

I based my routing off the earliest State Map which a clear Fresno insert with 1938, the non as clear 1930 Fresno City Insert, and 1935 Division of Highway Map of Fresno County:

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239590~5511893:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=70&trs=86

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~247281~5515351:Fresno-County-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:california%2Bdivision%2Bof%2Bhighways;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=32&trs=163

The earliest city insert for Fresno I cold find as mentioned above is 1930:

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239601~5511906:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=77&trs=86

The 1930 map makes it seem as though Van Ness Avenue carried US 99 northbound to Divisadero Street from Railroad Avenue while southbound was carried by Broadway and Cherry Avenue from Divisadero to Railroad Avenue.  Any greater clarification anyone may have on this matter would be greatly appreciated, I should have the photos I need to complete a road blog/highway guide regardless.

Edit:  A Fresno Bee article from a couple years ago tends to suggest Van Ness never was part of US 99 but merely interested it at Railroad Avenue:

http://www.fresnobee.com/news/special-reports/article19516500.html
 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 09:20:58 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Desert Man

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2017, 08:55:09 AM »

Fresno was one of the big cities on the US 99 - the west coast's main road or like my sig says: 66 turned upside down (LOL). The 99 crosses Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Chehalis/Centralia (twin cities) in WA and Portland, Salem and Eugene plus Roseburg, Grants Pass and Medford in OR, and Redding, Chico, Yuba City, Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Tulare, Bakersfield, L.A., turns east to San Bernardino, Indio/Coachella (grown over the years) and El Centro/Calexico down in Imperial valley on the border. The 99 like route 66 was never forgotten by nostalgic locals in these places.
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Get your kicks...on Route 99! Like to turn 66 upside down. The other historic Main street of America.

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2017, 11:41:00 PM »

Just completed my historic maps of US 99 in Fresno, the legend is in the first one:

Map1 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Map2 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Map3 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr


In case anyone is curious here is my notes with map reference links that I based all these custom maps off of:

1930 State Highway Map

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239601~5511906:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=77&trs=86

1934 State Highway Map (Realignment onto Hazel)

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239596~5511897:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=74&trs=86

1938 State Highway Map (Much clearer alignment of Hazel)

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239590~5511893:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=70&trs=86

1946 and 1948 State Highway Maps (Shows jump from Railroad Ave to G Street)

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239578~5511885:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=62&trs=86

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239575~5511883:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=60&trs=86

1949 and 1950 State Highway Maps (Shows shift off Cherry Ave to a road underneath what is now the 41 freeway)

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239572~5511881:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=58&trs=86

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239569~5511879:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=56&trs=86

1957 and 1958 State Highway Maps (Downtown Freeway is complete)

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239548~5511865:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=42&trs=86

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239545~5511863:-Verso--Road-Map-of-the-State-of-Ca?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=40&trs=86

1963 and 1964 State Highway Maps (US 99 Freeway is completed)

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239530~5511853:-Verso--State-Highway-Map,-Californ?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=30&trs=86

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239527~5511851:-Verso--State-Highway-Map,-Californ?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=28&trs=86

1967 State Highway Map (US 99 becomes CA 99)

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239516~5511844:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1967?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=21&trs=86
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 01:02:32 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2017, 03:29:11 PM »

I just finished my road blog on US 99 through Fresno:

http://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2017/09/hunting-for-forgotten-history-old-us-99.html

Pretty much everything I included here already is on the blog page.  I broke down the alignment history in brief-format in addition to the maps seen on this thread.  The pictures are at the back side of the blog and really could end up being pretty unique considering that the High Speed Rail will likely wipe out parts of the original US 99 in Fresno.  I have no idea what's in store for the Van Ness Arch, I could find anything that said for certain it is going to Fulton Street.

Fresno was one of the big cities on the US 99 - the west coast's main road or like my sig says: 66 turned upside down (LOL). The 99 crosses Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Chehalis/Centralia (twin cities) in WA and Portland, Salem and Eugene plus Roseburg, Grants Pass and Medford in OR, and Redding, Chico, Yuba City, Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Tulare, Bakersfield, L.A., turns east to San Bernardino, Indio/Coachella (grown over the years) and El Centro/Calexico down in Imperial valley on the border. The 99 like route 66 was never forgotten by nostalgic locals in these places.

99 had a lot of similar themes to the route that made it similar to 66.  Really the Ridge Route alone would probably merit remembering the highway alone.  Some of the engineering feats that went into US 99 were really amazing, especially in California when you consider how early they were.  Really I think the route holds up in terms of importance over time here in California given that so much traffic uses the CA 99 freeway.  Just a shame IMO that the Division of Highways really didn't push to keep the US Route designation since the section in California is over 300 miles and could have easily been a loop of I-5....really it would kill all this talk about the corridor becoming another boring Interstate.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 03:33:18 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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sparker

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2017, 08:33:29 PM »

Max -- fantastic job delineating the various iterations of 99 through Fresno.  It's surprising that it took until 1949 to reroute the highway off Cherry Street.  That routing was always problematic as it crossed the SP main line at grade at the same point that the East Valley (Reedley-Exeter-Porterville) branch diverged from the main line along Railroad Avenue (it paralleled California Ave. east out of town); according to Fresno lore (via my ex-wife's family, who have been in Fresno since the 1800's) the backups were legendary.  The initial move onto Hazel from Railroad was to provide additional room for stopped traffic to idle.  When the G Street alignment was built, it utilized an overpass over the tracks in the same location as the present CA 41 freeway overpass; that earlier version was razed when the 41 freeway was built in the '70's. 

As far as a Broadway/Van Ness couplet is concerned, IIRC that didn't happen until sometime after US 99 was routed onto the original bypass freeway in 1957; as Broadway had already been relinquished to the city, it was decided to deploy the couplet (signed, though not particularly thoroughly, as Business US 99) to enhance the downtown area (which didn't really work; the area continued to deteriorate financially and physically for several decades while the commerce center shifted outward toward upper Blackstone as well as Shaw avenues (archetypal suburban moves!), where it was when I was spending time in that town in the '80's.

As far as a business 99 loop was concerned, once the 1949 RR overpass was gone, there was no effective continuity for such a loop except via convoluted detours, so any remaining signage was generally  gone by about 1982 or so.       
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2017, 09:24:25 PM »

Max -- fantastic job delineating the various iterations of 99 through Fresno.  It's surprising that it took until 1949 to reroute the highway off Cherry Street.  That routing was always problematic as it crossed the SP main line at grade at the same point that the East Valley (Reedley-Exeter-Porterville) branch diverged from the main line along Railroad Avenue (it paralleled California Ave. east out of town); according to Fresno lore (via my ex-wife's family, who have been in Fresno since the 1800's) the backups were legendary.  The initial move onto Hazel from Railroad was to provide additional room for stopped traffic to idle.  When the G Street alignment was built, it utilized an overpass over the tracks in the same location as the present CA 41 freeway overpass; that earlier version was razed when the 41 freeway was built in the '70's. 

As far as a Broadway/Van Ness couplet is concerned, IIRC that didn't happen until sometime after US 99 was routed onto the original bypass freeway in 1957; as Broadway had already been relinquished to the city, it was decided to deploy the couplet (signed, though not particularly thoroughly, as Business US 99) to enhance the downtown area (which didn't really work; the area continued to deteriorate financially and physically for several decades while the commerce center shifted outward toward upper Blackstone as well as Shaw avenues (archetypal suburban moves!), where it was when I was spending time in that town in the '80's.

As far as a business 99 loop was concerned, once the 1949 RR overpass was gone, there was no effective continuity for such a loop except via convoluted detours, so any remaining signage was generally  gone by about 1982 or so.     

That's interesting that the city really made an effort to keep Broadway and Van Ness in play with a Business Route, I had no idea that even existed.  I supposed it just goes in line with what happened with most cities and urban sprawl, everyone was really moving away from the city core all across the country during the era....really there hasn't been much hope for downtown Fresno until recently.  I'm really interested in seeing how the city does with reopening Fulton, they seem to be putting in a ton of effort in fixing that up along with Van Ness in downtown. 

Those rails sure presented a challenge for moving people through the city pretty much with every highway in Fresno excluding 168.  I haven't quite started my 41 and 180 research yet but the bridges over rails on Stanislaus and Tuolumne were a huge part of the realignment of those highways before the freeways were built.  I thought for sure that I would find some trace evidence of the 1949 overpass, but it looks that has been completely wiped out...not even a random slab of concrete.   

sparker

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 01:26:20 AM »

Those rails sure presented a challenge for moving people through the city pretty much with every highway in Fresno excluding 168.  I haven't quite started my 41 and 180 research yet but the bridges over rails on Stanislaus and Tuolumne were a huge part of the realignment of those highways before the freeways were built.  I thought for sure that I would find some trace evidence of the 1949 overpass, but it looks that has been completely wiped out...not even a random slab of concrete.   

At least the SP tracks -- at least the main line -- followed a relatively straight trajectory; the only issues (one was outlined in my previous post) were the junction points for the 3 branches heading out into the valley: the East Valley branch, which went through the citrus-growing area north of Visalia before rejoining the main line south of McFarland, the Friant branch, which originally connected to logging lines in the Huntington Lake area (more or less up CA 168) east of Clovis, and the West Valley line, which went through Kerman, Mendota, Los Banos, and ending at the MoCoCo line (Modesto-Contra Costa) in Tracy -- the main SP conduit from the Valley to the Bay Area.  The other Fresno line, originally Santa Fe and now BNSF, came up from Hanford on an angle between CA 43 and CA 41, crossed the SP south of town, and turned to parallel it to the east.  It meandered through town, with a main depot east of downtown, did some street running for a bit, then turned northwest through the Fig Garden neighborhood toward the east side of Madera.  This is the current Amtrak "San Joaquin" route; the street running has been ameliorated with parts of several streets blocked off to accommodate the trains (including 120-car container "unit" trains, which make quite an impression running down the side of a street!).  Much of that trackage outside of downtown has been upgraded with grade separations; the grade crossing at Blackstone was, prior to the completion of the 41 freeway, one of the most dangerous crossings in the state (it crossed at about a 30-degree angle!) even with gates! 

Because the ramps of the 99/41 interchange (SB>SB and NB>NB) diverge from 41 right at the location of the 1949 US 99 overpass, the older structure had to be torn down right to ground level to accommodate the various bridge bents -- and in the ensuing 40 years since the first part of the 41 freeway (north from 99 and around downtown) was opened neighborhood encroachment, material removal, and under-bridge squatters have contributed to the lack of any traces of the original alignment much less the structure itself. 

If you're interested in CA freeway and highway architecture, the Stanislaus/Tuolumne twin RR crossings are almost identical in structure and form to the Olive Ave. and Magnolia Ave. overcrossings of both the (former) SP main line and I-5/Golden State Freeway in Burbank; built at the same time (1957-58) and with the "old-style" all-metal railing with closely-spaced verticals used for all four structures; the following year the Division specifications changed to the familiar concrete riser topped with a tubular rail held off by stanchions.  The same contractor (Guy Atkinson & Co.) was the lead on both projects; that firm also built the original Fresno Bypass freeway on US 99. 
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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 08:22:31 AM »

US 99 crossed nearby Madera (near the "center" of CA - in the divider: a pine tree and a palm tree - the pine represents Northern, the palm represent southern halves of the state), Yreka near the OR-CA state line (the proposed state of Jefferson capital) and Ontario CA with an international airport (owned and operated by the company which runs LAX).

Thanx for posting, Max. US 99/CA 99/future I-9 (theorotically, the freeway not the road) connects Fresno with the rest of CA, US, and the world (the Americas by road). Fresno is one of the state's largest cities throughout CA history, one big "farm town".
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Get your kicks...on Route 99! Like to turn 66 upside down. The other historic Main street of America.

sparker

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 05:46:10 PM »

US 99 crossed nearby Madera (near the "center" of CA - in the divider: a pine tree and a palm tree - the pine represents Northern, the palm represent southern halves of the state), Yreka near the OR-CA state line (the proposed state of Jefferson capital) and Ontario CA with an international airport (owned and operated by the company which runs LAX).

Thanx for posting, Max. US 99/CA 99/future I-9 (theorotically, the freeway not the road) connects Fresno with the rest of CA, US, and the world (the Americas by road). Fresno is one of the state's largest cities throughout CA history, one big "farm town".

"Big farm town" is an entirely accurate description.  Many of the city's arterials remain paralleled by agricultural canals -- often without any railing or safety measures between them.  This has, over the years, resulted in a number of fatal automotive incidents where the driver drowned when their car ran off the road into the canal (most of these are alcohol or other substance-related incidents happening at night).  Installing safety measures has been an ongoing battle between the agricultural water district that maintains the canals and the city and/or county of Fresno; each has requested that the other pay for guardrails or other such barricades.  What obstacles to such accidents exist are generally at intersections where the canals duck under cross streets; the barriers rarely extend more than a few yards away from either the intersection or the canal itself.  It'll be interesting to see how this plays out as the arterials are expanded to multi-lane facilities; past planning talk has suggested that the canals be placed in the medians of these.   Relocating the canals would be a major expense for all parties involved; most of these are 12-15 feet deep and the majority were built more than 75 years ago (the city grew up around them!). 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 10:18:13 PM »

US 99 crossed nearby Madera (near the "center" of CA - in the divider: a pine tree and a palm tree - the pine represents Northern, the palm represent southern halves of the state), Yreka near the OR-CA state line (the proposed state of Jefferson capital) and Ontario CA with an international airport (owned and operated by the company which runs LAX).

Thanx for posting, Max. US 99/CA 99/future I-9 (theorotically, the freeway not the road) connects Fresno with the rest of CA, US, and the world (the Americas by road). Fresno is one of the state's largest cities throughout CA history, one big "farm town".

"Big farm town" is an entirely accurate description.  Many of the city's arterials remain paralleled by agricultural canals -- often without any railing or safety measures between them.  This has, over the years, resulted in a number of fatal automotive incidents where the driver drowned when their car ran off the road into the canal (most of these are alcohol or other substance-related incidents happening at night).  Installing safety measures has been an ongoing battle between the agricultural water district that maintains the canals and the city and/or county of Fresno; each has requested that the other pay for guardrails or other such barricades.  What obstacles to such accidents exist are generally at intersections where the canals duck under cross streets; the barriers rarely extend more than a few yards away from either the intersection or the canal itself.  It'll be interesting to see how this plays out as the arterials are expanded to multi-lane facilities; past planning talk has suggested that the canals be placed in the medians of these.   Relocating the canals would be a major expense for all parties involved; most of these are 12-15 feet deep and the majority were built more than 75 years ago (the city grew up around them!).

What I've found interesting about a lot of Fresno City streets and county islands within the corporate limit is how often there is often little to no walking path or side-walk.  Clovis Avenue is a good example of this from Jensen north to CA 180 as it only has sporadic places for pedestrians to traverse.  When I've run the city I've often found myself using the median because it is the only viable place to walk much less run.  Really the whole area needs a huge surface infrastructure upgrades, with about a million people in the metro area it really has outgrown what is available.

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 01:19:55 AM »

US 99 crossed nearby Madera (near the "center" of CA - in the divider: a pine tree and a palm tree - the pine represents Northern, the palm represent southern halves of the state), Yreka near the OR-CA state line (the proposed state of Jefferson capital) and Ontario CA with an international airport (owned and operated by the company which runs LAX).

Thanx for posting, Max. US 99/CA 99/future I-9 (theorotically, the freeway not the road) connects Fresno with the rest of CA, US, and the world (the Americas by road). Fresno is one of the state's largest cities throughout CA history, one big "farm town".

"Big farm town" is an entirely accurate description.  Many of the city's arterials remain paralleled by agricultural canals -- often without any railing or safety measures between them.  This has, over the years, resulted in a number of fatal automotive incidents where the driver drowned when their car ran off the road into the canal (most of these are alcohol or other substance-related incidents happening at night).  Installing safety measures has been an ongoing battle between the agricultural water district that maintains the canals and the city and/or county of Fresno; each has requested that the other pay for guardrails or other such barricades.  What obstacles to such accidents exist are generally at intersections where the canals duck under cross streets; the barriers rarely extend more than a few yards away from either the intersection or the canal itself.  It'll be interesting to see how this plays out as the arterials are expanded to multi-lane facilities; past planning talk has suggested that the canals be placed in the medians of these.   Relocating the canals would be a major expense for all parties involved; most of these are 12-15 feet deep and the majority were built more than 75 years ago (the city grew up around them!).

What I've found interesting about a lot of Fresno City streets and county islands within the corporate limit is how often there is often little to no walking path or side-walk.  Clovis Avenue is a good example of this from Jensen north to CA 180 as it only has sporadic places for pedestrians to traverse.  When I've run the city I've often found myself using the median because it is the only viable place to walk much less run.  Really the whole area needs a huge surface infrastructure upgrades, with about a million people in the metro area it really has outgrown what is available.

Maybe they don't figure on anyone running in Fresno, particularly in summer (been there with 109 degrees and 90% humidity).  Perhaps one can swim the canals, provided you've got an immunity to fertilizer runoff!
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 07:53:13 AM »

US 99 crossed nearby Madera (near the "center" of CA - in the divider: a pine tree and a palm tree - the pine represents Northern, the palm represent southern halves of the state), Yreka near the OR-CA state line (the proposed state of Jefferson capital) and Ontario CA with an international airport (owned and operated by the company which runs LAX).

Thanx for posting, Max. US 99/CA 99/future I-9 (theorotically, the freeway not the road) connects Fresno with the rest of CA, US, and the world (the Americas by road). Fresno is one of the state's largest cities throughout CA history, one big "farm town".

"Big farm town" is an entirely accurate description.  Many of the city's arterials remain paralleled by agricultural canals -- often without any railing or safety measures between them.  This has, over the years, resulted in a number of fatal automotive incidents where the driver drowned when their car ran off the road into the canal (most of these are alcohol or other substance-related incidents happening at night).  Installing safety measures has been an ongoing battle between the agricultural water district that maintains the canals and the city and/or county of Fresno; each has requested that the other pay for guardrails or other such barricades.  What obstacles to such accidents exist are generally at intersections where the canals duck under cross streets; the barriers rarely extend more than a few yards away from either the intersection or the canal itself.  It'll be interesting to see how this plays out as the arterials are expanded to multi-lane facilities; past planning talk has suggested that the canals be placed in the medians of these.   Relocating the canals would be a major expense for all parties involved; most of these are 12-15 feet deep and the majority were built more than 75 years ago (the city grew up around them!).

What I've found interesting about a lot of Fresno City streets and county islands within the corporate limit is how often there is often little to no walking path or side-walk.  Clovis Avenue is a good example of this from Jensen north to CA 180 as it only has sporadic places for pedestrians to traverse.  When I've run the city I've often found myself using the median because it is the only viable place to walk much less run.  Really the whole area needs a huge surface infrastructure upgrades, with about a million people in the metro area it really has outgrown what is available.

Maybe they don't figure on anyone running in Fresno, particularly in summer (been there with 109 degrees and 90% humidity).  Perhaps one can swim the canals, provided you've got an immunity to fertilizer runoff!

I've always had this theory about outdoor running in general, the best time is between 4 AM to 6 AM.  Obviously going out that early avoids the biggest obstacle in Fresno which is the nasty summer heat.  It is late enough that people who were out drinking have gone home because the bars have closed and its too early for the bums to be awake.  Really in the summer anywhere in the Central Valley it can be anywhere from 60-75 F before sunrise and quite pleasant.  The problem with a city like Fresno is that they lack so many side walks and street lights that I often have to memorize the route and just hope there isn't something like a road gator or other debris that I didn't anticipate.  Also running in the direction of traffic helps a ton when there is no street lights, Fresno is pretty bad with stuff like that and they illuminate the roadways...plus I rather see a problem driver coming than be caught off guard from behind.  Places like Clovis I've found are much better since they have dedicated bike paths.  If Fresno really wants something to get things more gentrified in downtown they ought to really start with those sidewalks and street lights, walkability would be a huge step forward.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 07:59:36 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2017, 09:07:31 PM »

This is truly interesting; thank you very much for posting all of this. I got my 1940 Rand McNally Road Atlas from eBay in December 2014, and looking at it was the first time I truly realized how much rich US Highway history there was in California. There is enormous disparity in California's US Highway system between back then and today. I call it the California US Highway decommissioning catastrophe. I am soon to be going on a very large personal educational study for myself in learning a lot more about this road history, and I'll be really soaking in stuff from my old atlas, and threads like this one will also help fuel my progression on my knowledge-gaining journey. This is very high-quality and intriguing information, so I thank you once again for posting it. It is incredibly neat learning about this and seeing the different alignments color-coded and put side-by-side.
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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2017, 10:14:27 AM »

That new blog post sure was an interesting read! Other than Route 66, US 99 was my favorite drive of the day; too bad they started decommissioning it in 1964 (along with 40, 60 and 80).
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Re: Old US 99; Fresno
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2017, 12:12:06 AM »

This is truly interesting; thank you very much for posting all of this. I got my 1940 Rand McNally Road Atlas from eBay in December 2014, and looking at it was the first time I truly realized how much rich US Highway history there was in California. There is enormous disparity in California's US Highway system between back then and today. I call it the California US Highway decommissioning catastrophe. I am soon to be going on a very large personal educational study for myself in learning a lot more about this road history, and I'll be really soaking in stuff from my old atlas, and threads like this one will also help fuel my progression on my knowledge-gaining journey. This is very high-quality and intriguing information, so I thank you once again for posting it. It is incredibly neat learning about this and seeing the different alignments color-coded and put side-by-side.

That new blog post sure was an interesting read! Other than Route 66, US 99 was my favorite drive of the day; too bad they started decommissioning it in 1964 (along with 40, 60 and 80).

Thanks, the weird thing is that really there isn't that much out there in regards to Fresno historic alignments.  I always found that odd considering how much Bakersfield gets covered with US 99 and pretty much everything else.  Really US 99 isn't all that hard to find in the Central Valley and in general very apparent from just a quick speculative look at maps of pretty much any of the cities.  Definitely one of the classic US Routes, probably in the that upper tear with 66 and 40.  I find it odd to think in retrospect to think that there was really a time where the US Routes were thought to be an obsolete thing when the Interstate were built.  The renumbering as good as it was with cleaning up State Routes and numbering all the LRNs really had some missed opportunities to keep some US Routes in the state.  Really had the renumbering happened a couple years later I think US 60 would have been possibly shifted north on to what is now CA 62.  Really aside from US 99 between I-80 to I-5 and 299 its hard to make an argument justifying the other US Routes that either were truncated or kicked out of the state.  In that regard I think the Division of Highways really did the best they could do given the way things were going in the 1960s, everyone wanted those new-fangled Interstates and not much else.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 12:14:40 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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