GV Wire concludes its series touring Fulton Street. I asked our host, Craig Scharton from the Downtown Fresno Partnership, how much turning Fulton Mall into Fulton Street costs.
”$22 Million, about the cost of a freeway on-ramp,” Scharton answers. Most of the money comes from a federal TIGER Grant. That was announced on the Fulton Mall in 2013 when then-Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Fresno.
I also asked Craig what has been on most people’s minds: where are people going to park?
Scharton admits that pedestrian malls were bad at finding parking. He says there will be 200 street parking spaces. “On-street parking is the most important thing for retail,” Scharton notes.
We talked about metered parking. “You have to have metered (parking) to keep things turning over,” Scharton explained. The meter money would help to go for street and art maintenance.
As to the critics who say they don’t want to come downtown because of parking?
“All they have to do is travel a little bit and go to medium-to-big size cities,” Scharton says. “It is a necessary evil.” He says there will be one hour free parking in nearby garages.
Finally, we talked about if the 50 year experiment of Fulton as a pedestrian mall was a success?
“No. I admire the people who put it in, because it was really a bold move. But they didn’t put in any way to check to see if it was performing well or not,” Scharton says bluntly. “We should have pulled this thing out in the ‘80s.”
The Grand Opening for Fulton Street is October 21.
Watch prior episodes in this series:
photo: Michael Wooten