The Kings Canyon/Ventura corridor is one of Fresno’s major retail and transportation hubs. Recently, the city Planning and Development Department’s Long Range Planning Division began working with the urban design firm, Citythinkers. The city’s Long Range Planning team and Citythinkers joined efforts to conduct a study on achieving high-density, mixed-use, walkable development around Fresno’s FAX ‘Q’ stations. The Kings Canyon Corridor Transit-Oriented Development (KCCTOD) study not only analyzes market conditions and land use, but also focuses on community outreach.
The KCCTOD project has engaged more than 500 residents seeking their opinions on services, amenities, improvements, and potential changes they’d like to see to optimize corridor use. The feedback received will be used to inform the two final station area plans and concepts that can be implemented by private developers.
New planning balances economic and environmental factors
The transit-oriented development (TOD) project along Fresno’s Kings Canyon/Ventura corridor is part of a larger movement in planning that aims to maximize public transportation use, reduce automobile dependency, and encourage walkable cities. TOD achieves its main goals by offering a mix of uses in a pedestrian-friendly environment. TOD also helps increase housing availability and business growth, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Sophia Pagoulatos, planning manager for the city’s Planning and Development Department, the effective implementation of transit-oriented development along Kings Canyon is promising. “Transit-oriented development has the potential to bring community-focused benefits to Kings Canyon and Ventura such as housing, strong local businesses, and environmental sustainability.”
Diverse community engagement
To ensure community members who live, work, and play along Kings Canyon had a chance to provide feedback on the corridor’s future, the Long Range planning team hosted over half a dozen community workshops, community events, and meetings held both in-person and via virtual platforms. The division has engaged over 500 community members through outreach events, workshops and surveys.
At the workshops, resident participants were asked to imagine a city that maximized its use of public transportation. Residents designed their vision for Kings Canyon with more amenities, housing, and retail options. Reimagined design options were broad and could include multi-family housing, supermarkets, libraries, community centers, pools, and plazas – all within walking distance to public transportation.
Nataly Barajas, 22, is a recent college graduate working towards an associate degree at Fresno City College and lives close to Kings Canyon. Barajas rides the Fresno FAX bus to and from classes. She participated in an in-person KCCTOD workshop and shared her vision for the corridor’s future. Nataly’s vision includes easy access to libraries and bookstores.
Barajas felt her input as a Fresno youth was important. “Oftentimes youth are left out of the conversation when involving city issues in general. It’s incredibly important to participate because youth are the future of Fresno,” said Barajas.
In May, Long Range Planning and the Office of Community Affairs (OCA) joined efforts on targeted outreach to Asian Pacific Islander, Asian Indian, Black Indigenous Persons of Color, Immigrant and Latino residents in Southeast Fresno. The OCA advised Long Range Planning on flyer language and design, and targeted community outreach strategies. The OCA also invited department staff to participate on two online interviews in English and Spanish informing the community about TOD.
According to Pagoulatos, the OCA’s outreach helped the department significantly increase the project’s outreach. “The OCA was a critical partner in connecting community members to the KCCTOD study. Thanks to their help, staff was able to double workshop attendance in a matter of five weeks,” said Pagoulatos.
More opportunities for TOD community input
To learn more about the KCCTOD study, please visit www.fresno.gov/KCCTOD. To request a KCCTOD study presentation or to provide input, please email [email protected] or call (559) 621-8038.