What's Happening Now 

River West Trail Rendering The River West Fresno Trail Extension project is about to be approved. The San Joaquin River Conservancy is the lead agency for the project. In December, the Conservancy Board will vote on what will be included in the final project.  Please join us on Wednesday, December 13th, 2017, and ask the Conservancy Board to approve access with Alternative 1.

 

December 13, 2017 at 10:00 am *Location to be announced.

 

The Project 

The San Joaquin River Conservancy is proposing a project to extend the Lewis S. Eaton Trail approximately 2.5 miles on over 500 acres of public land. The project site is called Spano River Ranch or River West Fresno and is located between Highway 41 and Palm Avenue.

The River West Fresno project will provide public access to 500 acres of open space and the San Joaquin River. Once complete, there will be a continuous trail from the River Center to Palm and Nees.

 

proposedproject

 

What's at Stake 

The proposed River West Fresno project includes one vehicle access point at the Perrin Avenue Undercrossing off of Highway 41. This is excellent access for residents of Madera County. The proposed project access point would require an additional 10 mile round trip for Fresno residents to the Fresno property. Fresno residents would have to drive in to Madera County on Highway 41, and then back into Fresno on the old 41 bridge to reach the site. 


The Draft Environmental Impact Report also studied project alternatives to provide additional vehicle access to the project site from Fresno. Alternative 1 would provide access at Riverview Dr just off Audubon, a public road to a public property. Alternative 5 would provide vehicle access on an old gravel haul road near Palm and Nees. The River Parkway Trust is encouraging the Conservancy Board to approve the River West EIR with Alternative 1 —providing additional vehicle access to the project site from the City of Fresno.

 

alternative1

 

Here's a quick review of why the River Parkway Trust supports Alternative 1:

 

  • Riverview Drive is a public road that leads directly to the existing entrance gate for the River West Fresno site
  • Riverview Drive is not a residential street - there are no houses or driveways that face onto the road
  • Riverview Drive was built to serve the 1500 home development planned for the site back in the early 1980's. 

 

alternative5

 

Without Alternative 1 or Alternative 5 residents will not have vehicle access to River West Fresno within Fresno. 

In June of this year, the City of Fresno asked the Conservancy to delay approval of the River West Fresno EIR in order to allow the City to develop an additional alternative.  The Conservancy Board approved the City's request, and the EIR now includes another access alternative called 5b.  This is different from the real Alternative 5 in that it does not use an existing road.  Instead it requires the construction of a new road into the riverbottom.  This road would be built through the middle of Spano Park, down the steep bluff face at the end of Palm Avenue, and culminate in a parking lot on an old landfill.  The owners of this landfill have been trying to donate the property to the City of Fresno for more than 30 years, and the City has refused to accept it due to concerns about environmental liability.  Here are the key points about Alternative 5b:

  • Alternative 5b significantly disrupts Spano Park by building a road right through the center of it.  Spano Park is the only City of Fresno park that directly overlooks the river.
  • Alternative 5b requires the re-engineering of the bluff face to build a road down the bluff.  The preliminary engineering cost estimate for this road is $5 million - and that doesn't include any land acquisition costs.
  • Alternative 5b culminates in a parking lot on a former landfill that is privately owned.  The owners of this landfill have offered to donate the site to the City of Fresno for approximately 30 years, but the City has refused to take it since it is a regulated landfill with associated environmental liabilities.
  • Alternative 5b destroys approximately 20 mature Western Sycamore trees.  You can take a look at the scale of these trees in the photos below.

 

Make Your Voice Heard 

Please join us  the San Joaquin River Conservancy Meetings on December 13. The Conservancy needs to hear from you. Come ask the Conservancy Board to approve Alternative 1 and provide access to River West Fresno in Fresno. 

 

Videos

To help you visualize the potential access to River West Fresno, we made some videos. Links are included below. 

Proposed Project and Alternative 1 - Please note that you need to watch the entire video to see the Alternative 1 access point. 

Alternative 5

 

Previous Communications 

Click on the links below to read the River Parkway Trust’s email communication regarding the River West Fresno DEIR.

The Inconvenient Truth about Alternative 5b

Is Mayor Brand proposing a new FAX route to Fresno River West?

The Agenda for the Final EIR hearing was just released and it's a stunner

Last day to submit comments on the RDEIR

One week left to submit comments on the RDEIR

Route 5b cuts through the middle of Spano Park 

Why is the City of Fresno offering to fund a third study of a non-existent road?

Route 5b: Fact or Fiction?

Only 4 days left to submit comments!

Only 5 days left to submit comments!

9 days left to submit your comments!

Do you want access to more open space and trails?

River West Fresno Update - The Real Project Alternative 5

River West Fresno Update - Project Alternative 5

Unavoidable Environmental Justice Impact? We don't think so...

 

Media

There have been a number of news articles about the River West Project over the past few years.  Here are links to recent media coverage:

November 29, 2017, Fresno Bee: Candidate for governor supports public access to river via controversial route

November 21, 2017, Vida en el valle: Area’s diverse community lacks agency representation

November 16, 2017, Fresno Bee: Decision about public access to San Joaquin River delayed – again – at marathon meeting

November 15, 2017, ABC30: Contentious debate over public access to the San Joaquin River raged at Fresno City Hall

November 12, 2017, Fresno Bee: Deck is stacked against the public interest in crucial San Joaquin River vote

November 7, 2017, Vida en el valle: Access to River West Fresno project crucial for underserved communities

November 7, 2017, ABC30: River West project near Woodward Park delayed

June 1, 2017, Fresno Bee: Enough stalling. Now’s the time to improve recreation along San Joaquin River 

  

Additional Background Information 

Click here to review the RDEIR

Click here to review the City of Fresno’s Palm Bluffs River Access Schematic Design Report

Click here to visit the San Joaquin River Conservancy website

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