Fulton Mall’s vehicular future gets mixed reviews

The Fresno BeeMarch 1, 2014 

The Fresno City Council's decision Thursday to reopen the Fulton Mall to motor vehicles remained a hot topic on the pedestrian thoroughfare Saturday afternoon, where both advocates and opponents of the change weighed in.

Several people hailed the decision, which was driven by Mayor Ashley Swearengin's campaign to revitalize downtown, while others argued for the status quo.

"Tear it out, yeah! Bring more traffic here," said Elanzo Halford. "Maybe have a Starbucks and a 7-Eleven. Come on now."

Halford's sentiments were supported by his fiancée, Carol Richardson, who said she has come to the area since she was a little girl and remembers when the area was bustling.

"My dad used to work down here," she added.

The change wasn't greeted with the same enthusiasm by Billie and Ann Mack, who were seated in an area that under the council's plan would put them in the middle of the proposed roadway.

"No!" said Billie Mack. "Where are the squirrels and birds gonna go?"

He added: "They have traffic on Van Ness. … Do the cars stop for business there? It's gonna be a carbon copy of that."

Jesus Fernandez, who says he frequently comes to the mall to shop and meet friends, is all in favor of the change.

"I think it's a good idea," he said. "More business, more people."

Ramiro Ramos and his sister-in-law Annette Candolito found themselves divided.

"We won't be able to kick back like we do now," said Ramos. "Sit here with kids. And then you are going to have people who drive up and steal from the stores. … There's a whole lot of things they could do with the money instead of putting a road right here."

Candolito, however, said that she was "kind of excited" to see the change.

For Curtis McAffee, it's a question of calm and quiet, as found in the present configuration.

"No," he said to the proposal. "It's more pleasant when people are walking. That idea is not good at all." He also expressed fears for children who would be exposed to traffic.

"We won't be able to kick back like we do now. And then you are going to have people who drive up and steal from the stores. …" — Ramiro Ramos, with his sister-in-law Annette Candolito "I think it's a good idea. More business, more people." — Jesus Fernandez "No. It's more pleasant when people are walking." — Curtis McAffee

The reporter may be reached at (559) 441-6339, jguy@fresnobee.com or @jimguy27 on Twitter.

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