Fulton Mall / Option 3

In the mid-1950s Downtown Fresno merchants and city officials were looking for ways to revitalize the central business district.
They hired Victor Gruen to create a visionary plan. With the help of legendary landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, they 
created a grand pedestrian orientated design that linked the six-block business district to the civic center. 
The Fulton Mall opened in 1964 and was a nationally-recognized success, both commercially and in terms of design.

The mall includes a pedestrian-only linear shopping center and a series of great public gathering spaces.  
This is a concept that municipalities and private shopping center developers all over the world are currently spending 
millions on to accomplish.  Save the Fulton Mall!!! is doing a great job of sharing these sort of developments.

The art at the Fulton Mall includes 20 sculptures by artists  found in major museum collections, like this 
Claire Falkenstein sculpture (1of 3 in the mall).  The art was initially funded by private citizens to 
provide “an outdoor Museum of Art.”  The sculpture, mosaics, and Jan De Swart  clock tower cost over $200,000 in 1964. 
A 2011 appraisal estimated the total value of this art collection to be $2 million. 
That seems like a low ball estimate to me.  That's only $100,000 each. 

Along with the Fresno economy as a whole, downtown Fresno has been in a state of decline for decades.
The City of Fresno recently went through a planning process to look at ways to revitalize the Fulton Corridor.
The result of the process  is the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan.
At this point, the plan has three preferred options: 
1. Reconnect the Grid on Traditional Streets. Completely remove the existing Mall and introduce a narrow, two-lane, two-way enhanced street with oversize sidewalks, stately trees, and onstreet parking, throughout the Fulton Mall and its cross streets. 
2. Reconnect the Grid with VignettesIntroduce a two-way street through the Fulton Mall, keeping selected original features in their original Mall contexts (“vignettes”), in a manner that provides improved retail visibility and some on-street parking. Transform Kern, Mariposa and Merced into enhanced streets with narrow traffic ways, ample sidewalks, stately trees, and onstreet parking. 
3. Restoration and Completion. Keep Fulton Street, Merced Street, Mariposa Street, and Kern Street Malls pedestrian-only. Renovate and repair them in their entirety, including their landscape and hardscape, and restore the artwork.

The Downtown Fresno Partnership, a property-based Business Improvement District, is pushing for Option 1.
This organization is funded and represented by property owners in the downtown area. 

This plan puts cars and parking where art, fountains and public space now exists. 
17 of  the 20 existing sculptures would be relocated. 
They feel this is the best way to bring commercial activity back to the Fulton Mall. 

This is option 2, which is basically a toned down option 1. 
The cars and parking still replace most of the pedestrian space, but some areas are still kept original.
6 of  the 20 existing sculptures would be relocated. 

Option 3 is to restore the mall to its original condition,

Option 3 also adds additional lighting, new restrooms  and wayfinding. 

This is Option 1 again.  How could anyone think another "anywhere USA" street is really going to solve 
Downtown Fresno's problems.  The issue isn't the lack of cars on the street, it's the lack of people and
the activities to draw them to downtown.  There are plenty of streets in Fresno that look like Option 1
and investors aren't rushing to those areas. 

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of The Fulton Mall, one of Fresno's most unique and special places.   
It was a visionary investment by Fresno's leadership in the 50's and 60's and it has remained intact up to this point. 
Restoring this icon would not only be wise in a historic preservation sense but it makes sense for the future of Fresno. 
Ripping out great public space and artwork for more real estate dedicated to the automobile is poor and outdated planning.
Actually, the City of Fresno should probably just adhere to the concepts outlined in the Public Realm section of the 
Fulton Mall Specific Plan.  Option 3 is the only concept that would be consistent with the the goals laid out in that chapter.

The real way to improve the Fulton Corridor is to invest in it.  The mall has suffered from years of neglect.  It's no wonder why
private investors stopped investing in it.  The introduction of housing would also be a huge benefit to the downtown area.
I know if I lived in Fresno, I'd want to live in a loft with the a view of the Jan de Swart clock  tower.

Clock Tower, Jan de Swart
The tower would be relocated in both Options 1 and 2. 

Big A, Peter Voulkos
 Would also be relocated in both Options 1 and 2. 

I wonder what local man Stan Bitters has to say about plans to rip up all his fountains?

I know the people at Save the Fulton Mall!!! don't like the idea,