As part of the EIR process, station area plans have been published by the CA High-Speed Rail Authority for Fresno and Bakersfield (“California High-Speed Rail Fresno-Bakersfield Segment, Part III, Section E“).
Here is a rendering of the Bakersfield design (there are several variations, all following the same template). You should click the image to enlarge.
And here is a Fresno rending. For a downtown location, the Fresno station sure has an abundance of surface parking (parking areas highlighted in orange, the station footprint in yellow).
These designs are very underwhelming. They are so retrograde, it is as if Parsons Brinckerhoff had thawed out 1960’s BART engineers from cryogenic hibernation.
The bike/ped access is especially bad. A simple metric for bike/ped accessibility is the walking distance from platform to street. For some destinations, it isn’t too arduous — but for other directions the travel is circuitous. Visitors must cross acres of parking (not to mention the fare gates and possible TSA baggage screening) to reach the street. The Bakersfield design is especially lacking because the station would be grade-separated over a roadway, and yet no effort was made to exploit that. Really, the only direct route from platform to street is the emergency staircase.
The bike parking is also problematic because no thought was given to inside-the-station secure bike parking. Indeed, bike racks and lockers are relegated to obscure locations, away from foot traffic (making for easy theft). The lack of secure parking is inexcusable as the stations don’t lack for space. Approx. 1,000 sq-ft is allocated for a telecommunications and “station computer” center (if this high-speed rail thing doesn’t work out, perhaps Google can use the facility for a data center).
Since the stations are situated along the existing freight rail tracks, long pedestrian overcrossings were included; however, the design of the overcrossings is bizarre. Take a look at this view of the Bakersfield station, and note how the freight overcrossing doesn’t line up with the high-speed rail platform. To exit the station, one must go down, then up, then down again!
A similar problem exists for Fresno station. The tracks are at-grade, and the west entrance is at-grade, but passengers must go up and down again — because the fare gates are in the upper level concourse:
So what can be done differently? For starters, we can look to these guys for inspiration…
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