FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — While many U.S. cities are converting urban cores into walkable oases where people can stroll to restaurants and shops, bike and be green, Fresno is going the opposite direction.
Its leaders want to lay down roadway on a six-block pedestrian mall once touted as a national model for pedestrian-friendly downtowns.
Built during urban renewal in the 1960s, the Fulton Mall has lapsed into decay, its mostly empty 1920s-vintage office buildings attracting little revenue in this city of 500,000 in California's agricultural heartland.
City officials say the reconstructed street would be pedestrian- and environment- friendly and will draw new businesses and shoppers. The city got a $16 million federal grant to open the mall up to auto traffic.
But critics say reconstruction would destroy one of the city's few walkable areas.