|Feel free to imagine this is what I look like.|
My name is James Sinclair, and this is my somewhat-professional blog. I have a Master in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Boston University. I correctly work in bicycle and pedestrian planning and research.
What is this blog?
This blog is focused on Fresno and the Central Valley, specifically in regards to urban planning, development, transportation, and housing. Occasionally, I will post about other cities and topics I am interested in, most likely related to bicycling, public transportation, and electric vehicles.
Why blog about Fresno?
I have been in and out of Fresno for most of my life. While it has never been my true home, it has been the closest to having one. I have been fortunate enough to live in a dozen places, and travel to dozens of countries. As such, I have been able to see what Fresno does well, and what Fresno does badly.
Ten years ago, I knew nothing about urban planning. I knew what cities I liked, but didn't quite know how to articulate why. I knew that I enjoyed walking across the street from my grandmother's house in Mexico City to the store making fresh tortillas. I knew that kind of experience didn't exist in Fresno - you had to drive anywhere and everywhere - but I didn't understand why.
Who decided that a strip mall was a good idea? Why are stores and businesses kept so far apart? Why do you have to drive to Belmont (South Fresno) to get good tacos?
Those are questions I didn't find answers to when I started my undergraduate career in Business Administration. However, I was in Boston, one of the most walkable cities in the country. Even though "most walkable" wasn't the reason I picked Boston University, it was a damn fine decision.
Although my classes didn't answer my questions, I became active online, reading more and more on urban planning, and well, learning what it was. Before graduation, I enrolled in a transportation course as an elective, and finally started getting answers.
After graduation, I moved back to Fresno, under the foolish assumption that having a college degree would make me very valuable in a market with a low percentage of them. Unemployment was over 15% at the time, so that plan didn't end well. On the plus side, I got a first-hand look at struggles most Fresnans face, from unreliable transportation to a landscape full of low-paying part-time jobs. I even got a seasonal job at the IRS, a Fresno tradition.
I did have free time though - lots of it - and it quickly became apparent that the kinds of blogs I liked to read didn't exist in Fresno. I also saw that Fresno was making the same old mistakes over and over again, with nary a voice to challenge them. And I felt that many of the struggles Fresno was facing could be linked back to poor planning decisions.
So my blog was born.
That was back in 2011. A lot has changed since then, namely the fact that I no longer have lots of free time. However, the need for comprehensive urban planning in Fresno hasn't changed, so I keep trying to contribute.
Media Mentions and Publications
How good is pedestrian fatality data? Journal of Transport & Health
For people of color, barriers to riding a bike go far beyond infrastructure. Greater Greater Washington
For People of Color, Barriers to Biking Go Far Beyond Infrastructure, Study Shows. Streetsblog USA
Removing Barriers to Bicycle Use in Black and Hispanic Communities. Transportation Research Board Poster
Why Pokemon Go Sucks in the Suburbs. Rolling Stone Magazine
Why Benchmark? Creating a Bicycling Benchmarking Report for New Jersey. Transportation Research Board Poster
Pedestrian Fatality Data Quality: Problems and Definitions. Transportation Research Board Poster
For California's Drought Towns, the Next Challenge Is Growth. The Atlantic CityLab
Could the Hyperloop soon be a reality, or are we getting taken for a ride? Fortune
Using the Hype-Loop to Understand the California HSR System. Daily Kos
Trainspotters: Deriving Numbers by Counting "Nonsensical," "Intellectually Dishonest." Reason.com
The Reason Foundation’s Comically Flawed Research on LA Rail. Streetsblog USA