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Public Plazas and Pavilions

Where might they be created?

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#1 renamerusk

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 03:19 PM

One objective for reopening the Will Rogers Arena topic was to give an impetus to thinking about creating more public plazas, especially in light of what is generally regarded to be the excellent reviews of the New Sundance Square Plaza. Places like the cultural district and the stockyard district come immediately in mind for the creation of a plaza specifically tailored to their identity.

 

And even downtown where currently a surface parking lot exists once the site of the Landmark Tower.  The demolition of the Landmark Tower revealed a panoramic view of some outstanding architectural buildings; a view and an openness that I have come to admire.  When and if XTO Exxon decides to build upon the Landmark Tower site,  a site being as prime a location as any downtown; I will actually feel a bit of sadness at the lost of this view which will be shadowed by a super tall structure.  Our fellow blogger, RD Milhollon states its well for me:

 

"At the recent Forum meet on Sunday I briefly discussed with John my feelings about the potential for the block formerly occupied by the old Continental National Bank / Landmark Tower building. I think this would make an excellent urban space, especially when the rest of the block where the Waggoner Building is located is developed.... I like the idea of how the planners of Savannah GA placed public spaces about 3 blocks apart when the city was laid out in 1733. Savannah is very walkable, and each square has its own unique qualities that set it apart".

 

Be that XTO Exxon might choose to squeeze in a super tall structure on the Waggoner Building Block and choose to use the Landmark Block for underground parking topped with a pavilion so that this magnificent view can be preserved, then that would be awesome. It is probably too much to ask and quite unlikely given the economic metrics; and yet, it remains a hope of mine.



#2 Austin55

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 03:41 PM

Well the most important step in a plaza as successful as Sundance is having the pedestrian activity to support it. XTO's part of downtown isn't nearly as pleasant as what was existing in Sundance, but that's not to say the potential isn't there. Plaza's work best surrounded by density, which Sundance has and XTO mostly has (especially if the W.T. Waggoner building gets some friends on it's block) 

I'm kinda on the edge for a plaza there. There are 4 other large public spaces within 3 blocks (Sundance, Gen. Worth, Hyde, and Burnett) so I wonder if there is need or mass to support another space or if they would cannibalize each other and be less succesful on the whole. But then, I look at Portland, which has several public spaces around Pioneer Square (Directors, Lowendale, O'Bryant, Chapman, etc) but FW is not nearly on the scale of urban that Portland is, at least not now and not even in the foreseeable future.

If  a skyscraper were to be built there, I'd hope it wouldn't be to massive. Nothing over 500 feet seems necessary, and while designs like this are beautiful, they also seem way to overpowering for me. Something well thought out, like The Tower, whose base meets the street very nicely with retail, but whose tower sets back and chamfered corners allow views and an open feeling. And remember, I'm very pro skyscraper if done properly. 



#3 cjyoung

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:15 PM

Well I would hope a "massive" tower would mean lots of white collar jobs, so I'd be in favor of it.



#4 cjyoung

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:17 PM

John's design that @Austin55 referenced would be perfect IMHO. :swg:



#5 Fort Worthology

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:38 PM


I'm kinda on the edge for a plaza there. There are 4 other large public spaces within 3 blocks (Sundance, Gen. Worth, Hyde, and Burnett) so I wonder if there is need or mass to support another space or if they would cannibalize each other and be less succesful on the whole. But then, I look at Portland, which has several public spaces around Pioneer Square (Directors, Lowendale, O'Bryant, Chapman, etc) but FW is not nearly on the scale of urban that Portland is, at least not now and not even in the foreseeable future.

 

Yeah, Portland can support all those public spaces because it is *massively* more populated and dense than downtown Fort Worth is.  Despite being quite a bit smaller in population, PDX is much more compact and urban/walkable and has a *lot* more people living in its central core.

 

It would be a mistake to take Sundance Square Plaza's success as an indicator that we need to put parks and plazas on every vacant lot of the central city.  FW needs a lot more density and activity - its existing public spaces are often very under-used, with Sundance's being a notable exception.


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#6 Austin55

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 11:35 AM

There's been a lot of disscussion about this, figured I bump the topic up. 

 

I can think of two perfect places for new splashgrounds in downtown, General Worth Square (close down main, raise street to sidewalk level, include fountians, boom plaza) and I was thinking perhaps one in the open center part of the Watergardens, below the mountain. 

 

 

With Left Bank coming up, I'm also wondering how long untll the whole West 7th area has the critcal mass to be be able to support a public plaza of it's own. It's such a shame the Montgomery Development ended up being so suburban as it's a fairly central place in the area to have a plaza. 



#7 cberen1

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:27 PM

With Left Bank coming up, I'm also wondering how long untll the whole West 7th area has the critcal mass to be be able to support a public plaza of it's own. It's such a shame the Montgomery Development ended up being so suburban as it's a fairly central place in the area to have a plaza. 

 

First, great bump.

 

I've always felt the center of Montgomery Target  is underutilized space.  I thought they should plop down a business in the middle, but maybe they need to use it as public event space.  Put a stage in the little circle facing South and block off the traffic trying to cross the parking lot. 



#8 BlueMound

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:46 PM

The condo owners of Montgomery Plaza want the center street to be closed to car traffic and turned into a plaza.

 

They have floated that idea to the REIT that owns the retail portion of the building. 



#9 Fort Worthology

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 02:22 PM

The way it should have been since the beginning, IMHO.


- Architecture/urban planning/transit blogger, Fort Worth Weekly

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#10 Austin55

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 02:59 PM

Here's my issues with that. You can certainly do that and it'd be nice for those residents, but I doubt it'd attract residents and shoppers from W7, So7, Leftbank and Linwood. It's too segregated by the rest of the areas urban context. I also can't imagine the business owners in the area would be ok with it.

#11 Jeriat

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:24 PM

The condo owners of Montgomery Plaza want the center street to be closed to car traffic and turned into a plaza.

 

They have floated that idea to the REIT that owns the retail portion of the building. 

 

I've been wanting to do this for a while, but I've got to start a thread on that. I've had it in mind for a long time... 


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#12 cberen1

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:40 AM

The answer on W. 7th street, I think, has to be Trinity Park's entrance by the Fireman's memorial.  If, as was drawn on Left Bank site plan, there's some kind of a rail station on the FWWR line ont he other side of 7th, AND there's a streetcar line down 7th, AND there's pedestrian access from the East from both the 7th street bridge and the new footbridge on the other side of Lancaster, it sure seems like quite a confluence of non-parking dependent factors.

 

I've always thought it was a nice little, underutilized public space.  Back in the day Shakespeare in the Park was there and it was really neat.  Now there's all this stuff going up all around it.  It's in the middle of everything.  It would be a great location for a plaza.



#13 RD Milhollin

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:37 AM

Although I agree that the entrance lawn to Trinity Park facing 7th Street is a great place, for a "plaza", i.e. urban social space why not provide some encouragement for the private development sector to follow the successful lead of the downtown group with the fountain and build a block-sized complex (say, between 6th and 7th and Norwood and Currie) closer to the center of present activity and on the soon-to-be-developing side of 7th . Following the template, two block-long buildings could be constructed facing Norwood and Currie and oriented north and south, with an open end facing 7th and semi-public facilities facing 6th. The Plaza would be in the middle of the block, and consist of shaded public space with a water feature. A different architectural style would be good to differentiate it, and parking integrated into the complex would be needed (I prefer underground, but am cognizant of the issues involved).



#14 cberen1

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 09:42 AM

I think you're going to have trouble getting any developer to be as civic minded as SS was with the plaza. 

 

Maybe you could get the city to commit to building a plaza as part of economic incentives for developers in that area.  "If you build XXX residential units and XXX,XXX of walkable retail in this area, Fort Worth will spend $X Million to develop a plaza on this space and maintain it in perpetuity."  I don't know.  Just spitballin'.

 

Maybe Linwood park would be a good spot for such an endeavor?



#15 johnfwd

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 07:48 PM

Funny thing about plazas and fountains, they either become public friendly or they look abandoned.  Two plaza sites come to mind--the TCC nursing center on Weatherford and the rear of the JFK memorial, 8th and Commerce.  I thought the TCC plaza would eventually "catch fire" (so speak) with the public, but it doesn't appear that's going to happen.  This site would be excellent for kid-splashing, more so than Sundance but not as grandiose as the water gardens.

 

Believe it or not there's a small "plaza" and fountain at the rear of the JFK Memorial.  Was walking around it this afternoon and saw the little plaza, which was almost enclosed by concrete walls, at the rear and the little water fountain inside it.  The fountain was inhabited--not by kids, by pigeons!



#16 Volare

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:43 PM

TCC has signs up stating in no uncertain terms that you may not get in the water. They have surveillance cameras everywhere that will summon a rent-a-cop if you choose to try.



#17 Fort Worthology

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 09:15 AM

I never thought the TCC plaza would catch on with the public.  It's sunken, which is immediately less appealing than a street-level public space, *and* there's virtually nothing around it that's engaging in any way.  (Not from an architectural standpoint - from a usage standpoint.)


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#18 johnfwd

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 10:52 AM

Unfortunately, you're right about the TCC plaza.  But I sat on one of the benches down there some spring day ago and enjoyed the solitude, fountain water splashing, and recorded bird chirping.  I bet some nursing students do eat their lunches or occasionally read their textbooks there (we just may not notice because it's not visible at street level).



#19 Jeriat

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 09:11 AM

Unfortunately, you're right about the TCC plaza.  But I sat on one of the benches down there some spring day ago and enjoyed the solitude, fountain water splashing, and recorded bird chirping.  I bet some nursing students do eat their lunches or occasionally read their textbooks there (we just may not notice because it's not visible at street level).

 

For a school, THAT should be the angle. 

I personally like it because it gives you a sense of peace and solitude. When Panther Island comes into full swing, it'll provide good views of that as well. 


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#20 renamerusk

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 12:01 PM

The Kimbell Museum should consider a two level underground garage and an at-grade sculpture garden.

 

 

One objective for reopening the Will Rogers Arena topic was to give an impetus to thinking about creating more public plazas, especially in light of what is generally regarded to be the excellent reviews of the New Sundance Square Plaza. Places like the cultural district and the stockyard district come immediately in mind for the creation of a plaza specifically tailored to their identity.......

 

Anything to shield the automobile from view.

 

I think a subterranean parking garage topped by a fine art square/plaza flanked by the MOMA, Kimball with Casa Manana and the new cultural district hotel would a great addition to the already amazing destination that is the Cultural District.



#21 renamerusk

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 09:57 AM

I can think of two perfect places for new splashgrounds in downtown, General Worth Square (close down main, raise street to sidewalk level, include fountians, boom plaza).....

 

With GWS on the verge on being surrounded by hotels, it is time to consider how to improve the park's pedestrian appeal. 

 

A start should be closing Main Street between 8th and 9th Streets to motor traffic which will eliminate parking along both sides of the street.   The idea is to have traffic circulate around the park as traffic similarly to how traffic moves around Sundance Square Plaza.

 

With a projected 1,000 rooms of hotel space within 1 block of the park, GWS could develop similarly into a second SSP that would provide additional support for existing restaurants and stimulate new restaurants and retail within the GWS neighborhood.



#22 Bonfire98A

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:59 AM

With GWS on the verge on being surrounded by hotels, it is time to consider how to improve the park's pedestrian appeal. 

 

A start should be closing Main Street between 8th and 9th Streets to motor traffic which will eliminate parking along both sides of the street.   The idea is to have traffic circulate around the park as traffic similarly to how traffic moves around Sundance Square Plaza.

 

Well, Main Street's usefulness as a primary downtown thoroughfare has already pretty much been compromised by closing it between 3rd and 4th for the plaza, leaving the remainder in two short, disconnected segments -- should the City eventually just consider turning the whole thing into a pedestrian mall with traffic lights at the cross streets?



#23 renamerusk

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:08 PM

 

With GWS on the verge on being surrounded by hotels, it is time to consider how to improve the park's pedestrian appeal.

 

Well, Main Street's usefulness as a primary downtown thoroughfare has already pretty much been compromised by closing it between 3rd and 4th for the plaza, leaving the remainder in two short, disconnected segments -- should the City eventually just consider turning the whole thing into a pedestrian mall with traffic lights at the cross streets?

 

 Turning Main Street into a pedestrian mall would be a safety and economic issue.  Public Safety and Emergency Safety vehicles could not get directly to an emergency situation; and the businesses that need delivery and customer ingress and egress would likely suffer from a lack of direct accessibility.   As it is now, Main Street, of the four major Downtown thoroughfares (Commerce, Main, Houston and Throckmorton), seems to me to be the calmest and pedestrian friendly street.  A tweak or two of GWS will probably suffice.



#24 Jeriat

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:20 PM

Shut down Main for pedestrians, make Commerce One Way going north all the way up to Belknap, while Houston is One Way going south all the way down to Lancaster.

I'd be down for that.


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#25 Austin55

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:23 PM

 

 

With GWS on the verge on being surrounded by hotels, it is time to consider how to improve the park's pedestrian appeal.

 

Well, Main Street's usefulness as a primary downtown thoroughfare has already pretty much been compromised by closing it between 3rd and 4th for the plaza, leaving the remainder in two short, disconnected segments -- should the City eventually just consider turning the whole thing into a pedestrian mall with traffic lights at the cross streets?

 

 Turning Main Street into a pedestrian mall would be a safety and economic issue.  Public Safety and Emergency Safety vehicles could not get directly to an emergency situation; and the businesses that need delivery and customer ingress and egress would likely suffer from a lack of direct accessibility.   As it is now, Main Street, of the four major Downtown thoroughfares (Commerce, Main, Houston and Throckmorton), seems to me to be the calmest and pedestrian friendly street.  A tweak or two of GWS will probably suffice.

 

 

Pedestrian malls still allow vehicular access, much like Sundance Plaza. A small ramp in place of a curb and some open space wide enough to accommodate the vehicles it all that is needed. The 16th street mall in Denver even has bus routes running through it. 

 

Main is not a hugely trafficked street by vehicles at the moment. During the day, it is pretty much dead, delivery vehicles are the most common. In the evenings, a lot of the Street is used for valet.

 

I see 3 major options for Main between 4th & 8th.

 

  1.  Leave it as is. It's already a fairly nice street, vehicle traffic is already fairly low and slow and it functions just fine. 
  2. Shrink the street to 1 lane each way, use the street primarily as a valet drop off (For Sundance & the hotels along the street), leaves a lane open for delivery vehicles. Use old street space for wider sidewalks. (this is the option I'm most interested in)
  3. Outright close the street to vehicles. (This should happen at GWS)

 

 

I can think of two perfect places for new splashgrounds in downtown, General Worth Square (close down main, raise street to sidewalk level, include fountians, boom plaza).....

 

With GWS on the verge on being surrounded by hotels, it is time to consider how to improve the park's pedestrian appeal. 

 

A start should be closing Main Street between 8th and 9th Streets to motor traffic which will eliminate parking along both sides of the street.   The idea is to have traffic circulate around the park as traffic similarly to how traffic moves around Sundance Square Plaza.

 

With a projected 1,000 rooms of hotel space within 1 block of the park, GWS could develop similarly into a second SSP that would provide additional support for existing restaurants and stimulate new restaurants and retail within the GWS neighborhood.

 

GWS also has a lot of potential for conventions & events. It is already used this way, but it isn't built this way.It could be an effective addition to the convention center offerings, especially in 2045 or whenever it will be the arena replacement happens. 

 

One small change that would need to be done in the event GWS closes is to make more of Houston 2 way. Currently, if you are going north on Houston, you must make a right onto 9th. If you made Houston 2 ways for one more block, that would allow drivers to use Throckmorton as another north route, instead of just Commerce or Main (which would be gone in this scenario). Commerce has been made 2 ways all the way up to 2nd street without much of an issue, so I can't imagine Houston would be worse off for doing this either. (2 ways streets are great anyway.



#26 hipolyte

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 07:19 PM

General Worth Square needs a sculpture of General Worth. I volunteer.



#27 renamerusk

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 08:15 AM

At least, there should also be a statue of President Lyndon Baines Johnson in GWS to honor him as has been done to honor JFK

 

LBJ is honored in Austin, Houston and Dallas. If he is in San Antonio, which I am unaware of but think that he would be, then Fort Worth is an outlier.



#28 Jeriat

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 12:17 PM

At least, there should also be a statue of President Lyndon Baines Johnson in GWS to honor him as has been done to honor JFK

 

. . .  I don't know about that one.


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#29 renamerusk

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 02:45 PM

Taking a look around Downtown, can Downtown support a second commercial/public square; and if so, where would a second square be located?  My choice is between Calhoun and Jones across from the ITC.



#30 Austin55

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 02:56 PM

Make General Worth Square a proper sqaure and not two halves.



#31 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 03:31 PM

Main St downtown isn't highly traveled anymore. Might be a good idea.


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#32 renamerusk

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 03:34 PM

Unless Moncrief Building is available, GWS is limited for development.

 

One or two blocks across from ITC could be developed into an outdoor food and entertainment plaza that would benefit from the nearby hotels, future apartment tower, train station, and the convention center complex.  Ideal location: Calhoun and Jones between 7th and 9th.

 

I think an open air, two level courtyard styled plaza would be a great addition to the immediate area.



#33 renamerusk

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:34 PM

The Police and Fire Departments want streets in downtown to either be permanently closed or permanently open (with special exceptions, not just events).  Otherwise, it creates public safety issues.  When the debate was going on regarding the plaza, the PD and FD preferred to have the street permanently closed between 3rd and 4th Streets.  Now, it is only open during parades, which are even more limited exceptions.

 

 

I wish they would permanently close Main Street between 2nd & 3rd and then also close 3rd St. between Houston & Commerce. I think it would work better as a true pedestrian mall vibe. I just think 3rd Street is too busy with cars and pedestrians interacting continuously; especially on busy nights.

 

Because all roads lead to Downtown, we have developed a street network that brings cross town traffic through Downtown.  Downtown is not the same center that it was in the 20th Century.  It will be different in the 2000's. I would like to see Downtown transitioning to a pedestrian neighborhood and away from a auto dominated neighborhood. 

 

To wit, I think that the grid system should be interrupted with more auto-free corridors.  Closing Main Street (2nd to 3rd) and closing 3rd Street (Houston to Commerce) would be and is a great idea.



#34 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 07:31 PM

Fort Worth has been a major employment hub for a century now, and that will not change anytime soon.

 

That said, Panther Island would make for a great residential neighborhood with minimal auto traffic.


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#35 JKC

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:07 AM

 
That said, Panther Island would make for a great residential neighborhood with minimal auto traffic.


Also making it a very well organized and complimentary use for the surrounding districts.




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