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Third Street Makeover

Downtown Streetscapes

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#1 jefffwd

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 10:18 AM

http://www.star-tele...ry/1592293.html

In downtown Fort Worth, jazzing up Third Street
Posted Sunday, Sep. 06, 2009
By SANDRA BAKER

sabaker@star-telegram.com

FORT WORTH — The 15-block stretch of Third Street in downtown is a busy corridor.

At all times of the day, people are walking to and from work, motorists are looking for parking places and bike riders are weaving through it all.

Now there’s an effort to bring cohesiveness — and a little pizazz — to the stretch between Henderson Street on the west and Elm Street on the east. The plan would add walkways, streetscapes and other design elements to make Third an important and pleasing thoroughfare.

Johnny Campbell, president and chief executive of Sundance Square, the Bass family development that owns several blocks along Third, said the new effort could create a "streetscape rhythm" for the public and for property owners along the route.

"We’ve thought of this as an exciting pedestrian walkway for a long time," Campbell said, referring to the Sundance master plan. "This is going to be a lot of fun and a way to energize everyone’s imagination about what can be done."

An inviting street

It’s not that Third is ugly. Rather it needs a little help to make it inviting for folks to walk to the public library, popular restaurants and downtown activities, planners say.

And there are plenty of opportunities to do that, said Jim Johnson, director of the tax increment financing district administered by Downtown Fort Worth Inc., a nonprofit advocacy organization. Funding from the district will pay for the work.

Standing at Third and Lamar streets, Johnson notes that the intersection feels like the edge of downtown, which is actually four blocks to the west.

Another way to draw attention to the vibrancy of the area would be to place designs in the crosswalks at Third and Main, he said.

"The crosswalks are very important," he said.

"An inviting streetscape would connect these areas and the outlying residential developments to Sundance Square and the heart of the downtown."

Taking another look

Revamping Third was first considered in the 1998 Downtown TIF Project and Financing Plan, but it was put on the back burner. A lot has happened along Third since then, prompting downtown leaders to dust off the idea and take another look.

A steering committee of property owners along the street has convened, but planners also want ideas from the public, downtown workers and residents.

"I’m looking for anyone . . . who has an interest in what this street looks like," Johnson said. "What we need are more ideas."

The tax district is paying $95,180 to HOK, an architectural, engineering and consulting firm, to come up with three conceptual streetscape designs that are based, in part, on that input. The design will also address construction costs.

The improvements could include trees, crosswalk pavers, decorative pedestrian-scaled lighting and furnishings such as benches and trash cans.

Some areas along the street have larger sidewalks. Some sidewalks are brick, some concrete. Street parking is available in some places but not others.

Those sorts of things need smoothing out, Johnson said.

"We’d like to include all modes of transportation, too," he said.

Owners on board

First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth owns several blocks along Third near Henderson Street, at the proposed western gateway.

Tim Bruster, senior pastor, said he’s pleased that private property owners will have input. The church has a master plan for development of the blocks it owns, and knowing what other owners are doing will make for a better effort, he said.

"It certainly needs to be made more attractive and appealing for pedestrians," Bruster said. "I would love to have pedestrian traffic on all sides of the church."

Across the street, the owner of the CGI Building, Peloton Real Estate Partners, said it, too, wants to be a part of the process.

Peloton isn’t planning any improvement projects but would be open to suggestions, said Murl Richardson, a partner.

"Given market conditions, it may or may not happen during our ownership of the building," he said.



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Officials seek public input Want to have your say about putting a little pizazz in Third Street? The public is invited to offer design ideas at a meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth, 800 W. Fifth St. The meeting will be in Wesley Hall. For more information, contact Downtown Fort Worth Inc. at 817-870-1692.



#2 RD Milhollin

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 11:24 PM

QUOTE (jefffwd @ Sep 7 2009, 10:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"Im looking for anyone . . . who has an interest in what this street looks like," Johnson said. "What we need are more ideas."

"Wed like to include all modes of transportation, too," he said.


OK, I think that 3rd and 2nd streets would make great east- and west bound streetcar routes for a line from Southside up Henderson, intersecting the 7th St. line, and heading across the Sundance Square area, and then heading out east on 3rd St. to serve Riverside. This would keep streetcars from interfering with autos on heavily traveled Belknap and Weatherford Streets. This assumes that the Tandy Center Mall is going to be redone with 2nd St. put back through. Having buses and streetcars meet at the "square" looks like a better alternative than the squashy plans for somehow turning what is left of Hyde Park into a transit hub. At least SS is a place people want to go; and a streetcar to take them home would help the driving-after-drinking problem. This would be great for the Arts Festivals as well. It would no doubt help bring more urban/retail/residential development to the parking seas around the First Methodist Church and east of the City-Center Towers. Oh yeah, bike lanes too

#3 cbellomy

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:10 AM

PP, the wrinkle in your plan would be the big concrete structure between Throckmorton and Taylor where the Tandy Center Mall used to be. I wish they were still planning to reopen 2nd Street through there. In general I wish that downtown would open up and integrate the space between Throckmorton and Henderson better than it does. There's practically nothing of interest west of Taylor and that's a shame.

#4 mmiller2002

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 11:06 AM

Where would the city get money to jazz up 3rd?

#5 AndyN

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 03:14 PM

QUOTE
And there are plenty of opportunities to do that, said Jim Johnson, director of the tax increment financing district administered by Downtown Fort Worth Inc., a nonprofit advocacy organization. Funding from the district will pay for the work.


Www.fortwortharchitecture.com

#6 Recyclican

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:32 PM

QUOTE (AndyN @ Sep 8 2009, 04:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
And there are plenty of opportunities to do that, said Jim Johnson, director of the tax increment financing district administered by Downtown Fort Worth Inc., a nonprofit advocacy organization. Funding from the district will pay for the work.



And in case you're wondering what kind of district it is...and where it gets its money: http://en.wikipedia....ement_financing

QUOTE
TIF is a tool to use future gains in taxes to finance current improvements (which theoretically will create the conditions for those future gains). When a public project such as a road, school, or hazardous waste cleanup is carried out, there is often an increase in the value of surrounding real estate, and perhaps new investment (new or rehabilitated buildings, for example). This increased site value and investment sometimes generates increased tax revenues. The increased tax revenues are the "tax increment." Tax Increment Financing dedicates tax increments within a certain defined district to finance debt issued to pay for the project. TIF is designed to channel funding toward improvements in distressed or underdeveloped areas where development might not otherwise occur. TIF creates funding for "public" projects that may otherwise be unaffordable to localities.


#7 mmiller2002

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 11:11 AM

Not familiar, but it sounds like funny or borrowed money. It just seems like with all the budget trouble fort worth has, jazzing up third should be low on the list. Its a bustling area already.

#8 Fort Worthology

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 11:59 AM

Really nothing "funny" about TIF funds. TIF caps tax rate, new development occurs, and what would have otherwise been additional tax value due to the new development is instead put back into public infrastructure improvements. They've been around a pretty good long while now and have been instrumental in central city redevelopment. There's a Downtown TIF, a Lancaster area TIF, a Near Southside TIF, etc.

#9 Austin55

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 10:50 PM

A few new things happening here, around the railroad tracks between 1st and 3rd int the Hillside neighborhood. Evidently 1st street was closed at the railroad crossing recently, so these plans make it easier to get from 1st to 3rd street and will improve pedestrian safety in the area. 

 

Article


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#10 renamerusk

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:41 AM

Glad to see that the City/DFWI is keeping that section of the central core in mind.

 

Despite the massive plans of TXDOT (I-35W), the 3rd Street/4th Street Corridor remains as a one-of-a- kind link between Downtown, the river, Southwest Riverside and the Race/6-Point Urban Village. The opportunities that they offer for urban development can be with great vision special places to live, work and become entertainment destinations.


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