Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Modern Streetcar Dead


  • Please log in to reply
224 replies to this topic

#1 jefffwd

jefffwd

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,493 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:23 AM

Sad to say but Kevin at FortWortholgy is reporting that the vote to finish the streetcar study will not pass at tonight's meeting. :glare:

Dec 7, 2010 2

Council Expected to Stop Streetcar Study Tonight
By: Kevin Buchanan

We’ve learned from multiple sources that at tonight’s city council meeting, the council is expected to vote to stop the modern streetcar study in a split vote. These sources are indicating that Jungus Jordan (District 6), Zim Zimmerman (District 3), Carter Burdette (District 7), and Danny Scarth (District 4) will vote against finishing the study. Mayor Moncrief will join them (he is well-known for not liking split votes – very disappointing, but not surprising, he’d vote against just to avoid a straight split). Joel Burns (District 9), Sal Espino (District 2), and Frank Moss (District 5) should be the votes in favor of finishing the study. Kathleen Hicks (District 8 ) is in Germany and will not be present – her absence could be a factor in the vote swinging against, as Moncrief may well have gone with a 5-4 in favor vote.


http://fortwortholog...-study-tonight/

#2 mmiller2002

mmiller2002

    Elite Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 965 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Hi Mounttttt
  • Interests:Born 1959
    HS Grad 1977
    1982 BSEE Penn State

Posted 07 December 2010 - 12:29 PM

Maybe its because the city doesn't have the money.

#3 Jamie

Jamie

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 07 December 2010 - 01:48 PM

Maybe its because the city doesn't have the money.

The TIF districs have the money.

#4 John T Roberts

John T Roberts

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,918 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Fort Worth
  • Interests:Architecture, Photography, Bicycling, Historic Preservation

Posted 07 December 2010 - 03:26 PM

It's too bad the City Council can't see the forest for the trees.

#5 djold1

djold1

    Elite Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 689 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:76179

Posted 07 December 2010 - 03:54 PM

All of this may be correct... But I wish that the post-mortem would happen after the event itself and use the comments and actual decisions made at the meeting instead of guessing in advance.

Pete Charlton
The Fort Worth Gazette blog
The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps
 


#6 John T Roberts

John T Roberts

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,918 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Fort Worth
  • Interests:Architecture, Photography, Bicycling, Historic Preservation

Posted 07 December 2010 - 03:56 PM

Pete, we could be jumping the gun because someone on the City Council might change their vote! Then, we would be surprised.

#7 ramjet

ramjet

    Elite Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 593 posts
  • Location:Austin and Fort Worth

Posted 07 December 2010 - 06:48 PM

Are you really surprised given the proposed order of the build out of the different lines? Had the 7th Street - Downtown corridor been first up, we would all be popping the bubbly. And, while politically incorrect, I agree with the outcome.

#8 JBB

JBB

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,565 posts
  • Location:Bedford

Posted 07 December 2010 - 08:40 PM

Maybe its because the city doesn't have the money.


I would definitely say that the city's financial situation makes this a tough sell, both to the voters and to the council from a political standpoint. But not because the city can't afford it. It's a tough sell because so many people seem to have trouble discerning the idea that building the streetcar system with TIF money has no impact on the general fund. Like Kevin said on Fort Worthology, the only general fund money spent thus far has been for the studies (over a 15 year stretch) and that is essentially being flushed down the toilet now (again).

#9 John T Roberts

John T Roberts

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,918 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Fort Worth
  • Interests:Architecture, Photography, Bicycling, Historic Preservation

Posted 07 December 2010 - 09:57 PM

The Council just voted not to proceed with Phase 3 of this study. The vote was 5 to 3 to not continue. Councilman Jungus Jordan offered the motion. Those voting to not proceed with Phase 3 were Jordan, Burdette, Moncrief, Scarth, and Zimmerman. The three who voted to continue the study were Burns, Moss, and Espino. It is unfortunate that Councilwoman Hicks was not present.

The Council talked about how they chose an alternate direction to get the Omni Hotel built. Maybe they can come up with an alternate plan for the streetcars.

#10 JBB

JBB

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,565 posts
  • Location:Bedford

Posted 07 December 2010 - 11:18 PM

Chose an alternate direction?

#11 RenaissanceMan

RenaissanceMan

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 346 posts
  • Location:Texas

Posted 07 December 2010 - 11:40 PM

Truly disappointing. It seems more and more everyday that the country is moving from "Can do" to "Not now, not ever." Perhaps they should just establish a city-wide HOA and be done with it; that way folks can further convince themselves that cities don't change if you don't want them to. Or establish a Homestead Exemption for anyone over the age of 35. It's time for some people in Fort Worth to wake up.



This act is even more embarrassing in light of one of the proudest moments in Fort Worth's history - a series of events that has some strong similarities to present circumstances.

From the official webpage of the City of Fort Worth:



A Race Against Time: The Railroad Comes To “Pantherville”

The Texas and Pacific Railway (T&P) was being constructed westward across the state of Texas and, in anticipation of the railroad’s arrival, Fort Worth boomed.

Capt. B. B. Paddock, a Civil War veteran, had a lot to do with that "boom." In 1872, he became editor of the Fort Worth Democrat. Boundless in his enthusiasm for Fort Worth’s future, the editor published a map as part of the paper's masthead showing nine railroads entering Fort Worth -- this at a time when the nearest line was some 30 miles away.

Editors in other towns jested about Paddock’s “tarantula map.”

In the autumn of 1872, the T&P had been built to Eagle Ford, six miles west of Dallas.

Then disaster struck.

The Wall Street firm backing the railroad, Jay Cook & Co., failed. A mass exodus brought the population of Fort Worth from 4,000 to less than 1,000.

One morning, a citizen pointed to some marks on a business street and declared, “That’s where a panther slept last night.” No one had seen any panther and the spot might have been where a calf had wallowed. But a young lawyer with a sense of humor, who moved from Fort Worth to Dallas, wrote a letter to the newspaper stating that Fort Worth was so nearly deserted that a panther had slept in the street. Capt. Paddock, however, embraced the reference and dubbed Fort Worth “Pantherville,” giving the city another famous nickname -- Panther City.

Citizens felt that the future of their town depended upon obtaining the T&P, and they soon took up the task of building the line. The Tarrant County Construction Company was organized, the capital stock being subscribed in money, labor, material, forage and supplies.

According to one historian, Maj. K.M.Van Zandt was probably more responsible than any other man for bringing the T&P. into Fort Worth. Van Zandt, a young lawyer, just out of the Confederate army and broken in health and wealth, headed west with his family to start life anew, arriving in Fort Worth in August, 1865. Van Zandt, Captain E.M. Daggett, Thomas J. Jennings and H.G. Hendricks gave the railroad company 320 acres in what was then the southern part of the city. Van Zandt was elected president of the citizens’ construction company and a contract was let for the work, which began in the fall of 1875.

It was a race to save the railroad company from losing a state land grant. One of the provisions was that the railroad had to reach Fort Worth before the legislature adjourned. Some representatives felt the grant was too liberal and made several attempts to end the session. Major Darnell, Fort Worth’s representative was ill and, if he were absent at roll call, there was no quorum. So, day after day, he was taken to the legislative sessions on a cot. Rapid progress was made on the construction of the railroad but, at last, adjournment of the legislature was set, leaving two days to complete the tracks. It seemed almost impossibility that the railroad could reach Fort Worth within the time limit. But in those final days, Morgan Jones, the contractor, did not go to bed, seizing only a few minutes’ sleep now and then. And the work did not end with darkness but continued under the light of torches till midnight.

The rallying caught up with the grading at Sycamore Creek; so, instead of a trestle, cribs of ties were used to support the track over the creek and then the rails were laid on the ground for two miles. One account states that the Fort Worth City Council extended the city limits a quarter of a mile east so the distance could be shortened.

In any event, the first train entered Fort Worth July 19, 1876. The race had been won.People came from miles around; on horseback and in wagons to see the train pull in. Many had never seen a train before.

#12 Dismuke

Dismuke

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,038 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth
  • Interests:Late 19th/early 20th century history, popular culture architecture and music. Collecting 78 rpm records from the 1900 - 1930 era.

Posted 08 December 2010 - 02:23 AM

The Council talked about how they chose an alternate direction to get the Omni Hotel built. Maybe they can come up with an alternate plan for the streetcars.



I just did a quick google search on what it cost to build Bass Hall. According to one website it was approx $50 million. This is in 1990s dollars which, according to this Cost of Living Calculator (uses Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers as its source)is approx $71.5 million on 2010 dollars when one factors in currency inflation. Bass Hall was built entirely with private contributions.

If Bass Hall could be built for the equivalent of today's $71.5 million through private contributions, why can't a streetcar system be built with private contributions for $85 million?

One more tidbit of local history to consider as well: Leonards/Tandy for DECADES operated a private streetcar system - in a SUBWAY, no less. And, along with that, they maintained a very large parking lot and did not charge a dime for either the parking or for fare on the subway. The parking lot and the subway tunnel were on their own private property - which my strong guess is Leonards/Tandy paid property taxes on each year.

If a private, for profit retailer could operate a popular system of streetcars with very frequent stops from early morning to fairly late into the evening most days of the week plus a parking lot for decades on very expensive downtown real estate without charging for it - well, why couldn't a private non-profit (i.e, tax exempt) organization do the exact same thing using right of way on existing streets donated by the city?

To me, this has always struck me as a better approach to something like this.

I don't think it something like this could be accomplished without active and enthusiastic help from the City. The City would need to basically grant free use of the right of way on its streets for it to be viable to build. But so what? It would have had to do essentially that if it had built the line itself.

Of course, Leonards built the subway and operated it because it brought customers to its store and Tandy continued to do so because it provided a very convenient parking solution to employees who worked in its headquarters. But if a similar system were built today, it too could provide those exact same benefits to a multitude of businesses both in downtown and the areas the line would go outside of downtown. And, because the benefits of a new line being spread out across a multitude of companies, so could the cost.

Why not go back to the drawing board and see if there could be ways to cut start up costs on building the thing and modifications that could be made for it to have a more short term economic viability?

For example, one of the things that made the Tandy subway viable was it provided a parking solution. My guess is there are quite a number of downtown businesses small and large would could benefit by providing their employees additional parking options. Why not build parking lots on the edge of downtown - both north and south - and have special dedicated streetcars that operate on an express basis strictly between the lots and downtown during morning and evening rush hour? Businesses that are dues paying members of the non-profit organization that operates the thing would be able to issue their employees/customers ID Cards/single use tokens that would give them free use of the system (or perhaps reduced price use if the business had a more modest membership level). That aspect of the system would essentially work just like the Tandy Subway did except its benefits and costs would be spread across many businesses instead of just one. (People like me who might use the system only on the rare occasion when he has specific need to go downtown could be charged a per use fare - unlike the Tandy Subway which I rode on occasion for free but would have been willing to pay a modest fare simply because it was more convenient than finding a daytime parking spot downtown)

Same thing with regard to developers who build along the route. Those who are dues paying members of the non-profit would be entitled to provide free use of the system to their customers. For example, apartment complexes/condos could offer free fares to residents. Restaurants who are members would be entitled to issue a free single use token to any customer who buys a meal and requests one. Retail establishments could issue one to any customer who buys over a certain threshold.

Furthermore, the various businesses that would be dues paying members of the organization would be entitled to vote on selecting the board that operates the thing and perhaps on certain policy scenarios - and the number of votes a business gets would be in proportion to the dues it pays. Those who benefit the most from the thing would be charged higher membership dues - but they would also get a proportionally greater say-so in the organization.

Perhaps an agreement could be worked out to mutual benefit with The T to sell and honor passes for The T - with the non-profit getting a small reimbursement for its portion of the customers' trip.

If there is existing TIF money and it is indeed true it would not impact the general fund, then perhaps some of that could be used to make the street upgrades needed to accommodate such a system. After all, the City already is responsible for maintaining the streets - this would basically be a one time upgrade to them.

If the City could pay to upgrade the street/bridge infrastructure, then that would presumably lower the necessary cost for the non-profit to come up with below the $85 million price tag. And it certainly would lower the City's cost below the $85 million.

In other words, the City could basically help the effort by granting free use of its right of way and perhaps paying for all or some of the necessary upgrades to it's infrastructure. That would be of significant help in terms of getting the thing off the ground. The non-profit could then focus on raising support and money for stuff like purchasing the equipment and operating the thing on an ongoing basis. If the non-profit failed or lost money then the taxpayers would not be out anything other than the one time road upgrades which could be potentially used in the future by some other operator that might come along.

My thought is the City could essentially approach it this way: Determine what it would cost on a per mile/per bridge, etc. basis to upgrade its right of way to accommodate such a system IF some other entity were willing to operate a streetcar system on it. If the City determines it is in a position to pay for that much, then it could take a vote to offer full consideration to ANYONE who comes forth and offers a plan that is credible and viable. That would basically put the ball in the court of various interested parties to form an organization that would put such a proposal together. If such a proposal is put forth, the City could vote on the matter and make its portion of the deal - the infrastructure improvements - contingent upon the group having its share of funding raised and in place ahead of one dime of City funds being spent.

Why not at least explore and look into this possibility? Why on earth does the government have to run everything - and why must the taxpayers always pay for everything? If the streetcar will, indeed, bring the sort of economic benefits its promoters say it will, then presumably there will be certain individuals and businesses who will be in a position to benefit greatly from it financially - and who will NOT reap those benefits if the thing is never built. If so, then since the city will not be building the system, is it not in their own self-interest to band together with those who will similarly benefit and take the initiative to see if they can perhaps find a way to built it themselves? If the answer is no - that it is NOT in their self-interest to do so - then that tells me that perhaps the economic benefits its boosters are promoting are probably not very realistic (remember the Rail Market anyone?)to begin with. If one is not able to make the case that the thing will generate a credible financial benefit for those whose money is being donated and put at stake in the thing - then it is probably a good thing that the plug was pulled this evening. Perhaps those whose money would actually be at stake would be able to come up with something more viable. People are a LOT more realistic and practical and less Utopian when it is THEIR OWN money that is at stake then if they are spending other people's money.

Multiple streetcar lines were operated by private, tax paying, for profit entities for decades until the advent of the automobile and untaxed government subsidized highways and improved roads killed them off. Leonards/Tandy operated streetcars in its subway system for decades without charging a dime for the service. Bass Hall was built with entirely private contributions for not all that much less than the price tag quoted for the modern street car system. I don't think what I am proposing is all that unrealistic given that, unlike the other examples, it would be a tax exempt entity and would have at least SOME support from the city at least in terms of free right of way usage and PERHAPS free right of way improvement.

Personally, I think streetcars are COOL. I would LOVE to see such a system in Fort Worth. On the other hand I would almost NEVER ride the thing except perhaps on rare occasion as a tourist when I am showing the city to friends from out of town. I live on the Westside and my job is in the Dallas suburbs - I have zero practical need whatsoever for transit of any kind between the Southside and the Stock Yards. Still, I think they are COOL and would REALLY enjoy the trip I would certainly take on the thing if/when it opened. But there is a definite limit as to how much I am personally willing to pay for such a trip to eventually become possible - and that isn't very much. A streetcar would be cool - but not THAT cool.

There are a LOT of REALLY cool things in this world that I would LOVE to have or be able to do. And, unfortunately, there are a great many such things that I am simply unable to afford. And if there is something that I think is SO cool that I want it REALLY badly and it is expensive - then my only alternative is to ask myself if there is anything I can do to bring in that extra amount of money or if there is something else I can cut back on in order to free up that money or if there is perhaps some way that I can have it for a lower price. If the answer is no - then, unfortunately, I don't get to have it. And the reality is that there are a lot of things I would enjoy having that I don't get to have. And when that happens, I CERTAINLY do not go out and demand that unwilling others be COMPELLED to provide it to me.

If the street car is REALLY that cool and is REALLY as beneficial as supporters say it will be and REALLY has that much community support behind it, then maybe its supporters need to look for a way to make it happen without having to spend the money of those citizens who have zero interest or need for the thing. And I think I have offered as viable a way as any - and certainly more reasonable and fair than using compulsion to make unwilling taxpayers to pay for the whole thing.

Anyhow, just an idea.
Radio Dismuke
1920s & 1930s Pop & Jazz
24-Hour Internet Radio
www.RadioDismuke.com


#13 Dismuke

Dismuke

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,038 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth
  • Interests:Late 19th/early 20th century history, popular culture architecture and music. Collecting 78 rpm records from the 1900 - 1930 era.

Posted 08 December 2010 - 02:47 AM

Also, just for a bit of perspective on the thing:

The streetcar system is being scrapped because the $85 million price tag is too high.

Meanwhile, in downtown, TCC is continuing work on the bleak, inefficiently designed, $203 million dollar eyesore made out of ugly concrete panels that TxDot could have provided from its supply of surplus highway embankment panels at a fraction of the price - an eyesore that is also completely unnecessary and redundant considering TCC has bought the former Radio Shack complex which has plenty of room for it to grow.

That ugly concrete eyesore - that instant blight that looks like some nightmare left over from 1970s urban renewal and has been unceremoniously thrust into the side of a historic, scenic overlook on the edge of our otherwise charming downtown - could have paid for 2.38 streetcar systems. Or, one could have used the $203 million to build the streetcar system and refunded $118 million back to the taxpayers who, in these economic times, would certainly benefit from it as would the local economy.

I will say this much: if $203 million of the taxpayers' hard earned dollars was going to be confiscated from them by compulsion and totally squandered - well the proposed street car system would have been a WHOLE lot cheaper, far less wasteful and certainly far more beneficial than that eyesore which is, actually, a BLIGHT on the city and, as it turns out, totally unnecessary.

I think it is safe to say that, of the two projects, if one was to be built and the other to be killed as unnecessary and costly, most people will probably agree that the WRONG project managed to survive.

At least the streetcars would have been cool. The only thing that will EVER be cool about the concrete eyesore is the day that we will probably have to wait many years for when the thing is finally demolished.
Radio Dismuke
1920s & 1930s Pop & Jazz
24-Hour Internet Radio
www.RadioDismuke.com


#14 Electricron

Electricron

    Elite Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 575 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:51 AM

The biggest mistake I fear is that the original line included the north-side and south-side communities. It might have been better to build a downtown circulator with downtown TIF money first, then build upon that to nearby communities using TIF money from them.

I don't think a downtown only circulator would have drawn as much opposition as this latest proposal had. Of course, that brings up the question where maintenance facilities for the streetcars would have been built? Downtown property probably would had been too expensive.

#15 Now in Denton

Now in Denton

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,019 posts
  • Location:Fort Worth Denton Co.Tx. The new Fort Worth

Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:52 AM

I'm kinda glad it's dead. (For now anyway)I just don't see how much better it is than a bus? Plus it just went to the touisty area's. Fort Worth needs to get real and serious and get Light Rail ! Me personally would love Mono Rail. Dart is a real people mover! We need a system to get someome from SouthFort Worth to Alliance to DFW to Cowboy Stadium ect.This Streetcar is just a fancy bus to me. Sadly I see Dart going to DFW,China and the Moon. And we here in Fort Worth will still be spending millions on yet "another study".

#16 jefffwd

jefffwd

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,493 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:33 PM

Whateverr happened to that double bus that looks like a train?

#17 Dismuke

Dismuke

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,038 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth
  • Interests:Late 19th/early 20th century history, popular culture architecture and music. Collecting 78 rpm records from the 1900 - 1930 era.

Posted 08 December 2010 - 01:17 PM

Whateverr happened to that double bus that looks like a train?



Hmmmm. Do you mean this bus? :roflol:
Radio Dismuke
1920s & 1930s Pop & Jazz
24-Hour Internet Radio
www.RadioDismuke.com


#18 Volare

Volare

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,206 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oakhurst, Fort Worth, TX
  • Interests:running, cycling, geocaching, photography, gardening, hunting, fishing...

Posted 08 December 2010 - 03:15 PM

...

The streetcar system is being scrapped because the $85 million price tag is too high.

...


I don't know if I agree with that. I think if the system had cost $26 million with $25 million coming from the Feds, the result would have still been the same.

When the streetcar changed from a downtown circulator feeding people and $$$ into Sundance Square and the Bass Family, it was a "no brainer" (Jungus Jordan Dec 16, 2008 Pre-Council meeting). As soon as the Feds said that any grant funding would require serving more than just the downtown core, suddenly it lost all support from Downtown Fort Worth Inc., The Chamber of Commerce, etc... Follow the $$$

#19 j66996

j66996

    Newcomer

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastside

Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:36 PM

Whateverr happened to that double bus that looks like a train?



Eight of them just arrived and will be operational sometime early next year. If you travel south on Pine St. from Lancaster you will see them on the lot. They are quite impressive.

#20 cberen1

cberen1

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,302 posts
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:00 AM

I just sent Mr. Moncrief an email expressing my disappointment in his vote. :angry:

When was the last time we had anyone with any vision as Mayor?

#21 jefffwd

jefffwd

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,493 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:41 AM


Whateverr happened to that double bus that looks like a train?



Eight of them just arrived and will be operational sometime early next year. If you travel south on Pine St. from Lancaster you will see them on the lot. They are quite impressive.


I found it! Just pretend they are streetcars... :laugh:

Posted Image

#22 johnfwd

johnfwd

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,973 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:southwest
  • Interests:Running, bicycling, bowling, nightclub life, science, technology.

Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:22 PM

I'm kinda glad it's dead. (For now anyway)I just don't see how much better it is than a bus? Plus it just went to the touisty area's. Fort Worth needs to get real and serious and get Light Rail ! Me personally would love Mono Rail. Dart is a real people mover! We need a system to get someome from SouthFort Worth to Alliance to DFW to Cowboy Stadium ect.This Streetcar is just a fancy bus to me. Sadly I see Dart going to DFW,China and the Moon. And we here in Fort Worth will still be spending millions on yet "another study".


You may be correct in this assessment. Bus transit contributes to congestion (the "double bus" will exacerbate congestion). I believe the council's no vote on the proposed streetcar system goes deeper than project costs, the budget crunch or higher property taxes. There's a "no growth" mentality here that is blinding our city leaders to the need for modernization of infrastructure. If Fort Worth doesn't modernize its transit system, it will be less competitive than other major cities in attracting business and industry. If Fort Worthians so love their cowtown image that they don't care about such concerns, that to me is a shame.

#23 djold1

djold1

    Elite Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 689 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:76179

Posted 09 December 2010 - 02:09 PM

"Bus transit contributes to congestion (the "double bus" will exacerbate congestion)."



That's a curious statement...

Without getting into the streetcar vs. bus controversy, I would be interested to read your reasoning on this. Both a bus and a streetcar are essentially a long box on wheels. Both are about the same length for a given seating capacity. Both are about the same width. A streetcar & a bus take up about the same square footage on the street. A 50' streetcar or bus can handle at least 50 passengers in the space of three or four cars that typically will only be occupied by one or two people.

From the picture of the modern articulated bus above it is obvious that both the bus and the streetcar can look almost the same at first glance. Like streetcars, buses of any length may be articulated if there is a reason to. The bus shown is a very high capacity version. For a single streetcar to have that capacity and run downtown, many more short articulated segments would be required due to cornering requirements.

Buses and streetcars in downtown areas both operate in curbside lanes and passenger loading in both can be direct entry without steps if proper arrangements are made in the curb loading areas.

For what it's worth, for a bus to directly simulate a streetcar on rails, a simple radio control wire could be embedded into the pavement at the center of the bus lane and with the proper electronics the bus could be dedicated to a set route as streetcars are. The bus driver would simply accelerate and brake the vehicle without steering. This has been done for over 50 years. If necessary, a set of silver painted parallel lines could be painted in the bus lane to simulate rails for those prospective passengers that refused to believe the destination signs at curbside.

Since both vehicles take the same road space, run in the same lanes, go to and from similar destinations potentially carrying the same passengers, and are visually indistinguishable from a distance, I'm having a hard time understanding why one contributes to congestion and the other supposedly reduces it compared to automobile traffic.

I'm taking no pro or con stance on buses vs streetcars. I'm just interested in the logic of your statement

Am I missing something?.


Pete Charlton
The Fort Worth Gazette blog
The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps
 


#24 John T Roberts

John T Roberts

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,918 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Fort Worth
  • Interests:Architecture, Photography, Bicycling, Historic Preservation

Posted 15 December 2010 - 11:21 AM

In today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Mitchell Schnurman had an interesting column regarding the streetcar vote, fallout, and possible divisions within the city. I found the article to be very interesting. If you get a chance, follow the link to read it.

http://www.star-tele...tcar-lines.html

#25 UncaMikey

UncaMikey

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 154 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 15 December 2010 - 02:32 PM

In today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Mitchell Schnurman had an interesting column regarding the streetcar vote, fallout, and possible divisions within the city. I found the article to be very interesting. If you get a chance, follow the link to read it.

http://www.star-tele...tcar-lines.html


I read the Schnurman piece this morning, and like you thought it interesting, definitely worth a read.

I am not normally a conspiracy theorist, but I am starting to see the connection between the death of the street car plan, the parking garage and new parking meters in the Cultural District, and the Harley Street realignment. The Moncrief/Bass oligarchy, AKA the Fort Worth Way...

#26 Volare

Volare

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,206 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oakhurst, Fort Worth, TX
  • Interests:running, cycling, geocaching, photography, gardening, hunting, fishing...

Posted 15 December 2010 - 05:13 PM

I am not normally a conspiracy theorist, but I am starting to see the connection between the death of the street car plan, the parking garage and new parking meters in the Cultural District, and the Harley Street realignment. The Moncrief/Bass oligarchy, AKA the Fort Worth Way...


I'm glad I'm not the only one! I was starting to wonder... :unsure:

#27 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 15 December 2010 - 06:08 PM

There is no evil plan or conspiracy.

We have just enough brains on our city council to not get us into something very expensive when we are in a financial crisis. It is not because 5 members were white or old. It was because 5 members were smart enough to get realistic with our transportation needs. We have a transportation crisis. One that would not be solved by slow, expensive street cars clogging our streets. Take that money and get light rail going North. (or any fast rail) Or getting smarter traffic lights to get our intersections moving smartly. Or new roads. Or wider roads. Getting around the downtown area does nothing if people do not even come here because the traffic is too bad to get here.

If it does not take cars off the road, we don't need it. (It would take essentially no cars off the road) It is not modern transportation but a cute icon of the past. Just not cute enough to actually spur development.

It just does not make sense to go back in time a hundred years. Lets move forward.

I am grateful that our council was brave enough to do the right thing. People are acting like the City Council just does not have the insight to move forward. Just the opposite. They have the insight to do what makes sense for Fort Worth Texas.
www.fortworthview.com

#28 AndyN

AndyN

    Skyscraper Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Midland, Tx. for now

Posted 15 December 2010 - 06:43 PM

That you say there was no conspiracy or evil plan does not mean that interests were not working behind the scenes to kill the project.

I think the financing of the line was very well conceived and did not burden the general fund. The increases in sales tax revenue as well as the potential for property tax revenue in excess of the TIF tax would have made a positive contribution to the general fund.

It seems like you are not familiar at all with the goals of the streetcar circulator. I am not aware of anyone ever advocating that this would be the panacea for widening I-35W. The money not spent on a circulator would not be a drop in the bucket of what would be needed to build light rail.

For what its worth, the infernal combustion automobile predates the electric streetcar. If you want to see the advances in the technology of the streetcars in the last 80 years, compare and contrast the cars on McKinney Avenue in Dallas to that one on display previous to Thanksgiving. I'll assume you took the time to tour it as I think you posted pictures. Your theory that modern streetcars do not actually spur development is not consistent with others experience.

Our council was myopic and shortsighted. I hope they apply the same standard of care to all the other non-necessity expenditures. I really don't see the need for a new rodeo arena.
Www.fortwortharchitecture.com

#29 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 15 December 2010 - 09:22 PM

I never said that the money that would have been spent on streetcars would go straight into widening highways. Only that it would be a superior use of public funds.

everybody is quick to state, "No money out of the General fund", No high fees to ride the silly things, no increase in property taxes etc, etc...

The huge amount of money is coming from someplace. Mostly out of the pockets of people that live and work in Fort Worth. One way or the other. Out of our pockets. If the Chinese Government agreed to pay for it, I would be on the street with my shovel.

And everybody tries to make the case of "don't worry, it will add so much to the tax base it won't effect our city's funds" as though that was actually going to happen. Obviously, if everybody thought the streetcar system was really going to pay for itself they would be tearing up our streets as I write this. That is a huge leap of faith. Many of us believe it is a complete fallacy.

And I understand cars have been around for a while (I have Google at my house too). But cars are actually better than they were 100 years ago and serve a necessary purpose. Streetcars have progressed very little. (It doesn't matter that they have a GPS in their dash). They are slow, set in a fixed location, carry people for short distances, and impede the traffic of people going back and forth to work (that actually do add to the tax base) and will create years of traffic jams in their construction.

We have a serious traffic problem in Fort Worth that is getting worse. We need real, effective, people moving solutions. The money spent (waisted) on streetcars would indeed be more than a "drop in the bucket" toward real traffic solutions. Good solutions are expensive. But the good solutions would likely be worth it, as opposed to being a novelty.

I have a workmate that spent almost 2 hours driving home from Haltom City to Justin on Monday evening. Over an hour on Beech, trying to get to 820. Just shameful.
www.fortworthview.com

#30 UncaMikey

UncaMikey

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 154 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 15 December 2010 - 10:04 PM

I think there are many rational arguments on all sides of the streetcar question, about the parking garage and meters in the Cultural District, about the horse arena, about the Harley street realignment, and about many other issues (gas drilling, anyone?).

Except these rational arguments don't matter. What has become clear to me in the three years I've lived here is that these decisions are not the result of open, public debate, but are rather made by a group of powerful insiders, the Bass/Moncrief crowd. The decision about streetcars was not a careful weighing of the pros and cons voiced by all the interested parties, but because the Bass/Sundance Square group decided they didn't want it.

#31 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 16 December 2010 - 07:06 AM

I think there are many rational arguments on all sides of the streetcar question, about the parking garage and meters in the Cultural District, about the horse arena, about the Harley street realignment, and about many other issues (gas drilling, anyone?).

Except these rational arguments don't matter. What has become clear to me in the three years I've lived here is that these decisions are not the result of open, public debate, but are rather made by a group of powerful insiders, the Bass/Moncrief crowd. The decision about streetcars was not a careful weighing of the pros and cons voiced by all the interested parties, but because the Bass/Sundance Square group decided they didn't want it.



Disagree completely on the powerful insiders theory. Moncrief and the Basses frequently are at odds. And not that the Basses viewpoint isn't more meaningful and important than mine. It surely is.

There was open, public debate on the issue. It is just perspective. Of course if you are unhappy with any outcome you believe there was not enough open debate. I don't think there was enough public debate on remodeling the Convention Center to be the ugliest building in town. Because I don't like it.

I do agree there are rational arguments on both sides. The reason being a Councilman these days is surely hazardous duty. Even if we all agreed and voted on the streetcar system, the fighting would then start with the "You don't want the streetcar to come to my end of the city just because we don't pay any taxes" debates. The debates would wind up being worse that the decision to have it in the first place. I think it was really the final straw for tipping the scales away from going further.

It really is only crystal ball work is why there is no certain right answer. Nobody is capable of telling us the effect the streetcar will have on our city, at least not economically. Nobody. Maybe if there was a mirror planet with another Fort Worth and they built streetcars there. If your crystal ball tells you it will bring scores of people with credit cards in their pockets to our city, then it is the right decision. (Or if a person pays so little in property taxes, income taxes and sales taxes that the joy of looking at streetcars exceeds the few bucks that they spent on it personally) I do understand that is a possibility that it would bring great development and money in to the City. My crystal ball tells me it will have only a serious negative impact to our city financially. That it solves no transportation problems in any major way and brings nobody to our town that spends money.

I believe that in this economic crisis we are in, both Nationally and in particular the City of Fort Worth, even if the crystal ball is just a bit cloudy but not clearly in favor of streetcars, we error on the side of not spending millions of dollars or even the 25 million from our broke Government.

Until we get the city's overly generous pension plan overhauled, we probably do not have enough money to run the streetlights past 10pm.
www.fortworthview.com

#32 cberen1

cberen1

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,302 posts
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 16 December 2010 - 09:22 AM

I believe that in this economic crisis we are in, both Nationally and in particular the City of Fort Worth, even if the crystal ball is just a bit cloudy but not clearly in favor of streetcars, we error on the side of not spending millions of dollars or even the 25 million from our broke Government.


Brian,

A wise man once said "you can't save your way into prosperity". And while I think it's easy to shoot holes in any simplistic view like that, the basic premise is sound. You have to invest in the future and future development if you want growth. If the budget is the only concern around here, why not just stop street repair for two years? Or, let's just raise the taxes until it's balanced. Why the hell not?

I've heard numerous holy men (pastors, priests, ministers, etc.) say that if you're community isn't growing, it's dying. There's something to that. You need to forge ahead with the things that lead to more growth or community improvement. And I'm very comfortable that the streetcar down South Main and up North Main would have led to development. I say that because I talked to several small business owners who were planning projects in those areas if the vote came through.

You're correct to say that no one can predict with certainty what would come from a modern streetcar system. (Wouldn't clairvoyance be handy?) What I can say with some certainty is that the prosperous cities I think Fort Worth should emulate all have something along those lines. And I can't think of any of them having traffic congestion problems as a result, but, like you, I haven't actually researched it. It's just my perspective.

#33 johnfwd

johnfwd

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,973 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:southwest
  • Interests:Running, bicycling, bowling, nightclub life, science, technology.

Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:52 PM

Maybe a streetcar system isn't a panacea for traffic congestion in a growing city. But if you envision what a modern city will look like in 100 years, will you see a glut of cars and buses as the only means of mobile transportation? If our city leaders are so short-sighted as to believe that, we are in a shameful predicament.

#34 Sam Stone

Sam Stone

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,036 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Overton, then Monticello, now expat in OC, CA

Posted 17 December 2010 - 07:18 AM

If we had these same "leaders" with these same ideas back in the 1960s, we never would have built DFW International Airport.

I say, screw 'em, swallow our pride and merge The T with DART.

#35 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:12 AM

If we had these same "leaders" with these same ideas back in the 1960s, we never would have built DFW International Airport.

I say, screw 'em, swallow our pride and merge The T with DART.


No. We would have built DFW with these same leaders because DFW was smart and focused on modern transportation.

Saying "not now" to a bad, huge expenditure, does not mean the council is not forward looking. I am disappointed they looked at is as long as they did as it diverted time (and hundreds of thousands of dollars) away from modern transportation ideas.

And I agree that merging with the Dart would be a good idea if it means light rail around Fort Worth. The light rail in Dallas is packed. It makes huge sense, particularly linked with the TRE.
www.fortworthview.com

#36 JBB

JBB

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,565 posts
  • Location:Bedford

Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:52 AM

Brian - How do you rationalize citing the city's financial problems as being a reason to not build the streetcar system on one hand and call for a light rail system on the other? Based on the per mile cost of the recently completed DART Green line, a 20 mile starter system (like Dallas started with) would cost nearly $1.3 billion, more than 14 times the cost of the streetcar starter line.

#37 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:06 AM

Brian - How do you rationalize citing the city's financial problems as being a reason to not build the streetcar system on one hand and call for a light rail system on the other? Based on the per mile cost of the recently completed DART Green line, a 20 mile starter system (like Dallas started with) would cost nearly $1.3 billion, more than 14 times the cost of the streetcar starter line.


Because the light rail would actually be solving a transportation problem rather than bringing a cute novelty to the city.

The cost of the light rail could be more easily rationalized as a better alternative than people moving to a city with streets that can handle their traffic.
www.fortworthview.com

#38 AndyN

AndyN

    Skyscraper Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Midland, Tx. for now

Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:48 AM

Light rail is a pipe dream in Fort Worth. Not enough density. Not enough riders. Certainly not enough money to construct.

Fort Worth Weekly's Post-Mortem on the streetcar.
Www.fortwortharchitecture.com

#39 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 22 December 2010 - 12:22 PM

Light rail is a pipe dream in Fort Worth. Not enough density. Not enough riders. Certainly not enough money to construct.

Fort Worth Weekly's Post-Mortem on the streetcar.


I surely disagree that light rail is a pipe dream in Fort Worth. It surely is in the very near term. It is a near certainty in the long term. And necessary. As far as the lack of density I disagree. That is a good argument against streetcars as the density in the central core of the city is not as meaningful as in many cities. But take a helicopter ride over North Fort Worth at 5pm tonight. Quickly you could vision light rail going from alliance to Burleson through downtown. (& connecting to TRE)

The Fort Worth Weekly article was interesting and the bulk of it may even be true. It is of course catering to its readership demographics in its slant. I thought it was funny that it was stated that younger people were for the streetcars and older people were not. Very funny. I always laugh when people miss the proper causal relationships in a determination. Perfect case here. I would make the case that it was not broken down by young vs. old but people that pay a lot of tax, including property taxes and those that don't. If you are not a big taxpayer you have nothing to lose. Young people would also say we need an i-phone charging station at each street lamp. At Christmas time when I was young I asked Santa for a goldmine but when I found out my parents were Santa I asked for little.

In addition to the fact that older people are more likely to pay higher taxes than younger people, they have seen many large scale economic failures in their life. CBS 60 Minute's program on Sunday showed many states an municipalities in such economic trouble it could mean serious trouble for the economy in general. (Like the huge New Jersey tunnel project they had stop after paying millions of dollars in construction costs.) Just when they could afford it least.

I am very proud of the Mayor and City Council for not taking us back a Century.
www.fortworthview.com

#40 AndyN

AndyN

    Skyscraper Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Midland, Tx. for now

Posted 22 December 2010 - 01:06 PM

Wow, really? Light rail in Fort Worth soon? I strongly disagree. I just don't see Fort Worth being pulled out of the 1950s anytime soon.

As for characterizing streetcars as taking us back a century, you really don't seem to understand the mode. But hey, let's build some more highways. Growth is good.
Www.fortwortharchitecture.com

#41 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 22 December 2010 - 01:40 PM

Wow, really? Light rail in Fort Worth soon? I strongly disagree. I just don't see Fort Worth being pulled out of the 1950s anytime soon.

As for characterizing streetcars as taking us back a century, you really don't seem to understand the mode. But hey, let's build some more highways. Growth is good.


Actually, my point for light rail was "soon is a pipe dream." I do believe it is inevitable in the future. And I do understand the mode. If one thing is not rocket science, it is street cars.
www.fortworthview.com

#42 cberen1

cberen1

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,302 posts
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:44 PM

Brian, I think I just disagree on a couple of points.

First, high taxes = old, low taxes = young is probably a poor formula. You threw around a little stats speak earlier, so I'll put it in those terms. While there is generally some positive correlation between age and taxes, I suspect, particularly as it relates to property taxes, there is substantial variance. My reasoning is this: people who are older tend to stay in their houses longer, and people who have been in the same house for a long time tend to pay lower total property taxes than those who are relatively new to the neighborhood. For example, on my block there are four young families whose properties are valued on TAD at about twice the average value of all the others on the block. Our houses are not necessarily larger or nicer, but our appraisals are up to date. Also, we don't get an exemption for being over a certain age. I pay a LOT more in property taxes than my somewhat older neighbors, and I'm very much in favor of progress, I mean, streetcars.

Second, if you look at the council members who voted against the proposal (Jordan, Burdette, Moncrief, Scarth, and Zimmerman), they predominantly represent the outlying areas of Fort Worth. I suggest the strongest predictor in this case is geography, not income.

Third, you've said you understand the mode, but you also said buses do the same thing as streetcars. That, to me, suggests that you do not really understand the mode.

#43 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 22 December 2010 - 04:54 PM

Brian, I think I just disagree on a couple of points.

First, high taxes = old, low taxes = young is probably a poor formula. You threw around a little stats speak earlier, so I'll put it in those terms. While there is generally some positive correlation between age and taxes, I suspect, particularly as it relates to property taxes, there is substantial variance. My reasoning is this: people who are older tend to stay in their houses longer, and people who have been in the same house for a long time tend to pay lower total property taxes than those who are relatively new to the neighborhood. For example, on my block there are four young families whose properties are valued on TAD at about twice the average value of all the others on the block. Our houses are not necessarily larger or nicer, but our appraisals are up to date. Also, we don't get an exemption for being over a certain age. I pay a LOT more in property taxes than my somewhat older neighbors, and I'm very much in favor of progress, I mean, streetcars.

Second, if you look at the council members who voted against the proposal (Jordan, Burdette, Moncrief, Scarth, and Zimmerman), they predominantly represent the outlying areas of Fort Worth. I suggest the strongest predictor in this case is geography, not income.

Third, you've said you understand the mode, but you also said buses do the same thing as streetcars. That, to me, suggests that you do not really understand the mode.


Actually I think buses are far superior. That is why Fort Worth ripped up their tracks when buses became popular. Buses are cheaper, flexible as to route, do not ruin the city with tracks, have no overhead cables inhibiting trucks etc., and do not cause the city to be in years of construction mess.

I do agree that many old people live in homes that are under-valued and have tax exemptions. And of course it comes down to the definition of older and younger people. If "older people" are people over 65 then I agree they pay less of all taxes. But it surely cannot be disputed that a 45 year old is paying more income tax and property tax than a 25 year old. And more likely to be paying property taxes and less likely to be renting.

But forgetting age, I would bet the average person against the street cars is paying more of all taxes than the average person wanting street cars. I know for sure I am.
www.fortworthview.com

#44 renamerusk

renamerusk

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,893 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Worth South

Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:52 PM

"This has been a real struggle for me," Moncrief said at the meeting. "The bottom line is, many of us are still wrestling with concerns over funding."Moncrief also suggested that perhaps the only way to do the streetcar plan was through 100 percent private investment.("Derailed" Fort Worth Weekly 12/22/10)

Insert "Horse Arena" for "streetcar plan" and you have the question that we can put to Mayor Moncrief' when the arena funding comes before the council. The council's vote was deeply disappointing. The mayor hoped that their vote would not cause long lasting division in the city. His hope is likely in vain. Until the vote, I never thought an instant about choosing downtown v other parts of the city to shop and dine. Now downtown for the foreseeable future will be a less likely destination for me. How can the mayor be credible when the funding of the new arena is debated; I say that he can not be.


If TCU can privately fund the renovation of Amon Carter Stadium, so too can those who want a new horse arena.

"Keep Fort Worth folksy"

#45 djold1

djold1

    Elite Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 689 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:76179

Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:56 AM

Here's a little more on streetcars in the Fort Worth Gazette

Merry Christmas
Seasons Greetings
Happy Holidays

Pete Charlton
The Fort Worth Gazette blog
The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps
 


#46 johnfwd

johnfwd

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,973 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:southwest
  • Interests:Running, bicycling, bowling, nightclub life, science, technology.

Posted 23 December 2010 - 11:07 AM

"This has been a real struggle for me," Moncrief said at the meeting. "The bottom line is, many of us are still wrestling with concerns over funding."Moncrief also suggested that perhaps the only way to do the streetcar plan was through 100 percent private investment.("Derailed" Fort Worth Weekly 12/22/10)

Insert "Horse Arena" for "streetcar plan" and you have the question that we can put to Mayor Moncrief' when the arena funding comes before the council. The council's vote was deeply disappointing. The mayor hoped that their vote would not cause long lasting division in the city. His hope is likely in vain. Until the vote, I never thought an instant about choosing downtown v other parts of the city to shop and dine. Now downtown for the foreseeable future will be a less likely destination for me. How can the mayor be credible when the funding of the new arena is debated; I say that he can not be.


If TCU can privately fund the renovation of Amon Carter Stadium, so too can those who want a new horse arena.

"Keep Fort Worth folksy"



#47 johnfwd

johnfwd

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,973 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:southwest
  • Interests:Running, bicycling, bowling, nightclub life, science, technology.

Posted 23 December 2010 - 11:13 AM

"If TCU can privately fund the renovation of Amon Carter Stadium, so too can those who want a new horse arena."

Good thought, but I don't believe a new horse arena (or the steetcar system, for that matter) can be funded through private donations. Publicly owned means taxpayer-funded, I believe. TCU, of course, is a private university and funds its capital improvements through Alumni contributions, foundations, etc.

#48 cberen1

cberen1

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,302 posts
  • Location:Fort Worth

Posted 23 December 2010 - 03:16 PM

"If TCU can privately fund the renovation of Amon Carter Stadium, so too can those who want a new horse arena."

Good thought, but I don't believe a new horse arena (or the steetcar system, for that matter) can be funded through private donations. Publicly owned means taxpayer-funded, I believe. TCU, of course, is a private university and funds its capital improvements through Alumni contributions, foundations, etc.


I think his point is simply that the Mayor can't have it both ways. If public funding is ok for the arena, then it has to be ok for the streetcar too. The difference is that the arena is near and dear to Mayor Moncrief's heart. Maybe the arena and the streetcar each could be funded with some sort of revenue bond, I guess. But, in sense that's what the TIF financing would have done.

And on the bus topic...

Actually I think buses are far superior. That is why Fort Worth ripped up their tracks when buses became popular. Buses are cheaper, flexible as to route, do not ruin the city with tracks, have no overhead cables inhibiting trucks etc., and do not cause the city to be in years of construction mess.


Using that logic, cars are superior to both buses and streetcars. That's why people stopped riding buses when cars became so popular. Cars are cheaper, even more flexible as to route, do not ruin the city with bus stops and operating budgets and maintenence budgets and mobile advertising etc. And since cars are superior, why would we ever take a step back in time to use more buses?

Because cars and buses are not the same thing and they don't serve the same purpose, even though they both have wheels and move people around.

And just as cars aren't acutaly superior to buses, buses aren't superior to streetcars. They are different and they serve different puposes. I worked in DTFW for the whole of the 90's and I wouldn't have ridden a bus if you paid me. But I'd take a streetcar across downtown in a heartbeat.

Also, and I may be wrong here, but don't the cities with succesful streetcar systems still have buses too? They are complimentary goods, not absolute substitutes. AndyN, maybe you can answer this?

#49 djold1

djold1

    Elite Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 689 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:76179

Posted 23 December 2010 - 03:40 PM

"and I wouldn't have ridden a bus if you paid me. But I'd take a streetcar across downtown in a heartbeat."



I know you believe that. Many people, maybe even I do. But what about this:

Suppose the streetcar route that you took was exactly duplicated by a a bus route? And that both took exactly the same time to go from point to point, both were built by the same manufacturer and had similar seats, fittings and both could be easily boarded at curb height and even looked pretty much alike. The streetcar uses electricity from a power plant that burnes natural gas and the bus uses compressed natural gas for fuel with the net emissions being fairly close. Each leaves from your starting point simultaneously and the fare is exactly the same.

Which one would you take?

Let's offer one more incentive:

Suppose that you are a young, unattached man with a very good job and a bright sunny disposition.

One of the drivers is a very attractive young lady in a skimpy bathing suit and has a fantastic smile.

The other driver is also good looking but fully clothed and looks like she has a headache.

Which would you take?


Pete Charlton
The Fort Worth Gazette blog
The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps
 


#50 Brian Luenser

Brian Luenser

    Skyscraper Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,048 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Downtown Fort Worth

Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:32 PM

"and I wouldn't have ridden a bus if you paid me. But I'd take a streetcar across downtown in a heartbeat."



I know you believe that. Many people, maybe even I do. But what about this:

Suppose the streetcar route that you took was exactly duplicated by a a bus route? And that both took exactly the same time to go from point to point, both were built by the same manufacturer and had similar seats, fittings and both could be easily boarded at curb height and even looked pretty much alike. The streetcar uses electricity from a power plant that burnes natural gas and the bus uses compressed natural gas for fuel with the net emissions being fairly close. Each leaves from your starting point simultaneously and the fare is exactly the same.

Which one would you take?

Let's offer one more incentive:

Suppose that you are a young, unattached man with a very good job and a bright sunny disposition.

One of the drivers is a very attractive young lady in a skimpy bathing suit and has a fantastic smile.

The other driver is also good looking but fully clothed and looks like she has a headache.

Which would you take?



Before I can accurately answer your question I must ask one of my own. "Would my wife be able to see me on the bus with the attractive lady in the skimpy bathing suit or would the windows be adequately tinted?"
www.fortworthview.com




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users