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Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. Strategic Plan Update


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#1 RD Milhollin

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:09 PM

DFWI is taking the first steps toward updating their 10-year strategic plan for the 1200 acre area they consider the heart of Fort Worth. They have contracted with MindMixer, a "virtual town hall service" to facilitate public input into such areas as vision, transportation, urban design, open space, public art, business development, retail, arts, entertainment and education, some of the same topics that are routinely discussed here on the Fort Worth Forum. This project is boing done in concert with other important stakeholders including city government and The T municipal transit system. I would suggest that DFWI host a Fort Worth Forum wine tasting/visioning session to discuss some of the many great ideas that have already been offered for improving downtown. For those not able to take time to attend a face-to-face session or even to offer meaningful feedback on the web site, Facebook and Tweeter input will be used as part of the process.

The link to DFWI's Plan 2023 site is:

http://dfwi.org/what...jects/plan-2023

An RFQ for planning consultant is posted at the bottom of the front page.

The to Mindmixer is at:

http://www.mindmixer.com/

There is not a link to the Fort Worth project as of today.

The link to the FWST article is at:

http://dfwi.org/what...jects/plan-2023

#2 johnfwd

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 09:23 AM

In this FW Business Press article by Martha Heller, city leaders eye more generous tax incentives for downtown development.  I was particularly struck by a proposed pedestrian walkway to link DT with apartments on Samuels.  Pedestrian access is vital, in my opinion, especially If the downtown becomes more dense with affordable housing units and expands toward the north with the Trinity Uptown developments,  I just wish the downtown could also be more non-pedestrian transit friendly with an over-head monorail system, or something similar, as proposed years ago (but I suppose that's too fanciful and expensive an idea).  Phoenix has a monorail system, I believe.  New York has its subway, of course.  Others have underground walkways, too.

 

http://fwbusinesspre...next-phase.aspx



#3 John S.

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:40 PM

I agree this is a good idea. The issue of downtown pedestrian access for residents of Samuels Avenue (rebranded as "Trinity Uptown" or "Trinity Bluffs") has been problematic for years. The major thoroughfares of Belknap and Weatherford are challenging to get across at times with all of the on-going construction in the area. An elevated (covered)  pedestrian walkway would be a tremendous asset and connect the new housing being built northeast of the Courthouse on Samuels Avenue with the downtown. In early days, a horse drawn trolley would take riders from the Courthouse (with another horse drawn trolley extending from the Courthouse to the T & P depot off Lancaster.) down to the north end of Samuels Avenue where an amusement park (The Pavilion) was located. It was later replaced with buses which still run on a limited schedule. Being able to easily cross over an elevated walkway over Belknap and Weatherford streets to get to Sundance Square and the core of downtown would benefit both the downtown and the potentially thousands of new residents living and moving in along Samuels Avenue and the Trinity Bluffs. As former neighborhood developer Tom Struhs mentions, this would encourage higher end projects for this area as well. Combined with the on-going Trinity Vision Town Lake project this area on the northest edge of downtown could become as active a development "hotspot"  as the West 7th street corridor has been in recent years. Given the existing success and leverage of the current TIF district, continuing and expanding it for the future seems worthwhile. As we have been Samuels Avenue residents for 23 years my spouse and I appreciate anything that benefits our neighborhood.



#4 Fort Worthology

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 02:12 PM

Not in favor of any elevated walkways - I'd rather see the streets themselves tamed to improve the conditions, which would in turn help make those blocks between the bluffs and downtown proper more attractive for reinvestment rather than just throwing up our hands and saying "well, they'll never get better, they'll forever be traffic sewers, might as well make people walk above them."  Calming the street is always the preferable way to go.
 
And/or, uh, you know, something like, oh, I don't know, a streetcar...cough, cough...(sigh)...

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

Fort Worth District 9 Zoning Commissioner


#5 Joshw

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:42 AM

Definitely agree.

I like the streetcar idea. Maybe we should do some research, bring in some concepts, get federal money and go for it? Or we could put a Wal-Mart on Berry St. Wait, that idea is better.  :ninja:



#6 cberen1

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 07:25 AM

Does anyone have any specific research on the utilization of elevated walkways?  It's been my impression that pedestrians are not terribly inclined to use elevated walkways if they have a choice.  That's not to say that they won't, but that like sunken plazas people don't gravitate to activities that require an elevation change.



#7 SurplusPopulation

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:53 PM

As someone who does not have the income to live near downtown, and with my kids living in Duncanville and my job by DFW Airport, I cringe when I read about 'traffic taming'. I understand the thought behind that concept, but it is something that benefits the 'haves' instead of the 'have-nots'... the 'have-nots' being the folks whose lives have been dictated by American culture for generations. I didn't choose to have to live in my car, but my reality is my reality, and it frustrates me when others who have different circumstances start making decisions to 'force' me to adjust to or change in order to accomodate them.

 

I know this little rant may seem random, but I've bitten my tongue plenty of times when this conversation has taken place. I get WHY y'all have these ideas, and why they seem ideal to you, but this is MY Fort Worth too. I was born here, raised here, spent my childhood and highschool and college years in downtown, cultural district, and TCU area. 'Calming' or 'taming' me into not realistically being able to enjoy these areas is frustrating.

 

Just my two cents... and a little off topic. :smwink:



#8 johnfwd

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:36 AM

I sympathize with car-bound people such as SurplusPopulation.  I don't believe anyone advocating alternative means of transportation intends to completely ban the automobile, even in the downtown area.  The idea is to restrict auto use in certain areas in order to encourage pedestrian access.  But I've stated my belief in this Forum for the need to have non-pedestrian mobile transit for people who cannot walk distances as normally as others.  Obviously long commutes will still be by car, but there's nothing wrong with other alternatives such as buses and rail.



#9 Fort Worthology

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:42 AM

I don't know how many times one has to state that "traffic calming" does not mean "traffic banning."  Designing streets *in a downtown setting* so that they create a first-class walking environment doesn't mean you won't be allowed to drive on them anymore, as so many streets downtown already prove.

 

Nobody's trying to keep you out of downtown.  It's just that it's the heart of the city, where the priority of traffic should start with the pedestrian.  If two traffic-dominated streets are making an unpleasant/unsafe environment for people walking between their homes on the bluff and the core of downtown (and also, I'd argue, making investment in some of those blocks problematic), then yeah, that traffic needs to be calmed in some way.  Long-term, that will be far healthier and more successful than some aerial walkway that will wind up neglected, ignored, and trashed.


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

Fort Worth District 9 Zoning Commissioner


#10 SurplusPopulation

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:54 AM

My main concern is the method of calming. Sure it really does sound like a great idea when you state it like you've stated it above, and I absolutely want Fort Worth to be pedestrian friendly (I know I'm wanting some from both columns), but its the methods that scare me because they will lead to traffic that will cause myself and others to not venture near downtown.

 

Take Forest Park for example... there has been discussion about 'calming' that street bewtween Rosedale and Park Place and making it more bicycle friendly. I've been driving on that road for 30+ years and narrowing it down to 1 lane each way would be a nightmare. Sure, the bike lanes will be big and beautiful, but the quality of life for anyone forced to drive a car everyday, I would venture to say the majority of the population, would be devastated.



#11 cberen1

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:13 AM

I think there is a lot about traffic engineering that is counterintuitive.  It took a while on here for people to convince me that building wider highways does not, in the long run, necessarily reduce congestion (induced something-or-other).  I'm not sure I buy that the road diet on Forest park is going to make traffic run more smoothly, but I can see how it might (a turn lane would be huge).  I'm absolutely in favor of making DTFW more pedestrian friendly, and less confusing if possible (I can't count the number of times I've seen people head the wrong way down a oneway street).  Whta the hell are they going to do with West 7th, University and Lancaster?

 

I think the thing everyone has to remember is that it took 60 years to create the suburban society we live in.  It may take every bit as long to unwind it.



#12 Volare

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:40 PM

The turn lane is THE KEY to the Forest Park road diet. The carrying capacity of the road will increase with this addition.



#13 JBB

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:43 PM

I understand the thought behind that concept, but it is something that benefits the 'haves' instead of the 'have-nots'... the 'have-nots' being the folks whose lives have been dictated by American culture for generations.

 

 

Between Chisolm Trail Parkway and the projects to expand I-35 and 820/121, there's about $3 billion in ongoing and upcoming construction catering to the car commuting public.  I'm not sure I would call that group "have nots".



#14 Dismuke

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:00 PM

I don't see what the fuss is about.  Belknap and Weatherford are both one way streets - and many of the streets that intersect them are also one way.   All one needs to make crossing either of them pedestrian friendly is decent pedestrian stoplights and buttons that can alert the lights to respond to pedestrians wishing to cross.  If those aren't already in place - why aren't they?   And if one wants to make it even more pedestrian friendly, one can visually (through colors and bricks in sidewalks and intersections) set off a preferred route where those crossing won't even have to worry about motorists who make right hand turns at a red signal.  Seems to me that makes a lot more sense and would work out better for more people than punishing motorists or wasting tax payers' hard earned dollars on an overhead walkway.

 

Crossing Belknap or Weatherford is a whole heck of a lot easier than crossing any two way street that has a decent amount of traffic - and is complete cakewalk compared to the annoying hassle of attempting having to cross where 7th, University and Camp Bowie come together or where Camp Bowie, Lancaster and Montgomery come together.

 

And if you want to know the definition of pedestrian unfriendly, try walking north on 8th/Summit Ave towards the bridge where it crosses I-30.  Here is that intersection: http://goo.gl/maps/M7iAx  You will find that is it almost impossible to cross when there is even a modest amount of traffic.   A couple of years ago on a nice day I took a very long walk just for pleasure from the West Side to downtown, through the Henderson underpass to Pennsylvania Ave on the South Side and then headed towards 8th Avenue to head back to the West Side via Summit and Lancaster.   There was a nice enough sidewalk along 8th/Summit.   But the problem was the stoplight where the service road to I-30 crosses.   When the light was green, there was a non-stop stream of cars making a right turn  and barely slowing down to do so - so I could not cross with the light.   But that steady stream of right turns continued when the light was red too - so I didn't even get a window of opportunity to step into the intersection the moment the light turned green.  Because of the right hand turns, I couldn't even jaywalk on the red light if I was so inclined.  It took me almost 20 minutes before there was enough of a gap in the flow of traffic before I felt it was safe to cross.   I sure won't walk there again if I can avoid doing so.   And I can't say that I have an answer to the problem for that intersection.    There must have a couple hundred cars pass through the intersection when I was there and many dozens that turned right on red.   And in a day's time that number is going to be significantly larger.   It doesn't make sense to inconvenience hundreds of people on a daily basis by banning right turns on red at that light for the benefit of the occasional oddball such as myself who, for whatever reason, wishes to cross that intersection


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#15 RD Milhollin

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 06:57 AM

The draft plan is released, and an article summarizing key parts is at:

 

http://www.star-tele...adlines-default

 

The draft is viewable at:

 

http://www.futuredowntown.org/

 

Click the "Downloadable PDFs" link. 

 

You have to sign up/register in order to see it though, not sure why. Seems sort of silly unless they are just trying to grab names and addresses for a mailing list. There will be a meeting this Wednesday at the ITC to review and discuss what has been done with the plan to date, 6:00 PM.



#16 Austin55

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:31 AM

Lots of good sounding stuff, but I wonder how true or soon it will be here.



#17 johnfwd

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:07 PM

From what I've read, it appears that DTFW visionaries are serious about transit links between downtown and the cultural district (and to Arlington sports facilities, as well). Good for them, and us!

#18 bg-raves

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:37 PM

I don't see what the fuss is about.  Belknap and Weatherford are both one way streets - and many of the streets that intersect them are also one way.   All one needs to make crossing either of them pedestrian friendly is decent pedestrian stoplights and buttons that can alert the lights to respond to pedestrians wishing to cross.  If those aren't already in place - why aren't they?   And if one wants to make it even more pedestrian friendly, one can visually (through colors and bricks in sidewalks and intersections) set off a preferred route where those crossing won't even have to worry about motorists who make right hand turns at a red signal.  Seems to me that makes a lot more sense and would work out better for more people than punishing motorists or wasting tax payers' hard earned dollars on an overhead walkway.

 

 

i agree with this.  i used to live at lincoln trinity bluff apartments and would take nighly walks around downtown.  the best way to get downtown was to go to the underpass under belknap/weatherford by the train tracks, go down elm, terry, and 4th.  i was really surprised to not see anyone else take this path.  i would see the people from the depot along 3rd, but that was it - and the horses that used to live just north of tindall warehouse, but that's a parking lot now.  i don't understand why an elevated walkway is superior to this route; this route is very simple and direct.  

i don't think elevated walkways are a good choice considering that belknap/weatherford are one way streets (as stated by dismuke) and that there is an incredibly easy underpass through these streets.



#19 John T Roberts

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:07 PM

In my opinion, elevated walkways or tunnels are never a good choice. 



#20 johnfwd

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 08:40 AM

While we're debating pedestrian access to downtown Fort Worth, today's Friday and I would like to share a fanciful thought that enters my mind whenever I walk or drive around downtown. Take away all the parking lots and parking garages that serve the almighty automobile in downtown Fort Worth (or in any downtown in America) and what would you have? A lot of vacant space!
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#21 cberen1

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 08:17 AM

Speaking of cars.  I was just in Chicago and was struck by how auto friendly downtown Chicago is.  I mean, traffic sucks, and Chicago is very pedestrian friendly, but they do a lot of planning around the assumption that pretty much everybody still has a car.



#22 johnfwd

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:49 AM

I understand that downtown tunnels are not widely favored, but they may offer one benefit--a place to go when a tornado threatens. Fortunately a tornado hasn't struck downtown Oklahoma City or downtown Dallas, but there are tunnels in parts of both cities' downtowns.

#23 Volare

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 05:38 PM

In my opinion, elevated walkways or tunnels are never a good choice. 

 

Except in Minneapolis, where in winter they are completely awesome.

 

http://www.skywaymyway.com/



#24 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 01:12 PM

The Fort Worth Business Press has an article on the 2023 Plan.  Below is the link:

 

http://fwbusinesspre...us-update-.aspx



#25 johnfwd

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:07 PM

The article seems to focus more on the development of public institutions downtown (geotech center?) rather than private office and commercial retail projects.  Can't argue with that, but it suggests a slowdown in the private sector, at least where downtown is concerned.  Certainly the significance of theTrinity Uptown project cannot be minimized.  Regarding Mr. Taft's comment about a comprehensive transit plan, I was a little disappointed by the reference to buses rather than inner-city rail (or even the streetcar concept).



#26 BlueMound

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 03:16 PM

A few interesting points about the Lancaster Corridor that I read in the 2023 plan.

There seems to be a plan to enhance the Water Gardens - programming, maybe even some physical enhancements to the park itself

There is an idea to develop a park or greenspace on the west end of the corridor. I guess of the empty land next to the highway entrance.

#27 Austin55

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 12:55 AM

Hmm, I wish there was a bigger version of this...

wgreno.jpg

I should send them my plan to fix the T&P surface lot :P



#28 BlueMound

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 04:27 PM

I agree Austin55

I'd like to see of a clearer version of that WG plan.



#29 Jeriat

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:13 PM

Hmm, I wish there was a bigger version of this...

wgreno.jpg

I should send them my plan to fix the T&P surface lot :P

 

Do it! 


7fwPZnE.png

 

8643298391_d47584a085_b.jpg


#30 John T Roberts

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 02:39 PM

The State of Downtown 2013 Report was released and presented to City Council this week.  You may download the report here:  http://www.dfwi.org/...wntown_2013.pdf



#31 FWFD1247

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 05:38 PM

Those are very interesting numbers, thank you for posting that. It does make me want to move my wife and I Downtown, hopefully next year when she is done of school!

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