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bclaridge

Member Since 28 Jun 2014
Offline Last Active Today, 03:21 AM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: TCU's massive campus transformation continues

11 November 2017 - 02:21 AM

I think I have expressed my concerns earlier in this topic, but there really isn't much space available on the South/Southwest side of town large enough to build a new high school campus.  That's why I don't see TCU purchasing the Paschal Campus.

 

I agree with you completely with regards to TCU passing up the Paschal property.  That said, there is some land within the Edwards Ranch property that is still empty and might be suitable for new schools.  Something in that empty space could work for the planned Tanglewood "reliever" elementary school, but you could fit in a new high school and middle school (to relieve PHS and AHHS, as well as McLean and Monnig) somewhere on the remaining Edwards Ranch land too.  Trimble Tech could also become a zoned high school as well.

 

TCU is going to need more land to expand, so it's just a matter of where you can get that land.  One thing that could be done could involve taking commercial properties on the south side of Berry Street and building new mixed-use properties where the bottom floors could accommodate retail, with academic space on the upper floor(s).  I believe Texas Wesleyan did something similar when they redeveloped the south side of Rosedale just across from their campus, where certain academic uses were mixed in with other retail.  Of course, with this being TCU, a similar redevelopment along Berry would have to be on a much larger scale than what happened with Rosedale and Wesleyan.  But you wouldn't have to go much further past Berry Street if this were done right, and you could spare the neighborhoods to the south from TCU's expanding footprint.


In Topic: TCU's massive campus transformation continues

10 November 2017 - 05:36 PM

 

I view a map too and your speculation is plausible.  I think PHS, as are other campuses, is due a major upgrade or even replacement.  Certain campuses, particularly AHHS, Poly, Tech and NS are architectural gems; not so much PHS. 

 

Selling PHS to TCU could be a windfall for FWISD.

 

renamerusk, I just don't see FWISD selling the Paschal property to TCU as anything remotely possible at this point in time.  FWISD is finishing some major additions to PHS right now, with more changes to come stemming from funding now authorized through the successful bond election.  Furthermore, FWISD is too invested in the current Paschal campus to sell it to TCU, and there is little space to build a new high school in this part of town.  Not to mention the fact that Paschal will continue to grow with new housing developments, particularly in the Tanglewood zone (not to mention the areas between 8th and 35W that also feed into Paschal and are ripe for gentrification). 

 

Though in terms of other FWISD-owned properties in the area, TCU could try to purchase the Professional Development Center (PDC) on McCart.  But I wouldn't see the PDC property becoming much more than a commuter parking lot if the School of Music gets a facility where the Sandage/Berry lot is now.  As a TCU commuter student myself, the existing commuter lots are already jam-packed at peak class times, but it must be noted that the "commuter" lots are also shared with TCU faculty and staff as well.  As the furthest commuter lot, Sandage is one of the few lots that doesn't get full at peak class times (along with the lots north of the football stadium, which are even further from the core "academic" area of campus).

 

I just don't see TCU's campus going east of Forest Park.  If they are to expand the campus, I would feel that they would be better focusing on areas south of Berry so as to give TCU a greater north-south extent, as TCU is mainly oriented along an east-to-west axis at this point in time.  Some of the newer privately-owned, off-campus student housing facilities are located south of Berry as well (Loft Vue, University House).  Adding facilities on the south side of Berry just makes more sense than trying to expand east even more.


In Topic: TCU's massive campus transformation continues

08 November 2017 - 11:59 AM

Austin55, I agree with your perspective.  TCU could use a commuter rail station nearby, especially considering that the ridership could be good during the school year (many students don't have access to cars and like to go downtown).  TCU could always add a shuttle to the station for those students who found the walk to the station long; however, FWTA does have a bus line that goes along Berry Street (and runs every 30 minutes on weekdays and 60 minutes on weekends) in that area. That said, I oftentimes park in the Sandage lot and do find the walk from there to the west side of campus to be reasonable, though the Sandage lot is only halfway between University and the proposed station site.

 

However many TCU students do like to go to West 7th to hang out, and some also go to University Park Village to go shopping (though most just shop online).  FWTA also has a bus line in that area also (up to Lancaster), though it only runs every 60 minutes.  If it would be economically feasible, the FWTA could also extend service along line 7 (the line serving TCU, UPV, and West 7th) during the school year to run every 30 minutes during times when usage is more likely (such as weekends).

I also think that is it worthwhile to note that there seems to be a "stigma" associated with bus use in Fort Worth (with exceptions like the Molly the Trolley service downtown) as the network has been built around the needs of lower-income populations in the Fort Worth area for so long.  Many of the bus lines do seem to cater to this population, including based on the frequency that the buses run, as the best bus service is to areas with lower-income populations (Northside, large portions of the south and east sides, as well as Como and Las Vegas Trail).  While I fully understand their needs in terms of access to grocery stores and healthcare (among others), it will be essential to fight this stigma in order to increase bus usage among those from middle-class and higher backgrounds (which of course includes the vast majority of TCU students). 

 

Many Fort Worth attractions are located near bus line 7 (Downtown, West 7th, Cultural District, and especially the Fort Worth Zoo, University Park Village, the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, and TCU), which runs from downtown FW (at the Intermodal Transportation Center) to the neighborhoods south of TCU (Bluebonnet Circle area).  Line 7 is also one of the few FWTA bus lines that does not serve largely lower-income neighborhoods.  In spite of what this line serves, line 7 only runs every 60 minutes, though it must be noted that people are more likely to spend a lot of time at the attractions served by this line.  That said, West 7th and the Cultural District is also served by a "core" line along Camp Bowie and West 7th Street.  Once TEXRail starts connecting people from the airport with downtown FW, I could foresee a greater need for service along this line if tourists (and yes, TCU students) could be encouraged to use the buses.  And I do agree that TEXRail could be extended down to a station at Berry and Cleburne, with perhaps another station near Rosedale to serve the medical district.

Here is a link to the FWTA system map so that you can see what I am talking about.


In Topic: I-30 West Freeway reconstruction with reversible managed lanes

29 October 2017 - 02:12 AM

Why rebuild a freeway that was just rebuilt around 10 years ago? 

The FHA is not going to refund work on this freeway for another 20 years. The FHA expects highway projects to be planned to meet projected traffic for the next 30 years. 

Now, I-30 East of downtown Fort Worth is another matter, because it's been over 40 years since it was built and is riped for FHA funds for a major rework. If Managed Lanes are included or not will depend upon the results of a future EIS. 

 

With regards to I-30 in Fort Worth, I've always felt that I-30 west of downtown Fort Worth was worse traffic-wise than I-30 east of downtown, but as I live on the west side, I might be a little biased.  Traffic is starting to get bad especially during the evening rush hour where there is the bottleneck around the westbound Camp Bowie exit, but some of that might just be from traffic entering westbound I-30 from Hulen that has to jump over two lanes within 1/4 mile to stay on I-30.  I've also noticed issues past there as you move from Camp Bowie towards Ridgmar Mall, and once again at 820 west where I-30 narrows from 6 lanes to 4 lanes.  And with regards to your comment that I-30 was rebuilt 25 years ago, the segment between Bryant Irvin and Las Vegas Trail is older than that and could use an upgrade to eliminate issues with inadequate geometrics (short on- and off-ramps) and low bridge clearances.  NCTCOG suggests that upgrades to I-30 should take place in this area, and the Mobility 2040 plan calls for added mainlane capacity between 820 and Camp Bowie.  As a full reconstruction would be needed from Las Vegas Trail to Bryant Irvin to accommodate the added capacity, I think TxDOT should look into the possibility of managed lanes in this area -- or at least building the freeway to where managed lanes could be added in with little additional construction -- to deal with the demand that Walsh Ranch and other developments further to the west could place onto the I-30 corridor.  But at the same time, the act of widening the freeway would likely induce demand itself.

 

Adding new lanes will induce additional demand to use a freeway, whether that be through new developments or those now electing to drive the widened freeway over another route, but managed lanes do allow for some traffic relief for those willing to pay for it (and buses could always use the managed lanes too).  The best way to reduce induced demand upon freeways, in my opinion, would be through the expansion of mass transit, as well as the addition of managed lanes (toll and/or HOV) on freeways where congestion exists, rather than simply adding free lanes (unless those added lanes are to reduce bottlenecks).  Added capacity does pose the problem of promoting suburban sprawl; with the sprawl, plus other users now enticed to use the freeway, traffic issues will eventually return to their pre-widening congested state (like we saw with the Katy Freeway in Houston, a few years of traffic relief, then it was back to congestion).  Of course, if it became very expensive to purchase fuel, widening roads would probably not induce demand as they currently do (provided that gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars were still the predominant vehicles driven, instead of electric cars).

 

While off-topic, with regard to I-30 east of downtown, I think that freeway is getting bad once you get outside of 820 (Cooks Lane and Eastchase areas), even more so once you cross over into Arlington. 


In Topic: I-30 West Freeway reconstruction with reversible managed lanes

21 October 2017 - 12:08 PM

 

1. With traffic issues increasing on the West Freeway, I have started to think about the possibility of potentially adding managed lanes to the I-30 corridor.....

 

.2. ..... only be needed if Walsh reaches full buildout and there is major growth near Weatherford.  Hopefully it would never be needed.

 

1. A better solution would be "reversible housing" meaning promote development of new and renovated neighborhoods within existing infrastructure over the next 50 years instead of repeating the 1950 model of suburban sprawl brought to us by the automobile/petroleum/highway triad.  With greater density, two things can happen: (a) demand for public transit systems will be generated; and ( B) important wildlife and plant ecosystems can remain undisturbed.

 

 

2. Cease enabling Walsh Ranch type developments.  The costs of living in remote areas should be entirely borne by those who choose freely to live there. From the onset, I have been critical of WR and it would not make me sad to see it struggle to gain traction.

 

 

I agree completely.  If FWISD schools (other than Tanglewood-McLean-Paschal) started to catch on with those who would otherwise consider the suburbs then one of the factors encouraging families to move to the suburbs (schools) would be less of an issue and that could help discourage suburban sprawl as well.  The redevelopment and improvements made to the Near Southside/Fairmount/Ryan Place area over the recent years is a great example of this, but there are still issues with getting families into this area because of the public school situation (the area does feed into Paschal, but the elementary and middle schools, aside from Daggett Montessori, could be better).  In my opinion, one of the only reasons you get high performing schools (like Tanglewood and the Carroll ISD, excluding magnet programs) arises from factors related to high socioeconomic status, and teachers are less of a factor than you might think.  There are great teachers in schools with a lower SES student population, but family and parent factors likely have a negative effect on the kids' academic performance, except in the case where parents motivate their children to succeed in spite of their circumstances.  That said, the average academic performance of the student body does set teachers' expectations on what to teach and how to teach it.  Change the socioeconomic composition of a student body and you would likely see academic improvements; for example, if everybody in Monticello and Crestwood started to send their kids to North Hi Mount it would probably start to resemble Tanglewood more (you would probably see improvements at Stripling and Arlington Heights too, but as the secondary schools draw from a larger area the improvements would probably be less).

 

And with regards to the costs of people choosing to live in suburban developments, heavy traffic (or choosing a tolled managed lane) can be a part of that.  This is part of the reason I am glad that the 820 and 35W improvements added no new free lanes (well, at least not initially), so that those living in the suburbs have to "bear the cost" of living where they do.  But many of these areas are higher income and the people there can afford to use the managed lanes frequently, though $9 for a hassle-free commute twice daily might even make someone who can afford Southlake flinch a bit.  That said, we do need to focus our development efforts in the city rather than in the suburbs.  Improving the schools (including their perception) will be a big part of this, of course.