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bclaridge

Member Since 28 Jun 2014
Offline Last Active Today, 12:52 AM
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#107245 TCU's massive campus transformation continues

Posted by bclaridge on 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.




#107166 TCU's massive campus transformation continues

Posted by bclaridge on 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.




#106956 I-30 West Freeway reconstruction with reversible managed lanes

Posted by bclaridge on 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. 




#106804 I-30 West Freeway reconstruction with reversible managed lanes

Posted by bclaridge on 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.




#106799 I-30 West Freeway reconstruction with reversible managed lanes

Posted by bclaridge on 20 October 2017 - 09:50 PM

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.  NCTCOG does not have plans to study managed lanes on I-30 West, but with the suburban sprawl in Walsh Ranch the traffic issues will only get worse over the coming years.  There are plans to widen I-30 from 377/Camp Bowie to Spur 580 (6->8 lanes from Camp Bowie to 820, 4->6 lanes from 820 to Spur 580), but the induced demand principle will mean that these improvements would soon become worthless, with congestion returning.  Mass transit is one option, ideally commuter rail, but buses can also be considered, and buses would benefit from a managed lane facility.  Managed lanes would, of course, also allow drivers to pay for congestion relief as we currently see with the North Tarrant Express on 820 and 183 in the Mid-Cities.

 

My idea would look something like this:

 

- 2 reversible managed lanes from University Drive to Walsh Ranch Parkway (inbound [east] in the morning, outbound [west] in the evening).

- Full reconstruction of the University/Rosedale interchange, including new bridges over the Clear Fork Trinity River, plus connections between Rosedale and the managed lane facility (for medical district access)

- A one-lane reversible managed lane connector to Downtown Fort Worth built along the north side of I-30 east of the Clear Fork (would connect with Cherry Street inbound and Macon Street outbound)

- Access to University Drive (slip ramps with left entrances and exits from/to the mainlanes near Ashland [westbound onramp, eastbound offramp])

- Deck park between Ashland Avenue and Hulen Street (across from Arlington Heights High School)

- Deck park between Horne and Bryant Irvin

- Access between managed lanes and SH-183/Spur 341 (slip ramps with left entrances and exits from/to the mainlanes; one set near Bryant Irvin [eastbound onramp, westbound offramp], and the other set near Las Vegas Trail [eastbound offramp, westbound onramp])

- Full reconstruction of the I-820/I-30 interchange on the far westside of Fort Worth into a 5-level stack with frontage roads intersecting on second level.  Traffic exiting one freeway to turn both left and right would now use a single ramp (like with the new 820/35W interchange in North Fort Worth), instead of the current ramp configuration with left moving traffic exiting first, then right moving traffic exiting second.  A wishbone ramp on the east side of the interchange (eastbound onramp in morning, westbound offramp in evening) would connect with new ramps to and from 820.  Furthermore, a dedicated reversible managed lane ramp could connect the inbound (morning) managed lanes with northbound 820, reversing this movement in the evening (but there could be a wishbone on the west side of the interchange instead of a dedicated ramp).  This new interchange would take up less space than the current one. 

- Access between managed lanes and Chapel Creek Boulevard (slip ramps near Alemeda, with left entrances and exits from/to the mainlanes [eastbound onramp and westbound offramp only])

- Access between managed lanes and Walsh Ranch Parkway (wishbone ramp: eastbound onramp in morning, westbound offramp in evening)

- Slip ramps at ends of managed lanes (Walsh Ranch and University) to allow I-30 mainlane traffic to enter managed lanes or permit managed lanes traffic to merge into the I-30 mainlanes at the end of the facility

 

Examples of ideal lane configurations, not including frontage roads and acceleration/auxiliary lanes:

 

- 4-2-4 from University Drive to 820 (example, I-35E in Lewisville; this example demonstrates a slip ramp but has narrow lanes and no inside shoulder which would not be ideal on I-30)

- 3-2-3 from 820 to Walsh Ranch (example, I-35E in Carrollton; see above caveat about lane width and shoulders)

- 3-3 from Walsh Ranch to I-20 merge (existing configuration with no managed lanes, but would include a short merging lane on westbound I-30 as managed lane traffic rejoins the mainlanes in the evening)

- Number of free lanes would be the same as with the NCTCOG proposal along I-30

- Little to no new right-of-way needed between University Drive and Bryant Irvin Road

- Further west on I-20: 4-4 from I-30 near Aledo to US 180 in Hudson Oaks, 3-3 from US 180 to Ric Williamson Memorial Highway (just west of Weatherford).

 

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




#106325 East Loop 820 and Hwy 121 Expansion

Posted by bclaridge on 01 October 2017 - 03:26 AM

What about the only two lanes in each direction from 20 to just south of 30  :-\

 

I know TxDOT has plans for rebuilding that segment, but it is a lower priority as the traffic there isn't as bad.  That said, that freeway does need improvements, given the outdated geometrics.  In order to stay on 820 entering southbound from Meadowbrook, you have to jump over 2 lanes within the space of 1/4 mile or so.  And there is no acceleration lane at all getting on northbound at Craig Street.  I used to frequent that area and would avoid the Craig Street onramp due to its dangerous configuration.

 

Also, something has to be done about that bottleneck going west on 820 from the 121/183 on-ramp where 4 lanes merge into 2.  Ultimately a third free lane will be added from 35W to the 121/183 interchange as stipulated in the contract with the company operating the Texpress Lanes.  But I'd personally like to see a westbound third lane added now from the Holiday Lane offramp to the Texpress Lanes entrance ramp at Rufe Snow (where the left lane would have to enter the express lanes, with the right two free lanes continuing on).

And as for the segment from Randol Mill to 183 in Hurst, here's what will be built initially.




#105448 New elementary school for the Tanglewood area

Posted by bclaridge on 05 September 2017 - 06:33 PM

I hate to be a downer here, but while I understand the issue for Tanglewood and overcrowding is important, I am not too keen on giving the elementary everyone wants to go to a new school with all the bells and whistles.  That money could be better spent on upgrading all elementary schools instead of just one.  Case in point, my wife and I voted for the bond that included universal Pre-K for all Fort Worth students and we were lucky enough for our son to start in FWISD's pre k last year. Come to find out, our home school didn't have room for him since we made too much money.  That wasn't a big deal at the time since we were able to find a spot for him at one of the schools close to where my wife works. But, we were one of the lucky ones that could find a spot close to us.  That problem needs addressing more so than Tanglewood.  If you live in an attendance zone of the elementary, you should be able to go to school there. If not, that school needs an expansion, not Tanglewood. We will not be voting for this bond, and I urge others to think about this as well before voting for it.  It doesn't seem right and it shouldn't be the priority of FWISD to serve a small segment of the school district over the needs of all those.

 

I do understand your argument with regard to improving elementary schools and access to Pre-K, though.   To my understanding, some FWISD elementary schools have had Pre-K expansions since the 2013 bond, although unfortunately not all of them have.  And just so you know, Tanglewood does not even offer Pre-K (I believe it is the only elementary school in the FWISD not to do so, excluding areas where FWISD has primary schools).  The FWISD, and all school districts, are required to serve those who first meet the Federal guidelines for Pre-K enrollment; once all of those children are taken into account only then can they consider the Universal Pre-K students, that is those who do not meet the guidelines (source).

 

The vast majority of the 2017 bond is for upgrades to all 14 of FWISD's high schools (~$581 million is budgeted for the high schools, including the 13 zoned schools and Trimble Tech).  In other words, the whole district benefits.  Compared to the elementary schools in the district, of which there are several "newer" school facilities built in the last 20-30 years, more of the high schools in FWISD are older buildings that could use upgrades.  That said, the lack of money allocated for middle schools (excluding the combined Benbrook Middle-High School and the specialized programs) is somewhat concerning.

 

The School Overcrowding and Student Growth section of the bond, which includes the Tanglewood reliever school, improvements to Tanglewood Elementary itself, land purchases for future schools, and some improvements to Waverly Park Elementary, is just upwards of $52 million.

Though borrowing money is not something to be taken lightly.




#102406 FW's Next Area to Revitalize?

Posted by bclaridge on 16 April 2017 - 02:26 PM

I do agree that the I-30 West Freeway would be a more likely corridor for something like that to happen, as there are plenty of higher-income areas to support such developments.  However, you wouldn't get commuter rail without taking people's property for right-of-way, or building some kind of elevated rail line above the freeway.  The 35W south corridor already has a rail line that parallels the freeway, but it is a lower income area.  I do see some potential in the 35W corridor in the event that a commuter rail line going due south of downtown were to be implemented; I simply mentioned Central Expressway as an "extreme" example of what could happen if you have a major freeway and commuter rail line paralleling each other.  I simply don't see that happening along 35W south, not without some dramatic changes to the average socioeconomic status of the area.

 

However, I would like the city to try and encourage corporations to set up offices in the central city (including downtown and the surrounding areas like the south side, Panther Island, and the like) instead of building large campuses in far-flung suburban parts of the city.  Perhaps having more enticing tax incentives could do the trick?  And if you got offices in the central city, you would also want families of employees to settle down closer to downtown too, so you would want better schools and quality educational programs available close to downtown.




#100384 Building out the Team Ranch area

Posted by bclaridge on 04 January 2017 - 01:41 AM

As much as I hate to see the remaining prairie land surrounding Fort Worth get paved over, sooner or later empty land on the west side of Fort Worth will (likely) wind up developed, potentially influenced by development in the Walsh Ranch area.

The Team Ranch area, located next to the intersection of Interstates 20 and 820, appears as if it might be a likely location for future development.  Convenient access to the freeway network would allow automobile-based commuters to easily leave the development and travel to work elsewhere in the city, and would provide easy access for visitors to patronize businesses in the area.  Furthermore, the railroad tracks along Aledo Road could be retrofitted to permit passenger rail traffic in the future as well, potentially allowing for transit-oriented development to take place here as well.

 

Based on this information, I decided to create a vision as to how I might develop this area, if I were the one to make the development decisions.  Notice that I have dedicated a large portion of this vision to mixed-use developments (red and black zones on the map, with red zones being denser than the black zones).  Most visitors to the development (those who do not live or work there) would be visiting the red-zone mixed-use developments, where shopping, dining, and entertainment options would be available.  Black-zone mixed use areas would focus less on retail than the red zones, with the possible exception of areas near primary pedestrian and automobile routes; most black zone development would be comprised of multi-family residential and offices.  Furthermore, much of single-family neighborhood areas (as well as the multi-family zone on the map) are within walking distance of a mixed-use development.

 

The areas adjacent to RM 2871 are more automobile-oriented than the other areas.  More traditional suburban shopping centers and corporate office campuses could be located here, if only to please tenants that prefer such developments over more dense, urban, mixed-use developments.




#99212 New Texas Wesleyan Student Center

Posted by bclaridge on 21 October 2016 - 08:56 PM

That is quite impressive indeed.  Looking at a satellite view of the Texas Wesleyan campus, there will be some loss to Texas Wesleyan's main campus lawn, but this will definitely make their campus prettier.  It also matches their clock tower quite nicely, and provides a contrast with the green-roofed buildings (eg. the West Library, Armstrong-Mabee Business Center, etc.) that seem to dominate their campus architecture.

 

The big question is how the rejuvenation of the Wesleyan campus will affect the Polytechnic neighborhood.  I would love to start seeing some large-scale reinvestment into that neighborhood, such as what has happened with the River District along White Settlement Road, that would promote a "college town" feel along Rosedale (that might be akin to a miniature version of the University Drive-Berry Street area next to TCU).  This would also make Wesleyan a more appealing residential campus, and they could try and target more of the traditional undergraduates that would otherwise consider small liberal arts colleges (LACs, eg. Austin College in Sherman, Southwestern University; Texas Wesleyan's variety of professional programs make their school a regional university rather than a LAC), especially with the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood.  There is little commercial activity near Austin College or Southwestern University (their campuses are in residential neighborhoods), and something like this could help Wesleyan distinguish themselves from these liberal arts schools.  Downtown is also pretty close for those who want to get off-campus and do something fun, but some coffee shops or similar places along Rosedale could always post flyers of events going on in the city to encourage Wesleyan students to explore more. 

 

I also wonder what will happen to the current campus life facility, which is called the Brown-Lupton Campus Center, according to Wesleyan's official campus map (https://txwes.edu/me...p/txwes-map.pdf). Perhaps Wesleyan will convert it to classrooms?

I have so much trouble saying that name because the Brown-Lupton name also graces TCU's largest campus life facility.  But the Brown and Lupton families must have really given to the Fort Worth community through their philanthropy over the years; their name is also present on the exhibits area next to the James L. and Eunice West Arena (whose names also mark Wesleyan's library) in the Will Rogers Memorial Center.  Not to mention any facilities named for the individual Brown and Lupton families separately (eg. TCU's baseball stadium).




#91696 Proposed luxury apartments on White Settlement Road

Posted by bclaridge on 26 May 2015 - 10:53 PM

At the meeting of the Riverbend Trinity Trails Neighborhood Association on May 26th, a representative with the TownSite Company discussed Greystar's plans to develop a new luxury apartment complex on White Settlement Road between Athenia Drive and Nursery Lane, at the current site of the Sunset RV Park. Greystar is the same developer behind Elan West 7th, and this proposed development would be similar, albeit only 3 stories tall given Fort Worth's requirements for MU-1 zoning (I'm not sure if this area has been re-zoned yet, but would be MU-1).  This location is near Rivercrest Bluffs and Crystal Springs.

None of the information about the apartment complex, or adjacent two-story office buildings (see map), is currently online at this moment, but probably will be soon.

 

I have included a map of all proposed developments in the Riverbend/White Settlement Road/Castleberry High School area here.




#89452 TCU's massive campus transformation continues

Posted by bclaridge on 14 January 2015 - 01:13 AM

Is there evidence that these capital improvements leading to an improvement in TCU, academically, relative to other universities?  Or are they simply designed to keep pace with the university's competitive set?  SMU, Baylor, ... with what other universities does TCU compete heavily for incoming talent?  USC?  Tulane?  I suppose public universities such as Texas A&M, UT, LSU, OU, Ole Miss, UGA.... but I wonder if most students who select TCU are only considering private schools. 

 

As a Fort Worthian, I want to see TCU get 1) better and 2) bigger.  In that order.  I'd love it if TCU were ultimately regarded in the same ballpark as Duke, Vanderbilt, and Rice, but all private universities are going for the same thing.  If this is off topic please feel free to move it.  I am truly curious to what extend the capital improvements directly contribute to the improvement of the quality of the university.  One wonders if TCU might better spend its money going out and hiring more prestigious faculty or scholarship programs.

 

Look at USC as an example.  It is private, has approximately 41,000 students and has climbed into the top 25 rankings for undergraduate programs.  Imagine what an economic engine TCU would be for Fort Worth if it were to grow to, say 20,000 students and be knocking on the door of the top 25 rankings, and producing a heavy amount of research.

 

As a TCU student, I don't think bigger will necessarily be better for TCU as an institution.  In their Strategic Plan (http://www.chancellor.tcu.edu/plan.asp), TCU plans to enroll a maximum of 10,000 students (around 8500 undergraduate and 1500 graduate) at a time; this is reflective of TCU's intent to become a better institution by remaining relatively small, but at the same time, have many of the resources of a larger university.  I do think that TCU could increase their graduate enrollment to at least 2000 without having a significant impact on the undergraduate experience; particularly by adding graduate programs (research-oriented instead of professional) to departments which do not currently have graduate programs.

Furthermore, I see little mention of investments made towards TCU's College of Science & Engineering (CSE); four out of seven departments (Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology) offering Ph.D. degree programs at TCU fall under the purview of CSE.  Improving upon or expanding STEM program offerings will be one of the keys to making TCU a more attractive university, in my opinion.  Furthermore, Sid Richardson Hall and (especially) Winton-Scott Hall (both housing CSE facilities) are in need of renovations to keep track with improvements made to the rest of the university.  I would hate to see the Art Deco-influenced cast iron doors/windows and "Science" sign removed from Winton-Scott, though, as it adds an architectural character not seen elsewhere on campus to the building.

In regards to your comment about TCU achieving the prestige of Duke, Vanderbilt or Rice, I think that TCU should not follow the status quo here by playing the rankings game (yes, TCU has played the U.S. News college rankings quite well) in competing with large research institutions, as TCU would have to make sacrifices to its character in order to even attempt such a goal.  Research is an important facet of any great university, but it needs to coexist with and involve undergraduate students.  In other words, undergraduates need the opportunity to work in research labs, but research should not distract from the faculty's responsibility to teach undergraduate students, either.  I believe TCU requires larger teaching loads of its professors than universities of a similar caliber so that students are being instructed by highly knowledgeable professors who are scholars in their respective field.  From what I understand, the "publish or perish" culture seen in academia, especially at large research universities, distracts from the teaching mission of such institutions, meaning that undergraduates receive a lower quality of education than they would otherwise receive.  Attracting prestigious facility may mean reducing the required teaching load, reducing the overall quality of an undergraduate TCU education, while at the same time, ironically increasing the institution's prestige.

 

While a larger, more research-oriented TCU would positively impact the economy of Fort Worth, the question is, will TCU students receive a lower quality education in the process of chasing "prestige"?  I believe that the TCU administration is genuinely aware of the negative impacts that such a transformation would have on the university, and intends to blaze their own trail in establishing their own form of prestige.

Something else to consider would be a multi-institutional, collaborative, resource-sharing consortium of universities in the Fort Worth area, similar to the Five College Consortium in Massachusetts (https://www.fivecolleges.edu/) Such a consortium could involve TCU, Texas Wesleyan, UT Arlington, and the UNT Health Science Center.




#87116 Tarleton State University plans 80-acre campus in Far SW FW

Posted by bclaridge on 02 September 2014 - 10:12 PM

I approve of yet another presence by Texas A&M in the Fort Worth Area.  Tarleton State (Agricultural); Texas Wesleyan (Liberal Arts) and A&M Law (Legal). 

 

Only Tarleton and A&M Law are affiliated with the public A&M System; Texas Wesleyan is a private university.

 

Anyhow, it is exciting to have a new 4-year college campus (even if it is only a satellite commuter campus of another university) in Fort Worth, especially if it is a public university.  Aside from the mammoth UT Arlington, there are no public 4-year colleges in Tarrant County that are not small satellite campuses (eg. Tarleton).

 

Now if we could only get a university to establish an undergraduate center downtown...




#87054 I-30 WB ramps to University and Montgomery

Posted by bclaridge on 30 August 2014 - 11:01 PM

The existing off-ramps at University Drive and Montgomery Street are quite tight and slow down traffic in the right lane on westbound Interstate 30.  With the Chisholm Trail Parkway set to include a toll-free ramp to University Drive in the westbound direction, I no longer see a need for the existing ramp to University on westbound Interstate 30 once construction wraps up (look at this link to see what I mean).  After the removal of the University Drive off ramp, additional deceleration space could be added for the existing Montgomery Street off-ramp.

 

The biggest issue, of course, would be re-educating drivers even with the addition of appropriate signage.  Furthermore, all drivers looking to access University from Forest Park Boulevard would simply connect using Rosedale.




#86687 Crystal Springs on the River

Posted by bclaridge on 17 August 2014 - 04:14 PM

Like Thurman52 and Russ Graham have mentioned, I am concerned about the location, seeing as the developers aspire for something to serve more upscale customers.  Aside from Burton Hill Road and White Settlement Road, there are few roads connecting to the more upscale neighborhoods on the opposite bank of the river.  It's quite clear that the developers are banking on some sort of gentrification to take place along White Settlement Road.  Rivercrest Bluffs, along with the apartments included in the Crystal Springs development, will help bring the desired clientele into the area, however.

 

 

I'd argue that this corridor has the potential to be a very comfortable, pedestrian friendly street.  Its not suburban in the same way that say the Cityview area is.  Even though most people will arrive by car, that doesn't mean the buildings should ignore the pedestrian.  The most appealing retail environments accommodate both the pedestrians and cars.  

Perhaps the City of Fort Worth could designate this portion of White Settlement Road as the Riverbend Urban Village?  There are some vacant and underutilized properties just to the east of the proposed Crystal Springs development that could be developed into pedestrian-friendly mixed-used properties (maybe sidewalk retail?), not including the Rivercrest Bluffs property east of Nursery Lane.