The new Will Rogers arena, $225 million of which will be paid for with public funds.

It looks fine, but I’m not a fan of the back room politics that have gone on with this project. There are more than a few people who have said that this project is one reason for the shady, idiotic killing of the central city streetcar project a few years ago - even though the two projects would not in any way have competed for funds, certain Powers That Be didn’t want the arena competing for mindshare of voters with the streetcar (especially once the streetcar was no longer a downtown-only project). Despite the fact that only the arena would be paid for with an actual vote - the streetcar would have been paid for with grants and the TIF districts, not any money from the general fund.

So now, years later, we’ll be paying for a shiny new arena, but our central city transit is still pathetic and The T is more worried about moving suburban commuters in and out on a train (that might never open, at this rate) than about supporting the people we’ve convinced to move back to the central city by building better transit in the core. Not to mention the city going out of its way to accommodate those same suburban commuters (who apparently need a zillion ways in and out of the core, so little do they think of it) by building and widening highways, even knowing what we know in 2014 about how futile and wasteful that is.

Don’t ever forget how certain council members, our former mayor, and influential wealthy folks screwed the pooch and set central city transit in Fort Worth back by years and years, as our competitors waltz ahead of us. I hope the new arena, if the longstanding rumors of it being a part of this puzzle, will be worth it. I certainly don’t think it will be.

tomorrowville
tomorrowville:

I’m turning 32 this Saturday.  The hell?

Anyway, we’re having a rock show party to celebrate.  My band (The Diabolical Machines) + Dallas all-woman/all-awesome agro pop group The Chloes + Fort Worth fuzzed-out slacker rock trio Missing Sibling.  It’s at The Grotto here in Fort Worth (over on University Drive off 7th Street), and doors open at 9:00.  C’mon and join us for drinks and merriment and loud music.

Please to attend.

tomorrowville:

I’m turning 32 this Saturday. The hell?

Anyway, we’re having a rock show party to celebrate. My band (The Diabolical Machines) + Dallas all-woman/all-awesome agro pop group The Chloes + Fort Worth fuzzed-out slacker rock trio Missing Sibling. It’s at The Grotto here in Fort Worth (over on University Drive off 7th Street), and doors open at 9:00. C’mon and join us for drinks and merriment and loud music.

Please to attend.

The Chisholm Trail Parkway is a mistake.

Every new or widened highway just results in siphoning energy out of the central city to development in the far fringe, which is unsustainable from an economic, environmental, and transportation perspective.

More developments that will exist in their own vacuums, disconnected from anything else.

More developments that will REQUIRE the use of a car to get to and from and between them, further increasing this city’s over-dependence on one mode of transportation and further degrading the human environment, our health, and the city’s budget.

More cars thrown onto streets.

More traffic.

More pollution.

The city shoving its head further into the sand and pretending it’s still 1960 and gas is cheap and plentiful and we are ignorant of the massive negative effects of the planning and development that’s happened since World War II.

More roads that further delay any hope of this city getting serious about other forms of planning and transportation and getting further left behind by other cities that are embracing the 21st century while we delude ourselves into thinking we can build a couple of urban entertainment/parking garage districts while still pretending the other 99% of the city can keep on doing things unchanged with no ill effects.

The question comes up all the time: How many people bike, how many miles, and where. There is no good way this is done, which is one reason we rely on flawed census data—at least it’s consistent.

If we’re going to make the case for bicycle transportation to the old guard politicians, not to mention our neighbors and ourselves, we need better data and we need it soon. For now, at least it helps to know what we are working with.

Really smart piece by my friend Elly Blue about the latest bike numbers from the census.

If you didn’t know, I’m not only an amateur pontificator of urban design - I am also a musician. I play rhythm tenor guitar and keyboard in Fort Worth indie pop/rock band The Diabolical Machines.

I’ve just found out we’re up for two Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards this year, and I would hugely appreciate your vote. Go to the link and vote for Steph Buchanan under Female Vocalist Performance, and Drag You Away - The Diabolical Machines under EP of the Year.

Thanks!

Fort Worth Bike Infrastructure Micro-Rant

(This was originally posted on the Fort Worth Architecture forum in response to a question asking why Fort Worth has so few bike commuters compared to other cities.)

Our bike infrastructure has improved from basically nothing, so while it’s definitely improved, it still has a LOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go. The only part of town with consistently half-….no, 1/4th-acceptable bike infrastructure is the Near Southside, and that’s a small slice. There are a lot more bike infrastructure projects we could be doing but are not. The Near Southside is also the only place in the city with halfway consistent bike infrastructure - look at how the 7th Street bike lanes/bridge just dump you out into a bunch of traffic with nothing but a sharrow to guide you, or look at how so much of the downtown bike infrastructure stops when you hit Sundance Square, or look at how few connections there are between areas (the South Main underpass, for example, still being the only unbroken dedicated bike infrastructure connection between downtown and the Southside). All of that contributes to dissuading people from trying to bike. You have to build it, and it has to be consistent. We still have way too many sections where a bike lane dumps out into unprotected traffic which gives way to a random 1/2 block bike lane which then disappears, etc. etc. etc.

The last several times I’ve been in Austin, they have really accelerated their bike infrastructure programs and have quite a bit more than we do now, or at least that’s been my perception. And of course, even our finest infrastructure pales in comparison to a place like Portland’s.

In the aforementioned Near Southside, there are tons more people using bikes than there were before the bike infrastructure started showing up. Not all are commuters - though I don’t know if all the many people who ride their bikes to work every day in the various Magnolia businesses are considered “commuters” for the purpose of counting - but they still count to me. Families, people running errands, etc. A tiny slice of the city, but a massive change for a district.

Vickery Gains New Bike Lanes & Road Diet

In our time away, no other part of the city has even come close to catching up with the Near Southside in terms of bike infrastructure, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. Besides adding bike lanes to Rosedale (more about that in a future post), there’s just been a new road diet & bike lane installation on Vickery, between Jennings and Adams/Henderson (-ish…the streets get weird there, but basically it’s all the way until this part of Vickery disappears). Think Stage West area.

The project extends the existing Vickery bike lanes (between Jennings and South Main) the rest of the way west, and solves a number of issues with the street in one go. Excess lanes are removed to calm traffic. Bike lanes are installed to provide safe transportation choice. There are even new parking spaces installed along the north side of the street - and if you’ll notice, the design of the new angle parking is such that it “floats” away from the curb, with the bike lane running curbside. That’s right - this is a buffered bike lane. That’s pretty damn great.

tomorrowville
tomorrowville:

The Park is Closed on Flickr.

Heritage Park at the north end of downtown Fort Worth.  Still closed due to the city’s neglect.  Plans have been in the works for years to restore and re-open it - I hope I actually see it happen.  Designed, as so many neglected parks of this era were, by Lawrence Halprin.
Camera:  Fujifilm X100

Just in case you were wondering - Heritage Park: still closed.

We ought to make a site - www.isheritageparkstillclosed.com

tomorrowville:

The Park is Closed on Flickr.

Heritage Park at the north end of downtown Fort Worth. Still closed due to the city’s neglect. Plans have been in the works for years to restore and re-open it - I hope I actually see it happen. Designed, as so many neglected parks of this era were, by Lawrence Halprin.

Camera: Fujifilm X100

Just in case you were wondering - Heritage Park: still closed.

We ought to make a site - www.isheritageparkstillclosed.com