Fort Worth, Texas

Interurban Lines: Speed with Safety, securely stationed at the rail station
Interurban Lines: Speed with Safety, securely stationed at the TRE rail station

I visited Fort Worth recently for an AGI conference on the Future of the Methane Economy. I shared my slides previously and learned a lot. Since we were sworn to silence, I won’t discuss how I was the person there arguing that (a) CO2 emissions were rising, and (b) natural gas folks should talk about this since they do better than their fossil fuel competitors (if not as well as renewables).

Plans for future redevelopment
Plans for future redevelopment

Instead I will talk about Fort Worth and Dallas, two cities I had never been to before the conference. Today Fort Worth, Monday Dallas.

Fort Worth

Well-lit plaza in Fort Worth
Well-lit plaza in Fort Worth
The local trolley is not electrified
The local trolley requires no wires
Even the surface parking lots are nicely dressed up.
Even the surface parking lots are nicely dressed up.

Fort Worth is the lesser known core city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. If Dallas (on I-35E) is Minneapolis (on I-35W), Ft. Worth (on I-35W) is St. Paul (on I-35E). It is less afflicted by the rush to modernity, at a smaller scale, with a walkable downtown with relatively low structures, many of them dating to the early 20th century. The blocks are square and small, the sidewalks made of bricks,  the streets narrow and one-way, but the parking garages remain tall and mighty.

Map of my photos in Fort Worth
Map of my photos in Fort Worth
Neon lights on Main Street
Neon lights on Main Street

There weren’t too many people out on the streets, and aside from the Pedal Pub I think I saw only one bicycle in 3 days. Throughout though, I felt reminded that the Customer Service culture is stronger here (and in the south generally) than Minnesota.

A nice plaza facing an historic building.
A nice plaza facing an historic building.

Football is huge. The Cowboys of course, but in Fort Worth, TCU seems a really big deal. Much more than the Vikings in Minnesota, and vastly more than the Gophers. Of course, TCU was at the time actually competing for a national championship.

The Parking Ramps dominate just outside the core
The Parking Ramps dominate just outside the core
Bus stop in Downtown Fort Worth.
Bus stop in Downtown Fort Worth.

Fort Worth is connected to Dallas by major highways (I-30), as well as TRE, a commuter rail line. View the Fort Worth photos on Flickr.

 

4 thoughts on “Fort Worth, Texas

  1. I’m a native of FW. Of course, the reason the trolley has no wires is because it isn’t really a trolley. It’s a bus made up to look like one. It’s devoid of people, as is the case with the rest of your shots. They bring new meaning to the term still photo. What you’ve captured is the culmination of six decades of failed urban policy: Here’s an attractive town center that nobody’s around to enjoy.

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  2. I’m not sure when you visited Fort Worth, but your takeaway couldn’t be farther from the truth. In 2014, Livability.com named Fort Worth as having the #1 downtown in the U.S. and claims it has the cleanest, safest and most walkable urban areas you’ll find anywhere – the perfect place to soak up the excitement and friendly ambience of Fort Worth.

    The heart of downtown is Sundance Square, a 35-block shopping and entertainment district where charming, beautifully restored buildings stand alongside glittering skyscrapers. Here, you’ll find locals, downtown residents and visitors among a multitude of restaurants, shops, galleries and performance venues. And residents and visitors alike can easily navigate the city via the Fort Worth Transportation Authority “T” buses, the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) passenger rail, the FREE Molly The Trolley shuttles that circulate through and between downtown and the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, kayak or canoe through 40 miles of the Trinity Trails, or rent bikes for only $1.25 from Fort Worth Bike Sharing. The first program of its kind in the State of Texas, Fort Worth Bike Share has over 40 stations and 300 Trek bicycles available for rental throughout the city’s core….including downtown, the Near Southside and the Cultural District.

    Fort Worth is a vibrant, urban city full of culture, with six world-class museums all located in the Cultural District just two miles west of downtown, including the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the world-renowned Kimbell Art Museum, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. This is, without question, one of the finest collections of museums in America. In a single, park-like setting, you can span virtually the entire history of art, from priceless antiquities to Impressionist milestones to modern artworks offer while being very close to great outdoor getaways.

    There’s a fantastic music scene with everything from metal to punk to hip hop to indie to folk and everything in between. The core demographic is surprisingly young and liberal though a few conservative values pop up in everyone, but I suspect that’s true in any major city. The West 7th area just one mile west of downtown is also in the midst of a major revitalization and is home to countless bars, shops, and music venues catering to a huge cross section of clientele. Same goes for the Near Southside and Magnolia St. If you want an upscale cocktail lounge or a smoky dive bar you can find both, usually within walking distance of one another.

    The city itself is reasonably compact and easy to navigate, and it’s free to park almost anywhere in the city….event the parking garages in downtown are free on nights and weekends. Beyond that, there’s public transportation and bike lanes and trails throughout all the city’s major entertainment districts, with plans in-the-works for more. Our current mayor is an avid cyclist and has been helping promote a bike friendly city, going so far as to host a “rolling city hall”. Fort Worth has done much to shape itself into a world class, livable city and I’m proud to call it home.

    I suggest you come back for a 2nd visit and see for yourself.

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