Great pics!! South Main St. in Fort Worth would be such an easy street to transform..it's never very busy and has great old storefronts.
Narrow, slow traffic lanes. Dedicated bike lanes. Giant-sized people space. Art vendors. Food carts. Sidewalk cafes. On-street bike corrals. Live music. Native landscaping. Games. Giant crosswalk.
If it weren’t for the presence of skyline landmarks like Burnett Plaza, the T&P Station, the Omni, and Carter + Burgess, err, Jacobs Plaza, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a scene out of Austin or Portland. You certainly wouldn’t think this was the 200 block of South Main in the Near Southside here in Fort Worth.
Yet, thanks to some extensive under-the-radar planning work and a dedicated team of volunteers willing to go “guerilla” in the name of proving the concepts behind revitalizing our classic urban areas, all of these things arrived on South Main just in time for the Fall 2010 Arts Goggle event.
Arts Goggle is held twice a year, in the spring and fall. It’s gotten to be a major art and music event, and its growth is coinciding with the general revitalization of the Near Southside. Magnolia Avenue has been the big hotspot, naturally, as it’s the most mature revitalized street in the district, but other areas (like Park Place) have been coming up as well. South Main, envisioned as the second major “destination” hotspot like Magnolia in the district’s future, has been making efforts – there are new businesses like Trinity Bicycles, and new lofts dotting the area – but the South Main streetscape hasn’t been helping. Many years ago, the formerly pedestrian-oriented South Main was chipped away, as the street was widened into a huge, barren four-lane road with fast traffic and very little people space. Plans are underway to correct that, but we decided that we could show the city – both residents and officials – just what could be created with a reorientation of the street. It would serve as an example to the other urban areas of the city on how to make a “complete street.”
So, taking a cue from Oak Cliff’s Better Block Project, a huge group of volunteers was assembled – featuring us, the good folks at Trinity Bicycles, and a team of Near Southsiders who wanted to make a difference – and headed to South Main the night before Arts Goggle with a budget of under $500 to perform a little guerilla complete streets makeover.
The end result:
The street went from four traffic lanes to two
Dedicated bike lanes were striped
Former traffic/parking space was converted to street cafes, food and art vending, games, bike parking, and general people space
A crosswalk was painted
Vehicular traffic was slowed dramatically, making the street safer for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians - yet there were no traffic congestion problems. Transit - buses and trolley-bus event circulators - functioned perfectly. The new people space attracted huge crowds who dined, shopped, and had fun in what used to be barren pavement. It is estimated, based on feedback from local businesses and the food & art vendors, that we tripled or more the tax revenue from that block during the event.
Here are a few photos of the makeover in-progress:
Crosswalk being painted
Bike lanes being striped
Bike lane stencils going in
Car lanes reclaimed for street cafe, with landscaping and bike lane
On-street bike parking
A few before & afters:
And here are a few photos from the event after it was all in place:
For even more photos and information, please check out http://fortworthology.com/2010/10/04...goggle-report/
Great pics!! South Main St. in Fort Worth would be such an easy street to transform..it's never very busy and has great old storefronts.
Times weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to slip through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it.
What started in Oak Cliff a few months ago has been adapted and repeated across the country. This thread is to discuss news and impact of these events.
The new website: http://betterblock.org/
Oak Cliff Better Block 1 (the one that started it all):
Oak Cliff Better Block 2:
Billy Joel Rocks a Better Block, or: How an Oak Cliff Experiment Is Turning Into a National Movement (and a Website and a Book!)
By Robert Wilonsky, Wed., Oct. 20 2010 @ 2:49PM
Categories: Development, Transportation
This afternoon I stumbled across this website: The Better Block: A Planning Tool for Urban Retrofit . Which, of course, refers to Jason Roberts's twice-executed Oak Cliff experiment in which the peoples, armed with cafe seating and greenery and chalk-marked bike lanes, take back the streets and sidewalks. Roberts is behind the site, but he tells Unfair Park this afternoon that he has collaborators: Patrick "Car-Free" Kennedy and urban planner Andrew Howard.
Says Roberts, the need for the site, which launched yesterday, arose when several other cities began calling and asking how to replicate the Oak Cliff Better Block Project. Rather than explain it over and over again, they launched the site -- which includes a brief how-to, which for now will serve as a prelude to a book the threesome are in the process of writing.
"I get calls from all over the place," Roberts says. "Memphis called us yesterday. Houston called, Fort Worth just did theirs, Maryland's doing one, Deep Ellum has theirs coming up, Greenville Avenue and Farmers Branch are doing one. So we thought, 'Let's aggregate so everyone can have access to this information. We should try to learn from each other so we can apply the best practices.' That's kind of the thought."
Turns out, the Better Block Project reached all the way to Oyster Bay, New York, where, a few months back, Billy Joel launched his own cover version -- after being inspired by this April video shot at the intersection of Kings Highway, W. 7th Street and N. Tyler Street. "He just watched our video and said, 'Let's do that,'" says Roberts, who, apparently, did start the fire.
Between the video, the new website and the book -- which they hope to have done in three months, at which point they'll start shopping it to publishers -- Roberts, Kennedy and Howard hope to, bit by bit, reshape the landscape, especially in the sprawled-out Sun Belt.
"I think it'll help these Sun Belt cities that were built with wider streets, and they don't even know how to re-adapt," Roberts says. "That was part of our frustration: There's so much to do, where do you start. Which is why we said we'll do it a block at a time.
"We're learning it's a really viable new tool -- it's the opposite of the way cities typically approach this project. They do this long million-dollar planning process with town halls and there's back and forth, and it's just so abstract. They say, 'I think this should work. This does away with planning and lets people just do it. And maybe they say there needs to be more trees or the bike lanes need to be wider. That's why it's called 'a living charrette.' Maybe Dallas can be the new capital for urban retrofit studies. That would be cool."
An injustice will occur if the Better Block Projects hosted in Oak Cliff are not quickly targeted for a revamping similar to what's happening on Greenville Ave.
I saw the post on the Fort Worth Better Block, so I thought I'd share some photos from the one in Oak Cliff. Here is the link to my set of photos on Flickr (these were taken by my boss, so I cannot claim credit): http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescam...7625240327189/
For more info, check out these sites:
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167188528/" title="Bad Block (before) by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4048/5167188528_672b3a3566.jpg" width="500" height="231" alt="Bad Block (before)" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5166589509/" title="Better Block (after) by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4112/5166589509_7f9d2e0e3d.jpg" width="500" height="289" alt="Better Block (after)" /></a>
Here are some of the highlights:
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5166528319/" title="IMG_2292_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4104/5166528319_000b66f924.jpg" width="333" height="500" alt="IMG_2292_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5166529647/" title="IMG_2303 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4083/5166529647_f866e3c558.jpg" width="333" height="500" alt="IMG_2303" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167131910/" title="IMG_2309_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4133/5167131910_35204a5694.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2309_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167146516/" title="IMG_2343_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4063/5167146516_87aae9ac22.jpg" width="333" height="500" alt="IMG_2343_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167147590/" title="IMG_2359_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1355/5167147590_2f835464f7.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2359_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167152486/" title="IMG_2386 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4147/5167152486_4b773ff063.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2386" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5166584937/" title="IMG_2455_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1413/5166584937_2987f0f679.jpg" width="333" height="500" alt="IMG_2455_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167174724/" title="IMG_2438_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4029/5167174724_1f8ae276c9.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2438_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5166563457/" title="IMG_2419_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4110/5166563457_c8107a54c1.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2419_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167159920/" title="IMG_2405_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4064/5167159920_9e413a66bf.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2405_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167157270/" title="IMG_2396_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1236/5167157270_ccd376d30e.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2396_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167156250/" title="IMG_2393_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1185/5167156250_a204373477.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2393_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167166928/" title="IMG_2428_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4086/5167166928_1f9333b071.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2428_2" /></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chescampbell/5167172718/" title="IMG_2433_2 by Ches Campbell, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4128/5167172718_e3604bdaaa.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_2433_2" /></a>
Last edited by Mccamp82; 11 November 2010 at 12:05 PM.
San Francisco also has a similar program called Pavement to Parks .Originally Posted by DFWCRE8TIVE
San Francisco ’s streets and public rights-of-way make up fully 25% of the city’s land area, more space even than is found in all of the city’s parks. Many of our streets are excessively wide and contain large zones of wasted space, especially at intersections. San Francisco’s new “Pavement to Parks” projects seek to temporarily reclaim these unused swathes and quickly and inexpensively turn them into new public plazas and parks. During the temporary closure, the success of these plazas will be evaluated to understand what adjustments need to be made in the short term, and ultimately, whether the temporary closure should be a long term community investment.
San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks projects are inspired by the recent success of similar projects in New York City - where plazas and seating areas have been created in excess roadway simply by painting or treating the asphalt, placing protective barriers along the periphery, and installing moveable tables and chairs. Streets such as Broadway have been transformed into much more inviting and pedestrian-friendly spaces through New York’s efforts.
Each Pavement to Parks project is intended to be a public laboratory where the City can work with the community to test the potential of the selected location to be permanently reclaimed as public open space. Materials and design interventions are meant to be temporary and easily moveable should design changes be desired during the trial-run. Seating, landscaping, and treatment of the asphalt will be common features of all projects.
Locations for Pavement to Parks projects are selected based on the following criteria:
Sizeable area of under-utilized roadway
Lack of public space in the surrounding neighborhood
Pre-existing community support for public space at the location
Potential to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety via redesign
Surrounding uses that can attract people to the space
Identified community or business steward
"Castro Commons" 17th and Castro
22nd St Parklet
Columbus Ave Parklet
Divisadero St Parklet
Good news - the state highway designation has been removed from South Main, which opens the door for a permanent Complete Streets makeover. In the spring, Fort Worth South will restripe the street from Vickery to Magnolia, removing two lanes of traffic and converting them to parking and dedicated bike lanes - in essence, making our Better Block design permanent. Longer-term plans include wider sidewalks, intersection bulb-outs, street trees, pedestrian lighting, and benches.
Jason Roberts and the Better Block'ers Dare You to Build a Better Ross Avenue in Three Days
By Robert Wilonsky, Wed., May 4 2011 @ 4:40PM
Categories: Development, Local Hero, The Environment
One week after turning the front of Dallas City Hall into the Living Plaza, Jason Roberts -- who'll sleep when he's dead -- sends word of yet another project: the 72-Hour Challenge to turn a stretch of Ross Avenue downtown into a complete street.
There are some details on the Better Block website, with more to come, but long story short: The city, Downtown Dallas Inc., the Arts District and others are partnering with the Better Block'ers to allow teams 72 hours (beginning June 2, oy) to transform Ross into a "great livable space that embraces the road," he tells Unfair Park today. The idea is based in part on Bat-Yam 72 Hour Urban Landscape Competition in Israel.
Ross will be broken down into "five segments," Roberts says, from Pearl to Washington. And the expectation is that "the general form of boulevard makeover includes a market, gallery, music venue, food court and transit plaza," says the Better Block website.
"We're gonna grade people on the ability to make people linger in the space and, since it's in June, how would you create shade or add water features?" he says. "We want to see adaptive reuse. We'll publish more details as we get closer, but the nice thing about doing this in a compressed time line and getting a lot of folks involved is you'll see a lot creativity and find inexpensive ways to make change."
I asked who he expects will participate.
"We've got interest from universities who've asked to be involved in projects in the past," he says. "And then there are traditional architects, landscape architects and artists. It's open to anyone who can form a team and who is place-making-minded, which would even include theater groups who can do staging. We're trying to dispel the notion this can only be done by architects. Anyone can make a great place, and when you bring this mix of folks beyond just one discipline we'll get great ideas we might not have thought of otherwise."
Had lunch with Jason on Monday and this is most likely being pushed back a bit to the 26th of June. Will post something once I have confirmation
Yup, pushed back to the 26th. if anyone wants to help, feel free to PM me!
Last edited by Mark Lea; 21 June 2011 at 10:07 AM.
Yeah, I don't look at the City Hall Plaza events as a route to creating spontaneous use of that I.M. Pei RoboCop monstrosity (see also, here, starting at 6:14)... but as a case of using a well-known but dead plaza as a platform for showing how dead spaces in more salvageable locations can be redeemed.Originally Posted by lakewoodhobo
Last edited by Rangers100; 23 July 2011 at 02:34 AM.
2011 Dallas Great Streets Visual Essay Contest
The city of Dallas invites you to express your desires, dreams and ideas about what makes a Great Street in Dallas. This contest is designed to help us understand from the citizen’s perspective what works well in our streets and thoroughfares now and what could work better to make Dallas a great community.
We hope to spark your creativity to learn what you think about this valuable but often forgotten part of our public space -- the street. We want to know what you like about particular streets in Dallas or how you would like to see them improved. Help us make Dallas streets even better by participating in the Great Streets Visual Essay Contest and be part of the Dallas Complete Streets project.
The Dallas Great Streets Visual Essay Contest is open to everyone. Winning entries will receive exciting prizes!
The contest term for the 2011 Dallas Great Streets Visual Essay Contest is from 12:00 a.m. on July 18, 2011 to 11:59 p.m. on August 22, 2011.
^Sounds like a nice contest, but it confuses me that you're supposed to pick a street that you think is great and then think about how to make it better. Why not pick a bad street and improve that? If your street is already pretty good, I doesn't need much improving.
email from Jason today:
We're looknig for volunteers to help us build our next Better Block project. On October 22nd, we'll be taking a bridge in South Dallas and converting two of the car lanes to a wide bike and pedestrian esplanade complete with bike lanes, outdoor street furniture, food, lighting and more to show how our bridges can be turned into great destinations. We're holding open house construction sessions at our warehouse on West Dallas this Thursday from 7PM to 10PM where we'll be building planters, benches, and more from reclaimed wood materials. We'll have food, and drinks on hand for anyone interested in helping with the project. Our inspiration for this endeavor is New York City's High Line Park. Read more details at http://cedarcrest.teambetterblock.com
Our warehouse is located at 2326 Topeka Drive, Dallas, Texas 75208.
Thank you for helping us make a better city!
Team Better Block
And in that post was this drawing. I am guessing this is one of the options the city is planning to do with the bridge in the next few years.
Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Some of these ideas may finally be making a long-term impact...
When it comes to complete streets, just do it, say some on council
By Rudolph Bush / Reporter
firstname.lastname@example.org | Bio
11:30 AM on Wed., Oct. 19, 2011
At long last, the City Council was briefed this morning on a plan to plan to create streets in Dallas that work better for walkers, runners, bikers and strollers.
As anyone who has spent a moment in Dallas knows, the streets here are almost entirely built to accommodate the automobile to the exclusion of other forms of transportation.
Where sidewalks exist, they are usually narrow and often in bad shape. Bike lanes are few and far between. Crosswalks are often not well-designed and poorly marked. Building codes support big box retail and acres of parking. Awnings, cafe seating and other pedestrian amenities are discouraged.
You get the idea. The complete streets idea is about changing that.
This morning, the council talked about a plan to spend about $800,000 in grant money to plan for redesigning streets to address the situation.
So, who's going to be the 'champion' of the Better Block Project, the bike lane initiatives etc if Jason Robert becomes a busy congressman?
Jason Roberts is a new kind of political candidate. He’s a visionary with the willingness to roll up his sleeves and work tirelessly to Build a Better Congress. Jason has been wholly devoted to making life better for the citizens in his community and now he is ready to take his fresh perspective, cooperative spirit and know-how to Washington, D.C.....
Better Block Project hits Knox Street this weekend:
Anything new in Dallas with a better block project?
The mediator between the head and the hands must be the heart.
I think the team is busy these days working as consultants on Better Blocks in other parts of the US. The city consults with them occasionally to create these demonstration projects as well. I think some of the other nearby cities have requested their help with their own downtowns but the Better Block guys have been too busy. I know recently they had to cancel one of their Better Block training events.
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