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/