Friday, April 26, 2013

Riding A Fort Worth Bus To Sundance Square While Not Enjoying In-N-Out Double Double Burgers

What you are looking at in the picture is the interior of a Fort Worth bus. Today I got myself a Fort Worth bus day pass and hopped on board the #21 to make  my way to the transfer station where I hopped on board the #2  bus which took me to downtown Fort Worth's Intermodal Transit Center.

Near as I can tell, by Intermodal Transit Center, Fort Worth means you can take a bus to get on an Amtrak train. And vice versa.

Today I learned that riding a Fort Worth bus is great exercise, particularly the articulated bus ride from the transfer station to downtown. This is one very bumpy ride that I think must do wonders for the abdominal muscles.

By articulated bus I mean a bus that can bend in the middle like an accordion. The only other articulated buses I have been on are the ones that run through the Seattle bus tunnel. The Seattle articulated buses are like well suspended Cadillacs, while Fort Worth's are like not so well suspended oversized VW buses.

In other words, the Fort Worth articulated buses, and the un-articulated Fort Worth buses give riders a much more adventurous ride than the sedate, smooth riding Seattle buses.

When I exited the #2 I had myself a fine time wandering the streets of downtown Fort Worth for the first time in a long time. One of the things I was wanting to see is Sundance Square. Ever since I moved to Fort Worth Sundance Square has perplexed me. Because there is no Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth. There are signs pointing visitors to Sundance Square, but there is no square. Eventually, I and others concluded that by "Square" downtown Fort Worth means "parking lots".

So, last year it was announced that, after all these years of there being no Square in Sundance Square, Fort Worth was finally going to build one.

On one of the parking lots.

And call it Sundance Plaza. I assume to continue the tradition of confusing tourists.

I was a bit surprised to find that Sundance Plaza is a long ways from becoming a square. The parking lot in front of the Chisholm Trail mural, where the plaza is being built,  is a construction mess, with two new buildings being built on the west and east ends of the former parking lots, with the new plaza currently pretty much a hole in the ground. However, there are multiple signs, all around the construction site, such as the one you see above, where the guy in the cowboy hat is telling the Butch Cassidy lookalike in the derby, that "THERE'LL ALSO BE A NEW OUTDOOR PLAZA. A REALLY GREAT SPACE  THE WHOLE CITY CAN BE PROUD OF."

Below you see some of the signage around the Sundance Plaza construction site, with one of the new buildings, butted up against the old Flying Saucer Emporium building, with the Angels on the Bass Performance Hall blowing their horns on the right.

Isn't this Sundance Plaza project well past its projected completion date?

Regarding downtown Fort Worth, other than the construction zones, I have never seen downtown Fort Worth looking so good. Lots of street activity, new restaurants, many open to the street, well manicured landscaping.

I must repeat, because I was surprised to find myself thinking this, downtown Fort Worth is looking really good.

I also thought I'd never find myself saying that downtown Fort Worth is a much more lively, people oriented downtown that what one finds in Dallas. Then again, it has been a few years since I've wandered around downtown Dallas. Maybe downtown Dallas has improved just as much as downtown Fort Worth has.

After an hour or two of wandering around downtown Fort Worth my group of wanderers grew hungry. So, it was back to the Intermodal Transit Center to hop back on the #2 bus to head west to 7th Street.

The feeding choices were Sweet Tomatoes or In-N-Out.

All the wanderers had been to Sweet Tomatoes, but only I had been to an In-N-Out. So, it was to In-N-Out we went.

Today was my 4th In-N-Out Double Double Burger. The first two were consumed in Phoenix in 2004. Number 3 was consumed in Tempe, (or was it Scottsdale?) in 2012. I don't know what it was, for sure, but the Fort Worth In-N-Out Double Double Burger did not match the Double Double Burger of my memory. It seemed smaller, messier, not as tasty. And the french fries, something was way off with the fries. Almost as if they were powdery. As in flavorless starchiness. Very disappointing. I think I will be waiting til next I am in Arizona or California to have an In-N-Out Double Double Burger.

As you can see in the above photo of the In-N-Out Burger joint, traffic on 7th Street is a congested mess. Methinks something needs to be done to ameliorate this, but what that amelioration might be, I have no idea.

But, I am almost 100% certain the traffic congestion is not going to be solved by the 300 bikes, newly operational, that I saw at several kiosks in the downtown zone today. I saw no one riding one of the bikes.

Even though I saw no one riding one of the 300 bikes, several seem to be missing from this 7th Street kiosk. Or maybe those are just empty spaces awaiting incoming bikes.

Like I said, 7th Street is terribly congested. But one block to the south, on Crockett Street, one finds a totally more sedate, better designed street experience. I think Crockett Street benefited from being developed long after long established 7th Street.

Crockett Street has wide sidewalks, well designed landscaping, with an overall more pleasant street walking experience than 7th Street.

Finishing exploring the 7th Street zone it was back on the #2 bus to head back to the Intermodal Transit Center. This bus had no seating available, standing room only, which made the ride a very rock and roll, standing on a subway train-like experience. I was enjoying the carnival ride aspect, but was sort of relieved to finally get off the ride at the Transit Center.

From the Transit Center we had to switch to an eastbound #2 bus to the transfer station, then back on the #21 to return to the starting location.

Today the buses were well timed. Very little waiting to make a switch.

It only cost $3.50 for an all day pass on the Fort Worth bus system. I really don't understand why more of the locals don't have themselves a really fine time trying out out this mode of transport. I saw more than one family group, today, with little kids, with the kids having a lot of fun on the Fort Worth bus carnival ride.

No comments: