Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Should The Paddock Viaduct Be Closed While Fort Worth Is Working On Re-Opening Heritage Plaza With An Inclinometer?

On the left what you are looking at is a brick paved curvy sidewalk that is called the Heritage Trail.

The Heritage Trail, when I first walked upon it, sort of reminded me of a pedestrian version of San Francisco's Lombard Street.

Many of the bricks that make up the Heritage Trail have names on them, which would seem to indicate that people donated money to this Heritage Trail project so as to have their name walked on.

Well, the Heritage Trail has seen better days. I would think those who paid money to have their name bricked might have some sort of fraud case to be made against whoever or whatever it was that conned them out of their money, what with the Heritage Trail now a rundown eyesore.

The Heritage Trail leads to Heritage Park Plaza, which is also an eyesore, a blocked off by a cyclone fence eyesore, which has been closed for years.

About at the point where the Heritage Trail reaches Heritage Plaza a sign has been installed since I was last at this location. This sign purports to explain why Heritage Plaza is a boarded up eyesore, with this explanation being yet one more example of local governmental propaganda presuming that none of the locals have any memory of the actual history of what takes places in this part of the planet.

Below is the text from the above Heritage Park, I mean, Heritage Plaza, sign....

Heritage Plaza is closed....and we're working to re-open it.

Heritage Plaza sits atop the 1 1/2 acre Heritage Park. This location on the bluff above the Trinity River is part of the site where the original Fort Worth military outpost was located. The Plaza was designed by renowned landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, and was our city's critical contribution to America's Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. Halprin's unique landscape designs stretch across America from the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. to Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco. In 2010 Heritage Plaza was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This plaza is part of a larger, more exciting vision for Downtown Fort Worth and reopening it is a priority. Time and weather have taken their toll, creating public safety issues that must be addressed. However, repairing, reopening and restoring this historic site requires much thought and care. In time drainage, electrical work and structural improvements will ultimately be made.

In 2009, the Fort Worth City Council announced its intent to collaborate with public and private partners to reopen Heritage Plaza. Staff from the City of Fort Worth and Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. have been working with the public to move forward with a deliberate approach to re-open the plaza. In 2011 funding was raised to begin Phase 1 analysis of the Plaza.

Phase 1: Today and for the next couple years, we are measuring the stability of the slope to determine if and how ground movements might influence restoration decisions. The monitoring period is 2 years.

We are using site survey and inclinometer measurements to determine if structural elements and the subgrade soils are moving laterally - if at all. There are indications of movement and we are trying to get a better sense of this condition. The inclinometer readings will determine if the movement is purely a superficial issue or if it a symptom of a deeper instability problem which will require a more intensive effort to prevent future subsurface movements. For a more detailed summary of the findings, please visit www.dfwi.org.


Where do I start? Inclinometer measurements?

Yes, let's start with those inclinometer measurements. Back when this park was closed the excuse had nothing to do with ground shifting. I webpaged and blogged about being appalled about this closure. And the bogus, stupid reasons given for the closure.

The webpage and blog mention the actual reasons given for the park closure at the time of its closure, with the closure having nothing to do with structural problems. Or ground shifting.

My webpage about Fort Worth's Lost Heritage generated an email from the guy who actually designed this extremely well designed park, Junji Shirai.

I'll repeat what Junji had to tell me...

I came across the web site of yours that told me about the closure and deterioration of the Heritage Park, Fort Worth.

My name is Junji Shirai, a Japanese architect, and I am the one who designed that park. It was commissioned to Lawrence Halprin and Associates San, Francisco to design, and Don Carter (passed away), Satoru Nishita and myself were assigned to do the work. All 3 of us are truly nature-loving, easy going designers but we were dead serious about the representation of the great heritage the city of Fort Worth possesses in our design of the park. We were focusing our attention mostly to the spacial experience of the visitors when they stroll through the semi-enclosed space, walkways, water temple, streams along the walk among trees and shrubs, over looking the Trinity and enjoy the expanse of scenery, etc. One of the design features we made realized was the lighting system for the entire park. You might not have noticed it but all lighting for the night illumination are fully integrated into the walls. This was done in order to avoid ordinary light posts lining along the walks otherwise, for we did not want night visitors lit by overhead ramps. We are so proud of the final product when it was dedicated to the city and the citizens of Fort Worth, but I am so saddened to hear about what has happened to it today.

From the saying in the script on the wall, I believe those who do not regard their heritage right, would be regarded lightly in the days after they are gone.

Junji Shirai (currently reside in Tokyo.)


Fort Worth closed Heritage Park/Plaza after four people drowned in one of the Water Garden's water features. Fort Worth had to pay out a lot of money due to those tragic Drowning Pool drownings. Followed by spending a lot of money to make the poorly designed Drowning Pool drowning-proof.

Some numbskull, seeing that Heritage Park/Plaza also had some water features, albeit totally danger-free water features, deemed it fiscally prudent to close the park, lest Fort Worth get hit with another expensive law suit, even though there was no structural problem, no electrical problem, no real problem at all, unless you consider a homeless person, or two, taking a bath in one of the safe water features, to be a problem.

One of the excuses made for the closure was that the public did not feel safe in Heritage Park/Plaza. I'm part of the public. I always felt safe there, even when I saw some sad souls taking a bath there.

If ground shifting is actually a problem presenting a danger, what caused the ground shifting? The next door construction of Tarrant County College digging into the Trinity River bluffs?

If the ground shifting is causing a potential safety problem with the concrete catwalks in Heritage Park, a park built in the 1970s, what about that bigger concrete structure right next to Heritage Park, as in the Paddock Viaduct, also known as the North Main Street Bridge, a bridge which was built long before Heritage Park?

Wouldn't a ground shifting structural failure be more dangerous with a bridge carrying heavy vehicular traffic than concrete catwalks carrying a few humans?

I really think the Paddock Viaduct needs to be closed, blocked off by cyclone fence until a study can be conducted to determine if the bridge is safe.....

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