Saturday, January 10, 2015
Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Should Look West For Inspiration
I remember when that same pseudo newspaper breathlessly announced that a lame little food court in downtown Fort Worth, the Santa Fe Rail Market, was modeled after Seattle's Pike Place Market, and other public markets, with me wondering have none of these people actually been to Seattle and seen Pike Place?
The headline about Fort Worth being turned into the Vancouver of the South had me wondering the same type thing, as in, have none of these people actually been to Vancouver?
Well, a decade and a half after learning Fort Worth was going to become the Vancouver of the South, do I have egg on my face, or what?
Let's go with the what option.
What became known as the Trinity River Vision has revitalized downtown Fort Worth, drawing in thousands of new residents, retail stores, restaurants, theaters, sports venues, concert halls, not to mention being the hub of a modern high speed rail public transport system, connecting downtown Fort Worth to the airport.
Oh, oops, I got my towns mixed up. That is not the Trinity River Vision's flood diversion channel you are looking at above. That is the Los Angeles River, flowing by downtown Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles River is being revitalized in the downtown LA zone by a project known as Los Angeles River Revitalization. Vision is not part of the name. Nor is some local congresswoman's unqualified son in charge of any aspect of the project.
During the period of time Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has been floundering with little to show for it, downtown Los Angeles has been in the midst of a revival that has turned it from a ghost town, after hours, to a booming destination, night and day.
The Los Angeles River Revitalization Project is just one part of the changes that have come to downtown Los Angeles.
Like many cities in America, the downtowns of both Los Angeles and Fort Worth have changed drastically with the advent of freeways and suburbs. Residents and businesses bailed on downtowns. Fort Worth's downtown eventually was left without a single department or grocery store. Los Angeles also lost many of its downtown stores and corporate headquarters and residents.
Back in the last century Fort Worth tried to revive its downtown with things like a multi-block area called Sundance Square. Where there was no square til recently. As of 2015 downtown Fort Worth is still without a single department store. Or grocery store. Or public transit connection to the airport.
Meanwhile, in downtown Los Angeles.
In this century the Los Angeles City Council approved massive changes to zoning and development requirements for downtown LA. This allowed for denser development, with special consideration given to developers who reserved 15% of their units for low income residents.
Beginning in the 1990s, Los Angeles Metro Rail, a multi-lane rail transit network, began to move people efficiently in and out of downtown LA.
Downtown Fort Worth lacks a modern public transit system, including, like already mentioned, no direct public transit connection to D/FW Airport.
Rail based transit to and from downtown LA made developments like Staples Center feasible, followed by adding the adjacent L.A. Live Complex, which includes the Nokia Theater. Developers are pouring billions into projects in downtown LA, including a Disney Concert Hall and art museum designed by Frank Gehry.
Buildings, long sitting un-used in downtown LA, are being converted into residential towers.
Over 500 restaurants and retail shops have opened in downtown LA during this century's revitalization.
All accomplished without anything goofily ill-conceived, like Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.
I mean, can you imagine the voters of LA being asked to vote on some aspect of downtown LA's revitalization by being asked to approve a $1 rental fee for a livestock stall in Staples Center?
Can you imagine the citizens of Los Angeles sitting quiet, like sheep, while those in charge of revitalizing downtown Los Angeles claim that three bridges are being built as part of the river revitalization, before diverting the river under the bridges, in order to save money?
And that those three bridges over the Los Angeles River will take four years to build? Longer than it took Walt to build Disneyland......