Saturday, August 29, 2015

In Dallas Driving & Walking Across Impressive Signature Bridges To Trinity Groves

Til today I had not been to Dallas since the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge opened to traffic on March 29, 2012. I had been to Dallas while the bridge was being constructed, but never could tell where that was taking place.

So, I was surprised today to see where the bridge is located and what an attractive addition it is to the Dallas skyline.

Construction of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge began in spring of 2007, which would seem to indicate it took around five years to build.

Over water.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is part of the Dallas version of the Trinity River Vision. The Dallas version is a bit further along than the Fort Worth version, with Fort Worth currently having three simple little bridges under construction over dry land with a four year construction timeline. While Dallas has one of three actual signature bridges completed, with the second, the Margaret McDermott Bridge, currently under construction, with its main arch visible from the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Does Dallas have some sort of rule that all bridges in town have Margaret as their first name?

It is fairly easy to find ones way to crossing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge from downtown Dallas. The bridge sort of sticks up like a landmark, visible from multiple locations as one heads west from downtown. In the above picture we are crossing the bridge with me snapping a picture through the windshield, which is the reason for the blue tint at the top.

On the west side of the bridge you immediately come to Trinity Groves. Trinity Groves has a lot of parking spaces, but with warning signs warning the parking is for Trinity Groves patrons, not bridge walkers. There is another parking area for bridge walkers, accessed by the first right turn one comes to after crossing the bridge.

Above is a look at the outdoor dining zone of several of the Trinity Groves restaurants. Trinity Groves is a Restaurant Concept Incubator, a 15 acre entertainment, retail and artist district brought about by restaurateur investors, Phil Romano, Stuart Fitts and Butch McGregor. The goal is to foster startup businesses. Chefs and restaurateurs present their concepts to a team of experienced restaurateurs.

From the Trinity Groves website....

Our incubator program has been successful in attracting diversity to the area; we are currently incubating a variety of concepts including Spanish Tapas, Middle Eastern, Latin-Asian fusion, Central-American, Italian, and sushi. In addition to restaurants and retail, Trinity Groves features a microbrewery and a culinary events center. We also host many exciting events such as art and theater shows, live musical performances and chef cook-off competitions.

Below we are on the other side of Trinity Groves from the covered patio you saw above, looking at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which as you an see, has a rather dominating presence on the Dallas skyline.

I can sure see why Dallas legitimately refers to this bridge as a signature bridge, as in a one of a kind bridge which will become recognized as part of the Dallas skyline, like Reunion Tower. I am fairly certain Fort Worth's three simple bridges, being built in slow motion over dry land, which  Fort Worth propagandists also refer to as signature bridges, will not tower quite as tall as the three Dallas signature bridges.

With all this bridge talk let's become a bridge walker. I decided that even though I had been advised that one can not park in the Trinity Groves parking lot whilst bridge walking, that it really would do no harm, nor rob a potential Trinity Groves parker of a parking space, due to there being many available.

The bridge which the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge replaced, Continental Bridge, has been converted to being a pedestrian, biking, blading bridge, which also seemed to be a linear park. I was so impressed with both bridges. I was not expecting the Continental Bridge to be something special. I had seen this bridge up close on the most recent conclusion of The Amazing Race, with it being the final destination.

No, that is not rainwater soaking the deck of the Continental Bridge. That is a water feature. See those round spots on the pavement? LED lights were inside those spots. And somehow when kids would step on the spots random shots of water would erupt. The kids seemed to be having themselves a mighty fine time. Note the green lounge chairs to the right? They also have a water feature.

Above we see an elderly gentleman enjoying sitting on one of the aforementioned lounge chairs whilst that pole to his left gently administers a cooling mist, that at times got a bit aggressive with the misting. The Continental Bridge provided a lot of seating opportunities as one walked across the long bridge.

Above are some of the seating opportunities. Note the landscaping of the drought resistant, low water, low maintenance sort. Several sections of the bridge were thus landscaped.

I only made it halfway across the bridge, going as far as the center of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge arch to take the requisite selfie photo.

I am not getting any better at taking the selfies. In sunlight it is hard to see the screen, and the picture taking button. I must be doing something wrong.

Anyway, I must say, I was very impressed with the Dallas signature bridge today, and the bridge which runs parallel to it. I saw a lot in Dallas today which impressed me, including an amazing number of bikers rolling around town. That looked like something I might try.....


Muttering a bit in Fort Worth said...

Great story, Durango, all kinds of people friendly investments in Dallas. It makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with Fort Worth?

Steve A said...

You forgot to mention that pedestrians and bicycles are BANNED from the new Dallas signature bridge. They are only allowed
to use the old bridge. As noted in the Dallas Morning News, the new bridge is almost unique in lacking these facilities, making it a signature in an unintended way...

Durango said...

Steve A, I think if you saw the new bridge in person you would see that it would have been a bit ridiculous to add a pedestrian/bike sidewalk. The Continental Bridge running parallel to the new bridge makes a far better, safer crossing than sharing a crossing with vehicles. The refurbished Continental Bridge is like a park. Wide enough for bikes, walkers, bladers, joggers and others to share. I was very surprised by the number of bikers I saw riding around downtown Dallas yesterday.