Monday, March 2, 2020

Downtown Fort Worth Looks To Seattle For Future Lessons

That which you see above is a screen cap of part of an email from last month.

I do not know why, but each month I receive an email from Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. full of information about what's happening in downtown Fort Worth during that particular month.

When I saw last month's email newsletter from Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. it instantly amused me, and then I forgot about it til this morning of the second day of March.

Apparently last month DFWI's 38th annual meeting took place. With that meeting hosting a look into the future by looking at Seattle's lessons for Fort Worth.

I have long experienced Fort Worth locals getting cranky at me when I compare Seattle to Fort Worth. I have lost track of the number of times I have explained that I compare the two because they are the two big cities with which I have had the most contact.

I suppose it would be more accurate to compare Fort Worth to Tacoma, with Tacoma being another big city with which I am familiar. Tacoma is sort of to Seattle what Fort Worth is to Dallas, with Seattle and Dallas being the better known, bigger towns in their respective metro zones.

But, comparing Fort Worth to Tacoma would also not be pretty and would also likely make cranky those Fort Worth locals who are averse to mirrors and accurate reflections.

After all, Tacoma is a town much smaller, population-wise, than Fort Worth. Yet, somehow, Tacoma manages to have streets with sidewalks, parks with zero outhouses, multiple public swimming pools, two HUGE waterfront developments (privately funded), one of the biggest city parks in the world, multiple bridges involving complex engineering (over water), built in a timely time frame, while Fort Worth struggles to build three simple little bridges over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

And somehow Fort Worth is taking a look into the future by learning some lessons from Seattle?

I can think of a few lessons Seattle could teach Fort Worth.

Such as do not begin a public works project which the public has not voted on, and which is not fully funded.

During less time than Fort Worth has been ambling along in slow motion with its imaginary vitally needed flood control and economic development scheme, known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or more frequently, simply as the Boondoggle, Seattle has voted on and actualized multiple public works projects.

A four billion dollar floating bridge and road upgrades across Lake Washington. Another four billion dollar project to remove the Alaskan Way Viaduct, replaced with a tunnel, along with rebuilding the Seattle waterfront. And then there is the 54 billion dollar most recent Sound Transit measure passed by the voting public.

Meanwhile Fort Worth panhandles for federal funds funneled from more prosperous parts of America, to pay for the town's ineptly implemented Boondoggle.

Fort Worth could learn lessons in the concept of urban planning from both Tacoma and Seattle.

Just one example is the mess of bad planning one finds whilst driving Fort Worth's North Tarrant Parkway west to that road's inept juncture with Highway 287. You do not see this type ridiculous incompetence in Seattle and Tacoma. It would make the locals angry.

The same day I saw that Fort Worth was looking to Seattle for lessons for the future I saw that which you see in the second graphic, in the Seattle Times.

Now, becoming more progressive and liberal would be a mighty fine thing for Fort Worth.

Is trying to achieve such one of the lessons Fort Worth is learning from Seattle?

This would require amping up the education level of the Fort Worth population. Increasing the numbers graduating high school.

And college.

Improving the schools. Hiring better teachers. Spending more money on education.

You really can't have a progressive liberal population if the majority of your people are poorly educated with a simplistic understanding of the world.

Having a well educated liberal minded population may explain a lot of the differences I have noted between Fort Worth and Seattle/Tacoma.

Is being a liberal bastion the reason the Seattle zone is the home to so many successes? Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco, Amazon, Boeing to name just four well known examples.

Meanwhile Fort Worth is home to Radio Shack and Pier One Imports. And American Airlines, I think, though the AA corporate headquarters is a location I have never seen.

Last year I remember reading that some Fort Worth entity was working to attract multiple corporations to relocate to Fort Worth. This seemed a typical Fort Worth delusion.

Why would any corporation relocate to a town hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle? Among many other embarrassments. Such as the boarded up eyesore homage to Fort Worth's heritage, known as Heritage Park, a blight on the north end of downtown for over a decade.

Seattle has a park somewhat similar to Fort Worth's Heritage Park, called Freeway Park. Actually Seattle's Freeway Park is like a combo of Fort Worth's Heritage Park and Fort Worth's Water Gardens at the south end of downtown. 

Seattle's Freeway Park was designed as a solution to I-5 slicing through downtown Seattle. Freeway Park is a lid over the freeway, made into a large park with trails, canyons and waterfalls. Freeway Park eventually linked with the Washington Convention Center, and other downtown buildings, and a pedestrian tunnel, which, if I remember right, connects Freeway Park to Rainier Square.

At some point in time crime became a problem in Seattle's Freeway Park. I can't remember for sure, but I think there was a murder. But, unlike Fort Worth, instead of closing Freeway Park and surrounding it with barbed wire and cyclone fence and turning it into an un-used eyesore, solutions were found, such as better lighting, panic buttons, police patrolling. I forget what all. But the park was not closed. It was improved and kept open.

That is not the Fort Worth Way, you know, to analyze and improve something. Adopting the Seattle Way of operating really might be a valuable lesson for the future of Fort Worth, but I really don't see that happening.

Oh, and for those aforementioned poorly educated types, below is an easy to understand definition of what the term "liberal" actually means...

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