I dipped my toe into the urban planning world for the first time in years today.
Here I am with Fort Worth district 9 city councilwoman Ann Zadeh, who is a tireless advocate for better urban design and central-city neighborhood revitalization and livability. The occasion was the official groundbreaking of the South Main Complete Streets Project.
This story begins five years ago, when myself and a group of volunteers were tired of South Main being a barren four-lane speeding car wasteland. We snuck onto the street the night before a major neighborhood art festival, armed with a paint striper, some homemade road logo stencils, “borrowed” traffic cones, and donated trees, chairs, and tables, and reconfigured the street ourselves, turning one block of it into a slower two-lane urban main street with bike lanes, sidewalk cafes, street trees, a new crosswalk, and more. The second photo shows our handiwork.
The project was so popular that the city first made it official with a paint re-striping of the street, using our configuration the entire length, but the pavement was still broken, the sidewalks were still tiny and barren, the pedestrian crossings still unpleasant.
Now, five years later, the South Main Complete Streets Project takes that guerilla re-striping and makes it permanent in brick and concrete. The street is being reconstructed (and beefed up for eventual streetcar tracks), the sidewalks are being made much wider, trees and lights and benches will be installed, the bike lanes made permanent, and new safer, shorter crossings installed. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s been worth the wait.
A big thanks to Councilwoman Zadeh for encouraging me to attend. :)