One Last Walk Across the Joe Ratcliff Pedestrian Walkway Before Its Upcoming Demolition

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A little past 7 Saturday evening we stopped by to say our farewells to the Joe Ratcliff Pedestrian Walkway over LBJ Freeway, between Marsh and Webb Chapel, which will be demolished in coming weeks to make way for the extreme managed toll-road makeover. As with the Forest Lane cruisin' reunion, way-back Northwest Dallasites turned out in droves to stroll down Amnesia Lane -- or, in this case, walk across the bridge that connects Dallas and Farmers Branch and for years has allowed kids to walk to and from William L. Cabell Elementary School. This morning, those kids, for the first time in decades, had to take a bus to school.

A new bridge will be rebuilt in its place, perhaps by as early as January. But speaking of how Dallas is more often a town of close-knit neighborhoods than a big city, old-timers from White and T.J. who hadn't seen each other in years back-slapped and chit-chatted about The Good Ol' Days; knew I shoulda brought a sixer. Meanwhile, below us big rigs honked at the assembled masses; it was, after all, quite the crowd. And organizers couldn't have picked a better time for the adios reunion -- golden hour. Even I couldn't screw up the pictures, of which there are several on the other side. Jump, but don't spit over the side. Please?

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Why, yes, yes it is. Which reminds me of a song by The New Year ...
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Channel 8's Jonathan Betz was there. He made this.
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The Dallas side of the Joe Ratliff ...
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... and the Farmers Branch side. Note the trash bag.
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Then, the approach back to the Dallas side
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Then who was?
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10 comments
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Kaykay902
Kaykay902

I remember when that bridge was built (before LBJ) and I had to cross it to get to my elementary school.  I loved it.  At first there were some bullies who stole my lunch money before I crossed, but that didn't last long.  Adios bridge!

splash
splash

Speaking of kids and bridges, I remember all the kids that used to jump off the I-35 train trestle into Lake Lewisville. We would spend all day doing that and not get any hassle for it. Different times.

Rangers100
Rangers100

That bridge looks like something from Gitmo.

Good riddance.

scottindallas
scottindallas

No spitting, my ass.  Was there another reason for being for the bridge?  AAMilne had pooh sticks, we had bridge spits. 

East Texas P1
East Texas P1

Who was Joe Ratliff?

Ed D.
Ed D.

According to a commenter on the WFAA story, "In case you were wondering, the bridge had no formal name until 2003, when it was dedicated to Joseph Neil "Joe" Ratcliff in HB 2980. He was a Democrat in the Texas House from District 33 in the late ‘60’s to early 70’s. He is still living (Age 78) with his wife Vicki Fay in Austin. Before they named it Joe Ratcliff Pedestrian Bridge it was called the Templeton Trail Bridge."

Ed D.
Ed D.

Follow-up; indeed, during the 78th Regular Session in 2003, Tony Goolsby introduced a bill "Requesting TxDOT to designate the pedestrian walkway that crosses IH-635 and connects the city of Farmers Branch to the city of Dallas as the Joe Ratcliff Walkway."

Lots more fun stuff on the Google for "Joe Ratcliff Walkway", too.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Good point. Maybe if I spelled it correctly. I blame this on the fact that as a kid I only knew it as the "Joe Rat."

Paul
Paul

Thanks for the reminder that the bridge was closing down ... went out several days before it closed down ... brought back memories of being a teenager in Dallas and just hanging ... I have a feeling that the new bridge won't have quite the same ambience ...

Lacy
Lacy

Thank you Robert for this wonderful write up!!! Glad you could make it!! It was a great time!!

Lacy Carlson Bradshaw

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