Sorry, Fort Worth, But Your New "Signature" Bridge Is Pathetic

Categories: Development

7thStreetBridge.jpg
TxDOT
This afternoon in Fort Worth, a "parade of dignitaries" will mark the opening of the new West 7th Street, and good for them. It's a fully competent work of civil engineering and a pleasant enough way to get to downtown Fort Worth, if get to downtown Fort Worth you must.

It's just that the level of excitement -- and remember that we say this as a friend and neighbor -- has grown unseemly. People are dropping adjectives like "signature" and "one-of-a-kind" as if no one's ever built a bridge before.

We urge the people of Fort Worth put down their celebratory bottles of Andre, pause for a moment, and cast their gaze eastward. There on the horizon, if their eyes can penetrate 35 miles through the smog, they'll notice a majestic -- nay, heavenly -- glow. Closer inspection will reveal the source as a span that truly deserves superlatives, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

See also: Calatrava Bridge: Just a Cheap, Pretty Bauble Hiding an Old, Ugly Scheme to Steal Our Park

Let's compare. The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge stretches 1,870 feet. West Seventh Street's is a paltry 981. The Fort Worth bridge crosses a stretch of Trinity River in which people routinely go tubing. Dallas' portion is much too pristine to be befouled by human bodies.

The same goes for the bridge itself. Whereas the broad sidewalks on 7th Street are designed to appeal to pedestrians, the planners of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge were forward-thinking enough to make walking, an out-of-date technology, impossible.

There's more. Who designed the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge? World-class architect Santiago Calatrava, who's so famous he no longer has to spend time on such petty concerns as not screwing over clients. As for the mastermind behind Fort Worth's, we have no idea. The city farmed the work out to some anonymous TxDOT engineer.

See also: The World Just Doesn't Get Trophy Architect Santiago Calatrava, but Dallas Does

The result? The West Seventh Street Bridge cost a laughable $25.9 million. The price tag in Dallas was an awe-inspiring $182 million, a figure made even more impressive by the fact that it was more than 50 percent over budget.

So, you see, there's really no comparison. We have no idea how hard it must be to live in the perennial shadow of a larger, vastly more sophisticated neighbor. What we do know is that, rather than embarrass themselves by giddily parading down their new, mediocre bridge, they should slink back into their vibrant downtown and human-scale developments and bikeable neighborhoods and think long and hard about what truly makes a great city.


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143 comments
MqCorey
MqCorey

First, you make fun of the bridge for being smaller, but then suggest it shouldn't appeal to Pedestrians. Ever think maybe there is a connection there??? Maybe a shorter bridge invites people to get out and walk it. I enjoyed walking the Texas Street Bridge in Shreveport/Bossier City (until I realized that's not the safest area to go for a jaunt).


Second, you're bragging that Fort Worth didn't spend as much as Dallas in a recessionary time? Good for Fort Worth. Maybe they learned from the excesses spent on the failed new courthouse experiment and decided to get it right this time. To that I extend a sarcasm-free congratulations. 


Third, I agree with AgentJarrod, this reaked of snark without substance.

AgentJarrod
AgentJarrod

This is immature snark of the worst kind. The Observer is better than this. At least Fort Worth did something Dallas could not: resist the temptation to build yet another tired Calatrava "icon." Dallas of all cities should recognize a played out fashionista when they see one.

crystaldiaz.cd
crystaldiaz.cd

Ahem.. I lived in Dallas all my life and it is no prize. I cant walk downtown without being pulled at for money by all the "homeless life". It's nice if I wanted to be a party whore my whole life and have my kids taught by incompetent morons. I could give 2 shits about the Margaret H. bridge in Dallas. I mean it only leads me to a McDonald's and the downtown hobo center. Thank the Lord for my move waaay South of Dallas into the country. Oh and with commissioners like ours, nothing to be proud of.

kenbunting
kenbunting

I' ve seen condescension before.  Often i admire it.  Sometime it offends me.  But this is the most sophomoric (and substance-less) architectural review I've ever read.

KellerTXDad
KellerTXDad

This is why I correct people who say, "Oh, you're from Dallas" when I tell them I live in Keller. "No," I say, "Keller is just north of Fort Worth."

justinshafer
justinshafer

Oh and I'd rather hang out at the TRE then go to "Deep Ellum".. lol.. that place is trashy.  I would say at least you have Highland Park, but they are their own city.. lol.

justinshafer
justinshafer

At least we have a fucking zoo and art. WTF do you got? If it wasn't for FW, I-30 would be a toll road. Eat it you dick.

AshHart
AshHart

Shocked at the un-elicited slam against Fort Worth.  Embarrassed for the author.

smalltowngirl2387
smalltowngirl2387

Wooooow. This is what's wrong with our society and people. Who in the hell do you think you are? Dallas people aren't any better than people from Fort Worth. People from Dallas need to learn to be humble. Because, guess what? Everyone has an asshole and they all stink!

CharityCharity
CharityCharity

HELLO, haven't you people who are commenting heard of "SARCASM"???  Sheesh.

masseyhatch
masseyhatch

Its what you reach on the other side of the bridges that matter. I'll take west Fort Worth over west Dallas any day.  

gandy50
gandy50

So Dallas decided to build this bridge instead of building a Cowboys Stadium downtown. And they used federal money, which they criticize everybody on the planet for using.

Also, check out recent news about Calatrava (including a New York Times story). Many of his clients and the people at large are not real satisfied with how his projects have turned out or their costs. Basically Dallas built an extravagant bridge over what is a ditch filled with very little water most of the time called the Trinity River. (See "Bridge to nowhere stories from Alaska). We are not talking about San Francisco Bay.

 I'll take Fort Worth any time.

bobloblaw
bobloblaw

I hope the writer wasn't actually trying to boast that the bridge was 50% OVER budget. That is incredibly stupid.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

I bet the Fort Worth Bridge is not a fake like the fake suspension Hunt Hill bridge.  And the reason no one tubes the Trinity below the Hill bridge is because it is flat and polluted. However, the Dallas signature bridge is fitting for Dallas, a fake bridge for the city of fake.

marni1290
marni1290

Don't forget--Ft. Worth also wasn't as smart as Dallas to build their bridge while furloughing and pay cutting their city workers!  Stupid Ft. Worth.

Austin
Austin

I think the point was that this is the first ever preconstructed suspension bridge or something. Had nothing to do with size. Also I'm told they haven't finished putting in the pedestrian parts. Don't know how they plan to do that though...

bobbyvdallas
bobbyvdallas

I lived in Fort Worth for 3 years before moving to Dallas.  I've lived in five large U.S. cities and although downtown Fort Worth is nice in a sterile, entertainment district kinda way...living there is a different story.  Fort Worth is simply the dullest, most boring city I've ever seen.  Although downtown Dallas needs work, the city of Dallas is twenty times more vibrant as a whole than Fort Worth will ever be. Sure Dallas' bridge is big, braggish  and loud..like Dallas.  And Fort Worth's bridge  is small, boring and unimaginative...like Fort Worth. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

TX DoT can build a road/bridge for far less than private contractors.  There's 3 markets, free markets, professional markets, and utility markets.  Road building is a utility.   This case affirms my point.  When will you people accept venerable economic principles?

TxConnie
TxConnie

Oh well, done.  You had me going for awhile.  

codymt81
codymt81

You've got to be kidding me... mine is bigger than yours.. well remember We dump our sewerage in the Trinity that flows  through and under your Big Un..... and no sense wasting time... Love Fort Worth and wish all in Dallas good luck... we have enough not to worry with such petty bull shit...

brandonbuchannan
brandonbuchannan

This article is very cute.  It actually paints the very difference between the two cities.  Fort Worth is a big city with small town charm.  Dallas is also a big city but with all the luridness of a vagrant filled street in the Bronx.  We don't need huge, flashy things to make us think better of our city.  We're already proud of it and its accomplishments.  In Fort Worth, where all the old money comes from, you'll be sitting next to a millionaire or billionaire and never know it.  We don't have anything to prove like the Dallas folks who over compensate their new found money or line of credit with shiny Bentleys and Maserati’s.  We're happy, we have a great city.  We have a lot to be proud with some of the most scenic neighborhoods and  rare architecture around.  So, Dallas, kindly keeps your opinions to yourself.  We don't need them.

idiot
idiot

FYI if you're going to lead with the sensationalist headline, knowing that it's satire/sarcasm- you should probably just make the article entirely sarcastic. No doubt this will bring many furious readers from all over the world, but maybe that's what you're after (more than an interesting talk about ft worth).

It's also just a bridge, and almost not even worth the sarcasm to begin with.

wxe4194
wxe4194

"they should slink back into their vibrant downtown and human-scale developments and bikeable neighborhoods and think long and hard about what truly makes a great city."


Perfect ending to a perfect article.


thecreativedoom
thecreativedoom

It's a bridge I mean it serves it's purpose. I always finding it amusing how people from Dallas think we're all uncultured hicks. Actually before moving here though, I never regarded Ft Worth as a place I'd want to go. However, now that I'm here it's growing on me. It's getting a lot better now and you can basically get around the whole city on a bike pretty easily which is great. 

billysathome
billysathome

this is great i shoulda tuned in here long ago.

natedood
natedood

@justinshafer It's sarcasm, read it carefully.  He's stating how the Dallas bridge is a fiasco, doesn't have walking paths, was way over budget and the architect is a complete scammer.  ;)

Daniel
Daniel

@Austin They're supposed to make the Continental bridge pedestrians and bikes only . Nobody seems to be holding his or her breath.

texas.technoman
texas.technoman

@bobbyvdallas  - Guess you have never been to St. Paul, Mn.  It lives in the shadow of Minneapolis...and is way more dull than Ft. Worth (no stockyards, no Sundance Square, no Lonesome Dove, no Reatta's).

Daniel
Daniel

@brandonbuchannan So we're pretentious, but for the record,, YOU have all the old money. Just when I was starting to think FW didn't do irony!

dmarkclose
dmarkclose

@thecreativedoom  I live in Dallas and absolutely love Ft. Worth. The downtown is generally very safe and when I lived on W 7th many of the places were just being built. This article was most def sarcastic enough anyone should know that they were picking on Dallas. Ft. Worth is def the place to be in N. Texas just stay away from Vegas Trail and the Como area =).


thecreativedoom
thecreativedoom

I saw we aren't hicks but I spell check myself and it's not good haha

Skip Rice
Skip Rice

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @thecreativedoom   Cow Shit?  Really?  Sounds like that comes from somebody who has never actually been to Fort Worth.

When I was young, we had a saying...  "Be sure to flush when you use the toilet, Dallas needs the water"

By the way, we hide all the best parts of town, so that they are not easily visited nor viewed from the freeway.  Keep on moving.  Nothing to see here.


thecreativedoom
thecreativedoom

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

You forgot the modern, which is the second largest modern art museum in the U.S. I don't much care for amon carter. Also, the science and history museum blows the Dallas one out of the water. Also the collection of galleries which open (twice a year?) That have a lot of great pieces as well. 

Daniel
Daniel

@thecreativedoom @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz The Modern and the Kimbell are both superb. As is our Nasher. The Amon Carter pretty much blows, and the DMA is good but unfocused -- their kitchen-sink approach indispensably rounds out the region's offerings, but it doesn't stand alone quite as well as the Kimbell. Still, it gets a slightly larger share of the great traveling exhibits.

We do have a new science and history museum, though, don'tcha know. 

I'm with Myrna, this whole rivalry shtick is mostly for shits and giggles on a Wed. afternoon, at least for me.  Still, most stereotypes have a kernel of truth: There really are more douches in Dallas and more rednecks in Fort Worth.


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