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FortWorthology

Fort Worth, TX Modern Streetcar Project Underway

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The city of Fort Worth, Texas is now officially moving forward on an ambitious modern streetcar project for its urban areas in and around Downtown. Last year, a Streetcar Study Committee put together a big plan for the return of streetcars to this city, and made its recommendations to the City Council in December.

The city has decided to move forward officially on the project. When built, the initial starter phase will see an ambitious 12-13 track miles of streetcar lines built in and around Downtown. Here's a map of the first phase:

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Three major areas are part of the starter line, and some smaller destinations as well:

- Downtown Fort Worth will be the home of a loop from which all other lines will radiate. This loop will put streetcars into the heart of Sundance Square, the county government district, the city government district, South Downtown, the Convention Center district, and the Lancaster Avenue district, serving a wide variety of destinations. The Downtown loop will also allow easy transfers from the two commuter rail stations in Downtown - the Texas & Pacific Station on Lancaster, and the Intermodal Transportation Center at the east end of 9th (also an Amtrak station).

- A short spur from the Downtown loop will run northeast. Fort Worth is creating an Uptown district, and this spur will go through two of that new district's most active neighborhoods: Pecan Place, just northeast of the Downtown core, and Trinity Bluff, along the cliff overlooking the Trinity River.

- A line will run west out of Downtown. This line will head down West 7th Street to Montgomery, down to Lancaster, over to Currie, and then back to West 7th to head back to Downtown. This line will serve the Cultural District's destinations like the Kimbell, Modern, Carter, Cowgirl, and Science & History Museums and Will Rogers Memorial Center, along with the extensive new mixed-use developments underway along 7th Street.

- A line will run south out of Downtown. This is the Near Southside, the city's second-largest employment center after Downtown and another old urban district being revitalized (the Near Southside's new form-based code recently won the Driehaus Prize for form-based codes). This line will head south on South Main, serving that street's South Main Village neighborhood, then turn onto Magnolia Avenue, the district's "Main Street." At this turn, it serves John Peter Smith hospital. It will head west along Magnolia, serving the many indie restaurant/retail destinations and residents of the surrounding Fairmount and Magnolia Village neighborhoods. At 7th Avenue, the line turns north. At this turn, it will also be serving Baylor All-Saints hospital at the end of Magnolia. Heading north along 7th, the line will turn east onto Terrell before reversing and heading back to Magnolia to return to Downtown. This Terrell stop serves Plaza Medical Center, Cook Children's hospital, and Harris Methodist hospital.

- A short extension off South Main will run a short distance down East Rosedale to Evans & Rosedale Village. Fort Worth's east side has long been a depressed part of town, and the streetcar linking to Evans & Rosedale is part of an effort to re-link the east side. Evans & Rosedale is an old neighborhood center slowly being redeveloped. This short link is also a launching point for a future extension that would run the line down East Rosedale to Texas Wesleyan University.

Future extensions include north of Downtown to the Mercado Village and Stockyards areas, northeast of Downtown to the Race Street Village area, further west from the Cultural District down Camp Bowie to potentially Ridglea Village, east from Evans & Rosedale to Texas Wesleyan University and the Polytechnic Heights area, and south/southwest from the Near Southside to Texas Christian University and Bluebonnet Circle areas.

The plan will be mostly on-street and shared with traffic with some potential places for dedicated streetcar lanes/ROW. It will use modern Skoda vehicles a la Portland/Seattle. Streetcars are planned to run every 12-15 minutes at stops spaced 1/2 to 1/4 mile apart.

Funding is being lined up now and will come from a variety of sources - Tax Increment Finance districts, Public Improvement Districts, North Central Texas Council Of Governments regional toll revenue, and several others.

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