Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Update: The Katy Trail Extension


NOTE: The original post is followed by a further update



   Dallas has one of the most extensive bike and jogging trail systems in the U.S. One of the most exciting developments in recent years have been plans to extend the popular Katy Trail to White Rock Lake.


   The plan is to build a bridge over Mockingbird Lane and then have the trail mostly follow the Dart line from Mockingbird Station to White Rock Station on the north side of the lake.
Rendering of the Katy trail Bridge over Mockingbird Ave.

      There has only been a small bit of work done at Mockingbird Lane. It will be the last piece of the trails extention to be completed.  Most people, including myself, would probably be surprised how much work has already been done.

      I noticed a few days ago that a portion of the trail that follows Northwest Highway towards the White Rock Dart Station had already been finished and striped.

This final portion of the Katy Trail Extension runs parallel to Northwest Highway.  It follows the path of an old alley which some homes still use to access their garages.  I wonder how this is going to work.
   I decided to walk the new portion of the trail and follow to where it disappeared from view of Northwest Highway motorist. I discovered that a significant portion of the extension is already finished.

The Katy extension headed north toward Northwest Highway
Standing in the same spot, looking south


   What's interesting is that the trail will follow the Dart Green line from Mockingbird Station until it reaches the as of now undeveloped Union Pacific Trail. A tall ramp will be built to bring the trail down to the rail line. It appears that for now the trail will go north to Northwest Highway, then east to the Dart Station. From there, you take another trail south to the lake. 
   

Pylons being built for a ramp that will lower the trail to the Union Pacific Trail, which is owned by DART

Sadly,  I'm not the only person to discover this portion of the Katy Trail Extension. A tagger has already ruined a portion of the trial. 


   Unlike the original portion of the Katy Trail, this section of the Extension is very secluded. Even though the trail bisects two neighborhoods, it's set considerably lower and gives you a feeling of being out in the country.   
    We are still a few years away from the Extension being completed. The bridge over Mockingbird will be the final piece. In the meantime, joggers and cyclist will still have a considerable amount of trails to discover.


UPDATE:   July  2014

   More sections have been completed, but you'd really have to search to find them.  The bridge that connects the trail from the Dart Line to the Union Pacific Trail toward Northwest Highway has been completed, although it is not open yet.



FACING EAST AT RIDGEWOOD REC CENTER

An unfinished path of the Katy Trail Extension just north of Mockingbird at Fisher Ave and Ridgewood Park.  This is a view facing east.  The trail parallels the Dart line and will turn north toward Northwest Highway via the old Union Pacific Rail Line

A couple of views of the bridge that lowers the trail from street level to the old rail line



FACING WEST AT  RIDGEWOOD REC CENTER

Facing west at Fisher Avenue, the trail travels behind the Ridgewood Rec Center.  A trailhead parking lot is being used as a  construction site

The trail passes buy a new splash park


Headed west, the trail near the Dart Line headed toward Mockingbird Station

    
UPDATE October 2015

    The Bridges over Abrams and Skillman are finally being installed after sitting near Flagpole Hill and Northwest Highway for the past two years.
   The bridge over Skillman now spans that roadway, but as of this post, it is not ready to be crossed.  The trail on the west side of the bridge has yet to be finished.

The first of two bridges, spanning over Skillman

The bridge has been installed but is not ready to cross. 


   The bridge over Abrams has yet to be installed, but the bridge mounts on with side are almost completed. 




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Friday, October 2, 2015

Missing Signs of the Metroplex

A Look At Some Notable Signs That Have Disappeared from Our Landscape




The Alamo Plaza Hotel Court Sign


   This sign sat in front of North Oak Cliff's Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts since the 1940's. At one time, the chain motel on Fort Worth Ave was a delightful stop before entering downtown Dallas. When it closed in 2007, it was hardly a gem


   In December of 2010, the motel met the wrecking ball to make room for a new development called Sylvan Thirty, which would feature loft apartments, retail and a grocery store. The developer promised that the iconic sign which was left standing would be part of the development.

   Sadly, the sign was removed in April of 2013 from the site even thought the developer promised Preservation Dallas, the city staff and the Dallas Morning News that the sign would remain.

STATUS: Returned

   After the sign was removed there was considerable uproar. The developer put up a website asking for suggestions with what to do with the the sign.

"We’d like for you to submit ideas for the sign’s future. We’re open to using it somewhere on our property, repurposing it, moving it somewhere else in West Dallas, donating it…nothing is off the table and all submitted ideas will be considered"

   The website also added this disclaimer:

"To be clear, we have plans in development for using the sign on our site, which was our original intention. However, community members have come forward suggesting that we allow it to be used as public art to represent West Dallas and the Fort Worth Avenue corridor. As we’ve said before, we’re open to all ideas."

  UPDATE  On recent vist to the Sylvan Thirty development, it was discover that the developer did indeed use the sign in an imaginative public art project. different parts of the sign were refurbished and repurposed to add character to the common space.


The Main Portion of the sign displayed in a crush gravel courtyard

The A atop the sign has it's neon refurbished and sits in this permanently parked classic Chevy truck

The arrow atop the sign now points down and has had it's neon restored




7th Street Theatre Marquee - Fort Worth


   Sadly, I am surprised how quickly Fort Worth has forgotten this West Side landmark. The family owned theatre was closed and demolished in 2002. The family owned theater was known for running first run movies a few weeks after their premier at a discounted price. The ticket taker, projectionist and the concession stand operator were all of the same family, often the same person. 

  I always found it funny how I would often arrive at 6:55 for the 7:00 showing, only to find the movie had already started, so the family could get home early. (There was also a clock in the lobby that would indicate it was only 6:55)

  The theatre closed after a family tragedy in 2001 and never reopened. The property was bought by the FPA Foundation, who tore down the theatre despite local protests. The Foundation saved the marquee and promised that it would be used in any future development.

STATUS: Unknown

    The status of the FPA Foundation is unknown, so the location of the ownership of the sign is also in question. The 7th Street / University intersection has gone through massive redevelopment. A tall building with Eddie V's Restaurant sits at the location of the old theatre. The marquee has yet to be used in any of the new projects in the area and there seems to be little call to bring it back. 




Casa Linda Pegasus atop the Mobile Station


   One of the most iconic buildings in the Casa Linda Shopping Center in East Dallas was the Mobile Station that sat on the Northeast corner of Buckner and Garland Road. The station was torn down in 2003 and replaced with a bank .

STATUS - Saved

   The iconic sign which originally was displayed at the 1939 World's Fair was saved and is now on display ay the Museum in the Old Red Courthouse.









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