Fort Worth seeks to improve West 7th for pedestrians

Walking audits of West 7th

FORT WORTH - On one of the busiest and fastest-growing streets in Fort Worth, pedestrians and cyclists are being invited to help plan its future.

This week, walking and biking audits have been hosted on West 7th Street. Citizens were invited to don a green vest and take a stroll to identify areas where there could be possible improvements.

Tuesdaym, a group of about a dozen people joined a walking audit in the early afternoon. Measuring the widths of sidewalks and scoring different features of the street, Dan Burden, a facilitator with health advocacy group Blue Zones, helped lead the session.

"If you build a good street, it invites the right buildings and uses," he said.

West 7th Street used to be an industrial corridor, but development in recent years has transformed the area.

"Now, we have identified it as an area that connects our vibrant downtown to our incredibly wonderful Cultural District,"  said council member Ann Zadeh, who attended the walking tour.

It's now rich with restaurants, bars, offices, stores and residential housing, but that mix can also be a problem.  Crossing the wide street can be daunting, and bike lanes position cyclists right next to fast-moving traffic.

"It's intimidating.  It's unfriendly," said Meghan Riddlespurger, who lives in nearby Linwood. "[They should] widen the bike lanes and protect them from drivers. That would make me feel a lot better."

Several audits were held this week, and citizens were invited to contribute ideas and vote on possible improvements. There's an early plan, but turning it into reality will depend on whether Fort Worth voters sign off on a 2018 bond election.

"The funding would probably come from that if we were successful in having voters support that bond," Zadeh said.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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