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Magnolia Avenue designated a Great Place in Texas

Posted April 4, 2018

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Scene along Magnolia Avenue
One Sunday afternoon each spring, Open Streets closes Magnolia Avenue to vehicles and reopens it to cyclists, strollers, skateboarders and food trucks.

We all know that Fort Worth’s Magnolia Avenue is a great place to live, work and play. Now the rest of Texas will know, too.

Magnolia Avenue was named a Great Street by the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association. Great Places in Texas recognizes the Lone Star State’s neighborhoods, streets and public spaces, while celebrating stories of exemplary planning that have resulted in stronger and healthier communities.

The transformation of Magnolia Avenue over the last 30 years has been the centerpiece revitalization project of the Near Southside — a historic, mixed-use district just south of downtown Fort Worth.

“It has been an honor to join the many hardworking stakeholders who have been at this effort long before my arrival,” District 9 Councilmember Ann Zadeh said. “Advocating for and seeing the success of a street that reflects all the best urban design principals, and creating places for people that are walkable and engaging is an amazing accomplishment. The work continues as I partner with stakeholders in other District 9 Urban Villages, to move these projects forward.”

In the 1980s, initial improvements focused on sidewalks, lights, trees, benches and recessed parallel parking. In 2008, a major facelift converted Magnolia from four to two travel lanes while adding a center turn lane and bike lanes. In 2015, dedicated crosswalks were installed, and in 2017, all traffic lights were switched to blinking red. The end result is a street built to accommodate all users.

The Near Southside’s form-based development code, enacted in 2008, ensures all new construction conforms to urban design principles that create a walkable and engaging streetscape.

As street improvements commenced, so did renovations to key buildings, with outdoor spaces following suit. Restaurants added sidewalk patios and created outdoor seating from former parking lots.

In 2015, Near Southside Inc. teamed with community organizations to build the Magnolia Micro-Park, a temporary public space on a parcel of land that was lying dormant.

Thanks to the work of passionate community members and Near Southside Inc., this once-neglected street is now a vibrant catalyst for reinvestment and redevelopment of the Near Southside District.

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