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Opinion A bridge criticism too far

A bridge criticism too far

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Robert Francis


There they go again, as President Ronnie used to sigh. The same day Fort Worthians celebrated the reopening of our brand spankin’ new West Seventh Street Bridge (built in record time, thank you very much) some nose-in-the-air snob Dallasite (is that redundant?) is talkin’ trash about it. That’s right, the nerve of this Eric Nicholson, who no doubt lives in “Uptown” and frets that his portable wine cellar he bought at Costco doesn’t have enough hip, au courant wines, to criticize something he’s never even driven over.

A few quotes from the article that appeared in something called the Dallas Observer’s Unfair Park blog should give you an idea (A blog? Who is qualified to have a blog? Anyone. Any one.): 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. 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.

Nicholson, who no doubt calls his car a “Beemer” and probably has an “ironic” pornstar mustache, then compares our humble, low-cost, Sen. Ted Cruz-approved, Mama-worked-two-jobs to afford it $25 million bridge with the Hill Bridge and its bloated, Obamacare-like, Department of Defense hammer budget of $182 million. He also notes that our bridge, unlike the Hill Bridge, will have sidewalks for pedestrians. As he says, “the planners of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge were forward-thinking enough to make walking, an out-of-date technology, impossible.” Oh, we may be talking satire here. Sorry Eric, I take back all those derogatory adjectives, except for the one about the pornstar mustache. Own it.

Nicholson goes on to use our Levi’s jeans-style, Scottish thrift, populist bridge to take a cudgel to the overwrought, over beautiful and fashionably hip Hill Bridge. I’ve seen the Hill Bridge and it looks great. Never been over it. I can’t figure out where it goes. It looks like a $182 million snipe hunt to me. Nicholson, typing on his MacBook Pro with Retina display (I just can’t stop), then delivers his Swiftian coup de grace, telling us Fort Worthians:

[R]ather 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.

Thanks Eric for a good read. And if you’re ever in Fort Worth, pop into the office and we’ll head over our practical, “hey, it works” bridge and grab a beer. Oh, sorry, a glass of wine. Believe it or not, we’ve got that over here in Fort Worth now. If you’d like to read more, head down to the Public Library, sign up to use a PC for an hour and go to: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/10/fort_worth_your_new_signature.php.

In Market is a column written from the perspective of a plugged-in business journalist about business happenings in and around Tarrant County. Got an idea for In Market? Robert Francis can be reached at rfrancis@bizpress.net.  


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