FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Changes are coming to Fort Worth’s popular West 7th Entrainment District after the city says “doing nothing is not an option.”
A slew of improvements were mainly brought on by an increase in crime. The City of Fort Worth says overall crime in the area increased by 38 percent in the last two years, with most incidents happening on weekend nights.
To curb the most frequent crimes — car break-ins, public intoxication and fighting — additional officers have been patrolling the area since May. The four-month trial places extra officers during the times when most happen: Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. and involve bar patrons.
Aside from public safety, parking has been the biggest issue in the district. At Sweet Sammies, specializing in ice cream sandwiches, the owners have wondered if a lack of parking has kept people away.
“That’s kind of the only weakness of this area, never been able to attract much of a lunch crowd during the week,” said owner Dan Close.
Close hopes 400 additional free parking spaces added in early August at near by Farrington Field will help. Paid parking at Farrington Field has been available to the public for a few months.
Getting people in and out of the hot spot is why some two-way streets will become one-way streets by June. The city says it will help with crowd control and improve access for emergency vehicles.
Construction is part of the deal as well. University Drive will be getting some upgrades. Sidewalks in the area will be getting some TLC, filled in areas where they don’t exist and widened in others.
As many as 250 parking meters will be installed in July.
“Why are they putting parking meters if there are parking garages over here,” said Fort Worth resident Roy Chowdhury. “I think it be user friendly, but I also think the city is trying to make money off of people so it goes both ways.”