Friday, October 23, 2015

STOP This Outrageous Project. I-30 expansion is freeway to nowhere.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 10:53 AM

click to enlarge i-30.jpg
Where is George Fisher when we need him? The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department is about to embark on a monumental keep-busy project that would make the Corps of Engineers green with envy. We need his cartoon genius again.

I refer to the $4 billion plan (counting related work the freeway widening will require) known as 30 Crossing. It is intended to widen the concrete gash through the heart of Little Rock that is Interstate 30 to 10 lanes, a project conceived only to move greater amounts of traffic faster through Little Rock. Go back and read Leslie Newell Peacock's report on a hearing on the plans last night. At last, opposition is rising. It may be too late to stop it, but I hope it's not too late to mend it. The engineers apparently are getting churlish that somebody might slow down their gravy train.

The freeway is adequate most of the time for traffic now. Yes, there are rush hour jams. Yes some interchange and exit designs aren't so hot. But I drove to the airport during rush hour yesterday at the speed limit. But the highway engineers want to be busy for years spending billions helping people from Texarkana to Memphis or from Pine Bluff to Cabot through the heart of the city. (Or to arrive and flee the city more quickly for suburbs, always a high priority in Arkansas.)

My favorite comments last night came from Brad Walker. He offered the not-at-all crazy idea to tear up the interstate and replace it with a good boulevard like Chenal Parkway. The long-distance traffic can skirt the city on ring freeways.

Been to Rome, London, Paris, Vancouver or San Francisco, to name some of the most beautiful cities in the world? They share an absence of freeways in their cores. They have little of the mountainous concrete structures that uglify every place they pass; divide neighborhoods and impede calm foot, bike, mass transit and private vehicle traffic. I've written before about Vancouver — no freeways,  broad boulevards, multiple neighborhood nodes, great diversity, high housing prices. People LOVE to live there. San Francisco? Citizens there rose up to stop a bayfront freeway project that would have ruined what is now a burgeoning and beautiful stretch of the city connected by chugging vintage streetcars. In Little Rock, we want to pour concrete high and wide. You think that attracts the kind of young thinkers who have made San Francisco ground zero of the tech explosion? I don't.

This freeway project imperils, among others, the reawakening of Hanger Hill, an ideal infill neighborhood on the east side of the freeway, where three new $200,000 homes overlook a road that could be pushed up to their front porch. It impedes traffic to the Clinton Library, Heifer, the awakening warehouse district with its brewery, distillery and, soon, a new eStem school campus. This plan will absolutely destroy Second Street from I-30 to State Street, by making it a state highway connector to LaHarpe/Cantrell Road and end the  funnel along Cumberland to LaHarpe. If tradition holds, it will work as well as the Highway Department's fine use of Broadway for a similar purpose.

Suddenly, the community is beginning to realize the downside this project holds for the new downtown that has developed between the Clinton Library and Main Street. All to move traffic faster. (As usual, Little Rock's so-called municipal leadership is virtually silent about the impending disaster.)

It's time for a campaign. Where's a modern-day Adolphine Terry or Irene Samuel when we truly need an Emergency Committee to put the brakes on?

You pick an acronym. But get organized. It is not in the interest of Little Rock to move people faster through or out of town. Visit San Francisco or Vancouver and tell me otherwise. Other cities have had freeway revolts. Why not Little Rock?

STOP. Stop This Outrageous Project. STUFF. Stop This Urban Freeway Fiasco.

PS — The website that talks about this project yesterday had a video of this cluster. It's not up today. 

PPS — Downscaling or eliminating this project could free money for something else, right?

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

  • City proposes more work for consultant on I-30 project

    November 5, 2016
    The Little Rock City Board agenda meeting this week includes a city staff recommendation for a $50,000 contract with the consulting firm Nelson Nygaard to continue to consult on the proposed 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 through the middle of Little Rock. /more/
  • Another city rejects a concrete ditch

    November 2, 2016
    While Little Rock city fathers are intent on widening the Interstate 30 concrete ditch that slices through the heart of town, dividing and blighting neighborhoods, other cities are going in a different direction. /more/
  • Broadway Bridge contractor got a two-day headstart on six-month project

    October 17, 2016
    A reader posed a question about the Broadway Bridge project and the Times has an answer: /more/
  • Broadway Bridge again resists demolition

    October 15, 2016
    Another demolition and another less-than-perfect outcome for the Broadway Bridge, being removed to make way for a new, structurally improved span. /more/
  • Work proceeds on clearing bridge debris from Arkansas River

    October 12, 2016
    Will the contractors for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department meet a 24-hour deadline from the implosion of the Broadway Bridge yesterday afternnon to clear the Arkansas River navigation channel? And what if they don't? /more/
  • Broadway Bridgeageddon set for Wednesday morning

    September 26, 2016
    The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has scheduled a "closing ceremony" for the Broadway Bridge at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, 45 minutes after the bridge is closed for six months or so of work to tear down the old structure and replace it. /more/
  • Freeway fires: A lesson in Charlotte for Little Rock

    September 23, 2016
    Here's a deep essay from Think Progress on how freeways and suburbanization segregated Charlotte neighborhoods and helped create the social and racial divide that exploded in that city this week. Yes, of course, I'm thinking about a parallel with the push by the white business establishment in Little Rock for ever wider freeways. /more/
  • UPDATE: Metroplan signs off on waiver for Concrete Gulch

    August 31, 2016
    UPDATE: The Metroplan board has voted with scant opposition to waive the existing six-lane limit on area freeways so that the highway department may build a 10-lane concrete gulch through the heart of Little Rock. Leslie Newell Peacock will be back with more after a while. A grassroots group presented spirited opposition, all ignored. /more/
  • The Concrete Gulch Chronicles

    August 29, 2016
    In alternate universes, such as booming Vancouver, city leaders don't think ever wider freeways are the answer to traffic congestion. But what do they know, right Mayor Stodola? /more/
  • Concrete gulch hearing this week

    August 28, 2016
    Metroplan will vote Wednesday on a waiver of the six-lane freeway limit in its regional transportation plan to remove one obstacle to building a huge concrete gulch through the center of Little Rock — 10 lanes of freeway and even more concrete in some spots — to hasten the movement of traffic to and from suburbs to the detriment of quality of life in the city. Big surprise: the business establishment's drum major Mayor Mark Stodola, wants to pour the concrete. /more/
  • More »

Comments (30)

Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation