Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dallas thinks green on its downtown freeway and more of it

Posted By on Thu, Dec 24, 2015 at 9:42 AM

click to enlarge OVERLAY: Dallas buried a freeway under a hugely successful park and is now talking about expanding the park's footprint. - DALLAS MORNING NEWS
  • Dallas Morning News
  • OVERLAY: Dallas buried a freeway under a hugely successful park and is now talking about expanding the park's footprint.

The Arkansas freeway department has at least a million reasons why this wouldn't work in Little Rock, the first being that they don't want to seriously consider anything about Interstate 30 except widening the river of concrete that already divides a re-emerging downtown so that the highway director and his ilk can get home to Saline and other suburban counties faster. Live in Little Rock? Perish the thought.

But look to Texas, yes, Texas, for a progressive idea for downtown freeway treatment.

In Dallas, they've already covered over a stretch of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway with a park, a huge success story according to the Dallas Morning News. And now they are talking about expanding the park.

I remind you again of how stunning a project could be produced by REMOVING the Second Street exit from Interstate 30 and creating a grassy park — think Washington D.C. Capitol Mall, from the downtown library all the way to the Clinton Library. The library system even came up with a drawing. You could put the freeway BELOW the mall to make it even better. And tunnel under the Arkansas River, too, and thus solve those river navigation issues.

But, no, the Arkansas freeway department says there'a nothing to be done but to widen Interstate 30 to 10 lanes so that, for the 90 minutes or so of rush period traffic five days a week, the freeway is overbuilt for all possible traffic loads through mid-century.

The concept talk in Dallas is exciting stuff, particularly to someone trapped in 1950s thinking about running freeways through the hearts of cities.

“Klyde Warren Park has knitted the Dallas Arts District together with its unique footprint over Woodall Rogers,” said Colleen Walker, Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer at the Perot Museum, in a statement sent to The Dallas Morning News. “In the past three years, both the Park and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science have enjoyed record attendance. We are certainly not surprised by the need to expand and look forward to hearing about their formal plans.”

Imagine. Knitting parts of downtown together rather than driving deeper wedges.

A PARK RUNS THROUGH IT: A concept for a Second Street mall rather than a freeway exit in downtown Little Rock. This looks east toward the Clinton Library.
  • A PARK RUNS THROUGH IT: A concept for a Second Street mall rather than a freeway exit in downtown Little Rock. This looks east toward the Clinton Library.

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Speaking of...

  • Highway engineer takes questions on I-30

    December 27, 2016
    The lead engineer on the state's freeway building program sees the widening of Interstate 30 in downtown Little Rock as an economic development tool. We think that's debatable. /more/
  • Another concrete freeway gulch, another disputed outlay of tax money

    December 20, 2016
    They spent six years and $1.6 billion to widen a major freeway through Los Angeles. Guess what? Traffic is still terrible. Little Rock and the 30 Crossing project, anyone? /more/
  • Thanksgiving week brings more Broadway Bridge developments

    November 20, 2016
    More being developments are planned Thanksgiving week in the project to replace the Broadway Bridge over the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. /more/
  • 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/
  • Highway Department postpones Broadway Bridge demolition

    October 14, 2016
    The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has announced postponement of the scheduled demolition today of the concrete arches on the old Broadway Bridge, which is being replaced by a new span over the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. /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 »

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