Friday, June 24, 2016

Alarm sounded on Highway Commission attendance at Metroplan meeting on wider freeways

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 10:22 AM

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Leslie Peacock reported yesterday on the Arkansas highway department's request to Metroplan to lift the planning agency's six-lane cap on freeways in Central Arkansas. The road builders want a 10-lane freeway through the heart of Little Rock (12 lanes at the river bridge and something like 15 lanes where I-30 and I-630 meld counting all the ramps).

The article yesterday quoted the Highway Department as saying a request to consider this change at the meeting next week was just to "start the process." Metroplan officials had said that a 10-day notice to consider the request was too short and a window of as much as four months was needed for full consideration.

Kathy Wells, a downtown neighborhood group leader, got word that members of the Arkansas Highway Commission would be on hand at the meeting. She fears it is to press or an immediate rule change.

Is that so, I asked Highway Department spokesman Danny Straessle? His answer:

It is my understanding members of the AHC will be in attendance, although at this time I don’t know who those will be.

Additionally, it is also my understanding members of the AHTD senior staff will also be in attendance to help answer any questions that may arise regarding the Department’s request.
Is or is the Highway Department not planning to attempt to rush the vote?

No, we are simply asking to get the process started and Department staff will be there to answer any questions that may arise during the meeting.
Wells, who is president of the Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods, figures you can't be too careful. She's spread the word to her group.

URGENT !!!!

Attend Metroplan Board mtg. 10 a.m. Wed. Jun. 29, 501 W. Markham, across from LR City Hall. demonstrate opposition to 10 lanes or more for I-30 to Ark. Hwy. Commission members we have learned will attend, to press for approval of repeal of the 6-lane limit on highways in region.

Damn the process; damn public comments; highway commission members intend to get their way.

Mayor Mark Stodola comes to judgment next Wed. - will he cave to the pressures of the establishment, 50 for the Future and all? or will our mayor vote NO, and urge the rest of the Metroplan Board to vote NO - accepting professional-quality criticism of the design, the engineering, and even the basic math from state highway officials in their official proposals?

Will this poisoned plan be swallowed or spit back for a do-over? so far, Metroplan members have succumbed to the threats to accept what highway officials offer, in fear of getting nothing - pressed individually.

We know from experience you defeat a bully by standing together and rejecting threats - and the Metroplan Board can, and should, do the same.

Contact the mayor at: mayor@littlerock.org and urge a NO vote.

Show up next Wed. to witness what officials do.

When the roll is called, will you be there?

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