Monday, August 29, 2016

The Concrete Gulch Chronicles

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 12:04 PM

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Some Twitter traffic today reminds me of how predictable and retrograde were the decisions by Mayors Mark Stodola and Joe Smith and County Judge Barry Hyde to throw in with the highway construction lobby to back the Arkansas highway department's Concrete Gulch plan to put 10 lanes of traffic on Interstate 30 through the heart of Little Rock. This might  shave a minute or two off suburban commuters' transit time (if they travel during 45-minute rush hour windows) but it will create new gridlock points with no money or plan to fix them.

I liked the photo above from Vancouver's former chief planner, Brent Toderian, that shows freeway routes proposed there. That vibrant city — exploding with development — said no to freeways . You arrive at the Vancouver Airport, you go to downtown on a broad, traffic-lighted boulevard lined with some very nice neighborhoods and  numerous attractive commercial nodes. Everybody I talked to in Vancouver said freeways would have ruined the city. Those who live in the Vancouver equivalent of Bryant and Cabot might see it differently at rush hour.

Browsing through Twitter also led me to a cartoon by engineer Ian Lockwood, who also tweets impressively about urban planning. He shared the infographic below, too. But hey. No way these guys know more than visionary Arkansas politicians like Lance Hines and Gulch builders like Scott Bennett, who snorts derisively at the idea of boulevards. You might as well tell him we might someday have driverless cars and two-way wrist TVs.

But if you like to dream, take a look at Twitter feeds from Lockwood and from urban planner Brent Toderian. Metroplan will approve the Concrete Gulch Wednesday.

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