Thursday, November 19, 2015

studioMAIN concerned, but willing to work with AHTD

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 2:03 PM

click to enlarge In response to the I-30 widening plans, studioMAIN architects came up with this conceptual drawing of one way public transit could be integrated with highway design.
  • In response to the I-30 widening plans, studioMAIN architects came up with this conceptual drawing of one way public transit could be integrated with highway design.

The members of the architect/engineer/design collaborative studioMAIN, after a meeting of their board, have decided they will meet with engineers working on the 30 Crossing project that proposes to widen I-30 to 10 lanes as it passes through downtown North Little Rock and Little Rock. 

Jerry Holder, manager of the Connecting Arkansas Program of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, which is designing 30 Crossing and other highway projects being funded with a sales tax, said at the public meeting on the I-30 plan that engineers would work with studioMAIN to help design problematic areas in downtown Little Rock. He was jumping the gun a bit.

Since then, there has understandably been debate among the members of the collaborative whether it was being co-opted by the AHTD to work on design for a project that studioMAIN has criticized. The group put out this statement today:

studioMAIN has been asked to meet with the design team of the I-30 corridor and help envision improvements to the current design options. We will attend what we hope to be a series of working sessions, and look forward to finding solutions to the concerns studioMAIN have previously addressed, including those voiced by others. Our goal is to improve the current design as much as possible with the supposition that the project will move forward as it is currently proposed.

Though we still have concerns with the proposal to increase the capacity of Interstate 30, we believe it to be a better service to the public to be at the table pressing for improved East-West connectivity, finding ways to reduce vehicular demand, and incorporating multimodal transportation options, than to be fully opposed to the project and risk it occurring nonetheless without our input.

A major goal for studioMAIN is to improve the design thinking in our community, and helping those who approach us looking for creative solutions to difficult problems. We do this by educating the public about the importance of design, collaboration with our allied design and construction fields, advocating for the best community design possible, and challenging the conventions of current design thinking.

We understand this position is a compromise, but the engagement and the questions it has brought to light about planning for our entire community, not a singular project, will lead to a better future for Arkansas.

We are optimistic that we can find a series of solutions to allow continued growth of our downtown. Our members have stakes on both sides of the highway, and are committed to a successful corridor design. We work to understand everyone’s positions, and we hope you all will work to understand ours.

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