Crossing I-30: Fennell to present interim boulevard plan | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 22, 2016

Crossing I-30: Fennell to present interim boulevard plan

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:53 PM

Oooh la la! The French take their lives in their hands by crossing the Champs Elysees. - JAMEY M PHOTO
  • Jamey M photo
  • Oooh la la! The French take their lives in their hands by crossing the Champs Elysees.

click to enlarge Fennell's forward-looking plan for the Arkansas Boulevard.
  • Fennell's forward-looking plan for the Arkansas Boulevard.
Tom Fennell, the architect who proposed that the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and the city of Little Rock consider working toward converting Interstate 30 downtown to a boulevard, is working on a design to help the road agency better envision the plan, which it shot down last week in its efforts to show that only a 10-lane I-30 will answer Little Rock's traffic needs.

In its new FAQ section on the "30 Crossing" page, the AHTD says the boulevard couldn't handle "even half" the I-30 traffic and that vehicle miles traveled would have to decline by 50 percent for the boulevard idea to work.

"Cheap shot," Fennell says. His boulevard design "was always 20 to 30 years out, not a replacement for the short term." The propsal "always depended on a lot of things happening, including transit and beefing up arterials," things the highway department says it doesn't do. As he wrote in his "Plan B Solution":

Because of the expected decline in VMT (contrary to AHTD statements), there would be a point in the future when the I-30 Corridor in downtown could be converted to a wide boulevard on-grade with the surrounding city, with traffic lights every third city block. The boulevard would be on-grade and would allow for bike and greenway trails, bus lanes and exceptional opportunities for commercial and residential development with new corner and frontage property. 

The AHTD also claims that the boulevard would "actually have a negative impact" on walking and biking. "While the Department’s proposed alternatives would keep pedestrians and bicyclists separated from the main traffic flow, the boulevard would place these users directly in conflict with vehicular traffic" and "pedestrians will also be less likely to cross the corridor because of the risk of crossing at-grade."

Yes, 10-lane interstates do preclude bicycle and pedestrian traffic, no argument there. But consider boulevards elsewhere, like the Champs Elysees. This boulevard is actually 10 lanes and has a bike lane and yet, sacre bleu! Parisians dare cross it.

Fennell will present his "convertible plan" at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) night at the Capitol View Stifft Station Resource Center, 2715 W. 7th St. The design contemplates a freeway that can be converted into a boulevard in the future "and has some interesting components in it," he said.

Fennell said the boulevard plan "was a future vision and it requires a lot of cooperation by the city and highway department and local planners. In my view this has been a great conversation and there are still people to be heard from, including the mayor and [newly hired] city planner — we haven't heard what they say yet. There could be some great ideas in that." Fennell said transportation planning ought to be "an ongoing process to find the best solution." He believes his plan "would please all sides, including the highway department if they were inclined to consider alternatives."

Fennell will also talk about the idea of hiring an independent analyst to look at all the information gathered to date on traffic and future growth at tomorrow night's meeting.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • More land for East Capitol View, Rose Creek trail

    Jason Baxter's seeming pie-in-the-sky sort of plan to develop East Capitol View may come closer to earth when the City Board at its reconvened meeting Dec. 12 considers as resolution to accept the donation of properties by Leland B. and Janet Jones "for the extension of the Rose Creek Trail" and to designate the land for a public park.
    • Dec 9, 2017
  • The chamber has some words to put in your mouth to support 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce is helping its members gin up messages to Metroplan in support of the 1950s-style highway swath that the highwaymen want to build through the heart of Little Rock's downtown.
    • Dec 7, 2017
  • "Perfectly Purple Pie" takes the prize at Mosaic Templars

    Celebrity judges at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s sixth annual “Say It Ain’t Say’s” sweet potato pie contest on Sunday awarded first place to Kelli Marks of Cathead’s Diner for her “Perfectly Purple Pie,” and second place to Anne Woods of Honey Pies for her “Bubba’s Sweet Potato Meringue Pie.”
    • Dec 6, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017

Most Shared

  • Conflicts of interest in the legislatures

    The Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press collaborated for a project aimed at highlighting state legislators whose lawmaking might be affected by private business interests.
  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation