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

  • Fayetteville, Fenix and art-making on Saturday

    If you're in Fayetteville this weekend, you can drop in on several workshops being held by the Fenix Fayetteville artists' cooperative at the Walker-Stone House, 207 W. Center St. downtown.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • UALR artist Mia Hall is off to Penland: UPDATE

    The Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina has announced the hiring of Mia Hall, of the Department of Art and Design at UA Little Rock, as its new director.
    • Jul 19, 2017
  • ACLU asks court to enjoin antiabortion bills

    Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union asked Judge Kristine Baker to grant an injunction against four laws passed this year by the General Assembly that would: * Make abortion after 15 weeks riskier by outlawing what the medical profession considers the safest procedure, dilation and evacuation; * Require doctors to inform local police when an abortion performed on a teenager age 14-16 absent any indication of abuse and that police create a record of the teenager's abortion and be provided the fetal remains; * Require abortion providers to ask women seeking an abortion if they know the sex of the fetus, and, if they do, obtain all of their previous obstetrical records to determine if they have a "history of aborting fetuses" of a certain sex, as the lawyer for the state said today in court. * Require notification of a woman's partner — or abuser — that she intends to have an abortion, ostensibly so they can agree on the disposition of the remains of the fetus.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



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