30 Crossing: There's a better way than widening the downtown freeway | Arkansas Blog

Monday, May 15, 2017

30 Crossing: There's a better way than widening the downtown freeway

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 9:47 AM

click to enlarge KNOTTY PROBLEM: More isn't necessarily better when it comes to freeways. - FACEBOOK POST
  • Facebook post
  • KNOTTY PROBLEM: More isn't necessarily better when it comes to freeways.

Metroplan
has a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Pulaski Tech's campus center in North Little Rock on amendments to its long-range transportation plan to include the freeway widening sought by the Highway Departments' 30 Crossing project in downtown Little Rock and the inevitable new stress it will place on other roads in the region.

Resistance continues to the $600-million-plus concrete gulch. Tom Fennell, an architect who's been working in the interest of different approaches to moving traffic, wrote this in advance of Wednesday's hearing:

A Big Mistake vs. A Better Way

By Tom Fennell

As AHTD continues to push their giant ten-lane freeway through downtown Little Rock we have to wonder why? With the credible predictions of declining car ownership and autonomous vehicles leading to less traffic, how does AHTD modeling show increasing demand for more freeway capacity?

AHTD has convinced our mayors and county judges that it is both necessary and inevitable that we need to spend $3-4 billion to solve a non-existent problem. More to the point, an AHTD goal is to spend this enormous sum to fulfill their commitment to contractors, suppliers and bedroom communities in an outdated vision of suburban utopia.

The ‘big mistake’ happened early on, when engineers decided, for you, that ramming a giant freeway through downtown Little Rock was better than routing commuter traffic around the city in a belt system of interstates. Once the engineers were on this bone, there has been no sign that they are going to let go. I observed after the last public comment meeting (a year and a half ago), “AHTD came in with a 10 lane freeway plan and they intend to leave with a 10 lane freeway plan.” Even the “big compromise” drive-by planning effort by the mayor and Garver’s Jerry Holder will actually worsen Little Rock’s traffic by concentrating congestion at a single exit. The compromise also let AHTD off the hook on the La Harpe connection problems of pedestrian safety and local street integration.

We need better leadership on this effort. Little Rock has the opportunity to be among the forefront of urban planning for smaller cities. We can, at this point in time, create a vibrant, walkable, and competitive city that will attract future businesses with the brightest young workers. All of us, our mayor and city council included, should be supporting an urban center that promises a huge upside for real estate investment that opens the east side of Little Rock for new growth, employment and a denser tax base.

The Imagine Central Arkansas plan by Metroplan stressed an improved arterial network to diffuse congestion, which is exactly what we need. Why didn’t AHTD embrace this approach? AHTD builds arterials – we know because one is planned for Bryant! Little Rock would be far better off with another river crossing and an eight-lane boulevard in place of a ten-lane freeway through downtown. A boulevard can give us the capacity for commuters, but supports the urban amenities for the region that most cities crave – why not us?

A better way is within our grasp. Why are our city leaders leading us towards this big mistake when a better way is within our grasp? Please make your voice heard. Join our Facebook site, Improve 30Crossing and stay up to date on developments. The next public meeting where you may voice your concerns is May 17th, 6 p.m., at Pulaski Technical College, Campus Center, 3000 West Scenic, North Little Rock. You may also email your letter to: comments@metroplan.org/comment/public-comment.

A PS FROM MAX:  More data is coming this week that will add fuel to the argument that wider freeways don't make sense in Central Arkansas.





Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday and another open line

    Got anything for the open line?
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • But what about the Clintons? Last refuge of Trump, New York Times

    Trying to compare Donald Trump's reaction to the Russia investigation with Bill Clinton's dealings with Kenneth Starr should be a non-starter if the facts mattered. But these days — and to the New York Times — it ain't necessarily so.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • Football is king, Bentonville edition

    Good analysis in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of an unannounced Bentonville School Board vote last week to put $2 million into a football stadium for West High School despite board assurances in last May's tax election that no money would go to a football stadium.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016
  • Hospitality, restaurant groups oppose bathroom bill

    Add the restaurant and hospitality association to those opposed to Sen. Linda Collins-Smith's bill to keep transgender people out of public restrooms that match their gender identity.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

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

Blogroll

 

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