The chamber has some words to put in your mouth to support 30 Crossing | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The chamber has some words to put in your mouth to support 30 Crossing

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 5:13 PM

click to enlarge CONCRETE TENTACLES: Won't this look great in downtown Little Rock? - ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
  • CONCRETE TENTACLES: Won't this look great in downtown Little Rock?

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.

Businessmen and women who want to do the Chamber's bidding have been supplied a boilerplate comment to send to Metroplan urging the metropolitan planning organization to amend its Transportation Improvement Plan in such a way that would widen I-30 from North Little Rock at I-40 south to the I-530 interchange by four lanes (at a minimum), with six of them through lanes and the other four "collector-distributor" lanes.

Comments are due by Dec. 18; the Metroplan Board of Directors will vote Dec. 20. If you don't want Little Rock to build a wall between the East Village and all that is happening there and the River Market/Creative Corridor/SoMa renewal west of I-30, you probably know why you think it's a terrible idea and don't need help writing your objections. Email them to

The Chamber calls the concrete swath "critical" to "mobility" for the "Little Rock region!" Funny, that's not how Detroit; San Francisco; Portland; Milwaukee; Boston; Cincinnati; Rochester, N.Y.; Akron; Providence; Baltimore; Oklahoma City; Cleveland; Seattle; Trenton, N.J.; New Haven, Hartford, Conn.; New Orleans; New York — and so forth — see it. They're getting rid of their city-killers. But what do they know?

The Chamber suggests supporters write that a 10-lane highway "will also enhance driver and pedestrian safety" and offer "new opportunities for development in downtown Little Rock." Yet a boulevard would do that, enhance Little Rock's appeal and cost less than $700 million, 30 Crossing's estimate. The chamber touts the promise of  "17 acres of green space incorporated in that design" — don't you want to spend time in "green space" under a 10-lane highway? Lotsa shade!

And finally, the chamber calls the highway department's plan, which Metroplan says will require all the connecting highways to be widened as well, "represents a truly innovative approach to enhancing multi-modal transportation in Little Rock and the region." Huh? Innovative in Eisenhower's day, maybe.

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