A mayor stands up against freeway widening. No. Not in Little Rock. | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 12, 2018

A mayor stands up against freeway widening. No. Not in Little Rock.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 7:16 AM

click to enlarge A FREEWAY THE ARKANSAS DOT COULD LOVE: Indianapolis' mayor is resisting this idea for "improvements" to a freeway through the heart of that city.
  • A FREEWAY THE ARKANSAS DOT COULD LOVE: Indianapolis' mayor is resisting this idea for "improvements" to a freeway through the heart of that city.

The Indiana Department of Transportation sees a freeway tearing through the heart of Indianapolis and wants to see an even wider concourse of concrete.

Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Hogsett is pushing back against the highway builders' 60-year imperative to build ever more freeways that never solve traffic problems. He's written to the state about its $250 million plan (a shadow of the $600 million concrete gulch that the highway construction lobby — also known as the Arkansas Department of Transportation/Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce — wants in Little Rock.)

You can read his whole letter here. It says in part:

Peer cities such as Austin and Dallas, Texas, and Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, have established national best practices, devising context-sensitive solutions to urban right-of-way challenges. I would encourage the state to consider at-grade alternatives that would sufficiently move traffic and meet INDOT’s needs while reconnecting our neighborhoods and street grid. Such alternatives may have a residual benefit by potentially opening up valuable state-owned downtown right- of-way for development.
An article in Streetsblog notes:

Local architects and planners have another idea. Architect Mark Beebe and Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis have proposed two concepts for the highway right-of-way that would open up 10 acres of land for development and help heal some of the wounds the Interstate system inflicted on city neighborhoods when it was constructed in the 1960s and ’70s.

They propose capping the highway with new development, a greenway, and a surface boulevard. Tolling would redirect some traffic to the city’s outer belt, and freeway ramps that have posed big obstacles for local residents would be eliminated.
Yes, some visionaries have proposed similar alternatives to the 30 Crossing Concrete Gulch proposal for I-30 in Little Rock. They've been dismissed by the Little Rock mayor and city board, which are beholden to the construction-industry-controlled chamber of commerce, not to mention held captive by the regional cities that drive policy on Metroplan in a way detrimental to the region's largest city.

Oh well. Little Rock will be better for it, right? Who wants to be Indianapolis?

Oh, wait. Maybe you missed this recent article about Indianapolis being in the running for the second Amazon headquarters. Check the article: Booming population, pro teams, great universities, great international airport (nonstop to Paris), expanding transit system, great trail system for biking to work.  They're building a city. We build freeways to Cabot. Sign me:

Love, Little Rock.

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