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Recent Comments

Re: “Highway widening prediction: $4 billion will be needed in future

Has there been any thought about an environmental justice lawsuit by the homes that will be condemned for the right-of-way expansion? There could also be a lawsuit by the residents on the east side of the freeway on the same grounds discussing their lack of access to transit (and thus jobs) if the freeway is put in and eliminates the streetcar. Since this is a predominant African-American name, this construction can easily be seen as an eco-justice, eco-racism issue.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by DLC on 10/16/2015 at 8:04 AM

Re: “I-30 widening could end River Rail transport east of interstate

Having grown up in Little Rock my whole life and now serving as an urban designer with the City of Dallas, TX, this proposal is greatly troubling. Yes, the freeway will increase capacity. Yes it will serve a greater number of people with substantial benefits than the streetcar does. But there are intangible and incalculable benefits that come from the streetcar. And there are great problems that come by the divisive nature promulgated by large freeways bisecting city grids. My concerns are as follows:
1) This project expands Right-of-way (ROW). This requires acquisition of single family homes as well as businesses and land from the city and Clinton Library. Many cities have a no-net-new ROW policy.
2) This project will prevent streetcar connection to the airport. Say all you want about the streetcar but there has been over $1 Billion in investment within a quarter of a mile of the streetcar line since 1999. 2 new hotels are coming on line in the next 2 years within blocks of the line. To say the streetcar hasn't been a success is inaccurate. It's been a contributing factor the greatest investment in the history of LR, along with the Clinton Library and the arena and ballpark.
3) Speaking of the Clinton Library, this makes the underpass between the River Market and the Library, longer, darker, and less desirable. Meaning less people will walk there and more will drive. Unless they could take the streetcar...an option that will now be prohibited.
4) Probably the two greatest problems that this expansion causes is a further push to the suburbs by middle-class white families, and subsequently further disinvestment in LR schools and inner-city neighborhoods. We all know that Cabot, Benton,and the like have seen radical growth as a result of LR's poor schools, and more deeply, inherent racism associated with LR and its schools. Increasing capacity (theoretically reducing traffic in and out of downtown) only increases the ability for these families to commute in and out, which will perpetuate existing problems.
In addition, a recent study by the Brookings Institute found our city to be one of the worst metro areas for growing rates of poverty in the suburbs. This can be attributed to a great many factors but one has to be the increasing distance of commuting, increasing costs of transportation, and the lack of substantial income growth. Meaning that the white families who fled to the suburbs are having to drive further to escape their envisioned "inner-city-crisis" are sending more on their commutes but aren't making any more money as a result. Many cities are already seeing suburbs turn into slums and this is a reality that will face LR in the not-so-distant future. (http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2010/01/20-poverty-kneebone).

What this all means is that this single project has implication that extend 50+ years into the future, most with negative repercussions. While many cities around the country are actively removing freeways due to their nefarious effects (San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Portland, Milwaukee), we are expanding ours. There seems to be a fundamental disconnect. Progress is not measured in the width of freeways but in equitable income growth for all citizens of a metropolitan region.

Posted by DLC on 10/15/2015 at 9:37 AM


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