Click the link below to read letters that the Courier decided not to print.
8664 Traffic Volume
The recent 8664 study provided by Wilber Smith Associates [cited by the Courier-Journal], which stated that only a downtown two-bridge solution could solve Louisville's traffic problems was flawed in its conclusions. It did not factor in the loss of high density volume on the Kennedy bridge - the result of heavy trucks being diverted to an East End bridge. This changes the picture considerably. Traffic engineers agree that each heavy truck equals six cars. Since about 1/3 of heavy truck traffic would be diverted from the Kennedy bridge to an East End bridge, capacity on the Kennedy would be lower into the future than it is presently.
Total vehicle volume on the Kennedy bridge assuming an EE bridge in 2025 without calculating trucks separately according to the 2003 ORBP study:
2000 - 133,000
2025 - 146,100
- Year 2000 - 257,000 total [113,000 smaller vehicles + 24,000 heavy trucks x 6 =Â 147,600]Â w/o EE bridge
[In 2000, heavy truck traffic on 1-65 measured 18.6%.]
- Â Year 2025 - 235,000 total (128,000 smaller vehicles + 17,820 heavy trucks x 6 = 106,920) w/EE bridge
From this it is clear that the diversion of heavy truck traffic from I-65 to the EE bridge would actually lower total volume units on the I-65 bridge well beyond 2025 and thus keep it well below capacity.
Also, converting the 2nd Street bridge to alternating three-lane traffic during rush hour, would further decrease the volume of small vehicles on I-65.
So before the C-J dismisses the 8664 proponents as a "merry bunch of zealots," they might take a closer look at the information 'experts' are feeding them before rushing to judgement. The 8664 plan saves Kentucky approximately two billion dollars, not to mention that it would improve a large area of this city's waterfront and stimulate economic development along the Ohio River.
A More Accessible Waterfront
The premise of David Samuel's opinion that we need Interstate 64 to continue to make the riverfront accessible is just plain wrong. That's like saying that airlines make Wichita, Kansas accessible when it planes fly over it on their way to Los Angeles. Taking away the downtown portion of I-64 would make the waterfront much more accessible physically and visually. Do it!
Come clean about the bridges
Mayor Abramson and Congressman Yarmuth, when it comes to your leadership on city planning issues, thanks for nothing. If your plan to kill the East End bridge project at the behest of wealthy special interests involves spending billions to pave over downtown, leveling the Cochran Hill Tunnel, building an unnecessary downtown bridge, disregarding all public input and then charging us a hefty toll for it, why don't you just say so?
No Justification For Ohio Bridges Project
Concerning The Courier-Journal summary (12/17) of the Wilbur Smith Associates report contrasting the 8664 plan with the Ohio River Bridges Project, (two new bridges and reconfiguration of Spaghetti Junction):
1. Miles saved by ORBP are 200,000 out of 43 million, less than 1/2 percent.
2. Hours saved by ORBP are 40,000 out of 2.9 million, about 1.4 percent.
These are the only quantitative facts in The C-J summary. They are predictions of conditions 15 or 20 years in the future. Predictions of differences of 0.5 percent and 1.4 percent are well within the margin of error for such forecasts. In essence, there is no predictable difference in mileage or time between the two projects.
Those facts in the summary do not justify spending twice as much money, and probably, more than half again as much time for the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Crestwood, KY 40014
Wants "legtimate" analysis of 8664
Few issues in local politics catch my interest except for the Ohio River Bridges "scandal." The recent release of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet assessment of the 8664 plan grossly misrepresented the issues, and this whole think stinks of dirty politics.
The community is at a rare point in history when it can make some decisions that will have a multigenerational impact on our riverfront community. The efforts by politicians to get in the way of this study puts a pit in the bottom of my stomach that makes me so very sad for them.
The facts are that our community has invested untold millions to redevelop a riverfront that brings people together. Creating more lanes of traffic for people to drive through downtown and who won't spend a dime in Louisville makes no sense whatsoever. Especially considering the alternative that directs through-traffic around the outside of the city, makes it easier for commuters to get into downtown, and allows the riverfront development to continue to flourish. I have no idea how politicians can let their selfish agendas get in the way of accomplishing something that can have such a positive impact on the lives of millions of people locally, traveling to and passing through our city. I hope and pray that the 8664 will be legitimately analyzed by our government in these extremely cost conscious times since the 8664 is billions cheaper, finishes a decade sooner and will allow for a more steady flow of commerce in and out of Louisville.
East End bridge first is a "smart" choice
As a lifelong Louisvillian I have always been proud of many things about our great city. I am not proud, however, that, though we label ourselves a forward-thinking town ("The Possibility City"), we seem to always be behind the times on many important issues that are required for cities to grow.
We were one of the last regional hubs to merge our city and county governments, a move that caused us to be outpaced by Nashville and Indianapolis during the last 40 years. We were probably the only city in the nation that shunned the chance to get an NBA franchise, a move that would have brought the downtown arena and urban growth five years sooner. And finally, our city leaders have been extremely antiquated and non-progressive when it comes to the issue of "8664" and the need for an east-end bridge.
Mayor Abramson was quoted several months ago as saying that he felt an East End bridge would only redirect 2 percent of traffic around the city. That, my friends, is either a bold-faced lie, or proof that our city leaders are truly as ignorant and bureaucratic as they sometimes appear. An East End bridge would almost certainly relieve a huge burden on Spaghetti Junction and downtown traffic because it would require large trucks, not stopping downtown, to go around the city, which the truckers would rather do anyway. Removing these large vehicles would relax congestion, almost assuredly put an end to major accidents in and around Spaghetti Junction, and help to increase the free flow of traffic in downtown.
You need look no further than cities such as Seattle, Milwaukee, and San Francisco to find examples of the powerful impact the "86" plan would have on our downtown faÃ§ade.
We're spending billions "revitalizing" downtown; why would we want to spend another $2 billion covering it up with highways and overpasses? In the 1940s and 1950s, Detroit began a massive highway construction project in an attempt to ease traffic in the city's burgeoning downtown area. Since then, Detroit has been completely covered by interstates, and its urban areas are now desolate and unappealing. Is that what we want for Louisville?
The East End bridge will solve all our problems, but it would be fiscally irresponsible to not build it first. Then, we can determine if another downtown bridge is needed and choose to either restructure Spaghetti Junction or "86" a portion of Interstate 64. We would save a billion dollars by not going blindly into a project that will have a negative impact on our city for generations to come.
Let's make the smart choice and try to live up to our self-given namesake by actually becoming "The Possibility City."
WILLIAM R. DONALDSON
Anti-8664 Study "Propaganda"
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet released a study last Tuesday that criticized the "8664" plan to replace Interstate 64 from 12th St. to Spaghetti Junction in downtown with a surface "waterfront parkway" and to reroute thru traffic to an east end bridge without building a costly second downtown bridge. The report concluded that 8664 would add traffic congestion, higher emissions and longer delays. It becomes apparent, reading the report, that the state's Transportation Cabinet is a taxpayer-sponsored propaganda machine. The Cabinet erroneously claims that 8664 would widen Interstates 71 and 64 and lead to more downtown traffic, in spite of the fact that 8664 does not call for additional lanes to I-71 or I-64 at all.
Also, this disingenuous report, which was one week from conclusion in March, was postponed for release until December because the General Assembly was in a "delicate time."
George Orwell wouldn't even know what to say about the "Ministry of Truth" we Pay for in Frankfort.
Further, the state conveniently ignores the $2 billion 8664 would save from this project during tight economic times and the opportunity to connect western Louisville to downtown through River Road and 9th Street, as well as the opportunity to curb traffic and pollution downtown. It is amazing that this region's Democratic leaders, who were elected for "progressive values," continue in their bizarre pursuit of the two-bridge proposal. Mayor Jerry Abramson, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and Gov. Beshear fit the mold of Kentucky's continuing legacy of being a place for unreconstructed southerners. With their continued leadership, we'll probably be able to fly across the river before any of us can drive across it.
River Fields: "Get A Life!"
It amazes me how some people can get worked up over things like how many lanes should the Harrods Creek bridge have. I am sure that 90 percent of Prospect residents could care less whether the bridge has two or four lanes; they just want it fixed and reopened ASAP.
River Fields, which has filed suit to keep the bridge two lanes, is responsible for the bridge being closed and not updated. It's the same organization that is fighting and delaying work on the East End Interstate 265 bridge.
If River Fields is so concerned about preserving the beauty of our waterways, why isn't it supporting 8664, which would open up a lot of new park space downtown? Instead River Fields and its supporters appear to be very regressive in their approach of what they support.
All I can say to these fuddy duddy old ladies of River Fields is "get a life."
Prospect, KY 40059
An "apology" for supporting 8664
Upon reflection of recent articles and opinion pieces, I would like to first to offer my apologioes to this city for advocating the 8664 proposal for the Ohio River Bridges Project. Though the recent state study of 8664 didn't actually address 8664 and expanded Interstates 64 and 71 into downtown while neglecting other elements of the proposal, I am resigned to Kentucky and to Louisville's commitment to two bridges, $4.2 billion in spending, and a concrete shroud along our city's waterfront. So, I apologize for wanting my government to save $2 billion. I apologize for wanting hazardous traffic averted around downtown off to the northeast. I apologize for wanting to open up the riverfront and the West End along River Road and 9th Street. And yes, I apoogize for questioning the wisdom of the Politburo, Chairman Jerry and his lackey Mr. Yarmuth, as well as the staff ofÂ PravdaÂ (The Courier Journal). One suggestion though, Mr. Mayor. When you send your resume around in 2010 (and you will need to), try not to mention the time that you squandered billions in taxpayer dollars and an opportunity for urban revitalization.Â