March 2009 Archives

Welcome to Louisville Video (Part I)

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Entering downtown from the East End

The State's "8664" traffic study incorrectly terminated all off ramps from Spaghetti Junction at Clay Street. This video shows how I-364 (today's I-64) would flow seamlessly through a simplified SJ to Waterfront Parkway. 

The video continues west along the Parkway to Roy Wilkins Boulevard (9th Street), which will become a significant central, unifying street. In the near future, we will release other videos showing different perspectives of Louisville's future.

Tolling Authority legislation does not pass

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It's a good day for Louisville

If you don't think we should toll all of Louisville's bridges to fund the massive expansion of a 23 lane Spaghetti Junction (15 years of construction, $2.6 Billion), then today is a good day. The Bridges Coalition which Mayor Abramson pulled together to push for tolls and the construction of the Downtown Bridge (i.e. Not the East End Bridge) didn't get it done this session. We'll keep you posted.

Maybe now we can have an honest conversation about the high benefit/cost ratio and overwhelming citizen support for the East End Bridge.

3/30 Update: In today's letter to the editor, The Bridges Coalition Chairman Ed Glasscock laments the failed legislation and the project's job creation potential. In our opinion, hiring people to build outdated and grossly over-built transportation infrastructure will only hurt the region's long-term economic prospects. Instead, we should be investing in transit and green space to make Louisville a more attractive, livable and sustainable city.

Mayor Norquist Interviewed on StreetsBlogs

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Back to the Grid, Part 2

StreetsBlogs: Could you walk us through what you had to go through with your freeway teardown in Milwaukee -- who did you have to win over to achieve that?

John Norquist: Well, the first thing was, it's so counterintuitive to do these things that the first reaction was from very reasonable people -- ordinary citizens, the traffic engineers, neighborhood people, even very progressive people -- "You want to do what? You want to tear that --what?" You know, it doesn't compute, it sounds like a wacky thing to do. You have to have patience and spend a lot of time in meetings letting people beat the living hell out of you. And then you get to a certain point where people say, "Hey, wait, I think I understand what you mean. You're saying the freeway's a blighting influence." And you just go through all the arguments against it, but the biggest argument for it is it just makes the place function a lot better and add more value and be a place where people actually want to be.

Reinventing America's Cities: The Time is Now

From a very interesting New York Times article:

"THE country has fallen on hard times, but those of us who love cities know we have been living in the dark ages for a while now. We know that turning things around will take more than just pouring money into shovel-ready projects, regardless of how they might boost the economy." (See a related post regarding the Bridges Coalitions push for a tolling authority.)

"Eisenhower's investment in highways was equally audacious, but its effect on cities has not always been positive; in many ways the Highways Act set the stage for decades during which suburban interests trumped urban ones."

Gill Holland urges rethinking the Bridges Project

Gill Holland has been featured on KET and in LEO and the Courier-Journal for the incredible energy and creativity he has brought to the East Market District he's helped name "NuLu". He's a film-maker, entrepreneur and environmentalist who has poured his talents into Louisville's art scene from the newly completed Green Building at 732 East Market.

Take a minute to read Gill's letter, How Green is Our Valley?. He makes a compelling argument for rethinking the Bridges Project considering today's economic and environmental realities. Here are a few excerpts:

"Downtowns should be for people, not overpasses and highways."

"We already breathe in too much exhaust from flow-through traffic that finds Louisville a convenient place to drive through on the way to somewhere else. Let's first build the East End Bridge and see how much of this through-traffic can be re-routed."

"Louisville already seems fragmented into neighborhoods divided by highways and overpasses. If we came together and redefined our common downtown, we could also discover a renewed sense of community."

Gill also directed us to a NYT article about how Stockholm's future Needn't be set in Concrete. And check out this super cool video by BIG Solutions (2008 Idea Festival presentors). Thanks Gill! We'll all be better off with your passion for Louisville's future.

Louisville's congestion declined by 39% in 2008

According to INRIX's National Traffic Scorecard, Louisville's traffic congestion declined last year by 39%, well above the national average of 30%. That leaves Louisville in 46th place among US cities in terms of traffic congestion. That's pretty amazing for the "16th Largest City."

CEOs for Cities wrote a nice post about this called The Tipping Point.

The reduction in congestion definitely begs the question, "Why do we need a 23-lane interchange to rival Los Angeles, CA (the most congested city) when our traffic doesn't compare?" The East End Bridge alone will reduce Kennedy Bridge traffic by 18% according to the Environmental Impact Statement. It's time to take action to protect the future of our city.

Waterfront Parkway Rendering

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Consider the following:

The East End Bridge is supported by more than a 2 to 1 margin over a Downtown Bridge.
FrederickPolls, 500 Jefferson County Voters, January 2008

The East End Bridge will divert more than 30,000 cars per day from the Kennedy Bridge by 2025.
Ohio River Bridges Project, Environmental Impact Statement, 2003

Louisville's traffic congestion declined by 39% in 2008.
INRIX National Traffic Scorecard, January 2009

The Bridges Project will widen I-64 through Cherokee Park.
KYTC Kennedy Interchange Area Study, November 2008

The "8664" alternative provides 99% of the "system-wide performance" of the Bridges Project.
KYTC Kennedy Interchange Area Study, November 2008

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