June 2009 Archives

Philadelphia might "deep six" I-95

Add Philadelphia to the growing list of cities looking to remove an elevated interstate to reconnect the city to its natural assets. From the Philadelphia Inquirer article:

"Today, the Big Dig looks more like Boston's Big Coup.

On a bright morning in the fall, Boston dedicated a 1.5-mile linear park that is the public face of the Big Dig. A series of connected lawns and gardens, the greenway hugs the contours of downtown, skirting the historic Quincy Market and opening up spectacular views of the South Boston waterfront. Once an outback of crumbling warehouses, wharves, and parking lots, the area is morphing into a glittering arts district. The city is visibly whole again."

"Not long ago, the idea of bringing down the great barrier of I-95 seemed beyond Philadelphia's reach. But in recent months, a group of influential Philadelphians has been talking seriously about embarking on a "Philly Dig." They are emboldened not just by Boston's success, but also by President Obama's emphasis on stronger infrastructures and Mayor Nutter's interest in developing the historic waterfront." 


Freeway removal continues to gain momentum around the country. Joining the growing list of planned or proposed freeway removal projects, Hartford, CT considers removing the Aetna Viaduct.

Cities are focusing on quality of life to attract people and economic prosperity. While in Louisville, the Bridges Coalition members Mayor Abramson and GLI support building a 23 lane Spaghetti Junction on our waterfront. Whatever possible gain in short-term job creation will surely be followed by long-term pain for the entire region - more traffic, more pollution and a less inviting city.

Tolling Authority part of special session


Today Governor Beshear added tolling authority legislation to the agenda for next week's special session. If the legislation locks in the current two-bridge solution, it means that the project can't be changed in any significant way and therefore we cannot consider a better, less expensive alternative.

According to both the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the State's recent study, the East End Bridge provides more "cross-river mobility" and better "System wide performance" than the Downtown Bridge portion of the project which costs more than twice as much. That, and according to our poll, the East Bridge is supported over the Downtown Bridge by more than 2 to 1 margin by Jefferson County residents.

But the East End Bridge has been delayed by the "weight" of the downtown portion of the project for more than a decade. Regrettably, the delays will likely continue if a tolling authority is passed and the project is locked together. For some, this has been the strategy all along. We need to prioritize the East End Bridge and move Louisville forward.


Welcome to Louisville (Part II)


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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8664 catching on from Chicago to Stockholm


Chicago based Urban Affairs master The Urbanophile makes some compelling points about Louisville's future in Louisville: A Tale of Two Cities:

  • You don't have to be a huge city to be an internationally known and respected one. So much of what Louisville does is oriented around trying to emulate larger cities, but another, and I would argue more viable strategy, is to focus on quality over quantity.
  • Taking the road less traveled, so to speak, can pay long term dividends. Bucking the trends and carving out a unique path for yourself is what will really differentiate you over the long term.
  • Choices matter, and this is a long term game. Having the vision to do what is right for the long term future, not just taking the easy way out for today, is what makes some cities winners and other losers. You have to be willing to place some bets. Stockholm did and it paid off.

The post was a response to a Swedish blog post comparing Stockholm's waterfront mega-interchange (view a live webcam of Slussen) to Louisville's planned expansion of Spaghetti Junction.

kennedy-spaghetti-junction-.jpg"The image you see here is not an exaggeration by the opposition, it is from the actual Ohio River Bridges Project website. It's really quite shocking how the project absolutely dwarfs entire city blocks of houses and businesses, and is placed directly between the city and its waterfront. If you're having any trouble imagining the size of this monster, compare it to the baseball stadium in the bottom left of the picture."

Will Louisville join Detroit as a city that lost its way? Just say NO. Let's join cities like Portland, San Francisco and Chattanooga, by embracing our waterfront and creating a more livable and sustainable city.

CJ Article

Based on the story's comments, most people don't think safety is the motivating factor behind the lawsuit.

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Recent Comments

  • Anonymous: I see spagetti getting fatter, wider, bigger and taller. What read more
  • 8664: This is crazy. We don't even need another downtown bridge. read more
  • Larry Anas: The way I look at it: Q: Why are we read more
  • steven: Check it out, you guys won the 'your big idea read more
  • Kelly: Matt, My concerns about Hazmat are the same. I asked read more
  • paula metcalf: you can build a new arena and fund it but read more