It is hard for some people to imagine what Louisville's waterfront will look like when aspects of 8664's vision are adopted. Originally, we hesitated to illustrate our plan, because we felt the specifics should be determined by an open community dialog whereby urban planners, park designers and transportation engineers take citizen input to create the best possible solution. That is still what needs to happen. But some people have intentionally misrepresented our plan by suggesting that the parkway would be eight or ten lanes wide or that it would create a dangerous obstacle to access Waterfront Park. Malarkey!
This project should be used as a model for how community decisions are made. It's not up to politicians or road builders, and it's not up to us. It's a collaborative process that leverages the best and brightest ideas available. To that end, we can look to other national examples of freeway removal to help us visualize what our Waterfront Parkway might look like. Portland, OR was the first national example, so let's take a look at what their parkway looks like today:
Click the link to read more.
The above might be a close proximity of what the Waterfront Parkway would look like. Two lanes of traffic in both directions with a tree-lined median which could accommodate a turning lane. Synchronized lights for improved rush-hour efficiency, but clearly marked, ample crosswalks for safe pedestrian access to our expanded park. Bike lanes and transit stops would clearly be a priority, as would public art and pedestrian vistas of the park and the Ohio River.
Here's another image of Portland's Naito Parkway:
The grassy lawn seen under the trees on the right is where more than 75,000 people gathered for a political rally back in 2008. Just down the parkway a few blocks is where Portland holds its annual Oregon Brewers Festival, which according to their website has had a $2.25 Billion economic impact on the city.
When designed well, Louisville's Waterfront will be a spectacular showpiece that attracts people and events that will drive our economy and community forward. It's not really that hard to imagine.