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Bridges Project FLASHBACK

The year was 1994. Momentum to build an East End Bridge was continuing to build since it was first proposed in the 1960s. A newly created non-profit organization supposedly focused on downtown redevelopment and revitalization called Downtown Development Corporation released a study suggesting that Louisville didn't need an East End Bridge, but instead a downtown bridge.

Shortly after the new bridge "idea" was introduced, a small conservation group's president issued a press release advocating for the downtown bridge. The release read:

 "Today River Fields Board President James S. Welch, Jr. unveiled a plan which offers a solution to both the traffic congestion and server safety problems at the Kennedy Bridge and Spaghetti Junction."

-snip-

"Welch pointed out that the new design minimizes impacts on downtown Jeffersonville and Louisville."

-snip-

"this new plan would enhance the waterfront by adding acreage to the Waterfront Park and providing additional parking areas under the ramps."

Fast forward 15 years to today. Now the past president of River Fields is Chairman of the Downtown Development Corporation, the organization that created the idea of the downtown bridge. "DDC" is still a strong supporter of the downtown bridge and its board members serve on other related organizations including the Build the Bridges Coalition and the Bi-State Bridge Authority.

LEO Weekly: "Burned Bridge"

leo-logo.png 

eebridge.jpg"Politics, power and obstruction: Has Louisville's most prominent preservation group lost its vision?"

Steven Shaw did a heck of a job covering a very difficult story. Read it!

James Welch Jr. says his views have "evolved"

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If you read today's Letter to the Editor, you learned that James Welch, Jr., the past President of River Fields (the organization who has fought construction of the East End Bridge) and current Chairman of the Downtown Development Corporation says he now supports the "entire" bridges project. 

In River Fields' 1994 Press Release to push for the Downtown Bridge, Mr. Welch was adamently opposed to the East End Bridge:

"Improving access to a small portion of the community [by building an East End Bridge] while access across the overall region continues to suffer is absurd and hurts more citizens than it helps."

Note: According to the Environmental Impact Statement, the East End Bridge provides better access across the overall region. 

As Chairman of the Build the Bridges Coalition finance committee, Mr. Welch has been an advocate for using tolls to pay for the "entire" Bridges Project.

In unrelated news, River Fields appears pleased that tolls might be used to build the Bridges Project. Their attorney had this to say:

"We look forward to participating in the review that will be necessary to comply with environmental laws if tolls are chosen as part of this financial plan."

KYTC Fails to Study 8664

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A $60,000 PR hit job by KYTC

Today we received a copy of what is supposed to be a study of the 8664 alternative by KYTC's consultant. If they had wanted to make a good faith attempt of assessing our plan, they would have contacted us to clarify the specifics of our alternative and/or accepted our offer to provide a transportation engineer to oversee the study.

Instead they misrepresented our alternative by asserting:

  • I-64 will be widened to six lanes through Cherokee Park
    (second to last bullet point on page 2)
  • I-71 would also be widened to six lanes
  • I-64 and I-71 terminate at Clay Street
  • Waterfront Boulevard would divide the Great Lawn
  • we don't address Kennedy Bridge rehabilitation

All of the above are incorrect, and therefore KYTC's analysis is NOT a 8664 Study. In fact, if you wanted the 8664 alternative to fail, you would do exactly what they have attempted to do -- force more interstate and limited access traffic into Spaghetti Junction and change where the I-64 ramp enters downtown.

A Tolling Authority would be "F#%$ing gold"

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We'd like to spend our time talking about the benefits of a vibrant, sustainable downtown. But the entrenched political and media interests are working against us, so we need to speak out.

When it comes to bridges, a small group of citizens and elected leaders will do anything to stop an East End Bridge. The politicians are being dishonest with the people who elected them.

City Center and the Downtown Arena are two examples of how decisions get made without the input of tax-paying citizens like you. GLI and other groups like DDC and the Bridges Coalition are used to support an agenda without your input or the input of the Metro Council. It's a practice that needs to be stopped if we want true public discourse on important city issues like bridges.

John David Dyche speaks out

Yesterday's op-ed by John David Dyche shines a bright light on some questionable city practices. How can the Downtown Development Corporation ("DDC"), who is responsible for "planning for the long-term economic health and vitality of downtown," honestly support a 23 lane wide Spaghetti Junction?

Furthermore, why is the current Chairman of DDC a past President of River Fields. And why would he also be on the Build the Bridges Coalition, when he clearly doesn't support building the East End Bridge? Does anyone on the Coalition actually support the most needed, least expensive bridge?

What is going on in River City?

Read Dyche's: Abramson's lordly ways (We've got to give the C-J a little "cred" for actually running this piece. Out of character, but a good thing nonetheless.)

2nd Annual 8664 Forum

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Join us for this FREE event:

8664 Forum
Muhammad Ali Center, 144 North 6th Street
Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
5:30 Reception
6 - 8 pm Presentation and Q&A

Featured speakers include:

Cary Moon, Director
People's Waterfront Coalition
Seattle, Washington
John Norquist, President
CNU.org
Former Mayor of Milwaukee, WI

 Please RSVP TODAY!

We'd like to recognize our growing list of FORUM SPONSORS:

Destructive anti-East End Bridge Strategy

On April 4th, Jim Welch, Jr. the past president of River Fields and current Chairman of Downtown Development Corporation ("DDC") and board member of the Build the Bridges Coalition responded to our letter to the editor.

Mr. Welch accused us of "creating conspiracy theories and other diversionary tactics." Presumably, he is referring to our assertion that Mayor Abramson is promoting the Downtown Bridge and 23-lane Spaghetti Junction because he personally does not support an East End Bridge. For the record, we are not the only conspiracy theorists. Last November, in reference to "two bridges, one project," Indiana's Governor Mitch Daniels told the Tribune that "The 'one project' idea - I think for some people - it was a tactic to delay the whole project."

Rather than making accusations of us, it would be more productive for Mr. Welch to address our assertion. Why is someone who has opposed the East End Bridge for decades serving on the Build the Bridges Coalition? Why do the current and past Chairs of DDC have ties to River Fields? Why would our Mayor say 8664 was already studied when it wasn't? If 8664 is "flawed", why won't the Mayor allow us to pay for KIPDA to run the traffic model?

We respect Mr. Welch and his commitment to this community, but we believe the strategy of pushing for a Downtown Bridge and 23-lane Spaghetti Junction to delay the East End Bridge is dishonest and destructive.

It is unfortunate that accusations are flying, but so be it. We need to get this right.

JC Stites

Tyler Allen

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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