Fighting to Take Back Louisville’s Waterfront

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’re headed to Louisville, Kentucky, where Broken Sidewalk highlights grassroots efforts to prevent a massive expansion of the I-64 highway on the Ohio River waterfront.

A local advocacy group called 8664.org (as in, "let’s 86 the 64") is opposing the Ohio River Bridges Project, which would cost $4.1 billion and result in an expanded interchange 23 lanes wide. The group, which was founded by two local businesspeople and claims 10,000 supporters, is promoting an alternative plan — one that would remove and relocate the highway, enhance Louisville’s waterfront by creating a pedestrian-friendly boulevard, and cost much less.

As Broken Sidewalk points out, highway removal is a national movement that is rapidly gaining wider mainstream acceptance — and despite the plans in place to make Louisville’s riverside road even bigger, it’s still not too late to change course:

ORBP_23_Lane_Spaghetti_Junction.jpgThe proposed "Spaghetti Junction," 23 lanes wide, that advocates in Louisville are trying to block. Illustration via 8664.org.

One of the great things about the 8664.org plan is that it doesn’t just solve a transportation problem in a more fiscally responsible manner, but also drastically raises Louisville’s urban standard of
living and provides for huge potential gains in community and real-estate development. Those external benefits don’t fit easily onto a traffic modeling program and are often overlooked.

It’s often quipped in frustration that Louisville waits until something is done elsewhere before we can accept it here. If that’s indeed the case, highway removal should be fully legitimate. Plenty have already removed urban highways and plenty are seriously considering it. We could be in good company and we could also be in a
position of leadership in urban rejuvenation.…

It’s not too late to see the 8664.org proposal come to fruition, and it’s not some out-of-touch, idealistic idea from a few dreamers. This is the course the country and the world are moving in to solve complicated transportation problems while simultaneously fixing cities.

The folks at 8664.org and at Broken Sidewalk are bolstering their case with examples from around the country — check out the original post for plenty of relevant links. It’s a terrific example of how networking among sustainable transportation advocates in the United States can give local groups the tools they need to argue for better planning.

More from around the network: Copenhagenize notes the trend of "demotorization" in Japan — apparently, some young people there think it’s just not worth the trouble and expense of owning a car. Imagine that. Orlando Bike Commuter Blog suggests parking and riding a bike the last mile into downtown when doing business in that city. And City Parks Blog examines what makes a "great green place," using Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, as an example.

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