Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thanks, AT. We Still Think Tearing Down 630 Would Make a Better City

Thanks to the Arkansas Times for the shout out yesterday. In honor of Max's hat tip, I thought I'd reprint & link to the piece that started our conversation about transportation in Arkansas & Pulaski County. I still believe it'd make for a better capital city.

Tear down I-630

Like all long-lasting revitalizations, Central Arkansas's traditional commercial core is amidst a slow renewal. But the process is disconnected. We have separate groups working in the South Main neighborhood and downtown and in the River Market. Because we're divided. I-630 separates our city.

So tear it up and start over. Expensive? Sure. But necessary for long-term holistic revitalization? Absolutely. It's not without precedent either. All over the country — in Oklahoma City, Portland and San Francisco — cities are in the process of destroying poorly planned highways. (Really, name another interstate that ends in a traffic light.)

Build a boulevard in place of 630. It could accommodate similar traffic flow, but at lower speeds; reconnect our neighborhoods, and spark new revitalization. Every once in a while, smart growth means starting over.

1 comment:

  1. I heard ideas about putting light rail down Markham before, being as hilly as it is, I'm not even sure it's technically feasible, and if we care about the service being reliable and quick, we'd have to take automobile lanes, which would be unpopular on a 4 lane road.

    A boulevard replaced I-630 would perhaps be the only realistic corridor in which one could expect to operate light rail. It'd be good way to connect the western core of LR with the University/UAMS and downtown.