Our hope is in learning together we can grow our collective creative capacities to change our communities. The path to the future begins with us. We invite you to come join the Allendale Learning Community. We are focused on finding better alternatives to city-killing cut-through expressways. This downloadable PDF document at the end of this article contains a bibliography of articles, research papers, podcasts and videos shared on the Loop-It 49 Facebook Page. Each information source is actively linked and each associated Loop-It 49 post is also linked. This research supports the following neighborhood organization positions:
- Separate Local business traffic from through traffic – mixing both categories of traffic creates congestion, pollution and reduction in business activity.
- A business boulevard is a reasonable alternative for local traffic. When designed as a “complete street the vibrancy and uniqueness of a community can thrive.
The bibliography articles are organized into two categories. The first set of articles provide support and information the a boulevard is a smarter alternative as an inner-city connector for I-49. The second set of articles reveal problems with the failed experiment of inner-city urban freeways. Among the articles is research that describe flows in the traffic and economic modeling used to justify destroying neighborhoods and cities with highway meg-projects. All articles in each category are organized by date posted on the Loop-It 49 Facebook page with recent posts listed first.
2016.3.18 Research Bibliography from the Allendale Neighborhood Learning Community
The highway planning process in Shreveport continues to reveal its flaws and public manipulation. In 2012 NLCOG, North Louisiana Council of Governments, revived a “dead plan” misleadingly named “I-49 inner-city connector” at a time when cities across the US and around the world are tearing down and blocking similar destructive expressway projects.
NLCOG’s outdated proposal – build a 3.5 mile limited access elevated expressway through an inner-city low-income African American neighborhood (Allendale), a residential historic district and across wetlands at a cost of approximately $500 million. Contrast that amount to the 34 miles of I-49 north of the city of Shreveport, that after 35 years and $670 million, is nearing completion. After political persistence directed approximately $3 million in state funding, NLCOG hired consultants in 2012 and began the long and cumbersome process of planning the ” I-49 inner-city connector” (a process designed to outlast any opposition). During their “phase 0” of 8 phases NLCOG succeeded in creating confusion and illusion of public process. NLCOG’s misleading the public resulted in formation of an Allendale neighborhood group, Loop-It. A citizens learning community formed to better understand the destructive nature of NLCOG’s promoted inner-city expressway and learn more about better alternatives. Loop-It developed a position to separate through traffic using the existing loop and build a business boulevard connector that in part utilized an existing road desperately in need of redesign for local traffic. This strategy is consistent with the “Highways to Boulevards” movement that is returning to prosperity parts of cities devastated by these city-destroying expressways. Loop-It mobilized public action that resulted in NLCOG being directed by DOT to go back to the planning process for more public input. It became clear that the loop option NLCOG had named “No Build” (meaning no cost) during “phase 0” would now become a build option. NLCOG public inferences revealed their blind resolve for the destructive connector. Their new revelation to the public, the existing interstate loop and State 3132 constructed and in use for interstate traffic were not up to standard and would cost big bucks.
At this writing a year later NLCOG is about to release its predicted slight-of-hand to change “no build / no cost” use of the existing loop to “build / ridiculous cost” use of the existing loop. The early information release to those in the business community enlisted by NLCOG for support, $1.2 billion to widen and improve the existing interstate loop that was designed and constructed under the direction of guess who?
Has NLCOG tripped over its passionate loyalty to old strategies to build expressways through poverty? Do they believe they can easily confuse and misdirect public opinions with flawed traffic modeling? Have they forgotten the contents of the 1995 environmental impact statement for I-49 North of Shreveport to Arkansas? Here is an excerpt from the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement concerning planned use of the existing loop and the requirement for a separate Federal EIS for any further consideration of a connecting link between the loop and I-20:
Traffic studies conducted during the 1995 Feasibility Study determined that carrying traffic on I-220 west and then south on the inner loop (LA 3132) is viable without having to provide a direct connection from I-220 to the junction of I-49 and I-20. If the I-220 to I-20 connection were to be considered in the future, a separate environmental analysis and document would be developed.
Since the EIS was completed the trend across the US is people are driving less. The vehicle miles traveled projections made by DOT in 1997 for the year 2012 were approximately 400% too high. Here is an article and chart posted on the Loop-It Facebook page that shows the drving trend and the consistently high projections used to forecast interstate highway usage, Travel Forcast Follies, US DOT refuses to learn from travel trends.
Your decide. From this side of the internet highway it looks like its time to change the public process and NLCOG.
I-49 N Final EIS 1-3
The Congress for New Urbanism has posted new updates on the movement to tear down and block limited access elevated expressways cutting through the hearts of communities around the world. Visit Highways to Boulevards to link to stories of communities that are considered model cities for this movement in the United States (Portland, Chattanooga, Boston, Milwaukee and San Francisco) and Internationally (Paris, Seoul, Madrid and Vancouver). Also linked are initiatives in 19 cities to block or tear down inner-city limited access expressways. Citizens are learning they can no longer sit by trusting the highway planning and building machine that has destroyed vitality of United States inner cities and created an extractive economy that has stressed the budgets of cities to the bvreaking point. It’s time for a change. “We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created the problems.”
Here is another interesting Klaus Philipsen post on his Community Architect blog, Adequate Services Regulation Prevent Revitalization of Inner Ring Suburbs. Klaus presents information that shows the problems associated with one-size-fits-all thinking when applied to smart growth. A silver bullet strategy to better manage sprawl resulted in an “Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance” (APFO) developed to assist communities direct development to existing communities and away from greenfields. Klaus describes information from a 2006 report from the National Center for Smart Growth that describes the unintended consequences of applying this type of ordinance uniformly to green fields and communities with existing infrastructure.
We need new thinking that looks more at local unique outcomes with an understanding of linking and leveraging assets. The one-size approach is left over thinking that looks at growth management in a hierarchical manner. As we continue developing Agile Planning tools and strategies we will learn more about the connections of the many systems that are at work in communities and how crossing boundaries requires first establishing an environment of trust. To see how trust can begin to reconnect relational systems visit Community Renewal International. To see how we can guide loosely joined open networks in a trusted civic space visit Strategic Doing. You can read a white paper that describes Agile Planning and read how CRI and strategic doing are part of co-creating a new planning strategy.
The Interstate Service Plaza – A Stepchild of Travel Architecture
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA, publishes a blog, Community Architect. “This is an urban design, architecture and cities blog exploring design, art, culture, planning, transportation and cultural landscapes.” In this post, The Interstate Service Plaza, Klaus describes how the European interstate systems that preceded the US system incorporated “travel service centers” that were more efficient at supporting the speed of travel that was the intent of travel interstate. Although he does not weigh in on the issue of US interstates cutting through cities against the wisdom of designers like Robert Geddes, who envisioned the US system in the 1940’s, he does provide important insights concerning the poor land use and development patterns that work at cross purposes to the purpose of the US interstate system, rapid travel between cities.
Here is a post on The Better Block, The Better Block Approach to Urban Planning, that compares the old hierarchical way of planning to a new way that engages the community in an empowering manner that informs citizens and grows their capacity. This organization is an example of a relational strategy that guides open networks to align their assets and innovate.
Highway Planners are threatening to run over the inner-city Shreveport Louisiana neighborhood of Allendale with a limited access expressway. It is a destructive plan that will repeat past mistakes in Shreveport that are easy to see if you look at the city through the eyes of a new paradigm. The world seems to be in the process of awakening to the destructive nature of these expensive and destructive entitlement roadways that are a root cause for the unsustainable patterns of growth that are experienced by cities, like Shreveport, that seem unwilling to embrace the prosperity of smarter growth.
Attached is a document with stories from Allendale that share the lives of special people that are rebuilding a community in the path of the highway planners. Allendale residents were introduced to the power of story telling by Annette Simmons, behavioral scientist and author of The Story Factor, Territorial Games, Safe Place for Dangerous Truths and Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins. Annette shared knowledge she uses in her consulting business to teach Allendale residents to tell stories that influence. The training was amazing and the stories reflect her ability to help us communicate more effectively. Terri Thrash, an author living in Allendale who has written Evidence and Ulterior Motives, joined Loop-It and is providing editing assistance to help other residents add their stories of Allendale.
Together we are learning that these monster roads have been the equivalent of dropping bombs on our cities, and yet, the leaders of communities seem stuck in an old paradigm that does not allow them to see the obvious. At the end of each story is a link to cities around the world that are tearing down and blocking the same type of road being promoted to add another congestion creating cut to Shreveport.
LOOP-IT Allendale Stories 10.14.13