This past week NLCOG (North Louisiana Council of Governments) held three public meetings in stage 1 of the highway planning process for their proposed I-49 Inner-City Connector, a redundant 3.6 mile $500 million limited access expressway. The first two meetings were in the Allendale neighborhood, December 11th at Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament and on December 12th at Mount Canaan Baptist Church.
A member of the neighborhood “Loop-It”group attended an organizing pre-meeting of neighborhood preachers where NLCOG promoted attendance for the three public meetings.NLCOG stated that the meetings were not for public discussion and were for residents to drop by and vote on their preferred build route. The “Loop-It” representative raised objection resulting in the “no build” option being on the ballot for the meetings. However,NLCOG then created a rule that any voting for no-build must also include a vote for one of the four build options. This tactic requires those voting to cast a ballot against what they desire. Further, when the vote is tallied NLCOG can then show residents where they voted to run over themselves. Maybe this NLCOG method of public particpation should be labeled the “Public Manipulation Process for Assisted Neighborhood Suicide.”
The neighborhood “Loop-It” group saw through this manipulation and cast write-in ballots for the solution they desire which is supported by current best pracitice knowledge in transportation planning to produce positive impacts for communities. Loop-It Group’s preference is to separate through traffic from local business traffic in order to increase local business activity. The following document is their write-in ballot. the ballot places checks on the desired option and an “x” on the NLCOG route (all 4 build options are essentially the same) that is wasteful spending to achieve poor results. NLCOG representatives told members of the LOOP-IT group that their write-in ballots would not be counted nor represented in their report as only those that followed [fell for] NLCOG rules would be counted (handout version 7-1.2.13).
Here is a story on KTBS in Shreveport, Public meetings on Potential I-49 Connector, by reporter Sara Machi that shares the views of the community and the supporters of the inner-city expressway. The supporters present mis-infromation that cannot be substaniated in what appears an attempt to confuse and sway the public to get on board as they drive the community into the past. We deserve better than a glimpse of the futurein the rear view mirror.
Here is a story that ran on KTAL just prior to the first public meeting at Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament, I-49 could impact Churches and Neighborhoods. The reporter, Marquel Sennet, at the end of her report describes the abusive public process that requires citizens who vote for using the loop (“No-build”) to also vote for one of the 4 build options that will run over the neighborhood. With this rule for their public process NLCOG gets what it wants, the people who will be hurt voting to run over their neighbors.
Here is a story that ran on KTAL after the first public meeting at Out Lady of Blessed Sacrament on December 11, 2012, Residents Sound Off on Proposed I-49 Inner City Connector. The neighborhood group referred to as “loop-It” turned out in Civil Disobedience to make their favored option a write-in ballot. Approximately 200 write-in ballots that are for the “Loop-It” proposal:
- For through traffic using the existing loop; and
- For new investment in a business route, a ground level boulevard achieved by reinvesting in an existing federal highway through the city (see handout / ballot above). A much less expensive solution with significantly greater outcomes than the options proposed by NLCOG.
The NLCOG said they will not count the write-in ballots and are only acknowledging input that surrenders to their manipulative public process.
At the second meeting at Mount Canaan Church in Allendale the “Loop-It” neighborhood group was run off by the NLCOG team and not allowed their freedom to assemble and express their opposition, even though they had secured permission from the church. Unfortunately, the media did not cover this event.
Here is another short report from KTAL, I-49 discussions continue, that features State Representative Roy Burrel, the chief proponenet for restudying the inner city connector after two previous times the project was killed in favor of the more practical approach of using the existing loop. Roy describes economic impacts that have no basis in reality and appear to be his wishful thinking or his misunderstnding of the economic realities that are well documented (some of the documentation is posted on this blog in other I-49 related stories). Roy somehow reasons that approximately “600 million new dollars of economic development will pass through Shreveport each year as a result of this project”. If he literally means “passing through” that is not economic development for Shreveport. I take from his comments that he must believe that if it passes through some of it may stick to Shreveport. It also means that he proposes to mix through traffic (Mostly 18 wheelers) with local traffic, a failed formula that actually reduces economic activity in the local economy due to “induced demand” congestion. I hope Roy will do some reading on this blog where he can learn from other communities and transportation planning groups. I hope Roy can see that he is promoting a project that will only make Shreveport less desirable and easier to leave.
Here is a brief story on KTAL that describes the final public meeting at the Chamber of Commerce where the report documents how a local resident who is opposed to the inner city connector fell victum to the NLCOG team tactics and also voted for one of the 4 build options through the Allendale neighborhood. Here is a report from KTBS, I-49 Connector Meeting.