KTBS News Story – “Students envision a new I-49 connector”


Here is a link to a KTBS news story video from September 23, 2013:

Students envision a new I-49 connector

The following is excerpted from the KTBS web site post below the video:

“RUSTON, La. –
A group of Louisiana Tech students recently pulled an all-nighter, brainstorming a new plan for the I-49 connector, which will cut directly through a large portion of Shreveport’s old residential areas such as Allendale. It’s part of a project for class, but they’ve planned something radically new that promises the city more than just a new stretch of highway. They’ve designed a new plan that brings travelers together with the community and 21 century infrastructure to Shreveport.

“This is not a true interstate,” student Lonnie Patrick said. “This becomes a boulevard.”

Patrick says plans include a new parkway that connects 1-49 to Common Street, then to North Market and finally to I-220.

“We’ve created different elements in this to help slow traffic down to make people slow down and look at what they are passing through instead of just running through it quickly,” Patrick said.

Students envision green spaces and parks along the roadway. North Market becomes a thriving center for new business growth and community gathering space.

“It allows the city to rebuild upon itself,” Patrick said. “Instead of expanding out and sending business outside of the city.”

Mason Nabors says the roadway will be extremely pedestrian friendly and will include utilities like broadband and fiber optics the entire length for easy access.

“We decided to design what is called a street case or multi-utility tunnel and begin to combine and integrate these utilities all into one,” Nabors said.

Things like solar energy infrastructure, bike lanes and other modern needs will be built.

“We want to give people an incentive to remain living here, move back to the area and bring new residents to the area, make our city more competitive,” Nabors said.

The students will continue to work on their project into the fall semester. City input was included in the project and isn’t a replacement for the state’s plans for I-49.”


Rochester REMOVING the Inner Loop Highway to Revitalize Downtown

On September 16, 2013 Mary Ebeling posted an article on SSTI, A new future for downtown  Rochester: Removing the Inner Loop Highway. The article quotes Mayor Richards, “The project will convert the 8-12 lanes of expressway and frontage roads into a single two-lane street, with parking, a separated bicycle track and sidewalks…This project will remove this barrier to downtown revitalization and will enable residents to walk safely and conveniently on an appropriately-scaled city street.”

Exploring the Alternative – Highways to Boulevards Charrette

On September 13, 2013 Architecture Students from Louisiana Tech University will meet on Texas Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana for a 2-day Charrette. Students will look at an alternative to a limited-access-elevated-expressway proposal promoted by the local MPO. Students will engage those non-political interests impacted by the roadway: residents in the path, local business representatives, local investors, local architects and local planners. The student designs will provide a creative look at a better, more sustainable future using strategies that re-connect relational networks of community. The following handout will be presented to students a week before the charrette on their first day of class. The first week of the quarter will include research on issues relevant to the 28 hour design collaboration. After the charrette students will spend the reminder of the quarter working on projects or clusters of projects identified during the design event.

Highways to Boulevards Charrette Handout

Discovering the Cost of Sprawl – American Parking Requirements

An August 30, 2013  post on SSTI by Eric Sundquist shares a parking requirements study for US cities and finds that requirements are adding costs to housing and retail purchases. Much of this overabundance of surface parking lots is the result of zoning criteria that fuels outward low-density growth patterns and shifts costs to citizens that elect alternative transportation options. Here is a link to the post, American Parking Requirements: Massive (Mostly), Arbitrary, and Costly.

Figure 1. An aerial view of a mixed-use section of Madison's West Side. (Source: Google.)

Figure 2. The median parking minimum for a 6,000 square-foot house of worship is a parking lot that is nearly 30,000 square feet. (Source: Graphing Parking, 2013.)

Vancouver British Columbia – thriving without limited access freeways

Vancouver British Columbia has completed a transportation plan for the future, Transportation 2040. Without a single limited access freeway this city metro of over 2.3 million and growing sets an example for the rest of the world in sustainability. Rather than look to new roads to accommodate population growth, alternative modes of transportation move to the front. Here is an excerpt from the web site that describes goals for the plan.

The plan supports goals that address the many challenges we face, and seeks to meet Vancouver’s economic, environmental, and social needs:

Economy – We envision a smart and efficient transportation system that supports a thriving economy while increasing affordability

People – We envision healthy citizens in a safe, accessible, and vibrant city

Environment – We envision a city that enhances its natural environment, ensuring a healthy future for its people and the planet

Vancouver transportation 2040 plan

A New Dallas – Removing Elevated IH345 Downtown

A proposal to tear down a 40 year old elevated limited-access freeway in downtown Dallas joins the growing list of communities that are awakening to the unsustainable negative impacts inner-city expressways have imposed on cities around the world. A New Dallas is a web site that explains a new vision for Dallas that builds the city in the downtown area devastated by the inner city IH345. Below is an illustration from the web site that shows the 245 acres of new development that can occur with the elimination of the elevated expressway that has reached the end of life and will require significant public reinvestment to continue to devalue the city around it.

The web site includes information about: vision, traffic, economics, public safety, FAQ, research and Support. The research section includes photos of other cities that are prospering from tearing down these destructive limited access expressways. The site includes an interesting quote from the Eisenhower Presidential Library concerning an April 6, 1960 meeting:

PRESIDENT EISENHOWER went on to say that the matter of running Interstate routes through the congested parts of the cities was entirely against his original concept and wishes; that he never anticipated that the program would turn out this way . . . and that he was certainly not aware of any concept of using the program to build up an extensive intra-city route network as part of the program he sponsored. He added that those who had not advised him that such was being done, and those who steered the program in such a direction, had not followed his wishes.

Austin proposal to reconnect the city – Bury I-35

Architects in Austin are exploring urban design concepts to reconnect the city that has been divided by I-35. Here is a link to a post, Should Austin Bury I-35?, with video that describes how burying the expressway and capping it with a park encourages development in a manner that can heal the city. The value of implementing the urban design concept is projected to more than offsets the project cost (approximately $550 million). Learn more about the project proposal at Reconnect Austin.

concept & illustration credit Credit Sinclair Black & Andrew Vernooy