Allendale Learning Community’s Bibliography – Facts for a Local Business Boulevard connecting I-49 through Inner-city Shreveport

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


Blind Determination or Intentional Manipulation to Destroy Inner-City Neighborhoods?

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NLCOG’s outdated proposal – build a 3.5 mile limited access elevated expressway through an inner-city low-income African American neighborhood (Allendale), a residential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

Highways to Boulevards 2015

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.”


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.

Stories from Allendale

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

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