In case you missed last night’s meeting on the 30 Crossing interstate widening project of the state Highway and Transportation Department, here’s one of the 3D videos that were presented showing traffic at the evening rush hour in 2041. This one shows the “split diamond” versions of the 8-lane and 10-lane designs, which move the southbound exit into Little Rock to Fourth Street.
Note that Collector/Distributor lanes (video on the right side of the screen), which account for four of the 10 total lanes to be built (six thru lanes, four C/D lanes), are actually three lanes as the pass over the Arkansas River Bridge. They are divided from the thru lanes (the middle six) but adjacent. Note, too, that the thru lanes south of the bridge to its intersection with 630 swell to four north- and southbound as the on ramps become lanes. North of the river, I-30 is five lanes in both directions until the north interchange with I-40, but the AHTD is calling two of those lanes “decision lanes” (they are not separated). So, in places, the new interstate will carry traffic on more than 10 lanes. If you are thoroughly confused, watch the video, or even better, look at the roll map here.
It’s looking more and more like the fix is in on the split-diamond 10-lane, unless there’s legal action.
Also, the design collaborative StudioMain has released its power point that it presented last night at the AHTD public hearing at the Wyndham hotel. StudioMain has drawn some flack for working with the AHTD’s 10-lane plan and for presenting at last night’s meeting.
Architect James Meyer said StudioMain did not attempt to put a price tag on the deck park and other green spaces that would reconnect east and west Little Rock, but he said he believes its more than a pie-in-the-sky dream because the city is changing the way it thinks about livability and its future.
Architect Tom Fennell is not copacetic. In a letter to Max, Fennell notes his objections to StudioMain’s participation in the highway department’s event and his other issues with the highway plan:
1) There was no indication of who would fund the concepts presented by Studio Main. AHTD has already indicated they would not pay for the 6th-9th Streets deck park and there is little hope they would pay for any of the other amenities shown by Chris East. The presentation was carefully staged so that the amenities shown by East can be stripped out later for cost reasons and AHTD can deny they ever promised any of these ideas.
2) The new plans add park space but no land (actually less land) for future business development which is the key for future tax base growth downtown. They carefully avoided showing any views of the underside of their actual freeway design, just East’s hypothetical what-ifs of narrower underpasses. People attending this meeting would have no clue how wide the underside of the freeway is going to be.
3) AHTD is still expanding the freeway to 10 lanes through downtown whatever you call it.
4) The new plan is even more expensive and less sustainable than before, particularly in light of the cost the City will have to be responsible for. One big part of the funding is still a loan from the design-build contractor – $107 million — where will the money come from to pay this back? And is this loan constitutional?
5) AHTD is ignoring “induced demand” in their modeling though their own visualizations show congestion in the expanded freeway (we still have to do some tweaks they say). This induced demand will lead to the need to expand the rest of the freeways in the area – plans have already been developed for expanding I-630. AHTD did not address (again) the total cost implications for the future.
6) There was no mention of Smart Mobility’s study, a Chester Street bridge, or beefing up local arterials and connections for diffusing traffic. And there was no “boulevard” option on their options checklist.
7) Nelson Nygaard, is clearly not independent, but in the go-along with the mayor and AHTD mode which is very disappointing.