We’re a couple days after the fact here, but this bears a reposting: The folks over at 8664.org have released a new POV video, driving into the city from the east end, hopping off at the “Waterfront Parkway” exit and cruising west.
A couple things: First, it’s difficult to watch this and not get all tickled by the prospect of a Magnificient Mile-style stretch along the Ohio River. It would attract much-needed retail downtown, enable access to the river and Waterfront Park, help spur the whole condo/gentrification movement that’s stalling out a little downtown, and generally make the city core a lot more pleasant. Only some of that is quantifiable to people who stare at spreadsheets or studies all day, and that’s part of the problem we seem to be running into here. There is a stunning lack of imagination in our transportation planning. We’re giving some talk to things like this bike station, which is a nice gesture and all, but consider the practical implications: In cities like Chicago, bike stations work in conjunction with a robust and diverse public transit system to offer riders a little more flexibility. That is, you don’t just ride to work, lock your bike and go on about your day. Perhaps your commute is split among biking and busing. Or whatever else.
Point is, and this is nothing very new but it needs hammering (obviously), Louisville can offer the car culture the expansion/update it needs downtown and keep itself from falling into a concrete jungle by reconsidering what it might do with its waterfront. (I’ll let that point stand a blog-appropriate length for now.)
Second point is, this is a rendering, and it’s easy to look at it and be awed. Buying any idea wholesale is dangerous business. But with the General Assembly ultimately ignoring the tolling authority concept, we remain at a strange intersection: The money is not there for this bridges project as it stands, nor is the political will, and social/economic pressures that weren’t here five years ago — cost of gas, sustained environmental costs of driving, etc. — are apropos. Meanwhile, the political leadership in Louisville is ignoring reality by refusing to even consider tailoring this “plan” to reality.That is frustrating for young people — professionals maybe? — looking for this city to move into the future with some grace, context and understanding of itself.