8664 wins ‘Big Idea’ contest

The Greater Louisville Project announced that the grassroots movement 8664 is the winner of its Create Louisville: Your Big Idea project, but the group won’t get a one-on-one sit down with Mayor Greg Fischer as originally promised.

The contest was designed to engage citizens, elicit fresh thinking and new ideas about the city, and garnered more than 2,300 votes since it was launched last fall. Among more than a hundred “big ideas” submitted by community members with 8664 almost receiving more votes than the other top four winners combined.

Founded by J.C. Stites and former mayoral canddiate Tyler Allen, the group advocates removing interstate 64 along the Ohio River rather than expanding Spaghetti Junction and building a new downtown bridge. Since 2006, the group has stood in stark contrast and opposed the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project by pushing for what it says it a less expensive alternative.

“I’m thrilled,” says Stites. “We’re excited the bridges project is going to be altered, and I’m eager to continue the conversation and talk to Mayor Fischer about it.”

Initially, the winner of the contest was promised a half hour meeting with the mayor to brief him on their idea, however, after reviewing a list of the finalists there’s been a slight change per the Fischer administration’s request.

According to a spokesperson for Greater Louisville Project, which sponsored the Big Ideas initiative along with Louisville Public Media and DRIVE, a young professionals group, the Mayor’s Office suggested that it would be better to meet with the top five winners for a full hour instead.

The briefing is being scheduled for later this month, but altering the rules at the last minute is bound to raise the eyebrows of political observers, who will recall that the bridges project was a sore spot for Fischer during the 2010 mayoral campaign.

“I was not aware of any change,” Stites says. “That’s kind of surprising that they’d do that after the fact. It’s very strange. They just changed the rules.”

The other winners include a “Big Tree Planting Campaign” to dramatically increase the tree canopy throughout Louisville; “Louisville City Text 311” to make Louisville a mobile-ready city with multiple text/app services; establishment of a “Creativity Fund” that will provide stipends each year to ten individuals to support their work pursuing an idea, project, or new product they have devised; development of the “Southern Strut,” a destination shopping and entertainment district along the Third Street corridor near Churchill Downs.

6 Comments

  1. Chuck Burke
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Greg Fischer’s office is changing the rules at the last minute…. SHOCKING! Anything that challenges ORBP (and the tolls, air pollution and ugliness that it brings with it) gets canned as quickly and quietly as possible. No one should be surprised by now.

    Louisville needs BYPASSES, and NOT a 4th downtown bridge, to alleviate our traffic congestion. Every other city has bypasses… funneling ever increasing amounts of traffic (much of which is just THROUGH traffic and doesn’t contribute to our economy) directly through our downtown is just stupid.

    Here’s a big idea… build the east-end bridge now and take the $3 billion saved on the downtown portion of ORBP and use it for a light rail system. Or an elevated rail system. Or a world-class bus system. Or tuition for our students. Really, almost anything would be more useful and attributable to a quality-of-life increase for our actual residents than yet more elevated interstate and a 4th downtown bridge.

  2. greg gittings
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    build the east end and then if you think another bridge would help-connect across Snyder right past Dixie–all ready to go–access to the Boat and all points Indiana etc….by pass traffic away from downtown(just traveling through..it’s smart

  3. Rob Price
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Mayor Fischer can ignore the people’s wishes at his own political peril. Wasting $4B and worsening our air quality at the same time will surely make him a one-term mayor.

    I don’t agree with everything that 8664 proposes, but winning this contest should not exclude them from the 30 minute one-on-one that was promised.

  4. R.C.
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Most Kentuckiana commuters realize that we need the east end bridge to relieve the traffic congestion that is being funneled through downtown Louisville. If a second interstate bridge is needed it only makes sense that it should be built in southwest Jefferson County, at the other end of I-265, after the last Indiana section is completed from I-64 to the river somewhere south of Horseshoe Casino.
    As for helping the traffic situation in and out of downtown Louisville and Southern Indiana, the solution is not another interstate bridge. What we need is more local or metropolitan area commuter routes across the river; either light rail and/or another local access bridge or two like the 2nd Street bridge.

  5. stu noland
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    The downtown ORBP represents the death of Louisville as a dynamic, creative, and growing city. There is a way to add another downtown bridge without destroying Louisville’s image defining gateway. By locking the city into over 100 years of elevated waterfront expressway blight Greg Fischer is cutting Louisville’s resurgence off at the knees. If Louisville makes the biggest urban planning mistake of the 21st century, the city will by doomed to a 100+ year economic malaise.

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