by Max Brantley
Here's a great photo of downtown Chicago's Grant Park. At the left edge of the park is Michigan Avenue. At the right edge is Lake Shore Drive. In the middle is Columbus Drive. These streets, especially, Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, carry large daily traffic volumes. However, they also have stop lights and pedestrian/bicycle crosswalks. For example, pedestrians and bicycles can cross Lake Shore Drive at Buckingham Fountain and many other crosswalks to get to Lake Michigan and the pedestrian/bicycle trails that parallel the lake..
This is how great cities move large amounts of traffic while balancing the needs of business, pedestrians, bicyclists, commuters, city residents, tourists, etc. Lake Shore Drive is Illinois State Highway 41, not an Interstate highway. Can I-440 be redesignated I-30 and the current I-30 be redesignated as Arkansas State Highway 65? Then state highway 65 could go through downtown LR and NLR like Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, at grade, with stop lights and crosswalks.
BTW, I have lived across from the southwest corner of Grant Park and I have lived across from the north edge of Grant Park. So, I've spent a lot of time walking around in downtown Chicago. This kind of streetscape would make much more sense for downtown Little Rock than an Interstate highway. Boulevards (i.e., streets with wider-than-normal center medians) would be even nicer.
Also BTW, for two summers, I commuted from downtown Chicago to Argonne National Laboratory, which is 25 miles southwest of downtown. I did a "reverse commute" by living in downtown, so that I was driving out when the morning rush hour was heading in, and I was driving in when the evening rush hour was heading out. So, I've also had plenty of experience driving in downtown Chicago. However, I had no need for a car after work or on weekends because I could get wherever I wanted via foot, bus, El, subway, or commuter rail. It was very enjoyable.
Using Lake Shore Drive in Chicago as a model could also solve the LaHarpe problem because there would no longer be a high-speed freeway offramp dumping directly into a single downtown intersection. Instead, many intersections would split the traffic and diffuse it into different areas of downtown, just like the cross streets in Grant Park that lead to the Loop, the central financial district in downtown Chicago