League of Women Voters objects to Interstate 30 expansion plan | Arkansas Blog

League of Women Voters objects to Interstate 30 expansion plan

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TOO MUCH: The League of Women Voters object to the scope of the I-30 project, shown here in artist's conception. They also raise environmental concerns about wetlands along the Arkansas River at lower right.
  • TOO MUCH: The League of Women Voters object to the scope of the I-30 project, shown here in artist's conception. They also raise environmental concerns about wetlands along the Arkansas River at lower right.

The League of Women Voters has written the Little Rock Board of Directors to express objections to elements of the Arkansas highway department's $600 million-plus plan to widen Interstate 30 to 10 lanes through downtown Little Rock.

The letter:

The League of Women Voters of Pulaski County recently had a member meeting focusing on the 30 Crossings Proposal by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. After our discussion we decided on the following points.

We support rebuilding of the I-30 Bridge, and keeping the trolley route intact. We also realize that there must be some modifications to the interchanges, as well as to the intersection of LaHarpe and Clinton Boulevards.

We are against the larger scope of the project because we want to continue the present quality of life for the downtown residents, discourage urban sprawl, and protect the environment.

Our national organization, the League of Women Voters of the United States, has a policy supporting “energy- efficient and environmentally sound transportation systems (that) afford better access to housing and jobs”. The LWVPC not believes the current proposal supports those requirements.

We are especially concerned that the proposal was presented as having “minimal impact” on the Bill Clark Wetlands, and the Witt Stephens Nature Center, before any environmental impact studies have been conducted. Data has just now begun to be collected on the effect the project would have on air quality and noise pollution in the neighborhoods close to the project.

The most important point the membership wanted to make was that the people most affected by the project were not being heard by the Little Rock Board of Directors, or the AHTD. The term "politically disconnected" was mentioned, and that seemed to really resonate with the group.

As an organization which promotes citizen involvement in our representative democracy, we wholeheartedly expect our public officials to listen to the citizens and respect their wishes. We believe that most citizens want to keep downtown Little Rock on the path it has begun to be a more walkable, livable neighborhood. The 30 Crossings plan does not encourage the City to continue in that direction.

Sincerely,
Carol Young,
Convener, League of Women Voters of Pulaski County

The Highway Department will have another public meeting on the plan at 6 p.m. tonight at the Clinton Presidential Center. The city board will meet Tuesday and may consider a resolution by City Directors Kathy Webb and Ken Richardson urging more study on alternatives to the plan so far being pushed by the highway department.

PS: It's worth noting that Mayor Mark Stodola has pushed back against the shape of the highway planning to date. He'd like to see a new entrance to downtown, for example.

Here's his letter to the highway department.

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