Louisville Once Again Laughed Off National Stage

Another day, another story pointing out how out-of-touch and stupid half of Louisville “leaders” are.

Here’s a taste from the New York Times:

More and more Americans, educated 20-somethings and empty nesters among them, want to live downtown. Plenty of downtowns are coming back; many are thriving. Even so, we remain a nation in thrall to suburbs, highways, cars. On a recent visit here I was struck by this paradox.

A half-century or so ago Louisville, like so many American cities, bet the farm on cars and suburbia. It sacrificed a swath of its downtown to three interstate highways. There was the usual reasoning: highways would bring business, without which downtown, already struggling, would shrivel and expire.


Since then cities everywhere have been tearing down postwar highways that ripped through downtowns. They’ve replaced them with parks and streets and neighborhoods.


So what is Louisville doing now?

Pursuing a plan that would, in part, enlarge the downtown highways and construct a second bridge next to the Kennedy. It would even eat up some of a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, of Prospect Park and Central Park fame. Louisville is a car city with auto plants and a big investment in the auto industry. But still, I was stunned to hear this. The proposal, so clearly out of step, has been met with grass-roots opposition and is now in the courts, tied up over issues about financing, tolls and the environment.


As for the notion that expanding the interstate tangle and adding the sister bridge next to the Kennedy might bring more people and jobs into the city, I can only say that 40 years after the interstates supposedly started pumping life into Louisville’s downtown, the streets here looked pretty empty, especially at night.

You’ll absolutely want to read the rest.

Public transit? In Louisville? Haha. Right. Every day, the bus system kills off another route. Every day, an elected like Anne Northup or Jerry Abramson decry plans for better transit. Every day, some wealthy handful of people attempt to stifle progress in order to maintain their own power and wealth.

Possibility City!

7 thoughts on “Louisville Once Again Laughed Off National Stage

  1. As far as I know, Anne Northup hasn’t been elected to anything in some years now. But yeah, our politicians’ reluctance to fund and support public transit is despicable.

  2. Anne Northup is infamous for opposing any form of mass transit. Her most notable moment was appearing at a press conference where she attacked light rail and said Louisville needed more highways.

    She was a United States Congresswitch for quite a long period of time and had a decent impact on harming the 3rd District’s ability to, you know, progress.

  3. yep, it doesn’t matter if she’s still in office or not. once T2 was killed in the early 2000s, it wasn’t coming back easily.

  4. Sunny,

    The ORBP traffic studies are basing it’s ‘improvement’ of traffic movement with the addition of the Downtown Bridge on the asumption that I-64 east of Spaghetti Junction will need to be widened.

    Mr. Kimmelman’s reference to induced demand should tell you that doing so is a worthless endeavor, but for that academic exercise to work, you need to have 6-8 lanes of highway, which is a problem when it comes to the Cochran Tunnels which are only built for 4 lanes total.

    Expanding those tunnels, as well as just increasing the width of the roads as they pass through Cherokee Park will do just as he say – impact an Olmsted Park.

  5. The biggest problem with Louisville public transit funding is at the state level (48th with $1.3 million to Louisville). Until you fix the problem of Frankfort’s crippling drain on the Louisville metro area’s resources there will not be significant progress in this city. Louisville’s leadership must demand Louisville specific wagering laws so we can build a true downtown casino with pro-sports wagering. It’s the only way Louisville can compete on a level playing field with our peer cities.

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