This week at Strong Towns, we've been discussing a proposed highway project in Shreveport, LA: the I-49 inner city connector that would run directly through an urban neighborhood.
We've discussed the history of urban highways and the many ways in which they harm the cities through which they run.
We've shared the stories of the Allendale neighborhood—from activists fighting to save their neighborhood to a long-running community garden to a nonprofit housing organization that has helped dozens of residents become first time owners.
This is a dedicated community who is not backing down. They know that a highway would destroy their homes, churches, and businesses, as well as bringing noise and pollution to their neighborhood. Moreover a highway would ruin the community fabric that they have built together. Not to mention that it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars for a city that is currently in debt with little plan for how to pay for the ongoing maintenance costs this project would incur.
The I-49 connector would be a big mistake for the city of Shreveport and do far more harm than good. It's time to shut down this proposed project and let the neighborhood of Allendale continue to thrive and grow.
How to Help
Many of you have asked this week, "What can I do to help?" Here are some ways you can take action on this issue, even if you don't live in Shreveport:
- Join the 2500 Friends of Allendale Facebook group for further updates and idea-sharing.
- Share what we've written on Strong Towns with your friends, media sources and leaders. This story needs to be told, and it's also a good opportunity to reflect on highway projects in your own community.
- Keep an eye on the official website of the I-49 Inner City Connector to see maps, documents and new information.
- Visit the Smarter49 website to see an alternative idea for the highway.
- Join the #Shreveport slack channel to participate in an ongoing discussion with Strong Towns members and readers as well as Shreveport residents.
- Donate to the #AllendaleStrong's GoFundMe or to the local nonprofit, Community Renewal, with an earmark for AllendaleStrong
We'll share updates to this story throughout the year so make sure to check back on our Shreveport page.
(Top photo of a street in Allendale by John Perkins. See more Allendale photos here.)