Should Shreveport, Louisiana spend hundreds of millions of dollars and destroy a neighborhood,
all so that cars can drive a little faster through the heart of the city?
There’s every reason not to build a freeway through a poor, mostly-black neighborhood in Shreveport, Louisiana. So why is the state government taking money away from needed maintenance to push this bad project forward?
What's happening in Shreveport?
Today, at a time when most municipalities are drowning in infrastructure debt and maintenance costs, the city of Shreveport, LA is planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build a 3.6 mile inner-city highway. Proponents argue it will bring economic growth. In city after city, history has shown that urban highways do just the opposite.
The neighborhood that the I-49 inner-city connector in Shreveport would run through — Allendale — has seen many ups and downs over the last century. Today, it is a lower crime area with homeowners and residents who care about their place. There's a community garden, a neighborhood group and community gathering places. An inner-city highway would destroy every gain that Allendale has made.
- Visit the official website of the I-49 Inner City Connector.
- View a map of the proposed highway routes.
- Join the #AllendaleStrong Facebook group for further updates.
- 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 staff, members and readers.
Shreveport is overwhelmed -- except for a short period of time in a limited space -- with excess auto capacity, yet the I-49 Connector economic impact report cites a study of French cities to suggest more capacity is needed. C’est pas vrai.
The probability of the I-49 Inner City Connector creating 30,600 new jobs that would not have simply occurred somewhere else or are just being shifted from one now blighted place to the study area is precisely zero.
Commissioner Steven Jackson shares his thoughts on the I-49 project, the impact of Shreveport's existing inner city highways and what makes Allendale a special neighborhood.
Shreveport activist, Dorothy Wiley, discusses her love for her neighborhood and her work to help save it from being destroyed by a highway.
The only problem this highway project seeks to solve is, "How do we move more vehicles through Shreveport?" The perspective of residents whose neighborhood would be destroyed by the highway seems to count for nothing.
Highway project proponents convert very small amounts of time savings into cash equivalents to show all the benefit a project is creating. In the case of the I49 connector, it barely even passes this phony test.
More on Urban Renewal
A Youtuber who goes by donoteat01 brilliantly uses the Cities:Skylines video game as a storytelling tool—in this case, to help us understand the ugly human consequences of the postwar urban freeway-building era.
Tech giant Square has announced that they’re moving to downtown St. Louis, sponsored by some big tax incentives—and they’re putting up the funds to demolishing derelict homes in the adjacent neighborhoods to boot. Is that really the only forward for the Gateway City?
(Top photo from #AllendaleStrong Facebook page)