One day Louisville will collectively look up on an unencumbered Great Lawn and think, “Well, that was obvious.” I’m, of course, talking about the 8664.org plan to re-route Interstate 64 out of Downtown and over a new East End Bridge, eliminating the need for that city-death-tangle we hopefully will never know as the expanded Spaghetti Junction and a second Downtown I-65 bridge. Instead, we’ll have more park space, a revitalizing West End, and a beautiful, pedestrian friendly urban boulevard. (Read the rest of the 8664.org coverage from Broken Sidewalk.)
Tom Vanderbilt of How We Drive points us to a Harvard University researcher, Lant Pritchett of the Kennedy School of Government, who has theorized the progression of once controversial ideas. Pritchett suggests that any “big idea” passes through four stages of social acceptance: silly, controversial, progressive, then obvious. While not a linear progression, many social conditions followed this pattern from slavery to a woman’s right to vote.
Where are we on this scale in Louisville regarding the 8664.org plan? It looks like the city overall is hovering somewhere between “controversial” and “progressive”, despite many supporters who are already firmly planted in the “obvious” range. The reasons I believe the 8664.org plan is obvious have already been detailed at length in previous coverage, but many in the city including some elected officials, can’t see the facts presented from a multitude of fronts. That’s why we still must press our leaders to take a stand on the most important issue facing Louisville today. Call them and email them and talk to your friends and neighbors so one day we all will see it was obvious all along.
Per Tom Vanderbilt about New York (but also about Louisville):
‘Kill the street,’ the Modernist architect Le Corbusier once declared in a manifesto for a utopian city built around the car. Generations of traffic engineers did their best to oblige. But the street is coming back in New York—the street built for many users—and someday, if not quite today, it won’t seem silly, controversial or even progressive. It will just seem obvious.