Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why o' why, is ALDOT and Bob Riley trying to force unneccessary road projects on Greater Birmingham

First the foolishness with the Northern Beltway and its irrational route going through properties that have been in people's families for generations in areas like Clay and Pinson to now the idiocy coming from Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and Alabama Governor Bob Riley where they want to steamline the construction of the elevated tollway over the current route of U.S 280 from I-459 to Eagle Point Drive in Northern Shelby County.  "Something is very unclean in the water" what the hell is Figg Engineering going to pay for this stupid thing.  The only thing I agree with on this steamlining of the improvement of U.S. 280 is limiting the access points along the route like U.S 231 also known as Memorial Parkway is in South Huntsville.  However, the convoluted thing is Riley wants the version along the U.S. 280 to have a below grade toll road in 4 of the 10 lanes of the proposed roadway.  Idiotic.

I can't for the life of me understand why these Alabama officials have so much regard towards outdated mindsets when it comes to alleviating the traffic issues of Greater Birmingham.  More roadways will now solve the problem rather further exacerbate.  The issues with the traffic along U.S 280 is simply that it doesn't flow well, and it's not the capacity of the road itself.  If ALDOT would eliminate the traffic signals and replace them with interchanges with access roads then the road would be more functional as a route from the southeastern suburban areas of Greater Birmingham.  Now, this half-ass idea to construct a toll road that is below and above grade along this road is just dumb, dumb, dumb.  A bus-rapid-transit route that could be eventually converted to a light-rail transit route along the corridor would be more appropriate along with the recommendations of the limited-access expressway setup like Memorial Parkway in Huntsville with access roads from the Red Mountain Expressway to the Coosa River bridge on the Shelby/Talladega county lines.

On to the dubious Northern Beltway, tentatively named I-422, where former Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce lobbyist (prior to its merging with Regions 2020 and Metropolitan Development Board to form the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA)), Pascal Caputo, made a Facebook page title "Birmingham Northern Beltline" to advocate the roadway.  Sounds like to me he is trying to get back on at the BBA. The foolishness even made it to a news story in the September 13th edition of the Birmingham News.  Caputo even blogs about it on his own site the Caputo Report, where he advocates it should be "a top priority for the Birmingham business community".  This guy is too much, and fails to realize this is an outdated idea to improve the economic development prospects in Greater Birmingham.   

In the December 13th edition of the Birmingham News, there was a story discussing how the poorly planned Northern Beltway will plow through large tracts of land where there have been family homesteads for generations.  The original route of the Northern Beltway was to connect with I-459 at both ends, but ALDOT swore up and down it would be more costly to allow it to connect to I-459 because it would displace residents in eastern Birmingham.  However, they could have easily accommodated the route to the residents in the area by still connecting  and having the road go east a few miles then resume its northwestern trek towards I-65.  The topography of the original route and the current proposed route are both extremely rugged, but the original one wouldn't hurt the Cahaba River watershed. The development patterns of the region doesn't need to spread out any further than it already is, but poorly executed rushing will just make the problem even worse.  The excuses and bum-rushing of these projects will likely put Birmingham in mess that will take decades to correct because so officials within the state government and Birmingham business sector doesn't listen to the community or use rationale.  SMDH. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, this is normal of the "fire" mentality. They take a solution and fix the problem. They don't think about it -- they just fix it. That's all they are told to do. No thought.

    This is endemic of the state of Alabama.



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