This is an interactive age.
Even in politics, more local officials are using social media as a way to stay connected to constituents. Which is a good thing … until the next poor decision.
Last night, Metro Mayor Greg Fischer held a virtual City Hall, fielding questions on Facebook and Twitter from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Our intrepid reporter Curtis Morrison, who’s on loan to the CREDO political action group, campaigning in Iowa, still follows Louisville politics from afar.
Curtis asked the mayor this question via Facebook:
Hey Greg. Hope you’re well. I’ve been out of town a bit, but was curious to know if the New York Times editorial critical of the proposed downtown bridge has caused you to reassess your position supporting that bridge? Thank you.
I”m reposting my previous answer on this! Thanks for asking. I viewed the article as an opinion piece and see the (Ohio River Bridges Project) and improved public transportation as two separate and important issues. The ORBP is about getting people through our city and is important infrastructure for our general economy. Improved public transportation is needed to move people within the city. The financial challenge is that the federal government subsidizes the majority of public transportation – the fare box only covers 15-20% of the cost – so the fiscal condition of (Washington) D.C .is not currently helping this matter. All of that being said, we have a plan for enhanced public transportation; again funding is the problem. So we can continue to learn even in down funding times. TARC is running three pilots on the impact of increased bus frequency and ridership on the Bardstown Rd/Broadway, Preston/ Dixie Hwy and is seeing passenger increases in the the 20% range on them and are waiting to see the results from the newly announced Fourth Street route.
Curtis was referring to Michael Kimmelman, the NYTimes architecture critic who – after visiting Louisville and speaking at an IdeaFestival forum – wrote a long piece essentially begging us not to add to the already massive downtown junction with a second bridge.
More precisely, Kimmelman pointed out that other cities are undoing the 1960s infrastructure mistakes that destroyed municipal continuity. They’ve spent their billions to remove the traffic-clogged expressways cutting through the hearts of cities in favor of parks and parkways.
Instead, Louisville and Kentucky stand ready to fund an even more obtrusive Interstate-65 interchange, guaranteed to snuff the life out of NuLu and Louisville’s other New Urban success stories.
It was clear during the July 23 “ground breaking” for the downtown bridge that regressive leaders such as Gov. Steve Beshear have carried the day.
Even our most progressive elected official, Congressman John Yarmuth, has surrendered on the issue. At the groundbreaking, Yarmuth said as the founder of LEO weekly newspaper, he wrote about the bridges 20 years ago, “and one of the things that has constantly been talked about throughout this process is, ‘Isn’t it a shame we built two interstates through downtown Louisville many, many years ago?’ We can argue that, continue to argue that. There’s not much point in doing that.”
We disagree. This is the last chance for city and state officials to come to their senses and replace 1950s thinking in favor of more rational 21st Century options.
The irony is, River Fields’ legal team came up with the concept of packaging the East End Bridge with the downtown bridge in an effort to create a gargantuan, impossibly expensive project, guaranteeing the East End Bridge would never be built.
Instead, it’s increasingly likely both will be built.