Given the city’s desire to develop the area south of downtown, it’s perhaps understandable that they’re anxious to get the Crosstown Expressway relocated: after all, I-40 cuts the center of town in two.
Less understandable is their desire to replace it with, of all things, another road. Architect Dennis Wells, guesting at Steve Lackmeyer’s place, finds the whole idea superfluous:
Why are six new lanes of traffic needed where previously there were zero? An impressive new boulevard will be great where it’s justified, but Core to Shore will already be lacerated once by the new I-40; why would we purposefully construct another pedestrian barrier? Where is it written that ALL of the old I-40 space has to be used for a boulevard? What if local artists competed to transform remnants of columns and/or roadway into works of art, or unique public spaces? The avoided demolition dollars could be used to create a signature landmark for the city.
If we’re that hot to have a nifty east-west road leading into downtown, let’s clean up the unsightly areas (and they are legion) along Reno.
Jeff Speck is no fan of this thoroughfare either, but he has a different idea:
The planned boulevard, Speck said, is a “mistake about to happen” and needs to be made what it was originally intended to be — a park with streets on either side. Right now, the plans call for the proposed boulevard to be a wide expanse of concrete, which he said is just another highway.
Speck called for two three-lane streets with parking on either side of a wide, tree-filled park that would fill the empty space in the center.
And maybe a few old concrete columns in the park, repurposed as civic art.