John Norquist Heads to Alabama for a Road Block

John Norquist is in Birmingham, Alabama today to help RETHINK280the organization fighting the proposed $800 million expansion of U.S. 280 with the construction of a 10-lane Atlanta-style freeway from the Elton Stephens Expressway to Dolly Ridge Road.

RETHINK280 is a group that "believes there are better, more cost-effective alternatives that would ease U.S. 280 traffic congestion without damaging the health and economic viability of communities along the corridor."

Working with Walter Kulash, a national expert in the field of livable traffic design, RETHINK 280 has developed a realistic and affordable alternative that incorporates toll-free express lanes and ground-level solutions at less than half the cost of the ALDOT plan. This alternative plan is more environmentally sensitive, more financially feasible, and better positioned for future transit opportunities.

Join the effort of CNU and RETHINK280 in this Road Block by visiting their site today:






Here's the text of an article

Here's the text of an article written by Martin Swant on Thursday, April 28th, 2011, in The Birmingham News titled 'Urban expert urges right road to growth':

To John Norquist, building roads isn't a one-way street.

During a visit to Birmingham on Wednesday, the president of the Congress for the New Urbanism said roadways serve a three-fold purpose: While movement has been the main focus, they are also important for marketplace and social interactions.

The Chicago-based organization, composed of mostly urban planners and architects, promotes the use of mixed-use, pedesitrian-friendly neighborhoods to combat suburban sprawl.

Freeways can take a toll on urban communities, Norquist said. If roads are designed only for movement, they can diminish real estate prices and social activity in a city's center. He said adding more freeways isn't necessarily the answer to helping cities grow and avoid congestion.

"You don't always have to build a giant roadway," he hold the Birmingham Rotary Club's luncheon on Wednesday.

ReThink280, the grassroots citizen group opposed to a plan for elevated toll lanes along U.S. 280, brought Norquist in to speak at an event from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Young and Vann Building at 1731 First Ave. North.

In his presentation to the Rotary Club, the former mayor of Milwaukee gave several examples of how freeways improperly implemented in cities around the world hurt urban development. He also gave examples of how other types of road renovation can aid economic and cultural prosperity.

"A city should be a beautiful place that makes your heart sing," he said. 'It shouldn't just be a place to park a vehicle."

Earlier this month, the city councils of Mountain Brook, Homewood, and Vestavia Hills voted to each contribute $10,000 to fund a study by traffic consultant hired by ReThink280 to seek an alternative development along U.S. 280.


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