Soccer Stadium

$25 million to buy land
$ 5 million in public infrastructure
totals $30 million bond issue by Metro Louisville
$50 million spent by Louisville City soccer club to build stadium
$185 to 200 million in private investment in the area for mixed use development (by whom? where? when?)
$ 14.5 million paid by the soccer club in rent over 20 years
Creates needed employment.
Transforms abandoned oil tank facility.,
Destroys no valued architectural treasure.
Could be a good investment for Louisville.
Should, however, replace planned parking with public transit.


Another Summit Charade

Metro Louisville is sponsoring yet another Sustainability Summit.  The keynote speaker, Vanessa Keith, “assumes we are not going to be able to stop what we have already triggered (the ugly results of global warming). Neither the population nor the political institutions are making the necessary efforts.”
Tragically, she may be correct. “The necessary efforts” have not been made by Metro’s leadership. Conferences, studies, media events, ribbon cuttings, programs, summits, etc. are not “the necessary efforts”. A municipal power company and transportation / land use reform are “necessary efforts”.
Over a decade ago another keynote speaker, this one from the Brookings Institution, informed Metro Louisville from a podium in the convention center, that Louisville must make it possible for citizens to live easily without a car. To meet that goal requires land use and transportation reform, neither of which we have begun.
Given the Fischer administration’s record and Fischer’s lack of commitment in meeting the challenges of climate change, Metro’s hosting another Sustainability Summit is at best a charade.

Amazon and Fischer’s Failures

“We’re going to compete very hard for the Amazon headquarters … we are in the process of putting that proposal together … we’ve got a lot of strengths, and we’ve got some gaps as well…”, Mayor Greg Fischer.

The mayor has had seven years to address those “gaps” and has failed to do so.

Amazon is an urban, not suburban, company. Amazon ” made a conscious choice to invest in downtown Seattle—even though it would have been cheaper to move to the suburbs … 15% of Amazon employees live in (the urban) zip code and about 20% walk to work…”

Fischer’s Louisville, in comparison, makes a conscious choice to build the new VA Hospital in the suburbs, to toy with incremental conversion of one way streets to two way streets, to celebrate the destruction of fields and forests, replacing the green space with acres of surface parking lots, to continue to defile our urban waterways, to permit industrial emissions to endanger urban health, etc.. Sure there have been some improvements in urban Louisville, but Fischer has shown a lack of commitment and courage to take the steps needed to recreate Louisville into a city ready to embrace the twenty first century.

StreetsBlog USA named Louisville the nation’s 2016 champion in an overabundance of heat and flood producing, real estate wasting, walkability damning surface parking lots (SPLs).  So what do we do about it?  Can we use our surface parking lot (SPL) glut to help lure Amazon?  Yes. Here’s how.
1) Metro digs up all Metro owned SPLs and plants ‘grass and trees’,
2) TARC triples service to urban neighborhoods and downtown by eliminating service to distant burbs,
3) dedicated bus lanes are established,
4) one way streets are converted to two way,
5) urban traffic is calmed by having all urban lights blink yellow or red but never green,
6) private urban SPLs, now empty as a result of above action, are redeveloped as new office/residential/retail,
7) SPLs ‘around the Watterson’ will become heavily utilized park and ride lots,
8) urban sidewalks will fill with pedestrians,
9) urban streets will fill with cyclists,
10) instead of TARC buses going back at night to TARC SPLs, have them park in the unused dedicated bus lanes til morning,
11) TARC can now redevelop the TARC SPLs and use the income to provide more public transit service,
12) meanwhile, JCPS needs to partner with TARC for efficient transportation and redesign the student assignment plan so JCPS buses do not have to run two shifts, kids do not have to be on dark. cold street corners at 6:30 a.m., and parents do not have to drive millions of miles,
13) Metro needs to funnel assistance to businesses and hurricane victims, not to rebuild in vulnerable coastal sites, but in Louisville,
14) …

Fischer dodges Sanctuary


“Sanctuary really is a politicized discussion” and as such we are not going to address it. So say mayor Fischer and his speech writer, continuing to dodge the issue. Fisher offers platitudes, proclamations, personal stories and a focus on “inclusion, sustainability, education, career development and getting immigrants naturalized and on the way to citizenship”, but no sanctuary. Appears Fischer’s compassion and inclusion do not embrace sanctuary.

For those who fled violence and poverty, and are now productive contributors to our city, yet living in fear of deportation, sanctuary is much more than “a politicized discussion”. It should also mean more to Louisville’s leadership.


How to get the city to take action on the Impound Lot

How do you get the city to take action on LMPD’s impound lot?
.1. call the community together
.2. get organizations, citizen leaders and businesses to sign on to a Resolution
.3. present the Resolution to the mayor and police chief
Initial yield?
The city tested runoff from the impound lot for the first time in 24 years !!!
The resolution …
Media coverage …


If cities really want to fight climate change, they have to fight cars

This story was originally published by Slate and republished in Grist.

On June 1, the U.S. Climate Mayors — a network of more than 300 city leaders, including the mayors of the country’s five largest cities — published a commitment to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.” The cities would carry out the promises Donald Trump had abandoned.

I have bad news for this feel-good caucus. Want to fight climate change? You have to fight cars. In the nation’s largest cities, cars account for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Nationally, transportation is now the single largest contributor to carbon emissions.

And it gets worse, at least from a political perspective. Mayors can fund transit, build bus and bike lanes, end free parking, and reform building codes that require it. (Though they mostly don’t.) But ultimately, the only way to combat American automobile dependency is to reform the way we build, and in particular, to help avoid low-density settlement patterns that make it impractical or impossible for Americans to get anywhere without a personal car.

Berkeley, California, is a great case study. More than 90 percent of voters there picked Hillary Clinton in November, and Jill Stein outperformed Donald Trump. If there’s an American polity with more evident devotion to fighting climate change, I don’t know where. The town is home to the University of California and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Mayor Jesse Arreguin has promised to introduce a bill to bind the city to the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

But even in Berkeley, liberals have a blind spot when it comes to housing policy and the transportation choices it requires. As a councilman in 2014, Arreguin pushed a ballot measure putting super-strict conditions on new development. It failed, but his elevation to mayor in November was seen as a reproach of his opponent Laurie Capitelli’s pro-development record. 

…The fewer people live in Berkeley and other job-rich, close-in Bay Area cities and suburbs, the more people have to drive. More than half of Berkeley’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and trucks.

The city’s 2009 Climate Action Plan got it. Reducing vehicle miles traveled is “imperative,” it says. “The most effective strategy for reducing VMT in the long-term is to site new housing near transit.” It notes that between 1999 and 2006, the city failed to meet the target housing production set by the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, or RHNA. Between 2007 and 2014, the city built about half what the RHNA called for. Yes, that period coincided with a major recession. But Berkeley still lags behind the eight-county Bay Area’s RHNA goal rate of 57 percent.

That plan also passed the buck: “While Berkeley should continue to build more housing, greater emphasis should also be placed on other transit-rich communities that have not met their RHNA goals for accommodating the region’s growth.”

It’s not wrong. In some ways, it is unfair to single out Berkeley. There are many, many worse actors in the Bay, especially the job-rich, house-poor suburbs of Silicon Valley. Nearly every single city that considers itself a beacon of environmental progressivism has parking minimums, among a host of other policies that perpetuate the status quo.

Corporate actors are hapless: Apple, which is pledging to spend a billion dollars fighting climate change, just built a headquarters with 11,000 parking spaces that condemns its workforce to decades of car commutes.

Climate change and responsibility

On May the 21st the Courier-Journal published an article by Jeff Watkins, News Editor, addressing climate change from a perspective of personal, individual responsibility. Jeff ended his article with: “If pointing the finger of blame will help, I’ll take the heat.”

In the next two weeks the C-J published related pieces by Glenn Reynolds and Mike Kleier suggesting that those who express concern about climate change should “walk the talk”.

These are conversations long overdue. All three are found below.

Fischer: ‘unaware’ and 84th

WFPL – June 2, 2017

“Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will add his name to a list of Mayor’s pushing back against President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

More than 80 mayors from across the country penned a letter to Trump after his Thursday announcement proclaiming to uphold elements of the landmark agreement to combat global warming.

Fischer, who initially said he was unaware of the agreement between the mayors, ultimately decided to take action and add his name to the list – which includes mayors from Austin, Portland and Nashville, among others, according to a spokesman.”

Fischer, the same major who refused to join other mayors in encouraging the EPA to tighten air quality standards, will not lead and only complies when pressured to do so.