Since Tyler Allen started running around town with maps slung over his shoulders about a year ago, jabbering about an alternative to the car culture monument that is the Ohio River Bridges Project, the 8664 campaign has largely been an underground phenomenon, with those who oppose it trying hard to simply ignore it.[img_assist|nid=1642|title=A view to a drill:|desc=A crew continued geotechnical survey work for the Ohio River Bridges Project last Wednesday, in front of the Witherspoon Garage adjacent to Waterfront Park. The crew was taking soil samples for engineers as part of the planned redesign of the Kennedy Interchange, or Spaghetti Junction. Additional support piers are planned for the area along the riverfront, although the precise location of the piers has not been determined. Similar work is under way from East Liberty Street to the Kennedy Bridge along the I-65 corridor, along I-64 from the Payne Street overpass to the Clark Memorial Bridge, and along I-71 in the Frankfort Avenue/Beargrass Creek portion, according to the Bridges Project Web site.|link=|align=left|width=150|height=200]
But as anyone in politics knows, pounding the pavement only goes so far (5,000 people are currently registered at www.8664.org). That’s why Allen and his partner in 8664, J.C. Stites, are amending their campaign strategy, treating the plan more like a candidate than the fruits of a slow-building student movement.
This Friday the pair will unveil Gallery 8664, a storefront in the old galerie hertz building (327 E. Market St.) that’s the newest stop on the First Friday Gallery Hop. The expansive maps that are synonymous with 8664 will be displayed in their semi-artistic glory, and visitors can pick up stickers, yard signs and T-shirts. Stites and Allen will be there (although the latter will miss the grand opening) during each Hop to answer questions, make presentations and talk about their dream of reconnecting downtown to the Ohio River.
“These visuals, when you see them in a large format — it really gives everyone a pause, and that’s what we want to do, give people pause about the current plan and promote this alternative,” Stites said yesterday.
He said they’d like to have Gallery 8664 open five days a week, and they’ve hired a summer intern to help staff it, but the final scheduling decision has not been made. They can now accept donations, but will be paying the rent out of their own pockets.
“This plan has not been given a fair shake, and it’s very curious to us and everybody,” he said. “It’s like the arena: Let’s get things out in the open and talk about them and make the best decision, and that has not happened.”