Listen up: Here’s my plan to 86-64 in a totally awesome way.
Even though 8664 (www.8664.org) has the second-best regional transportation idea going (for the best, see www.cartky.org), and even though it has a cool brand identity that GLI ad-weenies can only dream of, the 8664 idea is still considered fringe by many people, including those who count: rich people. Some of those rich people are extra-important, including people named Abramson, Yarmuth, McConnell, Bunning, Fletcher and Beshear, all of whom are opposed (cough, cough, Big Auto, Big Oil, Big Construction) to the idea of eliminating the noisy, noxious portion of I-64 that sits on the riverfront like bird poop on a wedding cake.
That kind of governmental shortsightedness always sets me to daydreaming — in convenient “If I were Poobah” format — about ways to improve our regional transportation woes. Like, if I were Poobah, I would build light rail along I-65 and I-64; flood the city with bike paths and TARC buses; use tax policies to encourage people to use public transportation; add new taxes to discourage sprawl; allow children to throw rotten vegetables at vehicles that get less than 30 MPG; and give Abramson and Yarmuth atomic wedgies for not being more vocal in support of public transportation (because unlike the rest, who are living in 1953, they at least know better).
Whether to build an East End bridge was a tough call for me. Back when the Snyder was just a place for Anchorage kids to blow the pot smell out of their dads’ LeBarons, an East End bridge would’ve been foolish, because it would have generated sprawl. But the sprawl ship has sailed on the Snyder — which has already been dry-walled with every plastic Fern Chain and Big Box known to mankind — and an East End bridge would allow us to force the Walton family’s through-semis around the city.
How would I pay for my admittedly expensive plan? That is a topic for another column.* But the first thing I’d do is 86-64. Sadly, 8664’s biggest branding success is also its biggest problem: the “86” portion. Clever and concise, the numberplay poetically says in four digits what the movement is all about. Unfortunately, while “86” successfully conveys “to shitcan,” it doesn’t specify how to shitcan the interstate. And that’s where my plan comes in.
Here in the heartland, we understand how to destroy nature to put up strip malls, strip clubs and strips of interstate, but our brains tilt when we think about how to reverse the process. If more people could envision the actual 86ing, they would jump on board.
Alas, my initial ideas weren’t so great:
First I thought maybe we could get the world’s greatest human — Chuck Norris — to come to Louisville and roundhouse-kick I-64 into the dirt. But his kicks are so powerful he might kick the whole interstate into Indiana, where it’d take root and sprout gun stores, mega-bait shops and adult book emporiums. Besides, if we could get Chuck Norris to come to town, we should use his powers for something more hierarchically important, like persuading voters to power-ditch Mitch, whereupon all blessings would flow.
Then I thought we could implode that baby, Vegas-style. Everybody loves a good implosion. We could sell it to Hollywood for use in an action movie in which Jackie Chan double backflips away from a crumbling interstate just before a genesis bomb plants a green swath of foliage along the shoreline. But implosion just seems SO last millennium.
Finally, it hit me. This is America and there is only one way to 86-64 that makes sense: Ka-Blammy! Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat! Ker-POW. We gotta blow that sucka up! We need to Iraq64! Nobody wants to pay for transportation infrastructure, but everybody’ll get out the checkbook for a little shock ‘n’ y’all, baby! We could make it part of Thundah! Why blow up mere bird habitat when you can blow up a hunk of elevated concrete from I-65 to 15th street? The war machine’s bombers are always in town for Derby anyway; let them bring it! I-64 Over Louisville, baby. Ka-blam!
Iraq64: Free the Waterfront!™ Now all we have to do is link al-Qaeda to the interstate …
*A four-word column:
I’d tax the churches.
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