View the Latest ReThink280 Presentations

THANKS to all who turned out to listen and ask questions at our presentations in Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, and Hoover. We really appreciate your feedback, ideas, and support!
Click here to view ReThink280's presentation to Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook on March 22nd.
Click here to view ReThink280's April 1st presentation to Hoover.


Come Hear About ReThink280's Alternative

ALDOT may have put the brakes on its fast-tracked plan for a U.S. 280 toll road, but we all recognize that a solution must be found to alleviate traffic congestion on this vital roadway. We at ReThink280 believe we have a workable, less costly alternative. To learn more about the ReThink280 plan, please plan to attend one of these upcoming meetings:
* March 22, 4:00pm, Vestavia Hills City Hall
* March 22, 7:00pm, Mountain Brook City Hall
* April 1, 5:00pm, Hoover Municipal Building
The ReThink280 plan provides for express travel on U.S. 280 while preserving good local access and keeping businesses visible. It protects nearby neighborhoods and schools from the noise and pollution that would be induced by adding four new lanes of traffic, as ALDOT planned. It positions the corridor for meaningful mass transit solutions. And it does not rely on "innovative financing" or questionable toll revenue projections. Tell your representatives: it's time to ReThink 280!


State Halts Work on U.S. 280 Express Lanes

State transportation officials say they have halted work indefinitely on express lanes for U.S. 280 and won’t go forward unless local governments with jurisdictions along the highway agree on the project. This is a great development for those of us who want to see a less costly, less invasive solution to the congestion on U.S. 280, but the battle is far from over. Please continue to express your opposition to this sprawl- and traffic-inducing $800 million proposal and ask your elected officials to reject it in favor of a less costly solution that improves 280 traffic flow while protecting adjacent neighborhoods and enhancing access to local businesses. ReThink 280!

Read the entire article by clicking here


Double, Double Toll and Trouble

ALDOT claims a tolled U.S. 280 "will pay for itself" -- not only for the construction, but for continued operation, maintenance, landscaping, inspection, you name it. Please urge your city's officials to think critically and question the math before deciding on the merits of this $800 million toll project! What happens when toll revenue projections don't work out as planned? Read on for a few examples:
"North Texas Tollway Authority Raising Rates on All Three Roads" (8/15/09)
"Maryland Officials See Very Slow Recovery in Traffic; Debt Service Will Drive Big Toll Hikes" (3/8/10)
"Toll Bridge Comes Back to Haunt Orange Beach" (12/22/09)
"Greenway Revenue, Traffic at Odds" (7/5/09)
"Greenway Drivers Face Dilemma" (7/1/07)


B'ham Business Journal: Skeptical of 280 Toll Road Plan

"We need to fully analyze and understand our return on investment from spending $1 billion (and you can bet, with standard government contract cost overruns, this project will cost at least $1 billion) on an elevated highway that will likely extend development further south and exacerbate our problems." -- Birmingham Business Journal
Read the entire article by clicking here


March 22: ReThink280 Set to Present Its Plan to Vestavia Hills

Please turn out to hear ReThink280 present its alternative plan for U.S. 280 to the Vestavia Hills City Council on Monday, March 22, 4:00pm, Council Chambers, Vestavia Hills City Hall. All are invited to attend. Come hear a detailed description of the plan and its advantages over the $800 million project being "fast-tracked" by ALDOT. Please plan to attend this important meeting and voice your support!


Vestavia Hills Council Hears ALDOT's Plan

Read the entire article by clicking here

March 22: ReThink280 Goes to Mountain Brook

The ReThink280 group will present its alternative plan for U.S. 280 to the Mountain Brook City Council on Monday, March 22, at 7:00pm, Mountain Brook City Hall. Come hear a detailed description of the plan and its advantages over the $800 million project ALDOT is pursuing. Please plan to attend this important meeting and voice your support!


April 1: Hoover to Hear ReThink280 Plan

ReThink280 will present its plan for U.S. 280 to the Hoover City Council at the Council's work session on Thursday, April 1, 5:00pm, Council Chambers, Hoover Municipal Building. This meeting is open to the public. Come learn about the plan and its advantages over ALDOT's $800 million toll road. Please plan to attend this important meeting and voice your support!

Forum Crowd Challenges ALDOT 280 Plan

Read the entire article by clicking here


U.S. 280 Opposition Gaining Ground

State transportation officials say ALDOT's work to add toll lanes along U.S. 280 will be slowed to allow time for officials to meet with groups opposed to the project.

Read the entire article by clicking here

From Macy's at the Summit

From Macy's at the Summit

Transportation Prescription for Healthy Cities

A detailed study entitled "Transportation Prescription for Healthy Cities" by Ian M. Lockwood, P.E., for those who are interested in more information, is available through the link to the downloadable (75 page) pdf file below.


Transportation Planning - Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin


U.S. Highway 280 Alternatives Analysis and Visualization

The attached link is a 39 page pdf file prepared by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Musings on Bham's 280 by a California native

Can’t go around it, can’t go under it, don’t want to go over it…

February 7th, 2007

Like the camp song says, “can’t go around it”… “can’t go under it”… “can’t go over it”. On the subject of Highway 280’s congestion problems, some want to “go over it”. Personally, I think it’s best to improve our way THROUGH IT


BJCC Progress blocked by elevated highway per Director of Regional Planning Commission

"I believe the Civic Center area will always be a tough sell as long as that elevated road is there," (Charles) Ball (director of the Regional Planning Commission) said. http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/117360549967630.xml&coll=2

What if an elevated highway sliced Beale Street from the rest of Memphis? What if an elevated road kept pedestrians from Fourth Street Live! in Louisville?

Time is now to ask those questions, said Charles Ball, director of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.

City Leaders and residents fighting a proposal to elevate U.S. 280

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Elevated 280, before and after

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
News staff writer

Editorials from the Birmingham News


Would be bad for neighborhoods

Among the many lessons learned from the construction of the nation's interstate highway system was that elevated highways had a destructive effect on neighborhoods. In "Divided Highways," author Tom Lewis recounts how proposals for elevated highways in New Orleans, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and other large cities were rejected once neighborhood advocates realized the highway planners' raised roads would bring noise, pollution, grime and visual blight.

Granted, U.S. 280 is not an urban interstate, but an elevated highway on 280 would have these same impacts on the neighborhoods it passes.

As for "cool," big cities everywhere are now competing for young urban professionals to provide our work force, brain power and possibly leadership for the future. In the Nov. 25 edition of The New York Times, "downtown living, public transportation and plenty of entertainment options" were cited by young professionals as features that will attract them to their cities of choice.

Last year, while in St. Louis riding its light-rail mass transit system from the airport to downtown, my 19-year-old daughter asked me why we didn't have a train like that in Birmingham; great question, with no good answer.

There are other compelling reasons for including a mass transit option. Economic growth for Southern cities with mass transit exceeds that of cities without, and there is the obvious environmental benefit associated with moving people in mass rather than one or two at a time.

Bad for neighborhoods, not cool to young professionals: We need to drop the idea of an elevated highway and develop a smarter plan for our future.

Jeff Underwood


Renderings omit dark shadows:

Renderings in The News Thursday of the proposed elevated highway above U.S. 280 were lovely.

Oddly, though, the cars and trees cast shadows, but the highway never does. The highway just seems to be barely there, blending always into the sky. It's always sunny around the highway. I guess these must be the renderings of those who want to build it.

Now, let's see the drawings from those who oppose the highway - the drawings that will show the dark shadow it forever casts across the landscape, the litter that gathers below it, the stained and graffiti-covered concrete from a few years down the road.

Art Meripol

Mountain Brook

Natural assets must not be ruined:

Couching a large concrete structure through the middle of Mountain Brook and Homewood built to facilitate unfettered urban sprawl down U.S. 280 as a "tribute to nature" is an example of the spin being employed in the elevated highway concept.

The term "concept" is appropriate, because the Alabama Department of Transportation representative said at the public hearing that DOT will do its own design of the roadway if the project moves forward. The color pictures in your newspaper represent fanciful drawings by a private firm. (For example, the major intersection views do not show up/down ramps, and assumptions are made that cutting-edge lighting and roadway technologies would be part of the DOT's final, funded design.)

Notwithstanding the design, I disagree with the premise. The concept work assumes that the cities through which U.S. 280 runs are beholden to accommodate everyone who wants to drive without traffic on the road. The beauty of Homewood and Mountain Brook is a key reason I moved here to start a business, and it creates a positive impression of Birmingham in those who visit from elsewhere. We must be careful to not ruin the natural assets that enable the growth we hope to enjoy.

G.T. LaBorde

Mountain Brook

Only butterflies, bunnies missing:

It is very disappointing to learn The News is buying the slick marketing campaign of Progress 280 and others to build an elevated U.S. 280. The highly idealized and artfully Photoshopped "pictures" The News printed without qualification lack only pretty bunnies and butterflies to make their falsely pastoral setting complete.

The truth is there is nothing pretty about the elevated road, either environmentally or aesthetically. If you wanted to provide an accurate sense of what the elevated road might be like, color the blue skies gray from the resulting air pollution and the tunnel-like effect of the structure. The misleading perspective contained in the "photo" in no way reflects just how wide and massive the elevated structure would be, or how long a shadow it would cast. And any promised short-term improvements in air quality that may be realized by decreasing stop-and-go traffic are going to quickly be eclipsed by the even greater number of cars that will be on the road.

The pictures also need a soundtrack; perhaps you have the road noise from last year's Talladega 500. Figg Engineering's disingenuous claims about better design and materials aside, the noise of the significant truck and local traffic at grade (missing from the nice pictures) will be trapped and broadcast throughout the lower elevations of interior neighborhoods. Meanwhile, because of the topography of our area, those homes situated above U.S. 280 will have no protection from the elevated portion of the road.

The one kernel of truth in so much fluffy popcorn about the road's "benefits" was the candid admission by Alabama Department of Transportation engineer Brian Davis of what we all know: Historically, adding lanes is a short-term solution that does not work.

Letters, faxes, and e-mail

Sunday, January 28, 2007

If the elevated road proponents win and we spend an estimated $400 million to $700 million to build 10 miles of road, even according to DOT's most conservative estimates, the road will be obsolete within about 20 years of its construction. Meanwhile, we will have destroyed what makes our city beautiful and distinctive with the ugly urban leviathan of the elevated road.

Eva Dillard