The 20/59 interstate bridges through the heart of Birmingham have reached their life expectancy and will need to be removed. Instead of replacing the bridges, we suggest creating a street level grand boulevard through downtown that would encourage economic growth, strengthen community unity, and beautify Birmingham.
The existing Alabama Department of Transportation plan does not take into consideration any previous city or regional plans laid out for Birmingham. We feel more progressive ideas, such as the plan to sink the interstate below ground (per the 2004 City Center Masterplan) or a realignment of its location, should be explored before making this once-in-a-lifetime decision for our great city.
The placement of the proposed access road along 11th Ave North would impede, rather than improve, local traffic flow and further exclude the surrounding neighborhoods from downtown. This access road would negatively impact historic Oak Hill Cemetery and cut through the proposed future site of a multi-purpose facility for the Civic Center. The three access ramps that must be added to the interchange of Interstates 65 and 20/59 to dump traffic onto 11th Ave will only make "Malfunction Junction" more dangerous to navigate from all directions.
ALDOT's proposed solution will not benefit us in ANY way. Other major cities are rethinking the impact and design of highways on their downtowns. We have a chance to create economic growth as well as to make Birmingham beautiful, functional, and inclusive for everyone. We believe all of this can be done with a more functional alternative.
We believe in Birmingham and call on our leaders to tear down this wall through our community for the good of the city.