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There’s Still Time to Save Historic Area, Charity Hospital
This letter originally appeared in The Times-Picayune on April 8, 2010.
April 08, 2010
Re: A significant victory, Our Opinions, April 4.
The Time-Picayune editorial praises Judge Eldon Fallon’s ruling that the federal government obeyed environmental law in planning two new hospitals.
But what kind of victory is it to abandon a weakened Central Business District and destroy lower Mid-City’s chance to be a viable neighborhood?
How will New Orleans win by bulldozing 150 historic buildings and violating our street grid, creating superblocks for suburban-sprawl hospitals?
Do we win by abandoning the principle of “citizen involvement in the planning process”? We invited citizens to get involved in the “Master Plan,” but then told them they couldn’t decide where to build the hospitals. We’re back to the same old top-down, autocratic planning.
While they endorse “sustainability,” why can’t our politicians see a victory in reusing the landmark Charity Hospital for the state-of the-art teaching hospital? Why aren’t they outraged by the defeat of putting historic buildings in the landfill — cypress frames, pine floors, slate roofs and all?
Why can’t both hospitals enjoy the win-win of sharing the spacious LSU site, since more than half of its land is to be used for parking lots?
It’s not too late for a real hospital victory.
Last-minute wisdom saved New Orleans four decades ago from a plan promoted by political and business leaders as “the answer” to our economic future.
The Riverfront Expressway would have separated the French Quarter from the river. But this “done deal” died suddenly when an enlightened Washington review found more harm than good. Even its supporters admit today that this was a genuine victory.
We don’t want people in 20 years to ask, “Why didn’t they put the hospitals in the right places? Why did they give up on the CBD and leave it a wasteland? What were they thinking when they tore down that neighborhood?”
We want them to say, “I’m glad Mayor Landrieu and Gov. Jindal got together with the senators back then and talked sense to LSU and VA and built our hospitals the smart way.”
Smart Growth for Louisiana
Apr 12 2010