North/South Connector - Urgent Action

Interestingly, after posting the article today about removing the downtown portion of I-235 in order to promote development and reconnect downtown to the rest of the city, I received the following announcement. Local funding for the environmental impact study of the proposed north-south connector extending MLK to I-80 has been pulled, jeopardizing the project!

The MLK extension is a good idea from only one point of view: that of an Ankeny resident who works downtown. From just about every other perspective, it is a horrible plan.

  • Environmental - The proposed route would cut through critical wetlands habitats.
  • Neighborhoods - We know for a fact that slicing through established neighborhoods with high traffic volume expressways destroys communities. It is no coincidence that damaging transportation projects historically run through minority and poor neighborhoods.
  • Urban Flight - We know for a fact that existing cities do not benefit from new internal highways and connectors. Cities cannot and should not attempt to emulate suburban traffic infrastructure, nor should we spend our money facilitating suburban expansion.
  • Spending Priorities - The estimated $200 million the connector will cost should plainly and simply be spent on other priorities. Demolition of the homes along MLK will immediately reduce the city's tax base.

Without money to complete the Environmental Impact Study, this project will die. However, the Greater Des Moines Partnership has just launched their annual junket to Washington D.C. On page 2 of their Infrastructure document is a request for $2 million for the project, to complete the EIS among other things. They arrived yesterday June 9th and will be finished by Friday June 11.

Your calls to Congressman Leonard Boswell are critical right now. Please take a few minutes to call or write to Congressman Boswell and let him know you oppose funding for this project.

More information can be found at

Congressman Boswell can be reached as follows:
D.C. Office (most effective) 202-225-3806
D.C. Fax 202-225-5608
Des Moines Office 515-282-1909


Good work Steve! And having spoken to many Ankeny residents who also oppose this project, I have to add that there are plenty of people there who don't even see the value of using it to commute downtown. Or I should say that they place MORE value in not having their existing neighborhoods become the "old part" of town and their roads become congested from the sprawl that the road would fuel. They're keenly aware of the ills of the rapid growth nearby and don't want to see gas thrown on the fire!

Mike Baldus

Michael Baldus | Jun 11th, 2010 at 8:23 am

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