The shortest passage in the bible is: “And Jesus cried.” (John 11:35) when he heard Lazarus died.
Horse and buggy transportation caused New York City residents to fear there would be three feet of horse dung inundating “The world’s financial center”. Mass production of cars removed horse and buggy transportation. Now NYC and all major metropolitan areas, including Lafayette, LA are blanketed by thousands of feet of polluted urban air. Cities like Lafayette are in “noncompliance” with air quality standards because multiplication of gasoline burning vehicles exploded from just one million in 1914 to over 300 million in in 2015. Globally, there are now one billion vehicles making every metropolitan area impassable at least twice daily. Each gallon of gasoline generates 22 pounds of carbon dioxide. In 1984 the president of Earlham College in Richmond, IN advised graduates to be wary of our rush to burn nearly 10,000 gallons of gasoline each second. He did not visibly weep over a massive vehicle invasion, only indirectly cautioned all of us who studied in the Quaker institution: Cars and roads are “invaders.”
When five-star General Dwight Eisenhower was taken on a tour of the new Interstate highway system, he actually cried according to witnesses in the car with “Ike”(abbreviation for Eisenhower). The Interstate highway system was a joint project of the US Dept. of Defense and Highways Dept.
During the emotional tour given to General Eisenhower, he blustered: “The Interstate Highway system was intended to go around, not through cities!”
According to Lafayette residents since the 1980’s there has been a discussion of bringing I-49 not around as Ike desired, but directly through Lafayette. This concrete invasion might cause many to weep and go broke or simply move away. Anyone with a degree of consciousness knows elevated highways leave a trail of deserted buildings and breed zones of crime below in concrete jungles. What will occur in Lafayette? How many churches will be silenced by I-49 passing through? Are members weeping?
Will Lafayette city planners recall US urban expressways are now being removed in *Syracuse *Boston *Milwaukee *Seattle and a proposed *dismantling of I-345 in Dallas? The same expressway “deconstruction” is occurring in *Toronto, Canada,* Seoul, Korea and *Rio in Brazil.
During the 1970’s in Hong Kong there were 300 cars per mile of road. The colonial government knew an intolerable scene could only be corrected by extremely high car taxation, a rise in parking fees or construction of a subway to make life possible in the polluted Hong Kong congestion.
With a high Louisiana water table, a subway is unthinkable in Lafayette. Lafayette is above a precious geological water system known as the Chicot aquifer. In 2010 New Iberia scientist Wilma Subra and Delta Chapter Sierra Club members examined a map of the proposed I-49 “corridor” going through the heart of Lafayette. Clearly visible on the plan was a new road going dangerously close to an old railroad roundhouse located along the Evangeline Expwy. Older residents of the area know the railroad roundhouse also contained a toxic waste site . Pilings from an elevated highway could penetrate the natural seal protecting our water supply. If the LA aquifer is harmed by pollution from one toxic site along the proposed I-49 corridor, Jesus, Ike and all of us will be weeping. Are we hearing Ike? Jesus?