LA DOTD Manipulations of 3132

 By Eliott Stonecipher

Please take a moment to open this attachment, a full-page ad by the Finish 3132 Coalition in today’s Shreveport Times.  We believe you will find this latest information about the Hwy. 3132 Extension issue compelling.

LA DOTD Concept of The Truth

Those of us volunteering our time to sort through the most recent 3132 Extension history have learned one thing if nothing else:  the real issue has always been how Tim Larkin’s Esplanade subdivision would cut into and access the Flournoy-Lucas Road.

To understand the chances of a 3132 Extension in the future, one must also remember and understand that the cause of its overt termination on April 7, 2011 was the Bossier City developer’s preference for where and how to connect his bridge over Bayou Pierre with and into Flournoy-Lucas Road.  What he preferred – with huge political power in place to make his preference fact – required the permanent termination of the 3132 Extension at Flournoy-Lucas Road.

Beginning with the intended free use of the city-owned 16-acre tract of land on Flournoy-Lucas, followed by the state’s attempt to build a taxpayer-funded joint entrance and exit on Flournoy-Lucas for Larkin and The Glen Retirement Center, right up to these route changes by the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (LA DOTD), the developer’s roadway is the point …not the restoration of the taxpayers’ 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.


The Withheld Plan

The reason for all of this is now a matter of record.  In 2007, Tim Larkin entered into a contract with Railsback Road homeowners which prohibited any homebuilding in Esplanade unless and until Larkin had built a “second” Esplanade entrance and exit on Flournoy-Lucas Road.  The first and intended entrance and exit was on Railsback Road, but homeowners there would not allow that lone access point.  Only with the second, Flournoy-Lucas, access would those property owners cease their then-strong opposition to Larkin’s development.

This new discovery – as detailed in the ad attached to this e-mail – is, to us, only the latest chapter in that Larkin-gets-his-roadway-at-any-cost history.  The 3132 Extension route originally designed a few months ago (and shown in the “Withheld From the Public” image in the Times ad) would prevent the construction of the roadway Larkin wants to build to connect with Flournoy-Lucas.

That the public has not been allowed to study, question and directly challenge these latest developments is why the recent legally mandated “public hearing” at LSU-S was deliberately turned into an “informational meeting,” a gathering which was and is a mockery of the public interest.  Put more directly, these facts cannot withstand public scrutiny, and the meeting sponsors knew it.

The redesigned and redrawn route which is thus so perfect for Esplanade is equally damaging to the existing homes and homeowners in Twelve Oaks.  Moving the route for the needs and purposes of Esplanade comes at the direct and very real expense of taxpayers and homeowners in Twelve Oaks.

(Disclosure:  My home in Twelve Oaks is a considerable distance away from those which will be so directly harmed if this current LA DOTD plan is allowed to become fact.  My pro bono work against what is so obviously being done by so many participating government officials and others is not a protection of my own home.)    

The Route the public thinks they will get

Thanks to these most recent political favors, Larkin is now fully armed to make political presentations to every governmental agency gathered to possibly act in his favor.  He will no doubt promise everyone that he guarantees his bridge-to-Flournoy- Lucas roadway will not impede the 3132 Extension.  LA DOTD can also be expected to claim these actions so favorable to Esplanade were for other reasons.  Regardless, as LA DOTD Deputy Secretary, Dr. Eric Kalivoda, assured Coalition representatives and others as recently as June 6th, that the only way to be certain any such construction does not harm the 3132 Extension is for the “Stage 1 Feasibility Study” to be completed about a year from now.

Two things in this awful mess are just plain-old common sense and fairness:

… the undeveloped land which is the Esplanade development should be taken for the 3132 Extensionbefore any loss of home value to those living in Twelve Oaks, and

… nothing should be built in Larkin’s 36.99-acre tract on Flournoy-Lucas Road until the “feasibility study” is complete, and all legal challenges related to politics-based “route design” have been exhausted.

As obvious as those two points are, the recent history of the 3132 Extension proves that only the worst, rawest and most heavy-handed politics has ever won the day.

To the owners and other powerful supporters of Esplanade and its needs, this has never been about completion of the 3132 Extension to the Port.  Rather, this small group continues to work just as diligently today for the Esplanade roadway into Flournoy-Lucas as they were working for that purpose at NLCOG on April 7, 2011.

Elliott Stonecipher

Elliott Stonecipher’s reports, essays and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest.  No compensation of any kind has been solicited or accepted for this work.  This work is protected, and no other use of it is permitted without the written consent of Mr. Stonecipher.