Section of Legacy Rails Removed at 38th and Market
In an unfortunate example of the right hand not talking to the left, in the dark of night on June 9th, two six foot sections of double rail streetcar
tracks were destroyed to make room for faux cobblestone crosswalks. You would think that city construction crews would have been briefed about what NOT to do when archaeological artifacts are encountered. It is not clear what the rules are about dealing with the tracks but indications are that city officials do care about these assets.
In an email exchange between John Owen, candidate for the 5th district Metro Council seat and public works official Dirk Gowan, Gowan said:
“I apologize for the confusion on the tracks, it was my responsibility to assure the tracks were destroyed, and assure you that the extension of the project will not destroy other sections of the track.”
A typo? I think he meant …”to assure the tracks were NOT destroyed.” Anyway, we hope so.
It is not beyond imagining that someday Metro Louisville will want to add streetcars to the urban landscape for all the right reasons. Dallas and other cities have been able to save millions in capital expense by reusing legacy tracks.
Therefore preservation of these valuable assets should be the rule. And the rule should be codified through the Landmarks Commission. In any case a professional development workshop for public works construction crews on proper treatment of archaeological assets is certainly in order.
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