Lolis Eric Elie brings us this story, which may be some of the best news I have ever shared on this blog. The people of New Orleans are finally taking the idea seriously that parts of I-10 should be torn down. The history of I-10 is long and mostly sad. The freeway was laid over North Claiborne Boulevard, a vibrant street with many local businesses and an extremely picturesque collection of oak trees. It was used as a parade route for Mardi Gras and a variety of other get-togethers. When the freeway was put in, it cut off a poor black neighborhood from the upscale French Quarter, essentially walling the neighborhod off from jobs and prosperity. Now, as the time has come to rennovate the freeway, people are discovering that it may be more affordable to tear the freeway down and build a surface road, much the same as North Claiborne used to be. John Norquist, who was involved in tearing down a similar freeway when he was mayor of Milwaukee and, as president of the Congress for the New Urbanism, created the Freeways Without Futures list, has been a major proponent of this change and has been working with locals to bring this vision to fruition. Unfortunately, the city of New Orleans is dragging its feet, saying that the I-10 is not on the top of the priority list. I would like to suggest that anyone who reads this blog, especially if you live in the New Orleans area, that you contact the Mayor’s office and get this change on the front burner.
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