Tag Archives: Freeways Without Futures

7 Urban Freeways To Tear Down Today–And What Tomorrow Might Look Like If We Do

Yonah Freemark and Jebediah Reed of The Infrastrcturist bring us this article on freeways that should be torn down.  Although there is a lot of crossover between this list and the Congress for the New Urbanism‘s list of Freeways Without Futures, they are separate and do have some differences.  Urban freeways function as walls, cutting off neighborhoods from the rest of the city with disastrous results.  They are often built along lakefronts and waterways, destroying what could be a great asset to a city.  When freeways have been torn down and turned into surface-level roads, such as in Portland and San Francisco, they have had wonderful results as far as revitalizing their neighboring districts.  Their list of freeways to tear down includes:

Cleveland: West Shoreway

Seattle: Alaskan Way Viaduct

Oklahoma City: I-40

New Haven: Route 34

Buffalo: Skyway

Syracuse: I-81

Baltimore: Jones Falls Expressway

I think it’s great that people are willing to re-examine urban freeways and the negative impacts they have on cities, and I hope more cities (including my hometown of Pittsburgh, which could afford to tear down both I-376 along the Monongahela River and I-579 which cuts off the Strip, Hill and Uptown districts from Downtown) follow the example of Milwaukee and others and tear down their freeways.

Planners push to tear out elevated I-10 over Claiborne

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.