Rethinking Highways in American Cities

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Since 2005, the Congress for the New Urbanism’s Highways-to-Boulevards initiative has argued that replacing urban freeways with surface streets, boulevards and avenues is the most cost-effective, sustainable option for cities with aging grade separated roads. Since the West Side Highway was removed in 1977, CNU has tracked nearly 115 freeway candidates, more than 25 active removal campaigns, and ten successful removal efforts. The increase in removal candidates and active campaigns has repositioned urban freeway removal not as an experiment, but as a growing trend for communities seeking solutions for aging infrastructure reaching the end of its design life. In “Rethinking Highways in American Cities: New Opportunities for Leadership”, Peter J. Park considers the obstacles that face urban freeway removal efforts. He documents the historical evolution of freeway construction and its devastating effects on urban neighborhoods. Park then considers the financial and political dynamics that made building or (rebuilding) highways in cities a de facto standard. Park also illustrates the opportunities to re-connect urban neighborhood transportation networks through technical improvements to the standard transportation planning process and a call for visionary leadership.
June 30, 2013
Peter J. Park
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