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Old Posted Feb 24, 2012, 2:59 PM
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End of the Roads: When Highway Removal Works

End of the Roads: When Highway Removal Works


Feb 23rd, 2012

By Matt Bevilacqua



Read More: http://americancity.org/buzz/entry/3378/

PDF Report: http://www.itdp.org/documents/ITDP_E..._022312_HR.pdf

Quote:
Like many steps forward in urban policy, the idea of removing highways has always faced its share of detractors. There’s something daunting about making changes, in any way, to a piece of infrastructure that serves anywhere from 20,000 to over 100,000 vehicles a day. Critics have a right to express understandable concerns about gridlock and economics when planners announce that they want to remove or convert a major thoroughfare in their city. It’s vital, then, for advocates to hold up examples of where highway removal has worked. The numbers exist to back up claims that the practice can restore a city’s social fabric and facilitate local development, all without severely impacting traffic or commerce. We just need to make sure our neighbors know that.

- For example: Since 1959, San Franciscans had to deal with the elevated Embarcadero Freeway cutting then off from the city’s eastern waterfront (and ruining their view of the Ferry Building). Nonetheless, voters kept rejecting plans to tear it down—until 1989, when an earthquake damaged it beyond repair and forced the city to consider alternatives. Now instead of an elevated highway, the Embarcadero is a six-lane boulevard flanked by pedestrian walkways 25 feet wide. There are street lights, palm trees and waterfront plazas. Thousands of residential units have gone up, increasing the housing stock by over 50 percent, and jobs in the area have grown by nearly a quarter. The Ferry Building now contains a farmer’s market and retail shops. Neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity have seen a revival, whether they the freeway used to isolate them directly (Rincon Hill) or simply held back the entire area from flourishing (South Beach).

- The Woodall Rodgers Freeway, a recessed eight-lane artery connecting two interstates, slices right through downtown Dallas, separating its burgeoning arts district from a residential neighborhood. For years, pedestrians looking to cross had to do so over a handful of noisy, ugly and foul-smelling bridges. But recently, the city partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation and private developers to cap a three-block portion of the freeway with a 5.2-acre green space. If built as planned, it will come replete with a restaurant, dog parks and 400 newly planted trees, among other things. “We had a lot of trouble initially explaining the concept,” said Linda Owen, president of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. Locals didn’t know how the capping would work, and had visions of impenetrable steps and inclines. But once it was understood that the deck would remain level with the street grid and easily accessible, enthusiasm grew. Furthermore, investment in the area took an upswing almost immediately upon the project’s announcement, with construction on a large condo building breaking ground in October 2009, the same month the city began building the deck. Today, according to Owen, the $110-million project enjoys universal support from the city council.

.....



San Fran’s Embarcadero Freeway in the 1980s. Credit: Todd Lappin on Flickr

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Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 3:23 PM
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THE LIFE AND DEATH OF URBAN HIGHWAYS


March 2012

PDF Report: http://www.embarq.org/sites/default/...n_Highways.pdf

Quote:
.....

In practice, many urban highways were justified with some form of cost-benefitanalysis. However, most experts in cost-benefit analysis point out that the tool was never meant to evaluate whether or not to build urban highways but rather to prioritize between competing inter-urban highway projects. Additionally, the analysis ignored important secondary effects, such as the adverse impact of the new road on surrounding property values, or the environmental costs that are generated by new induced traffic (Wheaton, 1978).

Cities are removing urban highways in very specific circumstances, which include:

• Costs of Reconstruction and Repair

• Economic Revitalization

• Increased Property Value

• Making Waterfronts Accessible

• Offering Better Solutions to Meet Mobility Needs

When cities took down or chose not to build urban highways, what they got instead was:

Harbor Drive, Portland, USA: The Tom McCall Waterfront Park has helped property values in the downtown rise on average 10.4 percent per year and led to a sharp reduction in crime in the area.

Embarcadero, San Francisco, USA: A world-famous boulevard surrounded by a 25-foot-wide promenade led to a 300 percent increase in adjacent property values.

Park East Freeway, Milwaukee, USA: Halting construction of the freeway preserved Juneau Park. Taking down the highway has opened 26 acres of land to be redeveloped and added back into the tax coffers. Land values have risen faster than in the rest of the city and the area is now reconnected with Milwaukee.

Cheonggyecheon, Seoul, South Korea: An international best practice for greenways that has also seen an increase in development and rents along the corridor and a decrease in air and noise pollution and traffic.

Bogotá, Colombia: A 45-kilometer greenway now connects low-income neighborhoods to the downtown, and includes a mass-transit system that revolutionized bus rapid transit and carries 1.8 million people, and over 300 kilometers of bike lanes. By taking down or not completing their highways, these cities found that reimagining urban highways created better places and attracted higher investment in the surrounding area. More cities around the world, having learned from the cities presented here, are removing highways. Other cities might consider highway removal or halting construction as well. These case studies illustrate how it was done.

.....



Cheonggyecheon in Seoul, South Korea is an international best practice for greenways that has also seen an increase in development and rents along the corridor and a decrease in air and noise pollution and traffic. Photo by Sarah Kim.

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Old Posted May 2, 2012, 7:43 PM
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Peter Park, Lincoln-Loeb Fellow and former planning director in Denver and Milwaukee, suggests a new process for dismantling urban freeways that will bring about urban revitalization, as seen at the Park East Expressway in Milwaukee and the Embarcadero in San Francisco, tapping the political and cultural support that was key to the establishment of the interstate highway system beginning in the 1950s.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oH_FxEmdi40#t=75s
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