Ten U.S. cities that could revitalize by demolishing their dumb urban highways

Many cities have demolished disruptive, badly-planned urban highways in the past decade, and none of them regret it.

New York City’s Hudson River waterfront has been greened and revitalized thanks to the loss of their West Side Highway.

Seoul certainly doesn’t miss their noisy, dirty Cheonggyecheon Freeway, now that they’re enjoying the beautiful urban oasis of tranquility that marks the daylighted stream that was buried beneith it for over half a century.

San Francisco is overjoyed that Mother Nature, in the form of the Loma Preieta earthquake, encourage them to get rid of the Embarcadero Expressway, whose absence sparked a major waterfront revitalization, along with the restoration and reuse of the historic Ferry Building.

The folks in Milwaukee haven’t been lamenting the disappearance of their Park East Freeway.

Here are ten U.S. cities that should go forth and do likewise.

Communities across North America are facing a watershed moment in the history of our transportation infrastructure. With cities, citizens, and transportation officials all looking for alternatives to costly highway repair and expansion, these ten campaigns offer a roadmap to better health, equity, opportunity, and connectivity in every neighborhood, while reversing decades of decline and disinvestment.

Freeways Without Futures 2017 brings together decades of lessons, resources, strategies, and sweat equity into a comprehensive look at the current state of urban highway removal. This report sets out to empower local highway teardown advocates, political leaders, and forward-thinking engineers working in their communities to forge ahead.

Above all, these ten highways are opportunities for progress. Each one presents the chance to remove a blight from the physical, economic, and environmental health of urban communities. Their intended benefits have not justified the tragic consequences, but converting these highways into human-scaled streets offers a chance to begin repairing the damage. From Buffalo to San Francisco, these are the freeways without futures.

Image credit: RochesterDowntown.com.

See CNU’s Freeways Without Futures report.

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