By Tyler Falk
Posting in Cities
A new list points to the top 12 opportunities for cities to transform highways that cut through cities into normal city streets and boulevards.
The 2012 Freeways without Futures list makes the case that removing these highways and replacing them with boulevards and street surfaces is cost-effective for cities and add value to communities.
Here's the top 12 urban highways with the best opportunity for transformation:
1. I-10/Claiborne Overpass, New Orleans, La.
2. I-895/Sheridan Expressway, New York City (Bronx)
3. Route 34/Oak Street Connector, New Haven, Conn.
4. Route 5/Skyway, Buffalo, N.Y.
5. I-395/Overtown Expressway, Miami, Fla.
6. I-70, St. Louis, Mo.
7. West Shoreway, Cleveland, Ohio
8. I-490/Inner Loop, Rochester, N.Y.
9. I-81, Syracuse, N.Y.
10. Gardiner Expressway, Toronto
11. Aetna Viaduct, Hartford, Conn.
12. Route 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle, Wash.
The freeways are ranked based on the following factors: the age and design of structures, redevelopment potential, potential cost savings, ability to improve both overall mobility and local access, existence of pending infrastructure decisions, and community support.
All of the freeways are in various stages. Some are being advocated for removal by community members, others are in the middle of preliminary project studies, and a few are in the process of being removed.
Here are some interesting statistics from a few of the highway removal projects:
- Removal of the Alaska Way Viaduct will open up 335 acres of public land on Seattle’s waterfront.
- 2.2 seconds of delay would be added to the evening commute in Rochester, but the removal project would creating 9.4 acres of developable land.
- Rerouting I-70 away from downtown St. Louis could reduce car traffic by more than 50%.
- Full removal of the Claiborne Overpass in New Orleans would open up 35 to 40 city blocks that will no longer be blighted.
Feb 7, 2012
Baltimore's extremely destructive US 40 Franklin-Mulberry Expressway (a.k.a. "The Highway to Nowhere") should have been on your list of Freeways Without Futures, since it was closed for six months this past year for minor demolition work, with absolutely no negative traffic impacts whatsoever. But then the city opened it up again !!!!!! The perverse reason the city keeps this awful urban expressway monstrosity is to make it easier and less expensive to build a light rail line in the median than to do it right and redevelop the entire area. This is consistent with ongoing experience that building rail transit In Baltimore is more about pumping billions of dollars into contractors and bureaucrats pockets than about rebuilding the ravaged city.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway created in Boston with the removal of the I93 Central Artery cost the taxpayers almost $3 million per year to maintain the less than 1 mile long X 100 foot wide green space created. It came out recently that the members of the conservancy board responsible for maintaining the government owned land get saleries of nearly $200,000 per year for less than 500 hours of work per year. The land cost nearly 10 times as much per acre to maintain as any other green space in the state. And the Occupy Boston mob did over $100,000 worth of damage to it with their protests last fall. All to be fixed by taxpayer dollars this spring.