My buddy Bob sent me this Gizmodo Article about six freeway removals. The article does a good job of describing the changes and the huge benefits those cities have reaped.
Here are their Top Six Freeway Removals
- Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco, CA, USA
- Cheonggyecheon, Seoul, South Korea
- Harbor Drive, Portland, OR, USA
- Park East, Milwaukee, WI, USA
- Rio Madrid, Madrid, Spain
- Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA, USA
The article touches on the idea of induced demand. Basically, build it and they will come (build the roads and the cars will show up). This was my experience in Maple Grove where we widened several minor arterials and the volumes on those roads spiked significantly. Nearly to our twenty year traffic volume projections overnight.
I’m not going to go all of the way and say we need to rip out our interstate system, but the above examples show how freeway removal increases the vibrancy of a city (or burying the freeway in the case of the hugely expensive Big Dig in Boston, MA, USA).
I know that building I-94 and I-35 in Minneapolis and St. Paul largely changed the landscape of those cities in my hometown region and some interesting redevelopment could happen if they were removed, but I’m not for it. I can’t imagine making the 16 mile trip from my house to downtown St. Paul on city streets.