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Old 04-25-2016, 07:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Big Aristotle View Post
??? Most cities I've been to have successfully built freeways that are routed near or through downtown without devastating the city core. That is those properly designed, elevated, etc. Atlanta's downtown seems fine enough with most of the development occurring to midtown and expansion of downtown after the freeway construction. It would be a nightmare to navigate north/south of Atlanta (downtown) without I-85.
You're looking at this from a present-day standpoint but the fact of the matter is that in the South in particular, interstates that went through downtown absolutely devastated urban cores and took out lots of Black neighborhoods in the process, similar to how Brooklyn in Charlotte got razed. The Connector in Atlanta is not at all ideal (it's like 14 lanes or so wide at its widest point and is STILL routinely backed up) and if it could be done all over again, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be. There's a reason why interstates weren't initially designed to go through downtown.

It is a physical, psychological and spiritual barrier which separates Midtown Atlanta from the Westside and Downtown Atlanta, and the neighborhoods of Summerhill and Peoplestown from Mechanicsville and Pittsburgh. And the Old 4th Ward from Sweet Auburn and Downtown. It is a gaping wound in the fabric of the city which separates people, neighborhoods, and is one of the major reasons why Downtown Atlanta traffic is bad. The 1950ís plan to bring two major US interstates together as one in the middle of the city was such a bad plan that, ultimately, it will have to be rectified, and at great cost.

https://wdanielanderson.wordpress.co...a-reconnector/

Quote:
Access to downtown Charlotte from I-85 is clumsy and inconvenient. I travel from Durham to downtown Charlotte on a regular due to work (couple times a week). And during rush hour it's not an easy task to get uptown. Either connect via I-77 (which is a mess and onramp designed for a town <50k) or take one of the secondary roads (Graham, Statesville, etc) which are narrow and not built for heavy traffic volume. Sometimes I'll drive south of I-77 to connect with Hwy 16 that flows into I-277.

Point is I-85 should have been designed to route near or through uptown without having to access a secondary road or another interstate (I-77). I-277 shouldn't exist in its current form, not a total failure but seems ad hoc to address the lack access to uptown via a freeway. No other city I can think of built anything similar.
We just see this issue differently. It would have been nice for I-85 to be located closer to Uptown, but I-77 does the job although it could certainly use upgrading in certain spots.

I'm honestly surprised to see you arguing that a major interstate should have torn through the heart of Uptown Charlotte. In the 21st century, we realize what grave mistakes we made when we did that in the mid-20th century.

Highways gutted American cities. So why did they build them? - Vox
How to Decimate A City - The Atlantic
How America Built Its Highways to Serve the Wealthy and White | Alternet

 
Old 04-25-2016, 11:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
You're looking at this from a present-day standpoint but the fact of the matter is that in the South in particular, interstates that went through downtown absolutely devastated urban cores and took out lots of Black neighborhoods in the process, similar to how Brooklyn in Charlotte got razed. The Connector in Atlanta is not at all ideal (it's like 14 lanes or so wide at its widest point and is STILL routinely backed up) and if it could be done all over again, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be. There's a reason why interstates weren't initially designed to go through downtown.

It is a physical, psychological and spiritual barrier which separates Midtown Atlanta from the Westside and Downtown Atlanta, and the neighborhoods of Summerhill and Peoplestown from Mechanicsville and Pittsburgh. And the Old 4th Ward from Sweet Auburn and Downtown. It is a gaping wound in the fabric of the city which separates people, neighborhoods, and is one of the major reasons why Downtown Atlanta traffic is bad. The 1950ís plan to bring two major US interstates together as one in the middle of the city was such a bad plan that, ultimately, it will have to be rectified, and at great cost.

https://wdanielanderson.wordpress.co...a-reconnector/


We just see this issue differently. It would have been nice for I-85 to be located closer to Uptown, but I-77 does the job although it could certainly use upgrading in certain spots.

I'm honestly surprised to see you arguing that a major interstate should have torn through the heart of Uptown Charlotte. In the 21st century, we realize what grave mistakes we made when we did that in the mid-20th century.

Highways gutted American cities. So why did they build them? - Vox
How to Decimate A City - The Atlantic
How America Built Its Highways to Serve the Wealthy and White | Alternet



There are plenty of examples to counter that argument with well designed freeways that don't rip through the heart of a city and provide important ingress and egress points. Uptown isn't that big and was surely much smaller in the 60s and 70s when the freeways were proposed and built. Note, I stated closer to uptown, at least as close as I-77 with a short spur to connect to uptown. Right now it's ridiculously difficult to access uptown from I-85 during rush hour, especially traveling southbound and will only get worse.

I-77 is one the of biggest missteps in state history from an expansion and upgrade standpoint. That freeway is poorly designed for expansion from NC state mile marker 1 to mile marker 50, a colossal mess that will cost the state billions to retrofit or fix/expand. I avoid that highway at all cost if possible, although it is a good example of interstate proximity to downtown.

Most cities have successfully implemented freeways that connect and feed through downtown areas (not necessarily through the heart of the CBD). Cincinnati, Memphis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, New Orleans, etc....great downtowns, neighborhoods, etc. It's a necessity in America and of course some areas will be impacted more than others. The hyperbole around "decimating" the urban fabric of a city is over the top, anti-freeway and environment-centric.

I-85, one of the primary thoroughfares in Charlotte doesn't accomplish a primary goal of a freeway which is direct access to downtown, a big mistake in my opinion and too late to fix.
 
Old 04-25-2016, 12:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Aristotle View Post
There are plenty of examples to counter that argument with well designed freeways that don't rip through the heart of a city and provide important ingress and egress points. Uptown isn't that big and was surely much smaller in the 60s and 70s when the freeways were proposed and built. Note, I stated closer to uptown, at least as close as I-77 with a short spur to connect to uptown. Right now it's ridiculously difficult to access uptown from I-85 during rush hour, especially traveling southbound and will only get worse.
In America, for the most part the norm was freeways gutting central cities; history bears that out over and over again. Some cities have 'recovered' more than others, but again, there's a reason why interstates weren't designed to run through the heart of downtown areas. Now as far as a spur from the interstate to access downtown, I can agree with that and conceptually, that's what I-277 is for although it had a negative impact on connectivity between Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods that is still felt until this day.

Quote:
Most cities have successfully implemented freeways that connect and feed through downtown areas (not necessarily through the heart of the CBD). Cincinnati, Memphis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, New Orleans, etc....great downtowns, neighborhoods, etc. It's a necessity in America and of course some areas will be impacted more than others. The hyperbole around "decimating" the urban fabric of a city is over the top, anti-freeway and environment-centric.
It really isn't hyperbole for the cities in which that really happened, especially when you talk about Black and poor neighborhoods where highway construction served as a tool of urban renewal. Again, the examples are plentiful all across the country.

And it's only a "necessity" in America because the automobile and suburban access to the city was prioritized over comprehensive transit networks and investment in core neighborhoods.

Quote:
I-85, one of the primary thoroughfares in Charlotte doesn't accomplish a primary goal of a freeway which is direct access to downtown, a big mistake in my opinion and too late to fix.
I could understand your point if I-85 was Charlotte's only interstate but it isn't. I don't see why both I-77 and I-85 need to run through/near downtown; are you advocating for a Charlotte-type of "connector"?
 
Old 04-26-2016, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Washington DC
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Just read a CBJ article that center city population of Charlotte should boom from 26,000 today to over 40,000 by 2020. That would make center city the 6th or 7th most populated city in the Charlotte CSA including Hickory.

Charlotte - Concord - Gastonia - Rock Hill are the largest. Huntersville, Center City, Kannapolis and Hickory are the next most populous by 2020.
 
Old 04-26-2016, 09:47 AM
 
3,454 posts, read 3,134,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
In America, for the most part the norm was freeways gutting central cities; history bears that out over and over again. Some cities have 'recovered' more than others, but again, there's a reason why interstates weren't designed to run through the heart of downtown areas. Now as far as a spur from the interstate to access downtown, I can agree with that and conceptually, that's what I-277 is for although it had a negative impact on connectivity between Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods that is still felt until this day.

It really isn't hyperbole for the cities in which that really happened, especially when you talk about Black and poor neighborhoods where highway construction served as a tool of urban renewal. Again, the examples are plentiful all across the country.

And it's only a "necessity" in America because the automobile and suburban access to the city was prioritized over comprehensive transit networks and investment in core neighborhoods.



I could understand your point if I-85 was Charlotte's only interstate but it isn't. I don't see why both I-77 and I-85 need to run through/near downtown; are you advocating for a Charlotte-type of "connector"?
Freeways aren't "gutting" American cities and there are numerous examples that clearly show otherwise. America is an automobile based society so freeways are an integral part of our culture no matter how urban the city, this isn't Europe where the mentality is different with shoe-boxed size vehicles and an extensive rail-based network. It is simply who we are and what we prefer.

Back to my point, I-85 clearly does not serve one of its primary objectives, to directly funnel traffic near and through downtown Charlotte. To access downtown southbound (which I travel 2-3 times a week and today), either connect to I-77 (out of the way) or use a secondary road (Graham, Statesville, etc) to get to uptown...a royal pain. If I-85 had been routed further south when most areas of Charlotte was a cow pasture to intersect near or with I-77/I-277, it would have alleviated the problem and designed to achieve one of the goals of a freeway. I am certain if other state DOTs can manage this concept of a "complex" intersection, the high minded NC DOT certainly should have been more than capable.

Pick a city, almost any city previously mentioned or randomly select one (google maps) and it's obvious that interstates route through or very close to downtown.

I am not sure as to why I-85 veers away from downtown which leaves Charlotte with only one interstate connection to downtown.

Discussions pertaining to urban renewal or impacts on poor communities aren't relevant to my point because the highway was going to get built so land consumption and other societal impact was inevitable; the particular route seems short-sighted and has turned I-77 into a bigger mess. As a matter of fact the current design of the I-85/I-77 intersection underscores that point, it's as if though that intersection was design to support traffic flow in a rural part of the state, not a "world" class city or metropolitan.

Last edited by Big Aristotle; 04-26-2016 at 09:55 AM..
 
Old 04-26-2016, 11:02 AM
 
29,735 posts, read 27,153,434 times
Reputation: 18269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Aristotle View Post
Freeways aren't "gutting" American cities and there are numerous examples that clearly show otherwise. America is an automobile based society so freeways are an integral part of our culture no matter how urban the city, this isn't Europe where the mentality is different with shoe-boxed size vehicles and an extensive rail-based network. It is simply who we are and what we prefer.
In the 21st century, freeways aren't gutting American cities but historically? Absolutely. Are you really denying something that has been studied so extensively? I could post dozens of books, articles, etc. that detail how freeways have done untold damage to the urban cores of American cities, and it's not exaggeration or hyperbole. Some have just recovered more than others in the years since.

America is an auto-based society due to deliberate policy decisions that made it so; it really had little to do with preferences or market demands.

Quote:
Back to my point, I-85 clearly does not serve one of its primary objectives, to directly funnel traffic near and through downtown Charlotte.
Where is it stated that that is a primary objective of I-85? Are you saying that simply because it's an interstate? The interstate highway system was initially intended to effectively deploy military personnel and then later morphed into something else with the rise of suburbia, fueled by (racist) housing policy, urban renewal, etc.

Quote:
Pick a city, almost any city previously mentioned or randomly select one (google maps) and it's obvious that interstates route through or very close to downtown.
I can name a couple of cities that adhered to the original plan that didn't route interstates through or very close to downtown (excluding spurs): Greensboro, Columbia, Greenville, Augusta, etc. But yes, most cities did eventually route them through/near downtown. Charlotte is no exception with I-77.

BTW, this is a pretty interesting read when it comes to Richmond and the history of its downtown expressways.

Quote:
I am not sure as to why I-85 veers away from downtown which leaves Charlotte with only one interstate connection to downtown.
I don't think Charlotte really needed two interstates going through downtown when it was constructed.

Quote:
Discussions pertaining to urban renewal or impacts on poor communities aren't relevant to my point because the highway was going to get built so land consumption and other societal impact was inevitable; the particular route seems short-sighted and has turned I-77 into a bigger mess. As a matter of fact the current design of the I-85/I-77 intersection underscores that point, it's as if though that intersection was design to support traffic flow in a rural part of the state, not a "world" class city or metropolitan.
I have to disagree that urban renewal and impacts on Black, poor communities aren't relevant to the point here, as the planning of interstate highways evolved into ways to provide suburban White commuters with easy access to city centers while simultaneously destroying Black, poor communities. It was massive, large-scale social engineering at work, fueled by deliberate policy decisions.

But I will say that I agree that NCDOT isn't doing the Charlotte area favors in terms of road construction; just look at how much earlier I-77 was resurfaced and widened on the SC side of the line before the same was done across the border and how long it took the loop to get completed.
 
Old 04-26-2016, 11:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
In the 21st century, freeways aren't gutting American cities but historically? Absolutely. Are you really denying something that has been studied so extensively? I could post dozens of books, articles, etc. that detail how freeways have done untold damage to the urban cores of American cities, and it's not exaggeration or hyperbole. Some have just recovered more than others in the years since.

America is an auto-based society due to deliberate policy decisions that made it so; it really had little to do with preferences or market demands.



Where is it stated that that is a primary objective of I-85? Are you saying that simply because it's an interstate? The interstate highway system was initially intended to effectively deploy military personnel and then later morphed into something else with the rise of suburbia, fueled by (racist) housing policy, urban renewal, etc.



I can name a couple of cities that adhered to the original plan that didn't route interstates through or very close to downtown (excluding spurs): Greensboro, Columbia, Greenville, Augusta, etc. But yes, most cities did eventually route them through/near downtown. Charlotte is no exception with I-77.

BTW, this is a pretty interesting read when it comes to Richmond and the history of its downtown expressways.



I don't think Charlotte really needed two interstates going through downtown when it was constructed.



I have to disagree that urban renewal and impacts on Black, poor communities aren't relevant to the point here, as the planning of interstate highways evolved into ways to provide suburban White commuters with easy access to city centers while simultaneously destroying Black, poor communities. It was massive, large-scale social engineering at work, fueled by deliberate policy decisions.

But I will say that I agree that NCDOT isn't doing the Charlotte area favors in terms of road construction; just look at how much earlier I-77 was resurfaced and widened on the SC side of the line before the same was done across the border and how long it took the loop to get completed.
Good Lawd, a thesis on urban renewal, money/greed and power isn't necessary - that's the way of the world. You name a few cities that don't which are primarily in NC and SC for some odd reason. Seems every other mid to major size city in America does and magically their cores are intact and viable.

It'd be interesting to uncover the decision making as to why I-85 doesn't navigate into downtown. It isn't because they couldn't or to preserve communities or foresight on urban renewal. Charlotte was primarily a cow pasture/fields and undeveloped in many of those areas so the land was available.

Ultimately it'll need to be addressed in the near future because as a commuter it is a mess and only getting worse with the overflow traffic on secondary roads and merger onto I-77. And yes Charlotte could use a direct connection into downtown from I-85 or some other freeway spur from I-85.


Are you really inferring that the wealthiest country in world history would limit it's citizens to one car? Open highways, freedom, capitalism, etc. Most people living in tight quarters in the city saw the American dream as being able to acquire land and live in open space areas.

Last edited by Big Aristotle; 04-26-2016 at 11:56 AM..
 
Old 04-26-2016, 12:15 PM
 
29,735 posts, read 27,153,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Aristotle View Post
Good Lawd, a thesis on urban renewal, money/greed and power isn't necessary - that's the way of the world. You name a few cities that don't which are primarily in NC and SC for some odd reason. Seems every other mid to major size city in America does and magically their cores are intact and viable.
I named cities in the Carolinas (and one in GA) because they are the ones I'm most familiar with. And no, every other mid to major size city in America with freeways running directly through downtown does NOT have an intact and viable core. I already demonstrated how Atlanta doesn't, with sources to back it up; the Connector really is a huge scar running through the heart of the core. Some other cities have recovered from the damage, others still have a way to go.

Quote:
It'd be interesting to uncover the decision making as to why I-85 doesn't navigate into downtown. It isn't because they couldn't or to preserve communities or foresight on urban renewal. Charlotte was primarily a cow pasture/fields and undeveloped in many of those areas so the land was available.

Ultimately it'll need to be addressed in the near future because as a commuter it is a mess and only getting worse with the overflow traffic on secondary roads and merger onto I-77. And yes Charlotte could use a direct connection into downtown from I-85 or some other freeway spur from I-85.
I'm in favor of a spur, but not a freeway barreling directly through downtown. 277 caused enough damage as it is and it's just a loop.

Quote:
Are you really inferring that the wealthiest country in world history would limit it's citizens to one car? Open highways, freedom, capitalism, etc. Most people living in tight quarters in the city saw the American dream as being able to acquire land and live in open space areas.
I'm inferring that the wealthiest country in the history of the world really squandered its post-war wealth on suburban development and roads at the expense of central cities and robust transit networks; it was one of the most short-sighted mistakes we've ever made. Again, this is well-documented and countless books and articles have been written on the subject. It's not even a point of contention among academics. That's not to say that roads and cars don't have their place--they do in Europe. But true freedom means having viable choices, and if you're forced to have a car in order to get around efficiently, I don't think that's really freedom. And the open space areas that people in cities used to dream of were just outside of downtown--i.e., the streetcar suburbs, where you didn't need to hop on a freeway to get into the city.
 
Old 04-26-2016, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
I named cities in the Carolinas (and one in GA) because they are the ones I'm most familiar with. And no, every other mid to major size city in America with freeways running directly through downtown does NOT have an intact and viable core. I already demonstrated how Atlanta doesn't, with sources to back it up; the Connector really is a huge scar running through the heart of the core. Some other cities have recovered from the damage, others still have a way to go.



I'm in favor of a spur, but not a freeway barreling directly through downtown. 277 caused enough damage as it is and it's just a loop.



I'm inferring that the wealthiest country in the history of the world really squandered its post-war wealth on suburban development and roads at the expense of central cities and robust transit networks; it was one of the most short-sighted mistakes we've ever made. Again, this is well-documented and countless books and articles have been written on the subject. It's not even a point of contention among academics. That's not to say that roads and cars don't have their place--they do in Europe. But true freedom means having viable choices, and if you're forced to have a car in order to get around efficiently, I don't think that's really freedom. And the open space areas that people in cities used to dream of were just outside of downtown--i.e., the streetcar suburbs, where you didn't need to hop on a freeway to get into the city.

Not gonna get in the "weeds" about academic or scholarly study, etc. because the urban fabric debate has been rehashed a gazillion times. However there is debate as to how much impact the freeways dealt to American cities urban core versus the cost/benefit for commuters to easier access downtown. In other words, many businesses might have defected the CBD without providing skilled workers with quicker and easier access to downtowns. There is a tradeoff with losing some neighborhoods versus having a downtown that isn't thriving.

A spur would definitely help even it dead end into a boulevard or other street downtown.

Aside from the Carolinas, most other mid to major cities in America have multiple freeways that provide direct access to downtown. Still the question ponders as to why several Carolina cities, including Charlotte, don't have freeways (or multiple freeways) that provide direct access to downtown. It is a bit tedious to get to downtown Raleigh.


Also, Montreal is about as Euro-centric a city in North America as you'll get. Still, solid urban core, history, etc. with multiple freeways through the city, etc.

Last edited by Big Aristotle; 04-26-2016 at 01:35 PM..
 
Old 04-26-2016, 01:49 PM
 
29,735 posts, read 27,153,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Aristotle View Post
Not gonna get in the "weeds" about academic or scholarly study, etc. because the urban fabric debate has been rehashed a gazillion times. However there is debate as to how much impact the freeways dealt to American cities urban core versus the cost/benefit for commuters to easier access downtown. In other words, many businesses might have defected the CBD without providing skilled workers with quicker and easier access to downtowns. There is a tradeoff with losing some neighborhoods versus having a downtown that isn't thriving.
Well a lot of businesses followed people to the suburbs; the rise of edge cities in particular coincides with the rise of suburbia. To use Atlanta as an example again, there are multiple office districts, most of which have more prestige than downtown such as Perimeter, which is actually the largest business district in the metro area. The highways gutting the core don't explain everything, but it's a big part of it.

Quote:
A spur would definitely help even it dead end into a boulevard or other street downtown.
I can agree with that.

Quote:
Aside from the Carolinas, most other mid to major cities in America have multiple freeways that provide direct access to downtown. Still the question ponders as to why several Carolina cities, including Charlotte, don't have freeways (or multiple freeways) that provide direct access to downtown. It is a bit tedious to get to downtown Raleigh.
All in all, I think it's been a good thing actually. Lots of beautiful inner neighborhoods were spared the wrecking ball because of it. I couldn't imagine, say, Greenville having experienced the downtown renaissance that it has had I-85 run through downtown (they have a spur though).

Quote:
Also, Montreal is about as Euro-centric a city in North America as you'll get. Still, solid urban core, history, etc. with multiple freeways through the city, etc.
I'm not sure how close they come to downtown, but on the other side of Canada, you have the media darling of Vancouver which is noted for not having freeways through downtown and its core is exceptionally active and vibrant. As a matter of fact, they have an opposite problem over there: too many residents in downtown and not enough office space.

We may not disagree here as much as I initially though. I'm not in favor of freeways going directly through downtown or cutting downtown off from surrounding neighborhoods, but limited access spurs into downtown can be very beneficial.
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