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Old 03-14-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
So basically, we're at mid-late 2000s being the massive turning point from evil Boomers and awesome Gen-X?
Generation X is never going to take over the reins. We're too small. We've known that for years. It'll go directly from Boomers to Millennials.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
It entirely depends on the city and the aftermath of the project.

In SF, the Embarcadero was an eyesore because visually cut off high rises from the bay views. What's there now can be a pain to use, but is generally preferable.

In San Jose, 87 does form a barrier along downtown to westward development, but I don't trust the city to manage development in a constructive way if it had that space back. Bigger than the existence of the freeway is that it is ugly, pedestrians are treated as second-class citizens, and the Park area isn't a place worth going to, freeway or not.
Huh, never felt it was that ugly. Since I take ACE in most of the time I work in downtown San Jose, I've walked from the station to downtown many a time. Second-class citizen or not, I've never had a problem walking there. It's not exactly swarming with pedestrians, but when CalTrain, Amtrak, Ace drop off, there's always a goodly number that walk into downtown even if most of them end up catching a bus or the toy train. The park is pretty pointless. The "river" is usually filled with trash.

And considering 90% of the people in downtown San Jose got there by driving, ripping out the freeways wouldn't be all that effective. Sure, you'd have some more land to build on, not like there aren't tons of surface lots and cracker box houses in downtown San Jose or anything, but you'd also greatly reduce the demand to develop.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Generation X is never going to take over the reins. We're too small. We've known that for years. It'll go directly from Boomers to Millennials.
So then would Oregon's freeway expansion be partly the blame of the Millenials or are we still to young. I dunno, I'm getting close to my 30s. I can't see the it's all Mommy's fault excuse holding up much longer. Even for a Millenial still living in the basement, it's a stretch. I'm not saying we're exactly holding the reigns of power yet, not enough gray hairs for that, but I guess I just don't see myself as a powerless boob entirely dependent and at the whim of Mommy anymore.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:47 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Hmm. I was curious who actually used ACE.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Exurban commuters =D

It's gets pretty busy around Vasco, especially on the train that comes in at 8:50. A lot of people get off around Fremont/Great America, however, so it's usually at least half empty by the time it comes in to San Jose. Interesting demographic shift. I catch it in Stockton (farthest stop).
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
Do you think it would:

1) Help

2) Hinder

3) Be of no consequence

to the downtowns in America if every freeway that currently runs though the official downtowns in America WAS BURIED UNDERGROUND, a la "The Big Dig" in Boston.
It would be a great help. Most urban freeways are a barrier between sections of the city, and some are downright ugly, though I have seen a few downtown freeways that looked quite pretty. Totally removing these freeways, however, would be total madness. On a lunchtime drive, it takes 1-2 hours to drive through even a smaller major city in the U.S. using surface streets, versus something like 15 minutes on a freeway. If urban freeways were demolished the resulting increase in surface street congestion would turn city street driving conditions from bad to nightmarish. Unless your goal is to strangle traffic and the flow of commerce, demolishing these vital transportation links is a fool's errand. You might think you would create a utopia with demolishing freeways, but the resulting gridlock would make the freeway teardown into a hollow victory indeed.

However, the primary reason that these freeways exist is to provide transportation links and to ease congestion. If the surface freeways were removed, parks or buildings could be located where the old freeway used to be, and the barrier between sections would heal over time. Burying these freeways and other vital transportation links underground enables us to have it all - we can have fast, efficient transportation for cars, and we can avoid scarring and separating sections of the city. Plus there's the "coolness" factor of driving through tunnels.

The only negative to this sort of plan is the cost, and this is the one thing that stops projects like the Big Dig in their tracks. However, over the next century these old freeways will decay and will eventually need to be replaced. The already high cost of replacing these viaducts might inspire cities to go for it and bury their freeways.

As for the freeways primarily affecting the poor non-white folks, it is certainly terrible to force them out of their homes. However, from an urban planning perspective I can't imagine how a big freeway can possibly be more of a blight than a huge slum. I for one would choose sterile concrete over than the stench of urban decay.

And as for the Greatest Generation ruining American cities, it should be noted that urban decay has been occurring for multiple generations now, and slums have always been with us. Dwight Eisenhower's original vision called for freeways to be primarily inter-city, with downtowns connected to them via feeder roads or some such. Urban freeways were added onto the bill later to sweeten the deal for members of Congress, most of whom were too old to be GIs in WWII.

Ideally, a city would not be bisected by urban freeways, but rather would be surrounded by a beltway with feeder roads that lead directly into downtown but do not pass through it. This network would link up with intercity freeways. Ideals don't always match reality, but if there's the need for a downtown freeway you could always "Big Dig" it as the OP suggests.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:12 PM
 
6,353 posts, read 5,163,159 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
That the so-called greatest generation destroyed cities and then begat the self-indulgent boomers is sort of beyond question.

But never fear, GenX has already begun to undue the damage wrought by the those generation, a process which the Millennials will finish and their children will inherit a better world than one that was left their parents.

I shall not apologize for being on the correct side of history, nor shall I play politic because it hurts some people's feelings.
This discussion would benefit from a chill pill. Komeht makes some valid points, then uses every rhetorical trick in the book to discourage agreement with the points. No one wants to agree with a bully.

The phrase "greatest generation" practically begs for the epithet "so-called" - who are they to call themselves the Greatest? Only Muhammad Ali is the Greatest. Let's call them the World War II generation instead. Same thing in reverse with "self-indulgent baby boomers." I mentally amended it to "baby boomers sometimes alleged to be self-indulgent" since I'm a baby boomer and Komeht doesn't know whether I am self-indulgent or not.

As the great sage and mugger Rodney King once said, can't we all just get along?
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:18 PM
 
2,366 posts, read 2,129,123 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
It would be a great help. Most urban freeways are a barrier between sections of the city, and some are downright ugly, though I have seen a few downtown freeways that looked quite pretty. Totally removing these freeways, however, would be total madness. On a lunchtime drive, it takes 1-2 hours to drive through even a smaller major city in the U.S. using surface streets, versus something like 15 minutes on a freeway. If urban freeways were demolished the resulting increase in surface street congestion would turn city street driving conditions from bad to nightmarish. Unless your goal is to strangle traffic and the flow of commerce, demolishing these vital transportation links is a fool's errand. You might think you would create a utopia with demolishing freeways, but the resulting gridlock would make the freeway teardown into a hollow victory indeed.

However, the primary reason that these freeways exist is to provide transportation links and to ease congestion. If the surface freeways were removed, parks or buildings could be located where the old freeway used to be, and the barrier between sections would heal over time. Burying these freeways and other vital transportation links underground enables us to have it all - we can have fast, efficient transportation for cars, and we can avoid scarring and separating sections of the city. Plus there's the "coolness" factor of driving through tunnels.

The only negative to this sort of plan is the cost, and this is the one thing that stops projects like the Big Dig in their tracks. However, over the next century these old freeways will decay and will eventually need to be replaced. The already high cost of replacing these viaducts might inspire cities to go for it and bury their freeways.

As for the freeways primarily affecting the poor non-white folks, it is certainly terrible to force them out of their homes. However, from an urban planning perspective I can't imagine how a big freeway can possibly be more of a blight than a huge slum. I for one would choose sterile concrete over than the stench of urban decay.

And as for the Greatest Generation ruining American cities, it should be noted that urban decay has been occurring for multiple generations now, and slums have always been with us. Dwight Eisenhower's original vision called for freeways to be primarily inter-city, with downtowns connected to them via feeder roads or some such. Urban freeways were added onto the bill later to sweeten the deal for members of Congress, most of whom were too old to be GIs in WWII.

Ideally, a city would not be bisected by urban freeways, but rather would be surrounded by a beltway with feeder roads that lead directly into downtown but do not pass through it. This network would link up with intercity freeways. Ideals don't always match reality, but if there's the need for a downtown freeway you could always "Big Dig" it as the OP suggests.
As long as a grid pattern is in place along with major street arteries, I think surface streets could easily replace freeways. The same argument about removing freeways will cause madness was used in Portland and San Francisco and nothing happened. Everyone has this perception that if you remove a freeway, traffic will get worst on surface street. The reality is people will make adjustments and the traffic will go away. Freeways do little to ease congestion, it just switch places with surface streets. When those freeways are congested, people can't get off. They are stuck on them until the next exit.

I prefer rebuilding buildings rather than replacing them with a sterile concrete that will outlive its purpose in about 20 years and carry more volume than it was designed to. You forget that these places were also vibrant communities and when you plow a freeway through them, that community disappears go away. Those sterile concrete do nothing to revitalize a community, it just destroys them and land values are decreased. Businesses will pack up and shut down for good. The area will remain in urban decay whether a freeway is built in it or not because the problem was never addressed to begin with.
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:10 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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As to freeways going to downtown, at least for a city like Boston, I don't think they belong there. Even if a freeway could have a capacity to handle the traffic volume, the cars have to park somewhere downtown and the local streets have to handle them once they got off. Handling trips downtown is what transit does best at. I read that Amsterdam offers free transit tickets to those that park at certain garages (priced at relatively rates, $8/day) adjacent to transit stations outside of the center city. IMO, a better way to handle trips into downtown (of course, Amsterdam has no choice). For the Big Dig's cost of $15 billion (probably $22 billion* with interest), major improvement to the rail infrastructure (electrifying the commuter rail, creating a SEPTA-like through running system, expanding the rapid/light rail system to some poorly served areas, converting some short distance commuter rail lines into higher frequency light rail, giving the street running green line signal priority, etc.) heading downtown could have been built, as well adding lanes to the ring highway around Boston, the parking garages I mentioned, and perhaps some bus rapid transit.

As a cost comparison, Paris is planning to spend $30 billion on 125 miles of new rapid transit (mostly automated, and much inner suburb to inner suburb routes). Claimed projections of 2 million passengers / day.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,379,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyxius View Post
Everyone has this perception that if you remove a freeway, traffic will get worst on surface street. The reality is people will make adjustments and the traffic will go away. Freeways do little to ease congestion, it just switch places with surface streets.
People like you scream "induced demand" have this perception that congestion will always be the same no matter what sort of roads we have. Yeah, right. I've driven in medium-sized cities that shunt all their traffic onto two-lane roads and I've driven in other cities with similar traffic volumes that shunted their traffic onto four-lane roads and freeways. I suppose the much better, faster, and less congested driving experience I had in the latter was just in my mind . Sure, people will make adjustments - it's great having to adjust to even more congestion, even slower speeds, and even longer trip times. I've done it myself, and strangling traffic is a small price to pay for the knowledge that the rotted buildings I pass by haven't been blighted by upgraded infrastructure .

Quote:
I prefer rebuilding buildings rather than replacing them with a sterile concrete that will outlive its purpose in about 20 years and carry more volume than it was designed to. You forget that these places were also vibrant communities and when you plow a freeway through them, that community disappears go away.
No offense intended, but a slum like this doesn't strike me as being a vibrant community. Providing good transportation infrastructure is seen by you as some sort of a blight, and at the same time you ignore the blight that existed before the infrastructure was there, and you ignore the other kind of blight that congestion brings to a city. It should also be noted that mile-wide neighborhoods and communities cannot disappear when they are bissected by a freeway that at most would be 300 feet wide. The neighborhoods are often divided, yes, but they are not destroyed. That would be as like saying that the country of Czechoslovakia was destroyed when it split into two - it wasn't destroyed, it was divided.

Quote:
Those sterile concrete do nothing to revitalize a community, it just destroys them and land values are decreased. Businesses will pack up and shut down for good. The area will remain in urban decay whether a freeway is built in it or not because the problem was never addressed to begin with.
Freeways serve to revitalize transportation, and do not directly revitalize neighborhoods or buildings. That isn't their function. Your last sentence demonstrates my point - you cannot destroy a vibrant community if no vibrancy existed there to begin with. Sterile concrete is far more pleasant than rotted buildings.

My broader point is that we don't have to choose between an eyesore freeway and an eyesore slum, and if we ever had to make such a choice it would be a grim day indeed. Urban renewal and improving infrastructure to eliminate gridlock are goals that should be pursued with equal vigor. Freeways can be buried, or they can be made more attractive than a green-colored eyesore, or other methods can be used to lessen their impact upon neighborhoods, or they could pursue an alternative route that would minimize the impact upon the city, and at the same time deliver maximum benefit to the people who live in the city and use these roads.
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