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Old 04-29-2013, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,037,464 times
Reputation: 3599

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MDOT is consider removing a section of I-375 south of either Lafayette or Gratiot in Downtown Detroit and turning it into an at-grade boulevard. The key is whether or not this would be a better option than using the $80 million dollars to simply repair the bridges and repave the road.

Among ideas to revamp I-375: A boulevard (if you want to read the article, you might have to go through google and click the 2nd link)

Personally, I think the damage is already done. On either side of the freeway, the city grid has already been broken up mostly due to urban renewal in the 60s. Though I'd be in favor of removing 375 completely and removing the large interchange with I-75 and having the freeway form a curve with maybe two single lane off-ramps to Gratiot.

People unfamiliar with the area tend to get confused at this interchange because the off-ramps to go north are on the right side of the freeway. Most people instinctively stay on on the left side assuming the freeway makes a natural curve, but instead it just takes them to the surface street. Even in the 60s, I don't understand why they built it like this unless they had plans to extend the freeway eastward.

Google Maps
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Glendale, CA
1,298 posts, read 2,113,056 times
Reputation: 1374
These days it seems like most cities (at least here in So Cal) are talking about "capping" versus highway removal. Since there are many freeways already built below grade, the most effective solution seems to be to put a park on top of it to hide it. Besides, people would go nuts if you started talking about ripping out freeways.

Here are some current proposals:
134 Cap through Glendale: Tropico Station: THE Glendale Blog: Glendale's "Space 134" Freeway Park Concept To Be Presented to City Council
101 Cap through Hollywood: Fly Over the Proposed Hollywood Freeway Cap Park - Video Interlude - Curbed LA
101 Cap through Downtown LA: Welcome to the State of California Department of Transportation, District 7, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties

Whether these get built any time soon (and with what money) is anyone's guess, but it's good that they are talking about it.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
457 posts, read 437,617 times
Reputation: 253
Boston has plans to sell air right to developers that would build over I-90, and as most people know Boston put I-93 in a tunnel as it goes through downtown.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,380,753 times
Reputation: 2388
Actually removing a highway that is being used by significant numbers of motorists, as opposed to moving it underground big-dig style, definitely carries more cons than pros. All of those people will be shunted back onto city streets, increasing the already horrendous congestion that characterizes American cities today. A portion of the freeway traffic might not use the city streets because they won't want to go on a trip to that location any more, but that's what I call moving backwards rather than forwards. After all, there's a good reason why freeways were built in the first place, and that's to move traffic more efficiently. I've already outlined the rest of my position on the issue here and here.

Capping freeways like this seems like a great idea to me. The freeway's capacity for moving cars is unaffected and a new park is created using space that is already available. What's not to like?
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,937,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
Actually removing a highway that is being used by significant numbers of motorists, as opposed to moving it underground big-dig style, definitely carries more cons than pros. All of those people will be shunted back onto city streets, increasing the already horrendous congestion that characterizes American cities today. A portion of the freeway traffic might not use the city streets because they won't want to go on a trip to that location any more, but that's what I call moving backwards rather than forwards. After all, there's a good reason why freeways were built in the first place, and that's to move traffic more efficiently. I've already outlined the rest of my position on the issue here and here.
It all depends. If there is a rail line or a busway near where the old highway began, it's pretty easy to deal with the capacity issue by putting in more park and ride spaces.

Ultimately cities need to decide which route to go. If you cater to commuters too much, you will kill major aspects of the city. On the other hand, if you ensure that driving all the way downtown is a pain (by limiting downtown parking, and making it expensive, for example), you will create much greater demand for mass transit options.
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Sunbelt
801 posts, read 859,864 times
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The big idea behind removing freeways is that urban sprawl will ultimately be reduced. Freeways are pretty much the sole reason urban sprawl can even exist. If it took 2 hours to get downtown rather than 20 minutes, people would live closer. Ridership on mass transit systems would go up. People would spend more time shopping downtown rather than at shopping malls. For cities that want to revitalize their downtowns, replacing freeways with at-grade boulevards may be something to look at.

Problem is, you can't just tear down freeways without an alternative. There either needs to be a bypass route, a boulevard to replace it, or amazing mass transit. If a city wants to preserve the state that it's already in, then capping the freeways is best; it will reconnect separate neighborhoods and reduce noise and pollution in certain areas, while at the same time allowing people to continue living as the always had.

Conclusion: Sunbelt cities should concentrate on freeway caps to preserve livelihood in suburbs, and older Midwestern and Atlantic cities should look at tearing down freeways in order to encourage people to move into the city center.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:58 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,842,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaySwelly View Post
The big idea behind removing freeways is that urban sprawl will ultimately be reduced. Freeways are pretty much the sole reason urban sprawl can even exist. If it took 2 hours to get downtown rather than 20 minutes, people would live closer.
Or, they woudn't go downtown.

Cutting up the interstate highway system (e.g. removing I-95 through Philadelphia) is among the crazier ideas of urbanistas. Fortunately, it's unlikely to happen.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaySwelly View Post
and older Midwestern and Atlantic cities should look at tearing down freeways in order to encourage people to move into the city center.
No, they shouldn't.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:19 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,107,012 times
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Looking at the data from completed highway removal projects ... not much of a downside. I care very little about a few extra minutes it takes for someone coming from the burbs to get downtown. The removal of the southern terminus of I-83 has been proposed, and I hope it happens. There's no thru traffic, it just ends downtown. It creates an unpleasant barrier and its absence will increase value in the CBD. I care very little if it takes 3 extra minutes for a suburbanite to get downtown on a highway said suburbanite isn't even paying for.

Our status as an independent city is usually a curse ... however we could do whatever we want to with the highways. It needs to come down.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:27 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
Reputation: 14810
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
Actually removing a highway that is being used by significant numbers of motorists, as opposed to moving it underground big-dig style, definitely carries more cons than pros. All of those people will be shunted back onto city streets, increasing the already horrendous congestion that characterizes American cities today. A portion of the freeway traffic might not use the city streets because they won't want to go on a trip to that location any more, but that's what I call moving backwards rather than forwards. After all, there's a good reason why freeways were built in the first place, and that's to move traffic more efficiently. I've already outlined the rest of my position on the issue here and here.

Capping freeways like this seems like a great idea to me. The freeway's capacity for moving cars is unaffected and a new park is created using space that is already available. What's not to like?
Well, unless capped well you still hear the noise. Air pollution may still be an issue. The noise of a local highway carries way too much, I'm rather sick of it. It seems a bit of a contradiction how many of the more pro-suburbia posters value quiet but seem to tolerate more road noise.

As for where the traffic will go:

1) Some cars were using the highway just go through, they'd pick another highway perhaps slightly longer
2) Yes, some will go on city streets. Expressway traffic does have to leave at some point anyway; a couple extra miles isn't a horror.
3) Some traffic won't enter the city at all, many might switch to transit assuming the system is functional taking people downtown is what transit is best at. Yes, some won't enter at all. Not necessarily the end of the world.

I'm puzzled what was the point of clearing parts of Boston for a highway in the first place. Boston actually had plans for a much more extensive rapid transit system all the way to the expressway ring road (MA-128), but for various reasons never happend (the red line to Braintree is one of the few parts that got built). Each train line would have a very large park and ride near where it crossed the expressway. Travelers in the inner suburbs and city would have frequent train service with a mode of travel that didn't clash with the urbanness of the center city, the outer suburbs could drive to a park and ride then use rapid transit, take a less frequent commuter rail or yes, drive in but deal with slower city street for 4-5 miles.
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