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Old 05-04-2013, 10:34 PM
 
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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. 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.
I wouldn't say that. Bad assumption that all jobs are in an cities CBD and that people who use the freeways only live in the burbs I live in a city where it would take an hour or more to cross north/south without the expressway system.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,380,753 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
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.
I've never minded road noise much - it sure beats lawnmowers and dogs. Besides, if you don't like highway noise why didn't you pick a place to live that wasn't near a big highway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaySwelly View Post
The big idea behind removing freeways is that urban sprawl will ultimately be reduced.
Urban sprawl could also be reduced if you went back to dirt roads everywhere, but that would be moving backwards, not forwards. The same goes for downgrading roads, which is frankly a perversion of the goal of maintaining an efficient transportation system. Instead of using the transportation system to help the masses and to provide them with more mobility, you and some others want to use it as a weapon to impose your preferred lifestyle on them via social engineering.

Quote:
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.
The suburbanites have already chosen where they want to live, and if the impact of freeway teardowns is as minor as you people think ("it's only 5 miles" ) then there shouldn't be much of an impact in commute or travel times, right? What will happen is that it will increase congestion, decrease quality of life, and increase air pollution and fuel consumption, but that's the whole point, isn't it? Imposing suffering on people to gain more control over them - a mentality straight out of the Dark Ages, and if we're not careful that's where some of these so-called green attitudes will take us.

Besides, what's the difference between Georgia and Ohio with regards to freeways and suburbs? Northern cities have plenty of suburbs, too, not just Sun Belt cities. Also, it's a fact that mile for mile, boulevards or any other surface street is less efficient and more polluting than a freeway, since most cars get worse gas mileage in city driving than highway driving. So if reducing pollution is a goal, this miserable scheme of freeway removals should be reconsidered.

Of course, if you really want to reduce pollution mass transit would be the way to go, but you don't have to tear down freeways to build train and subway lines. You can have both, you know. Also, if the vast majority of trips to downtown are made either by freeway or by train, that ensures maximum efficiency across the transportation modes. For the efficiency to be realized traffic needs to be moving on the freeway (not gridlocked) and the trains need to be modern and have sufficient capacity.

As for people moving to the city center, if I had to traverse miles and miles of congested streets and traffic lights to get downtown, I wouldn't bother going. I've tried that approach in several cities - travel times across the city were much slower than they were on a parallel freeway, and the trip was really more trouble than it's worth. I think it's much more likely that suburbanites will think the same way I do and quit going downtown, instead of packing their bags and moving closer.

Also, the central business districts of most cites are less than 2 miles across from end to end, so you could have the through freeways loop around the city with radials that stream into the city and then stop just short of the CBD itself. That prevents downtowns from being sliced up and also minimizes the "surface street time" for travelers. If a freeway needs to go through downtown, bury it Big Dig style.

Speaking of that, frankly I don't see why some of these people highlighting the negative impact of freeways don't advocate for them to be buried like the Big Dig. It would negate all of the downsides they talk about while still preserving all the upsides. It would cost a lot of money, but when you factor in the waste of the alternative (removing a freeway) it looks much more attractive.

I say that as long as an existing downtown freeway can function well, we might as well keep it, and when it needs to be replaced or overhauled we should bury it as a part of the project. In the meantime access to downtown should be eased further by constructing subways and commuter train lines, assuming they don't already exist.

The above two paragraphs take an approach of trying to make life better for people who use the transportation system (i.e. almost everyone), instead of imposing suffering on them to advance an agenda.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:43 AM
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
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
I've never minded road noise much - it sure beats lawnmowers and dogs. Besides, if you don't like highway noise why didn't you pick a place to live that wasn't near a big highway?
Highway noise carry a lot, I wanted to live in a particular town.


Quote:
I think it's much more likely that suburbanites will think the same way I do and quit going downtown, instead of packing their bags and moving closer.
Or they could switch to transit. As for myself, I've rarely driven into a downtown itself. I used to live in the suburbs, to get to the downtown I took the train, as did most people I knew.

Quote:
Speaking of that, frankly I don't see why some of these people highlighting the negative impact of freeways don't advocate for them to be buried like the Big Dig. It would negate all of the downsides they talk about while still preserving all the upsides. It would cost a lot of money, but when you factor in the waste of the alternative (removing a freeway) it looks much more attractive.
Mainly, because it's extremely expensive for what not much upside. The state here is in a large debt to pay off Big Dig construction costs. As I said earlier, I don't see much need to focus on very easy road access to downtown Boston.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Sunbelt
801 posts, read 859,864 times
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Disclosure: I am not a fan of cramming people into city centers. I would rather have capped freeways before at-grade boulevards. However, I think for dilapidated cities like Detroit, the removal of certain freeways could be looked at. Vancouver is an example of a major city that has freeways which do not go to the city center.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:17 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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But Vancouver is not a dilapidated city. It's funny that you use it as an example for Detroit.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
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If public transit is superior to freeways as a mode of travel, then wouldn't most people choose transit if they had a choice between a direct freeway connection to downtown and a direct mass transit connection? Why must choices be removed from people and driving suppressed to make mass transit popular if it is so much better than driving? Are you anti-road people afraid that mass transit is actually inferior to highways? Well, I'm not, and all this proves my point about increasing suffering and worsening the quality of transportation to advance an agenda unrelated to maintaining an efficient transportation system, which in my view is the ultimate perversion in urban planning. I believe it would be better if we had both direct freeway access and direct transit access and people could choose which is best for their trip.

I suggested the Big Dig style as a solution that placates "the freeways must go" people while still maintaining road access to the city. Sure, it's expensive, but it looks attractive if one factors in the lost fuel efficiency, lost productivity, and just plain suffering for drivers. However, when that is suggested the anti-road crowd says it's too expensive. Apparently for them regression is the only option, which might explain why freeway teardowns garner so much opposition - as a rule people don't like moving backwards. Also, about the expenses bit, one cost we never hear about is the cost of creating this huge new mass transit system that has been suggested. Sure, it might not be as expensive as the Big Dig*, but the fact of how much this costs is conveniently swept under the rug.

I would actually want to create a new mass transit system, but I'm also not one who wants to sever transportation arteries and force pain upon drivers to advance a political agenda. I'd also want to bury the highways, but if I had to choose one or the other I'd build the mass transit system first, and let the freeways be for now. After all, they're not hurting anything just being there. Burying freeways should be a few notches down on the to-do list. Capping freeways that are already below-grade costs less, so that's somewhat different.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:08 AM
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
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
If public transit is superior to freeways as a mode of travel, then wouldn't most people choose transit if they had a choice between a direct freeway connection to downtown and a direct mass transit connection?
Well, I said they did, at least where I'm from in my experience:

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Or they could switch to transit. As for myself, I've rarely driven into a downtown itself. I used to live in the suburbs, to get to the downtown I took the train, as did most people I knew.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:38 PM
 
Location: South Portland, ME
889 posts, read 1,015,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
Urban sprawl could also be reduced if you went back to dirt roads everywhere, but that would be moving backwards, not forwards. The same goes for downgrading roads, which is frankly a perversion of the goal of maintaining an efficient transportation system. Instead of using the transportation system to help the masses and to provide them with more mobility, you and some others want to use it as a weapon to impose your preferred lifestyle on them via social engineering.



The suburbanites have already chosen where they want to live, and if the impact of freeway teardowns is as minor as you people think ("it's only 5 miles" ) then there shouldn't be much of an impact in commute or travel times, right? What will happen is that it will increase congestion, decrease quality of life, and increase air pollution and fuel consumption, but that's the whole point, isn't it? Imposing suffering on people to gain more control over them - a mentality straight out of the Dark Ages, and if we're not careful that's where some of these so-called green attitudes will take us.
Well, that's all fine and dandy for a suburbanite, but who cares about them? They don't live there, they aren't affected by the lack of connectivity between neighborhoods like the people who actually live in those neighborhoods. Why should those people suffer just so some folks from "out of town" can have an easier commute to the office?

Highways that cater to the suburbs (as you put it) "impose suffering" on the people who live near it by lowering the standard of living in their city. This is not how it should be. Highways should cater to the cities they were built for. If it is important to get people from outside the city into the city, then fine, good to have them. But if the city decides it's more important to be inter-connected rather than to let outsiders in easily, then too bad for you outsiders. Get jobs closer to your homes, move closer to your jobs, or deal with it.

This is the situation in Syracuse (from what I gathered on the first page) - the city feels like the two sections of town that are separated by the freeway should be better connected. So yes, absolutely they should remove the freeway. Who cares if it causes "suffering" to people who live OUTSIDE of Syracuse. The point is to make life better for the people who live IN Syracuse. If taking the freeway out makes life better for the people of Syracuse then it's a no brainer, do it. Why should they "suffer" just so some people living out in the suburbs have an easier commute? They shouldn't. Again, those people chose to live outside of the city, no one forced them to live out there - so they can figure out how to deal with it once the freeway is removed.

Last edited by JoulesMSU; 05-06-2013 at 11:50 PM..
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoulesMSU View Post
Well, that's all fine and dandy for a suburbanite, but who cares about them?
Yeah, who cares about those people!


Real mature....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoulesMSU View Post
Highways should cater to the cities they were built for. If it is important to get people from outside the city into the city, then fine, good to have them. But if the city decides it's more important to be inter-connected rather than to let outsiders in easily, then too bad for you outsiders.
So nobody within the city limits of any city utilizes freeways at any point for any trips, commuting or otherwise? Oh, I didn't know that. I guess I must have been imagining myself driving from my house in NYC to my job in NYC on that imaginary highway down the block from my house...phew...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoulesMSU View Post
Get jobs closer to your homes, move closer to your jobs, or deal with it.
Oh yeah no problem, they can just get jobs...I heard that's totally easy to do these days for everybody.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoulesMSU View Post
so they can figure out how to deal with it once the freeway is removed.
...or companies could just leave the city altogether since you're now limiting mobility and inhibiting the workforce from easily accessing their jobs, regardless of where they're from: neighborhoods within the city, suburbs, exurbs or even neighboring cities. Yeah, that sounds just grand....let's limit mobility and just switch everybody to buses and trains. Companies don't care about your city, if they find it to be too difficult to do business there, they'll leave. Maybe in super-dense urban areas, transit really can handle most trips simply because of it's age and pre-existing density prior to the automotive age, but to suggest that you could "NYC-ize" any one of these newer, less dense metro regions is simply asinine. Covering up a highway? Yeah, that I can totally understand for certain areas. But not removal....just driving on the mess that is the West Side Highway south of 59th street has shown me all I need to know about what kind of a mess that makes for.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:25 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,107,012 times
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But at the same time does the suburbanite give a lick about the noise and air pollution caused by said highway? Or (more importantly to me) the degradation of communities that were demolished to accommodate his smooth commute? Low property values surrounding this highway? Parking dead zones in the CBD that generate little activity and revenue?

The answer to these is no. There is one benefit, a slightly shorter commute, and many negatives. In this city we hold our CBD back and allow certain communities to fester in the name of convenience ... All for people who do not pay 1 cent for the roadway.
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