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When Removing a Freeway Becomes Mundane

As a growing number of communities study freeway removal, what if the decision was no longer controversial? In Long Beach, California, two city-owned freeways carry less traffic than some neighborhood streets. Would anyone notice if they were gone?

Brian Ulaszewski discusses a handful of recent examples of freeway teardowns that were replaced with little effect, like the Park East Freeway in Milwaukee:

"The original plan called for this freeway to reach the downtown waterfront, but community backlash against the destruction of neighborhoods prevented the plan from being completely realized. In 2003, city officials eventually decided to remove the mile of the freeway that had been built (and was carrying 54,000 vehicles daily). What motivated this decision was the realization that demolishing the aging freeway would cost $25 million, but rebuilding it would have cost four times as much. Concerns over congestion were misplaced: the reestablished street grid largely absorbed the traffic, while additionally creating nearly 40 acres of land for private development."

Ulaszewski is proposing the removal of a couple of lengths of freeway in Long Beach, California.

Thanks to Brian Ulaszewski

Full Story: To Remove a Freeway in Long Beach (Part 2): By the Numbers



Seattle Study on Freeway Removal

It has a link to a city of Seattle study with a series of case studies of freeway removal and lessons learned from them.

The lessons learned include:

--Reduction of roadway capacity reduces the number of auto trips.
--“Spillover” traffic can be absorbed.
--Freeway removal does not require a major shift to transit.
--Freeway removal has a catalytic effect.

Too bad Seattle is so hesitant to listen to the lessons learned in this study.

The entire report [PDF] is at

Charles Siegel

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