Sydney Contemplating Tearing Down Freeway

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore has suggested that the road be demolished, and a recent report from planning experts indicates the plan would not bring the city's traffic to a halt.

"The demolition of the Cahill Expressway, one of Sydney's busiest roads, would not exacerbate Sydney's traffic woes, according to traffic consultants and urban planners.

The suggestion last week by the Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, that the road should be pulled down was based primarily on aesthetic arguments, but experience overseas shows pulling down motorways can also help ease traffic congestion."

"The so-called US freeway revolt began in Portland in 1974 when it demolished the Harbor Drive freeway. Other US cities followed, with traffic figures often showing a decline.

More recently, an elevated, six-lane motorway through the centre of Seoul was demolished. A park was created and a river was restored. The road carried 160,000 cars a day, but the city improved bus services and predicted traffic jams did not eventuate."

Full Story: Sydney could cope without the Cahill



Freeway Demolitions

A couple of new freeway demolitions proposed in the last few days alone: New Haven a day or two ago, and Sydney today. (I am waiting for Dallas and Houston to come next.)

The interesting thing is that the Sydney newspaper seems to consider it very plausible that they could tear down the freeway without replacing it, and traffic would continue to flow - a sign that freeway removals are becoming mainstream.

I will have to add Sydney to the long list of proposed freeway removals at

Charles Siegel

Removing capacity does not

Removing capacity does not always meet impending doom.

Park East

Yup here in Milwaukee they tore down the Park East freeway spur and in fact this summer it is starting to be developed. And no traffic problems at all.

Freeway Revolt Started in San Francisco, Not Portland

The Freeway revolt DID NOT START IN PORTLAND 1974 as the article states. It Started in San Francisco Circa Late 1950's

Public reaction to the plan was swift. Local organizers conducted meetings in the San Francisco neighborhoods that would be affected, and opposition to the freeway proposals took on the strength of a movement, complete with protests and petition campaigns. Nonetheless, some of the plans went ahead, most notably the construction of the Embarcadero Freeway, which began in 1958.

The Board of Supervisors took note of the public furor and decided to get involved. At a 1959 meeting, the Board voted to cancel seven of the ten proposed freeway projects. This action apparently caught the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) by surprise, and the Board expected to have the last word on the situation. However, the freeway planners at the state capital in Sacramento were undaunted and continued to propose new freeways and expressways for San Francisco, even though they still met with very vocal resistance from the neighborhood groups.

Freeway Revolt

True. The first freeway removal was in Portland, but the first freeway revolt was in SF in the mid 1950s. The SF Chronicle first criticized the freeway revolt in a 1956 editorial. For more of this history, see

Charles Siegel

Another one for the files

Charles, can you add the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn to your list? We're about to spend $850 million to replace the bridges, which is just nuts in this budgetary climate.

Boeing Vs USA

In 1974, the removed "freeway" in Portland was old Hwy 99, Harbor Drive. In the early 1960's, I-5 had been built and serves the same traffic corridor, but it was the completion of I-405, a west side of town bypass that allowed for Hwy 99 displaced traffic to be managed. And, I-405 may be redesignated as I-5 one day, as the waterfront land which I-5 now passes through Portland is highly valuable for other purposes.

The waterfront freeway with the most potential for study is Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, State Route 99. Damaged beyond repair in a 2001 earthquake, this double-deck waterfront 'freeway' built in 1951 is slated to be replaced with an even larger version.

Do not believe Washington State DOT planners who say they're studying a tunnel or a surface boulevard redesigation of SR99. WashDOT revealed their opposition to those options immediately after the earthquake with an extreme 'wish-list' of freeway projects, and AWV tunnel proposals that went in stages grudgingly from $15+ Billion to the current tunnel proposal projected at about $4 Billion. Indeed, WashDOT's "interim" construction projects for SR99 may prevent any other option besides the larger elevated double-deck viaduct. It's a national grudge match. Boeing vs USA.

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