Oklahoma City Highway to Be Replaced with Park

At one time, Oklahoma City is doing two things many cities have only hoped to: the city's getting rid of one of its aging inner-city highways and replacing it with a park.

"The aging Crosstown Expressway - an elevated 4.5-mile stretch of Interstate 40 - will be demolished in 2012. An old-fashioned boulevard and a mile-long park will be constructed in its place."

"Oklahoma City is doing what many cities dream about: saying goodbye to a highway."

"More than a dozen cities have proposals to remove highways from downtowns. Cleveland wants to remove a freeway that blocks its waterfront. Syracuse, N.Y., wants to rid itself of an interstate that cuts the city in half."

"In Oklahoma City, the interstate will be moved five blocks from downtown to an old railroad line. The new 10-lane highway, expected to carry 120,000 vehicles daily, will be placed in a trench so deep that city streets can run atop it, as if the highway weren't there."

"The old highway will be converted into a tree-lined boulevard city officials hope will become Oklahoma City's marquee street."

"By tearing down the Crosstown Expressway, the city hopes to spur development of 80 city blocks stretching from downtown to the Oklahoma River - an area that contains vacant lots, car repair shops and a few small homes."

Full Story: Oklahoma City swaps highway for park



Hype About Oklahoma City Highway

If you read the USA Today article carefully, you will see that they are actually planning to remove this freeway and replace it with an even larger underground freeway a few blocks away - as well as with a park and boulevard on its site.

The talk about San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway and about other real freeway removals is hype. This is actually more like Boston's big dig - but worse, because the new underground freeway is much bigger than the existing freeway.

If you read the comments to the USA Today article, you will see that there are citizens of Oklahoma City who oppose the plan to build an underground freeway and who would like a real freeway removal. This may end up being like Seattle, where the powers that be wanted to replace the Alaska Way with an underground freeway, and a citizens' movement stopped them.

Charles Siegel

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