"There's an evolution from the '80s to the '90s to the (2000s) for recognizing the need to create connectivity with surrounding neighborhoods," said Lill, a former city council member. " We have people living in downtown and close to downtown who want a porous border. They want to go back and forth between these neighborhoods."
Where the freeways run below street level, there are straightforward ways to bridge the divide they create. On the city's north side, for example, a $110 million deck park is being built over a sunken portion of Woodall Rodgers.
"The city planners and city visionaries prevailed to suppress the highway, which was great luck for us now because we can build the deck park and create a tunnel," Lill said.
The park will link the city's densest neighborhood, Uptown, with the Arts District. It is expected to open in 2012 with funding provided government agencies and private donors.