San Francisco: Model for Freeway Removal

Architecture critic John King tagged along with the Congress for New Urbanism. The latter was recently in San Francisco to examine the benefits of freeway removal. The city's prime case study: Octavia Boulevard.
Gary Stevens / Flickr

John King examines "when a double-deck roadway is erased from the map," along with the Congress for New Urbanism, which recently brought a group of visitors in from the "eastern half of the United States" to examine the Octavia Boulevard case study, which replaced a portion of the Central Freeway.

"Octavia Boulevard opened in 2005, nearly 16 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged pillars supporting the elevated concrete roadway erected in 1959. The ramps extending across Hayes Street to Gough and Franklin streets, which never reopened, were dismantled in 1992. But the connection that crossed Market Street to Oak and Fell streets remained in place until 2003, with four elections along the way to decide whether it should stay or go."

"Now the freeway touches down at Market Street before shifting to a boulevard with two lanes of traffic on either side of a median filled by thick poplars. On either side, there's an additional lane for local traffic, set apart from the central lanes by elms and shrubs to buffer the adjacent blocks from the commuter slog."

Full Story: Road to rebirth? S.F.'s post-freeway Octavia may be a model

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