Freeway Removal Projects Gain Momentum

Thanks to decades of activism and newly available federal funding, state and local governments are starting to understand the negative impacts of highway construction and working to reverse the effects on cities around the nation.

1 minute read

April 13, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Writing in the Congress for New Urbanism Public Square blog, Lauren Mayer outlines freeway removal projects around the nation that are being aided by federal support, thanks to the federal government’s “acknowledgement of historic harms with financing through the federal Reconnecting Communities program.”

Mayer focuses on Interstate 787 in Albany; State Highway 55 in Minneapolis; and US Route 244 in Youngstown, Ohio. After decades of fierce highway building, New York is seeing a major turnaround in policy. “With successful removals in Rochester and New York City and more in progress in Syracuse and Buffalo, the state government in New York is working to heal the divisions created when these roads tore apart the communities by reconnecting the historically underinvested neighborhoods and improving economic vitality.” Each project is the result of years of ongoing work and coalition-building by local activists and officials. 

Mayer concludes by highlighting the importance of collaboration across agencies and levels of government. “Building coalitions within government and the community can help these long-term and potentially expensive projects build and maintain momentum throughout the process.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 in Congress For New Urbanism

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