New Urbanists Duke it Out With Mayor Over Expressway Conversion

"We should not let the lame be the enemy of the perfectly adequate," says one critic of the New Haven mayor's proposal.

1 minute read

May 17, 2012, 8:00 AM PDT

By newurban


In a session last Friday at the Congress for New Urbanism in West Palm Beach, Florida, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. butted heads with a gathering of new urbanists over what they believe are flawed plans to replace a less than one-mile-long expressway on the edge of the city's downtown with a pair of surface streets, writes Philip Langdon.

"Whenever (CNU president and CEO John) Norquist or an audience member suggested, even mildly, that further changes are needed in the plan, DeStefano, a Democrat who has been in office for 18 years, curtly rejected their ideas. Norquist suggested, for example, that the vehicular route coming off of I-95 should slow down and mesh with pedestrian-oriented city streets immediately. Citing an example from another city, Norquist said 'You get off the freeway, it's urban, in a place with a freeway with 120,000

vehicles a day.'"

"'Bring the check, John,'" DeStefano shot back. 'There's lots of things I'd like to do,' DeStefano added, making it clear that he regards such ideas as too expensive or impractical.

Thanks to Rob Steuteville

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 in Better! Cities & Towns

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