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The Death of the Urban Freeway? Not Yet

The long-sought after demolition of Bronx's Sheridan Expressway hits obstacles as the City of New York now looks to save and retrofit it.
June 23, 2012, 11am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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Tearing down urban freeways and expressways is a strategy that has been growing in popularity around the world. Most famously implemented in San Francisco after the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway, the project's success gave other cities the impetus to tear down antiquated and little-used stretches of highway.

As Sarah Goodyear of The Atlantic Cities writes, the Bronx's Sheridan Expressway "...was number two on the Congress for the New Urbanism's list of "Freeways Without Futures," and it made the Urban Land Institute's short list of potential teardown projects as well..."

But, the City of New York recently reversed the decision to demolish the road, citing "concerns about truck traffic headed for the nearby Hunts Point Produce Market, the city's main wholesale outlet for fruits and vegetables, as well as other potential traffic problems." The city, instead, is looking to retrofit the aging highway.

Residents are fighting back, stating that preserving the Expressway is only going to be used as an incentive for a grocery delivery service to the Bronx over concerns of the citizens, inciting a fight between the needs of industry and those of the citizens.

Article author Sarah Goodyear also points out that "[o]nce a freeway is in place, it takes on a life of its own, an aura of inevitability...antiquated roads like this one still have brute staying power."

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Published on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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