The End of a Urban Freeway—and an Era of Planning—in Rochester, New York
"Realizing the devastating effect urban freeways have had on downtowns across the U.S., many cities are now contemplating some form of freeway removal," according to an article by Norman Garrick. "Most of these discussions haven’t gotten very far, but in Rochester, New York, officials have moved beyond the talking phase and are actually taking action."
Work is already underway in covering over the ditch that once gave cars access to the Inner Loop at the expense of Rochester's neighborhoods.
Garrick relates a history of the planning and political work that preceded the demise of I-490—dating back to the 1990s. "This two-decade long effort culminated in the city finally winning a TIGER grant for over $17 million from the USDOT for the removal of a 2/3-mile long stretch of the Inner Loop," adds Garrick. "The total cost of the project: $22 million."
Garrick (who was one of the researchers behind a study that made news earlier this year for finding the strongest evidence yet "that parking is a 'likely cause' of increased driving") also provides a few lessons in overthrowing the 20th century paradigms that put cars first.