Needed: An expanded campaign to tear down urban freeways
A new report from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy shows freeway removal delivering benefits on three continents.
Subscriber? Log in for full article. Not a subscriber yet? Subscribe to read all articles (print + online delivery) about how to implement better cities and towns. Or, get the April-May 2012 issue (instant pdf download).
The freeway removal campaign got a boost in March when the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy released “The Life and Death of Urban Highways,” a 39-page report on the benefits that five of the world’s cities have gained by replacing limited-access highways.
“Decades of failing to deliver congestion relief and improve safety combined with the hard evidence of damaged neighborhoods have proven that the urban highway is a failed experiment,” former Denver Planning Director Peter J. Park declared in the report’s foreword.
Park, who resigned his Denver position last August after winning a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, has been preaching the freeway removal message at Harvard and at the nearby Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, where he is a Lincoln/Loeb Fellow. He argues that the nation needs an expanded campaign to persuade officials and the public about the good things that come from eliminating urban freeways.
The report from ITDP, an organization that “promotes socially equitable and environmentally sustainable transportation worldwide,” makes these points:
- “When limited-access freeways are force-fit into urban environments, they create barriers that erode vitality—the very essence of cities.” Freeways block many nearby surface streets, making it harder to get from one place to