Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freeway Dreams: Failed Efforts to Destroy Urban America

It's well known that in the middle of the 20th Century, the US went on an absolute binge of freeway construction. It's been good for commerce and the construction industry, but the unintended consequences for cities have been severe: the destruction of vibrant urban communities to make way for freeways; the inexorable spread of suburban placelessness; traffic jams; pollution. Particularly pernicious were the frequent instances of low-income or minority neighborhoods being leveled to make way for these high-speed commuter roads out to the suburbs. If you have urbanist tendencies, you probably see the freeway system as the greatest crime committed against urban design in the last century. Seen from this perspective, it's easy to look back at the 1950s and '60s as a time when the freeway builders, and their urban planning patrons such as Robert Moses, had unchecked power to will the demolition of whole neighborhoods.

But there were actually all sorts of concerted efforts to stop the bulldozers in those days; and what's more, these freeway revolts even succeeded on occasion, as discussed at Greater Greater Washington. See, for instance, this plan to thoroughly cross-hatch San Francisco with freeways. In the face of public pressure, which began as early as 1955, more than 80% of these roads never got built:

In fact, San Francisco continues to tear down what freeways it does have within its city limits; its the only major city to lose freeway miles since 1990.

There was a major plan to build an inner ring in Boston, too:

Public opposition put the kibosh on that one in the early seventies. (The only portion of the plan that was completed - the Central Artery - became a notorious eyesore, and was itself demolished in the nineties and re-built underground in a project known as the Big Dig, which project was itself an enormous debacle for all sorts of reasons. So you see that the original freeway plan set off a sort of catalytic chain of fiascos.)

Other places weren't so fortunate; in Houston, among many other cities, an inner ring was built around the central business district, coincidentally enough running right through some of the city's most historic black neighborhoods. Funny how that always seemed to happen with these freeway plans. Though even some minority neighborhoods mounted successful efforts to fight off the highwaymen, even in Houston itself, where the Harrisburg Freeway, which would have bisected the city's mostly Hispanic East End was scuttled. And the campaign in Washington, DC that spawned this announcement was also a success:

Jane Jacobs led the fight against freeways in New York, though her great urbanist screed, The Death and Life of Great American Cities,wasn't published until 1961, and the tide didn't turn against Robert Moses & co.'s freeway plans for NYC until they had mostly been enacted. Only the finishing touches on the city's freeway sytem - the dashed lines in the map below, plus the Lower Manhattan Freeway that would have obliterated most of SoHo and the Lower East Side - were halted.

Despite Moses' success in re-building the city as a place for cars rather than people, New York is still the most thoroughgoingly urban city in North America, with the largest and arguably most successful public transit system. That is either a testament to New York's resilience in the face of efforts to re-shape it, or an indictment of the rest of America's cities for failing to provide successful urban environments for their people.

: A commenter links to a map of Portland's thwarted freeways. The city, which had commissioned none other than Robert Moses to design its highway plan, was definitely at the vanguard of the freeway revolt movement. The author of that post makes a good point:
We’re lucky to have escaped the fate of many other cities — but I hope we are not getting ready, with the Columbia River Crossing project and all the stimulus spending in our near future, to make some of the same mistakes that we avoided forty years ago.


Anonymous said...

Also note the mostly successful movement to prevent more freeways in the city of Portland, OR. We have two major interstates as well as a looping interstate, plus a couple of expressway type limited access highways, but the plan was for so much more.

Anonymous said...

"But there were actually all sorts of concerted efforts to stop the bulldozers in those days"

Here is Vancouver Canada we never stopped fighting, although there were some lulls the battle. Right now the Provincial Government is attempting a huge freeway building binge called the Gateway Program.

Groups such as the Livable Region Coalition, Wilderness Committee, and Grandview Woodlands Area Council are fighting back. Because of the climate crisis, we have to win this time.

From the largest city in the US & Canada without a downtown freeway - Better Transit, Not Freeways!

Chachy said...

Seems that the whole Cascadia region is ripe for this issue. Here's to hoping that Portland-Seattle-Vancouver can get some of those high-speed-rail Obamabucks flowing their way.

Anonymous said...

We've had similar success in Sydney through the decades, especially in the most urban areas. Most of the big new road projects of my adulthood have been built underground, like in Boston. It's a win-win-win: streets remain liveable, traffic calming forces traffic underground, and since they're mostly expensive tollways, more and more people use public transit instead.

Eric Fischer said...

I hate to see this altered copy of the San Francisco Trafficways plan keep being republished. Here is a scan of the actual map from the 1948 Transportation Plan.

Anonymous said...

You're just anti-change you luddites. In the 19th Centuary you are the kind of people who would have opposed railways, footpaths, and bicycles. Yes there were opposition groups to these with the same rants you are making right now.

Of course you benefit from these changes but it doesn't stop you from complaining about them or whining endlessly on the Internet about what was...even though it's obvious to anyone with half a brain that the traffic situations in all of those cities would have been far worse had.

e.g. the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge in SF. There was considerable opposition to both of these projects but I don't hear any complaints today about either. Ditto with the Brooklyn Bridge in NY. The same goes for skyscrapers, which are proven to be more environmentally beneficial than low density housing.

The list that shows the hyprocrasy being expressed here just goes on...

Dieran Blog said...

Thank You for such a great idea!.... :)

information said...

yesterday, my friend told me that there is a great site.,. and I tried to visit the site on purpose .... and he was right, this site is really good .... tomorrow I'll do the visit here again, hopefully there is new information that I get on this site ..

Business Blog said...

Visiting this site is fun, because I can get new information to add knowledge ... thanks for the owner and the author of this site ....

information ,technology, business,autos, entertainment

tn requin said...

sleeping bag
travel luggage
car gps
car parts
GPS navigation
portable GPS
lcd tv
flat tv
digital picture frames
unlocked cell phones
wedding dresses
wedding jewelry
chaussures mode
chaussures Femmes
women's shoes
round tablecloth
discount handbags
chaussures sport
chaussures pas cher
fashion bedding
id lanyard
creative gadgets
gift ideas
kids wall stickers
wall stickers
bath curtains
kitchen faucet
bathroom faucet

Rumah Sakit Mitra Kemayoran said...

thanks for sharing..

Warung Talaga - Tahu Yun Sen 1938
belajar internet marketing
Seminar Internet Marketing IMFreedom
Konsultan Internet Marketing Imfocus

Penis Enlargement Pills said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Chapunk Brinkka said...

We want to tell you how to enlarge penis a naturally with herbal supplements,without surgery and completely natural.

Anonymous said...

Hit upon away starting home how that do a undo reverse phone lookup lookup before a phone lookup otherwise even a telephone number lookup lookup that uncover out who is losing to facilitate character to facilitate has been calling you this complete instance ok.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy this nice turn around phone lookup or else phone search or else phone number search spot. I be capable of become skilled at a exalted amount of reverse phone lookup stuff about quash mobile phone lookup here now as soon as I checked away from home this guide here.

tablet pc android said...

It won't truly have effect, I suppose so.

Anonymous said...

phone number lookup

muebles parla said...

Wow, there is so much effective info above!

album foto said...

I think people fear idea management and innovation because there's a significant number of ideas that simply won't plan out.......Nice statement.....keep posting

asuransi pendidikan said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

design interior jakarta said...

I think that this post is one of the best that i have read in my life, congrats you did a great job,.

perusahaan security said...

the difference between the content spammers and most corporate innovators is that the smaller

jual wine said...

I'm writing to you because I just came across a business that I think has great potential. It lets you save money on almost everything. Make money from almost everything,

coklat valentine said...

If growth is important to a firm, and if growth is dependent on offering existing products and services to new customers

belajar internet marketing said...

innovation is very natural and happens in the "real world" as new plants and animals colonize new ecological niches.

kuliner bandung said...

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect

konsultan perusahaan said...

We generally think most specifically about the risk associated with a new product introduction

how to stay erect said...

I would be aware that as somebody who really doesn’t comment to blogs a lot (in actual fact, this may be my first put up), I don’t think the time period “lurker” is very flattering to a non-posting reader.

Unknown said...

It is great site of people who can use The Map Scroll. I like it very much.Buy Twitter Followers

Unknown said...

It is a beautiful siteVisit our HTML tutorial

Anonymous said...

Cara Tradisional Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Cara Tradisional Menghilangkan Kutil
Cara Tradisional untuk Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Cara Tradisional Menghilangkan sakit Kutil di Kemaluan
Cara Ampuh Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Cara Ampuh Menghilangkan Kutil
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil Kemaluan
Cara sangat Ampuh Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Pria
Cara ampuh Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Pria
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Pria
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil Pria
Cara untuk Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Pria
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Wanita
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil Wanita
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Wanita
Cara untuk Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Wanita
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Laki-laki
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil
Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Laki-laki
Cara untuk Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Laki-laki
Cara Menghilangkan penyakit Kutil di Kemaluan Laki-laki
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Perempuan
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Perempuan
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil Kemaluan Perempuan
Cara untuk Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Perempuan
obat ambeien stadium 3
obat ambeien stadium 1
obat ambeien stadium 2
obat ambeyen dan wasir stadium 4
obat ambeien stadium 4
Obat Alami Ambeien Stadium 3
Obat Alami Ambeien Stadium 1
Obat Alami Ambeien Stadium 2
Obat Alami Ambeien Stadium 4
pengobatan Alami Ambeien Stadium 3
Obat Herbal Ambeien Stadium 3
Obat Herbal Ambeien Stadium 1
Obat Herbal Ambeien Stadium 2
Obat Herbal Ambeien Stadium 4
pengobatan Herbal Ambeien Stadium 3


good Article
Obat Kondiloma Jengger Ayam di Apotik
Nama Obat Kondiloma Jengger Ayam di Apotik
Obat Hilangkan Kondiloma Jengger Ayam di Apotik
Obat Untuk Kondiloma Jengger Ayam di Apotik
Obat Herbal Kondiloma Jengger Ayam di Apotik

Anonymous said...

Obat Kutil Tumbuh di Sekitar Kemaluan Pria
Obat Kutil Yang Tumbuh di Sekitar Kemaluan
Obat Kutil Yang Tumbuh di Sekitar Kemaluan Wanita
Obat Kutil Yang Tumbuh di Kemaluan Pria
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Pria
Menghilangkan Kutil di Kelamin Pria
Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Wanita
Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan Pria
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kemaluan
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil Kemaluan Pria
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil di Kelamin Pria
Menghilangkan Benjolan Kutil Kemaluan Pria
Menghilangkan Benjolan Kutil di Kemaluan
Menghilangkan Benjolan Kutil di Kemaluan Pria Wanita
Menghilangkan Benjolan Kutil di Kelamin Pria
Cara Mengobati Ambeien
Cara Untuk Mengobati Ambeien Wasir
Cara Ampuh Untuk Mengobati Ambeien
Cara Alami Untuk Mengobati Ambeien
Cara Untuk Mengobati Penyakit Ambeien Wasir
Cara Untuk Mengobati Penyakit Ambeien Wasir
Cara Alami Untuk Mengobati Penyakit Ambeien
Cara Ampuh Untuk Mengobati Penyakit Ambeien

SEO Freelancer Delhi said...

Thank you.excellent post.I am really happy that this article have known to many information.

Entertaining Game Channel said...

This is Very very nice article. Everyone should read. Thanks for sharing. Don't miss WORLD'S BEST TraindDrivingSimulatorFreeGames

Anonymous said...


Angel Claudia said...

Are you out of time and require quality and Research Papers for Sale?. We offer Term Paper Help Services to scholars, and we guarantee that all scholars can afford our high-quality services and products.

Puremelda said...

It becomes necessary for students to identify companies that offer Cheap Term Paper Writers,to assist them in their assignments and Custom Dissertation Writing Help. The most convenient issue is that you can access the Custom Research Paper at any time and location as long as you have Internet connectivity.

meldaresearch said...

Are you looking to hire a superior Online Essay Editing Writing Services and Essay Editing and Proofreading Services the find the best company for Custom Editing Writing Services.

techy said...

If you are using norton antivirus and facing issue like norton not opening, then read our blog and fix it.

PC Matic Sign in Account (914-218-5430) said...

I am been Reading your blog for a lot time i must say its a amazing blog and i found blog to be very informative and helpful will come back to read more. Thanks for sharing!

roadrunner email support

roadrunner email

spectrum customer service

securitycamera said...

If you are facing trouble during the Reset Ring doorbell camera, then don’t worry we will provide you proper guidance. You can contact us anytime. Our experts will interact with you and provide you all solutions regarding How To Reset Ring Doorbell.

skyler said...

digital marketing agency
digital marketing services
seo companies

jack said...

windows update error code 800b0100 it means that your windows update is not registrade in windows so go to system update readiness tool for webpage. Then you can solve the error code 800b0100 and then restart the computer and check that update again.

fgthtyhsrty said...

supreme outlet
kobe sneakers
birkin bag
jordan 12
lebron shoes

jack said...

jira satisfaction survey if you want then go to jira site there you can login and then service desk administrater go to select project settings select satisfaction settings enable it and turn it on customer satisfaction feedback customer satisfaction survey app.