Top 10 Freeways We Can Do Without

Living in the city has its pros and cons. One con that would make the top five in a “Family Feud” survey would obviously be the traffic, as overpopulated urban streets often leave cities paralyzed during rush hour. When highways came about, some people thought the problems were over, yet 40-50 years later many of these city-crossing highway systems need replacing, and some urban residents think they can do without them entirely.

The Congress for the New Urbanism, a pro sustainable-growth organization, has listed 10 highways that it says ought to be transformed into wide boulevards, with additional public transportation added as well.

The 10 highway systems come from a list of 40 qualifiers. These 10 won based on their age, proximity to waterfronts, cost of maintenance, local support for their demolition, and redevelopment potential. CNU points to San Francisco, Portland, Ore., New York City and Milwaukee as examples of cities that were transformed by the removal of highways. 

“It [has] helped residents keep a lot of money in their wallets that they’d otherwise spend driving,” Milwaukee mayor John Norquist said.

CNU’s list of the top 10 prospective highway teardowns is below.

1. Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle
2. Sheridan Expressway, Bronx, N.Y.
3. The Skyway and Route 5, Buffalo, N.Y.
4. Route 34, New Haven, Conn.
5. Claiborne Expressway, New Orleans, La.
6. Interstate 81, Syracuse, N.Y.
7. Interstate 64, Louisville, Ky.
8. Route 29, Trenton, N.J.
9. Gardiner Expressway, Toronto, Ontario
10. 11th Street Bridges and the Southeast Freeway, Washington, D.C.

For more information, check out Freeways Without Futures and this PBS story about the controversial future of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

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