Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Capping I-94

Decking over expressways is not anything new, but since Boston's BIG DIG it seems cities are now looking at this as a real viable option to reconnect spaces that have been cut off from each other because of the creation of the freeway running through the cities.

In the Twin Cities I-94 immediately jumps out as a great project that could be capped from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul. If we caped it the following could be accomplished:

Re-establishing the Rondo Neighborhood in St. Paul
Connecting Stevens Square with downtown Minneapolis
Creating a public trail, greenway, and even transit way
Parks, parks, and parks
Create a new corridor with mixed-use development

From the USA Today article:

Cities are removing the concrete barriers that freeways form through their downtowns — not by tearing them down but by shrouding them in greenery and turning them into parks and pedestrian-friendly developments.

This gray-to-green metamorphosis is underway or under consideration in major cities seeking ways to revive sections of their downtowns from Los Angeles and Dallas to St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Transportation departments are not opposed as long as the plans don't reduce highway capacity. In most cases, traffic is rerouted.

"It's the coming together of people wanting green space and realizing that highways are a negative to the city," says Peter Harnik, director of the Trust for Public Land's Center for City Park Excellence. "Covering them with green space gives you a wonderful place to live and work."

Have we found a possible solution to our urban freeways? Costs would be high, but would the benefits justify these monster projects of decking our expressways?


Peter said...

i think capping is ridiculous. we just need to get rid of the freeways, period.

Unknown said...

I think we should start talking to our congresspersons about how the next transportation bill should include money for mitigating the livability problems caused by previous transportation bills. I haven't seen many details on CLEAN TEA but it is possible these funds could be used for purposes like freeway decking.