Posts about Oklahoma
In May, USA Today ran an article, "Oklahoma City swaps highway for park":
Oklahoma has a radical solution for repairing the state's busiest highway.Wow, sounds great! OKC is getting rid of a highway and replacing it with nothing. How intelligent of them to realize that replacing highways with boulevards often doesn't create gridlock at all, but simply causes fewer driving trips altogether.
Tear it down. Build a park.
The aging Crosstown Expressway — an elevated 4.5-mile stretch of Interstate 40 — will be demolished in 2012. An old-fashioned boulevard and a mile-long park will be constructed in its place.
Oklahoma City is doing what many cities dream about: saying goodbye to a highway.
Some cities want traffic routed around downtowns. Others want tunnels or highways that pass under streets. A number of cities want to close highways and replace them with — nothing.
Let's keep reading the article:
In Oklahoma City, the interstate will be moved five blocks from downtown to an old railroad line. The new 10-lane highway, expected to carry 120,000 vehicles daily, will be placed in a trench so deep that city streets can run atop it, as if the highway weren't there.Wait, what? That doesn't sound like "nothing." That's a 10-lane highway a mere five blocks away. Sure, burying it is a good thing to do, and OKC can eventually build on top of the highway. But it's still more capacity, 173,000 per day instead of the 120,000 carried by the aging old road.
Call it a smart idea to move the highway away from downtown and stimulate development in its place. Call it a better way to build a ten-lane freeway, if you must build one. But don't call it removing a freeway. If there's a new freeway five blocks away, that's called moving, not removing.
Except for the pesky fact that Oklahoma City isn't actually doing what the article is discussing, it's a good article that lays out the case for removing freeways. It cites Buffalo, Nashville, Cleveland, New York's Sheridan, and DC's Whitehurst as examples of proposed removals. And there's this great quote:
"Highways don't belong in cities. Period," says John Norquist, who was mayor of Milwaukee when it closed a highway. "Europe didn't do it. America did. And our cities have paid the price."H/T to commenter Bianchi.
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- O'Malley announces first projects using new gas tax money