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Freeways to Parks

Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Ore., the site of a former freeway.

Next American City’s Daily Report writes about the Congress for the New Urbanism’s push for tearing down freeways in several cities.

Urban designers took the freeway, which was perfectly suitable as a connector between cities, and tossed it into the city itself……… It sliced through cities, severing their once-convenient grid systems. It blocked access to lucrative waterfronts and cleaved into neighborhoods.

And today we are left with a decision to make on this aging infrastructure: “Do they demolish the existing infrastructure to make way for surface roads and boulevards? Or do they invest in freeways yet again, when it makes even less sense to do so – given their crummy past and the ever-rising cost of gasoline?” CNU, arguing more for the first option, prepared a list of ten North American freeways ideal for demolition.

One of the best examples of a freeway teardown that already occurred is found in Portland, where the former Harbor Drive freeway was converted to a boulevard and the now very popular 40-acre Tom McCall Waterfront Park, named for the Oregon governor who helped make the teardown occur back in 1974.

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