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Creating More Parks, Less (Visible) Traffic in LA

Jason King at Landscape+Urbanism provides a summary of plans to cap sections of freeway in Los Angeles with a linear44-acre Hollywood Central Park.

TPL’s Center for City Park Excellence took a look at this trend a few years ago and provided an article on the capping-freeways-with-parks movement. It should be noted that while the Big Dig has been seen as a costly public project in the billions of dollars, it was a tunneling project in addition to many other big ticket items such as bridges and tunnels underwater. Many freeway parks are built on decking, or a series of bridges, that require less extensive work than a tunnel — and many have been and can be, as in Los Angeles, built over already below-grade viaducts.

Below-grade freeways can be found in Charlotte, Atlanta, Cincinnati, the Twin Cities, Portland and countless cities across the country. Seattle, Dallas, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, New York City and even Duluth, Minn. have done or are in the process of capping these areas with parks. After a while, many of the cities without them, as is the case in Los Angeles, may say, “why can’t we have a park over a freeway?”

As cities experience the colliding forces of creating more humanistic cities and a reluctance to completely remove freeways, placing parks on top of these areas may be the one choice everyone can live with.

(This all being said, it may be fitting to just remove some freeways altogether — here’s some suggestions from the Congress for the New Urbanism.)

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