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January 09, 2012

Dismantling urban roadways: the sequel

McGrath HighwayIt''s become a familiar narrative: cities around the world are dismantling urban freeways, burying them underground, or replacing them with multi-modal boulevards and parks. Portland, Ore., led the way with its waterfront park, San Francisco re-created the Embarcadero after the 1989 earthquake, and Milwaukee demolished the Park East Expressway. Seattle is looking to replace the againg Alaskan Way Viaduct, and the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans hopes to be rid of the hulking Claiborne Expressway someday. In New York, the Robert Moses Parkway outside Buffalo may be overhauled, the urban highway named for the great master builder himself -- who designed or inspired many of these roadways in the era of urban renewal.
     In this most recent contribution at the Atlantic Cities site, we look at the next generation of reinventing urban infrastructure -- the lesser-known connectors and overpasses and viaducts typically outside of downtown. It's no easy task, judging by a trio of projects under scrutiny in Boston, home of the $15.6 billion Big Dig: the McGrath/O'Brien Highway in Somerville and the Rutherford Avenue connector through Charlestown, both north of the city, and the Casey Overpass in Jamaica Plain, well south of downtown.


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What worthwhile endeavors! Projects such as these give larger cities a more "homey" feel. Orlando would be a great candidate for such a project.

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