If you're in the greater Hartford area, you'll find lots of familiar topics--and a surprising number of positive references to active transportation-- in this good story from Governing.com. Good takeaways abound here for the citizen advocate and municipal staff!
That’s what a growing number of cities are asking themselves -- Syracuse being the latest that may tear down its elevated urban expressway.
BY DANIEL C. VOCK | JULY 2014| Governing
Robert Doucette, a developer in Syracuse, N.Y., often commutes to work by walking or biking from his house near Syracuse University to his office downtown. The route is little more than a mile long, but it requires crossing one major obstacle: a hulking highway viaduct that cuts a large swath through the center of the city.
This elevated stretch of Interstate 81 carries 56,000 vehicles a day. Though it is propped up on piers, it has a major impact on the landscape below. As many as six lanes of traffic run beneath the expressway, including feeder ramps and access roads. Pedestrians teeter nervously on raised curbs as they wait for a signal, then “make a break for it,” Doucette says, as they try to avoid unseen vehicles making turns.
San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway was razed in 1991 and replaced with a palm-lined boulevard and plazas. (David Kidd/Governing)
As a developer, Doucette sees the 1.4-mile-long viaduct as a wasted opportunity. Interstate 81 is the line of demarcation between the city’s two most vibrant neighborhoods: downtown and University Hill. But it is not a clean separation. For blocks in either direction of the interstate, parking garages and surface lots dominate the landscape. The aging highway cuts off many streets on the city’s grid. “There is this gulf,” he says. “What we’ve done is take an incredibly important piece of this city off of the development map. This highway runs through the part of the city that should be some of the highest-producing parcels of land in the region.” > READ THE FULL STORY ON GOVERNING.COM
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