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Road Diets / Highway Removal

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Below is a blurb from an article from Seattle, where they are considering removing a waterfront highway for parkland and some new urban development (though it just deals with waterfront highways). It led me to wonder what Ohio highway, interchange or related facility would you want to see removed or redesigned to accommodate an urban park or development? It could be anywhere -- waterfront, in the middle of a neighborhood, or even in a suburb. How would you design the new land use? Would you maintain a "freeway presence" such as under a cap? Would you replace it with a boulevard? A transit line? Or just get rid of the road altogether?

 

We had some fun with this kind of idea with Cleveland's Central Interchange. Give it a try graphically if you feel so inclined, but text would be just fine too.

_________________________

 

Inner-city freeways have gone out of style in this country and around the world. In the United States, it's been decades since one was built on valuable urban shoreline. In fact, cities are more commonly tearing down existing freeways to revitalize waterfronts and promote urban renewal.

 

The most prominent example is San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway, removed from the Bay waterfront after it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Impressed with the civic improvements that followed, San Francisco recently took down a segment of a second elevated freeway and replaced it with a pedestrian-oriented boulevard that carries fewer cars. Portland's Waterfront Park, built on what was once a major roadway along the Willamette River, is now one of Oregon's top attractions.

 

The list goes on: Paris is reclaiming the north bank of the Seine by progressively closing an urban motorway; Seoul is proposing to remove a six-lane highway and replace it with a riverscape. The concept has even taken hold in the Rust Belt: Milwaukee recently converted a segment of its Park East Freeway into a boulevard, removing a major source of urban blight and opening access to the Milwaukee River. Washington, D.C., proposes to raze the Whitehurst Freeway to create similar improvements in Georgetown. Cleveland and Buffalo are considering doing the same.

 

The freeways aren't coming down for mere aesthetics. Roads are in fact a rotten investment for local government. Freeways that aren't tolled generate no local tax revenues even as they occupy prime developable land that could be contributing to the tax base. In Milwaukee, developers were linked in common cause with environmentalists advocating the demise of the Park East Freeway because the new river views opened golden real estate opportunities.

 

 


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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MLK freeway in Akron ohio. Much like the shoreway in cleveland it was to be a circular beltway that never got finished. Its smaller than the shoreway and is even more useless.

 

490 in cleveland, its a stump of a highway that again goes nowhere

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I would eliminate about 1/3 of I-275 in Cincy and make it smaller and actually a bypass.  The fact that it goes to Indiana is ridiculous. 

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Here's a sample of what I had in mind. Geographically it's a small project, but would dramatically reduce vehicular traffic (and its speed) while promoting pedestrian traffic and transit usage (to say nothing of boosting the community's tax base!).

 

rockyriver0-s.gif

 

rockyriver1-s.gif


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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Or this, in Berlin -- taking a highway underground, and covering it up with a park on top of it...

 

a100_anschluss.jpg

 

a100_dreispurig.jpg

 

a100_luefterbw.jpg


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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Yes, Rocky River is a good example. Not only at Lake Road, but I feel also the interchange at I-90 could be reworked as well. I think Rocky River, though a suburb, was planned relatively well (pre-WWII era). I think it has remained strong on the basis of relatively good planning. They have an authentic Crocker Park neighborhood, good recreation oppurtunities, various forms of housing, and a sense of place.

 

You could see though where a lot of improvements could be made that will continue to sustain Rocky River, especially if sprawl and attention goes any further. Improvements in Rocky River could be considered pre-emptive protection, and a good move.

 

North Olmsted needs a lot of help in my opinion. Driving around there isn't pleasent at all.

 

I can't think of too many places off the top of my head where I'd like to see an interchange reworked in Northeast Ohio. Butler County in Southwest Ohio has numerous annoying setups like these that need to be replaced. Reagan Highway is a good example and one that I can name. Navigating through all kinds of horrible little highways and exit ramps from Oxford to Cincinnati is a real shame. Butler County is also the fastest growing county of all Ohio. Colrain Township that I drive through every time I go to Cincinnati is probably the most depressing scene of urban sprawl I have seen in Ohio.

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What about the huge mess at I-71/Ridge Ave/Ronald Reagan?  I don't know how many times I've made a wrong turn trying to get back onto the interstate there.

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MLK freeway in Akron ohio. Much like the shoreway in cleveland it was to be a circular beltway that never got finished. Its smaller than the shoreway and is even more useless.

 

490 in cleveland, its a stump of a highway that again goes nowhere

 

actually its the downtown bypass and on the rare events I drive to/from the airport, its convienient to get to shaker square.  since I'm 25 blocks closer to my home.  and the downtown Skyline view is sweet

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what would i tear down.... or atleast build over

 

All of I-90 East between downtown cleveland and 72 Street. Raze and relocate buildings North of Lakeside and turn the area into a waterfront park and errect housing on the southern half of Lakeside.

 

I would also, cover the ROW over the shaker rapid between SS & 93 Street and make the Blvd a green with benches all the way down.  Greenery similar to Park Ave, but the charm of Eastern Parkway.

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^

    I second the latter half of you post MyTwoSense (although the first half would be great as well) as it seems to be one of the most feasible ways to improve on a very solid district in Cleveland.  Driving east on Shaker from Buckeye makes for a relatively dismal entry point into the Heights.  Its not only that the median is open to the tracks below, but the manner in which the trench is fenced off makes it hard to see the other side of the boulevard.  The Park Avenue comparison is a good one and should be doable for Cleveland (albeit on a different scale).  There is already a substantial amount of density around the square to build from, along with the fact that along the trench trains from both the green and blue lines are running, giving the stations along the trench frequent transit service.

    Building off of that, the buildings that line the trench, excluding a few near the square and the St. Luke's complex could be replaced without much architectural loss.  It would make for a pretty cool district to have that stretch lined with mid-rise residential along a major transit corridor instead of the aging commercial offices that are there now.

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The Lorain Blvd and Midway Blvd. highway and interchange arrangement in Elyria. The area is full of strip malls, shopping centers, and parking lots but no housing or greenspace. A lot of people work in these retail retail stores, and it would be nice to infuse some affordable housing here for all the people that work there. Lorain Boulevard (connecting Elyria and Lorain) should be more impressive and apply mixed-use development. This could be a really exciting corridor for Lorain County's core.

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For Cincinnati, that River Road Highway (West Side Highway; Rt. 50) is quite pointless, as a main boulevard would be sufficient enough to get to Price Hill.

 

For Dayton, Rt. 4. 

 

For Columbus, Rt. 104.


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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One more that I forgot to talk about in my last post, which is the I-71 Ramps leading to Denison Avenue in Cleveland.  If I remember correctly this was originally supposed to be where the Shoreway swung to the south to meet up with I-71, which obviously (and thankfully) never occurred.  The current setup has some of the lengthiest approach ramps that exist on most highways in the area.  One could possibly cut a new roadway that comes off of Denison to help in creating a more conventional on/offramp setup.  This would also allow for the land that was formerly eaten up with the right-of-way for the ramp to be sold off for development.  Should be an easy sell as the area already houses a sizeable industrial area, and the land the could be freed up has great visibility from I-71.

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For Columbus, Rt. 104.

 

Funny story; back before I left for Louisiana, I attended one of the ODOT(/MORPC?) meetings on the I-70/71 reconstruction projects and I asked several of the reps there why Oh 104 (aka Frank-Refugee connector) was built.  None of them could give me an answer.

 

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CtownD, that was actually the interchage site for the Parma Freeway, which would have started up by Edgewater Park and continued south into North Royalton.

 

I had a whole message nearly finished about possibilities for that area and for I-71 overall (ie: conversion to a boulevard), but my computer froze! I'll get over it and retype the whole message someday.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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The Lorain Blvd and Midway Blvd. highway and interchange arrangement in Elyria. The area is full of strip malls, shopping centers, and parking lots but no housing or greenspace. A lot of people work in these retail retail stores, and it would be nice to infuse some affordable housing here for all the people that work there. Lorain Boulevard (connecting Elyria and Lorain) should be more impressive and apply mixed-use development. This could be a really exciting corridor for Lorain County's core.

 

 

And that awful looking electrical transformer / power station place is very unappealing too.

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Thanks for the info KJP.

 

The area has always seemed to hold a lot of promisewith good connectivity to both I-71 and 1-480 further down Ridge Road, making it a prime location for industrial expansion within the city.  From looking at Google Earth, it would seem fairly easy to relocate the ramps from Denison to Ridge Road, which doesn't lie any more than 10 blocks to the west.  Also from a quick glance it would appear fairly easy to place a connecting road from Fulton to Ridge, serving as a marginal road to help collect any truck traffic that may be generated with any sort of industrial expansion.  This could do a great job of freeing up some of the traffic that travels along Denison, allowing for the street to recapture a but of its residential appeal.

 

I'm interested to hear about your idea for the boulevard if your computer is in an agreeable mood. :wink:

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OK, here's the idea for the I-71 boulevard. First, I-71 was built as a separate freeway between I-480 and I-90, even though it roughly paralleled them, because of the population growth projections made in the 1950s for Cleveland and the metro area. Cleveland was projected to grow to more than 1 million people, while planners thought the metro area was going to grow to more than 4 million. Obviously, neither happened. But the relevant segment of I-71 was built to handle that population and the traffic it would bring.

 

Thus, I contend that I-71 is redundant, at least in terms as an interstate highway. I-71 should still continue to downtown Cleveland, but on a different path, for which I've outlined two options below. Traffic can still be accommodated on the existing right of way, but at a slower speed and with intersections. Those wishing to travel faster and without encountering traffic lights might choose the I-71 designated route, including truckers traveling through the area.

 

And, of course, I've added a transit line to the new boulevard, along which neighborhoods can be restored, new commercial areas may sprout and parks would be extended. Here's the dream in graphic form:

 

i71blvd1s.gif


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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In Cleveland..

 

With I-490, I think that a portion of the innerbelt is redundant.  I would demolish I-90 from where 490 begins.  I would route all thru and downtown traffic through 490.  This would allow Tremont and Ohio City to be reunited.

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I would eliminate several freeways in the Cleveland area:

 

- unlike wimwar, I'd do the reverse, and demolish the I-490 bridge.  I use it, occasionally, but it's hardly indispensable for me.  Rarely do I travel across it that there are any more than a few cars, even during rush hour.  What's more, it's existence is fueling the highway-lobby to, once again, try and build a freeway into the eastern suburbs.

 

- I-90 west.  A lot of sprawling growth has happened because of it.  Much of Cleveland's west side neighborhoods, esp Detroit-Shoreway, have been ripped apart by I-90s wide concrete gully.  It is largely redundant to I-71, I-480, anyway.  The West Side is chewed up by 4 freeways, and freeway stubs, fanning through the area.  And, in concert, they've done what American freeways have tended to do to cities: harm and destroy city hoods, hasten city exodus and sprawl, enhance and encourage greater racial separation, and damage mass transit.

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Wimwar, I was thinking the same thing.  It would free up a tremendous amount of land to the south of downtown and in the Flats for redevelopment, and allow downtown to connect the river on that side of town as well.

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i've had a thought based on what others have written.

 

In addition to my earlier post, I would cut ALL highway acces in downtown.  since we currently have i-490 I would eliminate any access into downtown from 71/77 at 1-490.  i-90 would stop at 55 street, causing folks to use 55 street as their traffic route to 77/490.  on the west side this would feed into the surrounding streets.

 

At the same time IF I was in charge of the RTA I would then build subway access to connect the neighborhoods as there would be no expressways.  therefore making walking/public transportation in the heart of the city THE NORM instead of an alternative.

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In reference to KJP's artwork, I just let the following documents speak for themselves.

clefwy44.jpg

The 1944 Cleveland Freeway plan (I can't speak to the history of this map. The other half of roadfan found it)

clefwypr.jpg

The cleaned-up version of the 1944 plan.  The folks who did up this collection of roadways for Cleveland also were the ones who did the original design for the Columbus innerbelt and it's feeder system.

clev57.jpg

ODOT (actually ODH at the time) plan for numbered interstates through Cleveland (not every proposed freeway [from the maps above this one] were to have been part of the federal system (and payment)

62ohcle.jpg

By 1962, the first commercial images of the proposed highway system were being produced for everyone to see.

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Below is a visual presentation of the Inner Belt removed around the south side of downtown. Green areas represent highway assets that have been removed, or are caps over existing/proposed highways.

 

I kept the proposed new "Inner Belt" bridge, and linked it to the I-71/I-90 interchange with a boulevard that intersects with three streets at-grade in Tremont. On the east side of the river, it becomes Cedar Avenue. The Inner Belt trench on the east side of downtown is a mix of ODOT's proposal to remove ramps, and the locals' desire to keep them. It continues ODOT's proposed access roadway south to near Community College Avenue. Also a new center exit/entrance to I-77 would be built just north of I-490 for a thoroughfare providing quick access to downtown (certainly no slower than I-77 is during rush hours, in its last mile entering downtown!).

 

Demolished for the new section of highway are several old public housing complexes, which are proposed to be replaced with scattered site subsidized units (mixed with market-rate housing) where the Central Interchange was located. Parts of Central Cadillac would have to be demolished, but would be given a temporary location during construction and, once completed, put atop the highway on a cap with the Carnegie ramps pointing directly at their property. Also, most of a park at Woodland and East 30th would be excavated for the highway. Once construction is complete, the park would be put back, built on a cap over the highway.

 

Wonder if it's too late to get this proposal submitted to ODOT??

 

innerbeltremoval1s.gif


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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This thread died a while ago. Any chance of reviving it?


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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Me, just keep 270. But a little more realistic would be to have all freeways that go through downtown to just instead lead to downtown, you'd have to drive through the city to get to the other side in order to get back on the freeway. So starting in the western part 315 from 670 to 70/71 would be gone, 70 from Grandview all the way east out to Bexley, and 71 from the where it merges with 70 in the west to 11th ave next to the expo center.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?oi=map&q=Columbus,+OH

 

Now here's a map of a similarly size city in Spain, note how they only have the equivalent of a 270.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?oi=map&q=Sevilla,+Spain

 

:cry:

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After thinking about it, the question you posed in City Discussion (what would the impact be) is a bit different than the one I posed here (what road would you change/remove).

 

Your question adds a new wrinkle to this discussion which had faded away...


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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It's a little more specific, but I think it's really hard to pinpoint the changes that would occur with neighborhoods and downtowns having a seamless transition. Of course, a few of those neighborhoods, and I'm sure this applies to Cincy and C-Town, are suffering from blight (of the urban kind). Maybe the city would do more to fix up these neighborhoods if they are right next to downtown instead of having a freeway barrier between them. I can only imagine that the changes would be overwhelmingly positive. What a coincidence that I posted soon after you were hoping to revive this thread, KJP.  :wink:

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Columbusite, your thought about having 270 be the way thru Columbus...actually around...is what the Interstates were originally supposed to be. The highway boys decided we had to have unversal car ownership (or is it slavery) and here we are. Interestingly, this is how things are in Europe. As I understand things, superhighways do not go thru cities.

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I would replace any and all highways within 10 miles of downtown Cleveland and replace them with rail lines....I hate highways cutting the city apart!

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At the least, we should have a real, in-depth study of the possibilities. What freeways could be eliminated and how? If not elimination, what about capping them? How will transit fill the gap? How much will this cost and where will the money come from?

 

The I-670 cap in Columbus was a real step forward. The change in the downtown-Short North area has been amazing and that suggests to me that we should cap I-71 between Broad St. and Main and also over I-70/I-71, reconnecting downtown to neighborhoods east and south.

 

I think capping these roads might be more feasible than eliminating them, at least in most cases.

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The I-670 cap in Columbus was a real step forward. The change in the downtown-Short North area has been amazing and that suggests to me that we should cap I-71 between Broad St. and Main and also over I-70/I-71, reconnecting downtown to neighborhoods east and south.

 

I think capping these roads might be more feasible than eliminating them, at least in most cases.

 

Agreed, no need to rip out freeways when we can just hide them. 

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I would replace any and all highways within 10 miles of downtown Cleveland and replace them with rail lines....I hate highways cutting the city apart!

 

So the rail lines would cut the city apart instead?

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Toronto's Route 401 where up to 400,000 cars per day tread:

 

401_cl_346_east.jpg

 

 

São Paulo, Brazil subway, where up to 400,000 riders per day use this one line (oops, if Superman looks real hard, he can see it below the quiet streets of the 18-million-resident city using his x-ray vision):

 

saopaulo5.jpg

 

 

Here's what Superman would see:

 

img_22088.jpg

 

Yeah, I see what you mean about rail being more disruptive.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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The I-670 cap in Columbus was a real step forward. The change in the downtown-Short North area has been amazing and that suggests to me that we should cap I-71 between Broad St. and Main and also over I-70/I-71, reconnecting downtown to neighborhoods east and south.

 

I think capping these roads might be more feasible than eliminating them, at least in most cases.

 

Agreed, no need to rip out freeways when we can just hide them. 

 

We could hide a few, but that won't change the fact that they're like a huge wall between the city and its surrounding neighborhoods. Are we going to cap all of 70, 71, and the other freeways? If we got those some of those freeways torn down, people would have to use mass transit, or just put up with more traffic. The choice would be theirs.

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