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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2020, 2:49 AM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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Project: Capping Freeways

Hey everyone, so I am doing a small project for a class where we are having a debate that involves talking about destroying highways in cities(like Chicago). I have been put in the group that is arguing against this. I thought of a few ideas:

We cap the interstate or we do a partial cap where you like extend the bridge(couple of examples in Atlanta).

With the interstate now out of sight, we make HOT lanes or some other way to get revenue from people using the road. With that money, we put at least a portion into the transit system.

So basically my group wants(has) to keep the interstate but we also want to make the city more livable and promote transit. Are there some more innovative ideas you guys have? THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2020, 6:16 PM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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^ check out the high street cap in downtown columbus.


https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/project...n_station.aspx
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2020, 6:44 PM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
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Seattle has a bunch of these. The OG is Freeway Park downtown but when I-90 was built across Mercer Island they provided a handful of deck parks both large and small. Every single overpass has a landscape strip to conceal the freeway.

Columbus has also discovered the value of this and is slowly adding small decks and enhanced overpasses around downtown.

Detroit has an okay deck park in the suburbs (Hyde Oak Park) that was built, oddly enough, in response to concerns from the Orthodox Jewish community there.

Phoenix has a decent one at Central/I-10, and Duluth has a good waterfront tunnel.
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Last edited by ardecila; Apr 17, 2020 at 7:12 PM.
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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2020, 7:09 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Detroit has an okay deck park in the suburbs (Hyde Park) that was built, oddly enough, in response to concerns from the Orthodox Jewish community there.
There are three deck parks in suburban Detroit, all built in the same small stretch. One in Oak Park and two in adjacent Southfield. All were built because the then-new I-696 was rammed right through the Jewish center of Metro Detroit, with synagogues and schools on the south side of the freeway, and residences on the north side.

Most of the Jewish community has since departed this area, but there's still an Orthodox remnant. I'm not sure if the decks make any sense at this point, but they made sense in the context of 30-40 years ago.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2020, 11:14 PM
Citylover94 Citylover94 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
Hey everyone, so I am doing a small project for a class where we are having a debate that involves talking about destroying highways in cities(like Chicago). I have been put in the group that is arguing against this. I thought of a few ideas:

We cap the interstate or we do a partial cap where you like extend the bridge(couple of examples in Atlanta).

With the interstate now out of sight, we make HOT lanes or some other way to get revenue from people using the road. With that money, we put at least a portion into the transit system.

So basically my group wants(has) to keep the interstate but we also want to make the city more livable and promote transit. Are there some more innovative ideas you guys have? THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!
I would say skip the HOT lanes and toll all of the highways and introduce congestion pricing for city centers then use that money to cap highways and invest in transit.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2020, 1:36 PM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
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^ Generally, highway lanes built with Federal dollars can't be tolled. This applies to interstates and other Federal aid highways. The longstanding Federal policy is that they don't want citizens to pay twice for a highway (once through gas taxes, again through tolls).

If you add lanes to a highway, those lanes can be tolled (as HOT or tolled express lanes, for example) but the original lanes in most cases were built with Federal funding and therefore must remain free. There's a good overview here:
https://reason.org/commentary/its-ti...-aid-highways/

Right now there is a pilot program to allow tolls at three different locations on the interstate system - so far no state has managed to do it, because it's too controversial. Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Missouri all tried to get one of these special exceptions but they all ran into fierce opposition from local residents and politicians and had to pull out.

Even NY's congestion pricing is going to require special permission from FHWA, since some of the free bridges into Manhattan and the FDR/West Side Highway were added to the Federal highway system over the past 50 years so they could be rebuilt with Federal funds. Trump was threatening to withhold that permission, so who knows how it will turn out?

However, most other American cities are even more reliant on interstate highways than NY, so it will be very difficult to implement congestion pricing if the interstates can't be tolled. I suppose you could maybe toll the offramps within the pricing zone, leaving the highway mainline free of charge for through traffic. I'm really not sure if that would be allowed or not...
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Last edited by ardecila; Apr 18, 2020 at 1:55 PM.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2020, 5:20 PM
Citylover94 Citylover94 is offline
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I know that is generally the case. Personally I think it is a bad policy especially because the gas tax is not being raised to keep up with inflation.
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2020, 12:00 AM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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So if I had to come up with some arguments against freeway deck parks that are not just 'old man yells at cloud', they would be:

1. Parks spending priorities don't align with putting tens or hundreds of millions into a deck park. There may be greater need for funding to go to other parks projects around the city.

2. Unless its an activated space surrounded by buildings and destinations, like the Klyde Warren park in Dallas, or sufficiently interesting in its own right, like the Papago Deck, then nobody will go there. A green space surrounded on both sides by feeder roads does not sound appealing.

I can think of alternatives:

- If the goal is to create continuity between neighborhoods, I think a freeway trench and then a smaller raised plaza on either side of an overpass, a kind of "lite" deck if you will, might work. If you create a space that seems open and safe and communicates that you should walk across to the other area, it would be better than the status quo which is often a scary narrow sidewalk in darkness.

- If the goal is noise abatement, then what else can be done. What about walls around the trench, perhaps nice ones with ivy or crawling plants.

-Perhaps there is a road paving material or technique which cuts down tire sound, but isn't commonly used because of cost or lifespan. If its needed only for a tiny stretch of road, maybe go that route and accept the cost?

- What about acoustic panels to deflect sound? Or what about something soft that absorbs sound, like plants in a wire mesh?
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2020, 8:58 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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Seriously, thank you so much guys! I am using the Seattle example posted first.

Great points all around...now time to make a pp.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2020, 12:56 AM
SoCalKid SoCalKid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
Seriously, thank you so much guys! I am using the Seattle example posted first.

Great points all around...now time to make a pp.
One more that you may want to include as a side exhibit is Kylde Warren Park in Dallas, which caps a freeway that runs through downtown. The wikipedia page has a lot of good info on it.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2020, 1:07 AM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
Seriously, thank you so much guys! I am using the Seattle example posted first.

Great points all around...now time to make a pp.


good choice if you have to pick one example. the columbus version above was directly inspired by it. there was a lot of talk about the first seattle cap before they did it.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2020, 3:21 AM
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LosAngelesSportsFan LosAngelesSportsFan is offline
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The LA area has a couple and plans for several large ones. They include plans to cap over the 101 freeway in Hollywood, the 101 in downtown LA, the 110 in downtown LA and the 134 freeway in Glendale. I think these are great and really remove the large scar and urban fabric disruption caused by freeways
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2020, 8:20 PM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is offline
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I don't know if this has any bearing on the research/studies you need, but I really wish the powers that be in Cincinnati would figure out a way to cap Fort Washington Way (I-71). I've always hated how it separates the riverfront from downtown. Both are booming, but they're disconnected other than pedestrian bridges over the freeway trench.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2020, 9:32 PM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
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^ That's a good spot for a cap if ever there was one. The foundations already exist (a future cap was planned into the 1990s rebuild of the highway) so it should be possible to build with a minimum of fuss and cheaper than in other cities. Plus the highway is depressed enough that the park would be essentially level with the surrounding area, which is important in making the park open and welcoming.

Another interesting tidbit is that the foundations can theoretically support up to a 4-story building, so if park space is not financially feasible, perhaps Cincy could make it work with private developers and a series of small office or residential buildings.

more info here: https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/cityof...D8A58E1E6C.pdf

Also St Louis did a small cap over I-70, very similar situation to Ft Washington Way.
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Last edited by ardecila; Apr 21, 2020 at 9:45 PM.
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  #15  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2020, 1:14 AM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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Guys(and gals) thank again.

I have included the Seattle, Dallas, and the Fifth Street Bridge in Atlanta as a "small-time" cap/bridge. This isn't a big project by any means, I'll be presenting tomorrow in a "debate." If I win I'll let yall know what project had the most response.
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