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Expressway removals
#1
Here is an interesting article from Gizmodo about 6 cities that have removed a freeway to create new urban environments. I post it here for those who are interesting in thinking outside the box. 

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I used to be the mayor of sim city. I know what I am talking about.
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#2
That's a cute idea, but what happens to all the displaced traffic and passenger trips?
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#3
(01-01-2015, 05:26 PM)Canard Wrote: That's a cute idea, but what happens to all the displaced traffic and passenger trips?

Some make mention of tunneling the expressway.  A nice idea for the Gardiner in Toronto... considering it seems to be in a constant "repair" mode, it would be great to open up the waterfront and keep those cars underground.
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#4
Like what they did in Boston. The Big Dig. It's an incredible project, I've driven it a few times. But it took decades...
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#5
And cost an obscene fortune. The, dare I say, "Scottish" tendencies of those in power will likely make it a non-runner for a long time to come.
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#6
(01-01-2015, 05:26 PM)Canard Wrote: That's a cute idea, but what happens to all the displaced traffic and passenger trips?
Well, in the majority of those cases in that article (Portland, Rio Madrid, Seattle), they built (or are building) a replacement freeway nearby. Or underneath. Not exactly a removal, simply a relocation, which comes with the costs associated.
Two others (San Francisco, Milwaukee) have removed freeway stubs, which don't offer altogether that much for the transportation network. In SF's case, they added the F streetcar, which replaces the people-moving capacity.
And the final one, Dallas, is certainly counting their chickens before they're hatched.
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#7
(01-01-2015, 06:20 PM)DHLawrence Wrote: And cost an obscene fortune. The, dare I say, "Scottish" tendencies of those in power will likely make it a non-runner for a long time to come.

It cost a fortune because of corruption. A similar project is under way in Seattle and the cost overruns are nowhere comparable.
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#8
(01-01-2015, 07:17 PM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(01-01-2015, 06:20 PM)DHLawrence Wrote: And cost an obscene fortune. The, dare I say, "Scottish" tendencies of those in power will likely make it a non-runner for a long time to come.

It cost a fortune because of corruption. A similar project is under way in Seattle and the cost overruns are nowhere comparable.

Seattle. Ha, ha. The borer is currently stuck and it's unclear whether they will be able to fix it.

http://grist.org/cities/seattles-unbelie...stercluck/
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive...-questions

Sometimes you remove the expressway and get rid of induced demand, plus you open the waterfront for public use. That happens a lot. There was a certain fashion to put expressways where you could have great waterfronts. I think we're mostly over that now, thankfully.

Another urban expressway: Montreal's Ville Marie expressway.

http://spacing.ca/montreal/2007/12/26/wh...xpressway/

Montreal is hoping to cover it in the next few years, $500M.

Still, without our expressway, it would be easier to cross town on a bicycle; for instance, Bridge St & RIM Park are quite difficult to reach by bicycle from central Waterloo.

On the other hand, I don't really want tons of trucks running down King or Weber to reach their destinations in Waterloo. I don't know how far one should go in removing expressways.

I've wondered about how much time the expressway saves me in getting out of town. Google Maps says that to get from Bridgeport & Weber to the Cambridge SmartCentre along 85 and 8, it takes 16 minutes (20km). Along Weber + the 8, it would take 21 minutes. King + 401 = 26 minutes. So it does save some time.

In any case, we'd probably have water table problems here with anything underground.
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#9
(01-01-2015, 09:42 PM)plam Wrote:
(01-01-2015, 07:17 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: It cost a fortune because of corruption. A similar project is under way in Seattle and the cost overruns are nowhere comparable.

Seattle. Ha, ha. The borer is currently stuck and it's unclear whether they will be able to fix it.

I knew someone would bring up the borer, even though in no way addresses my point. Let me say it again: the Seattle cost overruns are nowhere comparable [to those of the big digs].

The borer being stuck is a comparatively minor overrun and the second part of your comment "unclear whether they will be able to fix it" is just false. They will reach it through a secondary hole and either fix it or get it out of the way.
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#10
I had heard that they were having problems with the secondary hole causing settling on adjacent properties which had halted digging at that location.
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#11
(01-01-2015, 10:37 PM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(01-01-2015, 09:42 PM)plam Wrote: Seattle. Ha, ha. The borer is currently stuck and it's unclear whether they will be able to fix it.

I knew someone would bring up the borer, even though in no way addresses my point. Let me say it again: the Seattle cost overruns are nowhere comparable [to those of the big digs].

The borer being stuck is a comparatively minor overrun and the second part of your comment "unclear whether they will be able to fix it" is just false. They will reach it through a secondary hole and either fix it or get it out of the way.

Did you read the linked articles? This time, they can get to the borer because it's not under a building. It might get stuck again and then what?

We don't yet know how minor the overruns are going to end up being. Big Dig overrun was 190%, according to Wikipedia. Other Seattle-area tunnels overran by 15%, 30% and 56%. 15% is comparatively minor, but 56% is only minor compared to 190%.
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#12
(01-02-2015, 10:19 AM)plam Wrote: Did you read the linked articles? This time, they can get to the borer because it's not under a building. It might get stuck again and then what?

We don't yet know how minor the overruns are going to end up being. Big Dig overrun was 190%, according to Wikipedia. Other Seattle-area tunnels overran by 15%, 30% and 56%. 15% is comparatively minor, but 56% is only minor compared to 190%.

The linked articles were Outhit-style pieces not worth the paper they are printed on: long on opinion and short in facts.

The majority of the work has been already been done and paid for. This limits the size of the overrun barring an unheard of catastrophe. Likely the overruns will clock in somewhere between an optimistic 10% and a pessimistic 20%.
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#13
(01-02-2015, 11:45 AM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(01-02-2015, 10:19 AM)plam Wrote: Did you read the linked articles? This time, they can get to the borer because it's not under a building. It might get stuck again and then what?

We don't yet know how minor the overruns are going to end up being. Big Dig overrun was 190%, according to Wikipedia. Other Seattle-area tunnels overran by 15%, 30% and 56%. 15% is comparatively minor, but 56% is only minor compared to 190%.

The linked articles were Outhit-style pieces not worth the paper they are printed on: long on opinion and short in facts.

The majority of the work has been already been done and paid for. This limits the size of the overrun barring an unheard of catastrophe. Likely the overruns will clock in somewhere between an optimistic 10% and a pessimistic 20%.

So this is a case of motivated reasoning, with the main driver being whether you believe that expressways through downtowns are good or bad. I tend to think of them as bad. I think that expressways should go around cities, not through them, especially when there are no downtown exits from said expressway. Outhit started from the premise that vehicular mobility is most important and everything in his arguments flowed from there.

But I'll point out that the WSDOT FAQ is pretty unwilling to commit to anything: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct...splay/2027

They cite a 70% completion, but I think that's 70% of the easy stuff. The tunnel itself is only 11% through, and one might think that the boring is the trickiest part.

They certainly point out the difficulty of the work: "This is very difficult work and certain construction activities have and will continue to take longer than anticipated."

Of course the borer can be fixed. It's just a question of resources. The state will probably kick in the needed resources.
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#14
I think freeway removal projects are excellent ideas in many cases, especially in the ones where grade-separated expressways were built right through the heart of a city, or cutting the city off from its waterfront. To a large extent, this was a U.S. problem, because there the federal government paid for and the state governments pushed through urban highways to a degree not found anywhere else. In Canada, highways were not generally forced on any city, and certainly not funded by the federal government.


The most problematic American (and American-style) expressways were about building highways to whisk commuters from new suburbs into the downtown office district.

Honestly, while we have some lasting damage from the King Street by-pass and the Conestoga Expressway, I think they're examples of pretty good expressway projects in that they added serious connectivity without hurting the city core. Compare Kitchener to Rochester at the same scale to see what an American style expressway might've looked like.
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#15
(01-02-2015, 12:47 PM)mpd618 Wrote: The most problematic American (and American-style) expressways were about building highways to whisk commuters from new suburbs into the downtown office district.

Honestly, while we have some lasting damage from the King Street by-pass and the Conestoga Expressway, I think they're examples of pretty good expressway projects in that they added serious connectivity without hurting the city core. Compare Kitchener to Rochester at the same scale to see what an American style expressway might've looked like.

Yes. That Rochester 490 isn't so good and we don't have anything like that. It is still true, I think, that the expressway cuts off access to the Bridgeport trolley park area, which is unfortunate but not as bad as it could be.

The closest Canadian equivalents I can think of are, as I wrote earlier, Montreal's Ville Marie Expressway and the Gardiner. Certainly the 401 doesn't go into any city cores.
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