Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another doctrinaire production against urban freeways ignoring basic design and routing issues

Norquist- "it's hard to design..." "grade separated' highway's don't belong in cities- anymore then multi-level structures- have everything on a single level, like a ranch house.

He's with the organization Congress for New Urbanism, cloaks a more doctrinaire stance against urban freeways initially via discussing such that are elevated- from their web site:

America's twentieth century highway building era included elevated freeways which cut huge swaths across our cities, decimating neighborhoods and reducing quality of life for city residents. This massive concrete infrastructure had devastating effects on urban economies. It blighted adjacent property and pushed access to basic amenities further out. With the Federal and State Departments of Transportation confronting shrinking budgets and cities looking for ways to increase their revenues, it is an ideal time to offer less expensive, urban alternatives to the reconstruction of urban expressways.

New York City, Portland, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Seoul, South Korea have confronted this problem by replacing elevated highways with boulevards, saving billions of dollars and increasing real estate values on adjacent land. The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) believes that teardowns offer an attractive option for cities struggling with aging highway infrastructure. The strategies are proving themselves in adding value and restoring urban neighborhoods decimated by highway construction.

That this organization slips in Portland - involving the essentially surface level Harbor Drive -- with these other cities referring to *elevated* freeway removal, is but a hint of this agenda, hinted at by its cry for 'less expensive' alternatives against the broader political prioritizations- e.g. Pentagon, domestic surveillance and the drug war/cigarette-pharm criminal mercantilism, while of course neglecting the freeway benefits altogether rather then attempt any true cost benefit analysis.

This video does the same thing: its start with showing elevated freeways with unattractive underside environments, before then showing below ground level and surface freeways as examples to of its freeway elimination program.

It cuts to a man talking about the freeways in Buffalo, N.Y., particularly that which blocks the view and/or access to the waterfront, as the video then cuts to a shot of the below ground level Kensington Expressway. Its a project I don't yet see on his organization's web site, but which is being nonetheless so targeted by various entities, such as this. Accordingly this expressway built as an uncovered -- but for some cross streets -- trench via the right of way of the previously there existing Humbolt Parkway -- has already been proposed by local community groups to be reconstructed with a lid- essentially as a cut and cover tunnel beneath a new linear park to essentially restore the Humbolt Parkway. NYSDOT has two basic proposals, one for such a linear park somewhat elevated, the other for such as street level, with the existing trench deepened, as the clearances are deficient by about one meter, for accommodating larger trucks.

The Reclaiming Our Community Coalition is proposing that a cover be built over a portion of the Kensington Expressway complete with trees, shrubs and flowers. This project would restore the visual quality and natural environment of the Humboldt Parkway neighborhood by recreating Humboldt parkway over the section of Route 33 from east Ferry Street to the Best Street exit. This project would promote an aesthetically pleasing physical connection across the existing below-grade expressway, reuniting communities. In implementing this project, it should be noted, there would be no impact on existing traffic patterns.

In sum, this project would restore the treasure envisioned by Olmsted. A majestic tree-lined parkway would be restored which would improve the looks, health and benefits of the neighborhood. Specifically, with regard to looks, it would: return the beauty and elegance of the parkway; change the aesthetic perception of the community; and affect the curbside appeal thereby encouraging investment and attracting potential home-buyers. Regarding health, it would improve air quality and impart all the benefits of trees and green space. And, in terms of benefits, it would: stimulate the repair and improvement of existing structures economically, which would appreciate property values in a real way; stimulate commercial interests in the community, monetarily restoring needed vitality; highlight the City of Buffalo as the city of solutions for improvement; and show the community’s children the possibility of a better way of life.

Retaining the trench for a new tunnel would place the least amount of vehicular traffic directly in front of the houses facing this Humbolt Parkway-Kensington Expressway corridor- a factor leading to its support. The Norquist freeway removal doctrine of conversion to surface level boulevards is being promoted here - filling in the existing already paid for trench excavation -- for the sake of instead here placing an 8 lane surface boulevard.


“Having through traffic not have to slow down through town should not be a priority for the City of Buffalo,” Norquist says. “It hasn’t done Buffalo any good to have that criterion. If the objective of the expressways was to eliminate congestion, they worked perfectly, because congestion is not a big problem in Buffalo—not just traffic congestion but money congestion, people congestion. Everything’s been decongested because of this narrow objective of fighting congestion.”

An expressway, he says, is a rural form that doesn’t belong in the city. Few European cities have expressways within their city boundaries. Vancouver, which has some

Read more: http://artvoice.com/issues/v9n9/bury_this_big_mistake#ixzz1MaDvctDD

Norquist is being quite disingenuous- confuses rural form with urban form how many rural freeway have such retaining walls?

Norquists ends by dismissing the concept of grade separation- a dismissal that would include Washington, D.C.'s traffic circle under-pases, as that beneath DuPont Circle.

That 'greens' would support the travesty of filling in already paid for ground cuts, while altogether neglecting the issue of ramp design - aka center rather than side loader access ramps - belies an ideo-idiotology favoring depopulation over innovation - speaks volumes about what the so called environmentalist groups are really all about; a disgusting elitist contempt for commoners.

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