How Tearing Up Highways Could Make Better Cities

We here at Reconnect Austin couldn’t relay this sentiment any better than the Observation Deck‘s Adam Rogers does:

“Tear it all down!

“Well, OK, not all of it. Let’s start with the freeways. They look permanent, sure, but most highways, especially the ones cutting through city centers, aren’t that old — only a few decades. And in some towns, they do more harm than good. They don’t decrease traffic, they cut sterile swaths through once-vibrant neighborhoods (or cut parts of the city off from what could be useful public spaces). So how about we all make like San Francisco, or Boston, or Seoul, and tear down the freeways we don’t need.

“This week on Observation Deck I’m thinking about what could happen if we tear up some of those ribbons of roads and start over again. We might end up with better cities”…To view the movie, please click here.

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Make Your Light Rail Look Like LA’s

There are several ways in which LA’s network design is superior; in order from broad planning down to engineering details, they are: service area, overall route configuration, station spacing, grade separation, and route geometry.

Let's Go LA

Regular readers know that this blog doesn’t have a devotion to any particular transportation technology. I’m all about efficiency. The best options are the ones that move the most people and goods as fast as possible. Now you can drift off into daydreams about “slow transit” but fact is, people usually want to get where they’re going quickly and reliably. People vote with their feet and if you want their feet on your transit vehicle instead of on the gas pedal, your transit better be competitive. People don’t want slow transit any more than they want slow freeways.

So, if you’re investing money in a light rail network, you ought to make it look like ours in Los Angeles. Chances are your city doesn’t have the density of Manhattan or narrow streets of downtown Boston that make subways the only practical option. If you look at LA’s light…

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