Turning Freeways Into Parkways
Cities are removing the concrete barriers that freeways form through their downtowns — not by tearing them down but by shrouding them in greenery and turning them into parks and pedestrian-friendly developments.
Transportation departments are not opposed as long as the plans don’t reduce highway capacity. In most cases, traffic is rerouted.
“It’s the coming together of people wanting green space and realizing that highways are a negative to the city,” says Peter Harnik, director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence. “Covering them with green space gives you a wonderful place to live and work.”
GREEN HOUSE: Small victories to a greener life
Groups that are not always on the same page — environmentalists and developers — are embracing the “capping” or “decking” efforts for different reasons. Environmentalists encourage more trees and grass to offset carbon emissions and promote walkable neighborhoods to reduce reliance on cars. Developers are eager for space to build on in prime downtown locations. Citizens want parks and amenities they can reach on foot.
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