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Posts tagged "Highway Removal"

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Touring Utrecht’s Disappearing Roadways with BicycleDutch

As you may know I have been editing a monster Streetfilm on Utrecht debuting soon. It will likely be at least ten minutes in length!

But I just hate when really, really good stuff gets left on the cutting room floor and I only get to see it. So a lot of times I release bonus videos or extended shorts of my journeys and I have done many from my Netherlands visit in June.

Usually the extras come after the debut of the initial anchor Streetfilm, but I wanted to get this wonderful personal tour from Mark Wagenbuur out as a sort of teaser. Better known to most as "BicycleDutch" on Youtube, Mark has been a prolific documenter of all things bike and The Netherlands for a very long time. If somehow by now you have never seen his work, you must head over to: bicycledutch.wordpress.com

Anyway, as I was getting to, Mark will probably only be featured for 60-90 seconds in the busy final film, but I wanted to show much of what he talked about road removal and the ideas around keeping drivers out of the city center. So enjoy this!

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Freeways Without Futures: I-345 in Dallas

In this Streetfilm, Patrick Kennedy, founder of A New Dallas, talks about the movement to replace Interstate 345 in downtown Dallas with connected streets and walkable development. Shot at the "Freeways Without Futures" session at the Congress for New Urbanism's recent conference in Dallas, the piece provides views of I-345 from heights most people never get to see.

Kennedy was joined by Peter Park, who was instrumental in the removal of the Park East freeway in Milwaukee, and Ian Lockwood of the Toole Design Group. Their take on urban highways like I-345 was too powerful and logical to not share with the rest of the universe.

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Bicycle Anecdotes From Amsterdam

Here we present our final -- and most informative -- Streetfilm from Amsterdam. It provides a nice cross-section of commentary on life in the City of Bikes. If you’d like to skip directly to a certain section, use this table of contents:

0:17 Rejecting the Automobile
2:15 A bike system that works for everyone
4:05 There's a science to what looks like "bicycle chaos"
5:55 Coming to The Netherlands from the United States
7:33 Dutch Bicycle Culture

Make sure you check out our other Streetfilms from Amsterdam: No Amsterdam is Not "Swamped" By BikesAmsterdam Draws Bike Boxes to Organize Bike Parking, and Some Things You Might See While In Amsterdam.

I still find it amazing that a five-year-old in Amsterdam can ride straighter and with more confidence than the average American adult!

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MBA: Highway Removal

In this week's episode of "Moving Beyond the Automobile," Streetfilms takes you on a guided tour of past, present and future highway removal projects with John Norquist of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU).

Some of the most well-known highway removals in America -- like New York City's Miller Highway and San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway -- have actually been unpredictable highway collapses brought on by structural deficiencies or natural disasters. It turns out there are good reasons for not rebuilding these urban highways once they become rubble: They drain the life from the neighborhoods around them, they suck wealth and value out of city, and they don't even move traffic that well during rush hour.

Now several cities are pursuing highway removals more intentionally, as a way to reclaim city space for housing, parks, and economic development. CNU has designated ten "Freeways without Futures" here in North America, and in this video, you'll hear about the benefits of tearing down the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle, the Sheridan Expressway in the Bronx, the Skyway and Route 5 in Buffalo, and the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans.

Streetfilms would like to thank The Fund for the Environment & Urban Life for making this series possible.

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Gridlock Sam: Car-free Central Park

In this segment of our interview with Sam Schwartz, he draws upon his decades of experience as a transportation engineer to explain how eliminating cars from the Central Park Loop Drive will not result in long-term traffic nightmares for the surrounding neighborhoods or NYC in general.

"Gridlock Sam" Schwartz served as NYC's Commissioner of Traffic from 1982-86 and is a former Chief Engineer/First Deputy Commissioner at the NYC DOT. He also writes a daily transportation column for the NY Daily News.

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The Defeat of the Mt. Hood Freeway (Portland, Ore.)

In Oregon, a battle raged for nearly twenty years over the construction of a highway project known as the Mt. Hood Freeway. If approved, the Freeway would have removed more than 1% of all housing stock in Portland. In the mid 1970s, after the proposal's defeat, the city opted to build a mass transit infrastructure. The result is a more pedestrian-friendly and livable city.

TOPP videographer, Clarence Eckerson Jr., takes us to Portland to see the results and posits that his own neighborhood in Brooklyn might have benefited from similar forethought during the planning phase of the Robert Moses-designed Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

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San Francisco: Removal of the Embarcadero Freeway

In 1989, a 7.1 earthquake struck the Bay Area which severely damaged many of its elevated highway structures. The Embarcadero Freeway - an ugly, double-decked highway - was replaced with a grand boulevard which emphasizes access to the waterfront and provides people with transportation options like walking, mass transit, and bicycling instead of an emphasis personal vehicle use. In this 12 minute mini-doc, you'll see some of the dramatic changes and how all users benefit when planning takes a pedestrian and people-first attitude.

Just look at these BEFORE and AFTER shots!

Embarcadero 2

Embarcadero 3

Also discussed: Octavia Boulevard which replaced part of the former-Central Freeway.