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Old June 6th, 2011, 04:00 PM   #1
PragmaticIdealist
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Where Should We Remove Freeways?

I am a big believer in converting freeways to boulevards in urban areas and in places where people live. Grade-separated expressways are appropriate for rural areas, but the character of these thoroughfares should change to be sensitive to the context as it changes.

Which places are the best candidates for traffic calming, for removing grade separations, and for introducing roundabouts and intersections?

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Old June 6th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #2
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First of all they should cover the 101.

I like the idea, but to be honest: This most likely wouldn't work in LA. It would lead into a total transport collapse, since Angelenos rather sit in their cars for hours instead of using public transport.

Santa Monca Fwy would be such a candidate though. Mainly running thru residential areas.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 07:04 PM   #3
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Would downtown L.A. be as dead as it has been over the last half-century if the freeways didn't allow people to bypass the street grid of the historic core? Activating the streets with more slowly-moving cars 24 hours a day and 7 days a week could be very beneficial, especially for retail and for C.P.T.E.D.

I'm amenable to distributing the traffic onto surface streets there and to using some of the freeway R.O.W. for more open space without capping, although the 101 Park is certainly better than the 101 as it currently exists.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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The 10 west of downtown would be a great candidate. You could convert it into a beautiful tree lined parkway. I'd also do that to the 110 between Pasadena and downtown which is what it was intentionally built as. I like this idea, haven't really thought about it before but I like it much.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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You guys are silly
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Old June 7th, 2011, 11:37 AM   #6
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YouTube video by Streetfilms for highway removal: http://youtu.be/y4po7WytcMU

Congress for the New Urbanism "Highways to Boulevards" Program: http://www.cnu.org/highways
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:24 PM   #7
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Love the video, but still a city like LA needs a bypass like the Santa Ana Fwy, otherwise you got all the thru traffic in the city center as well. The Santa Monica Fwy on the other hand has no thru traffic function at all. It could easily be removed and replaced with a wonderful Blvd, with palm trees running towards the ocean.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 07:04 PM   #8
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Seems like an interesting idea. Would traffic be at all impacted at the new boulevard's intersection with stop-lights at Vermont, Normandie, Western, Crenshaw, La Brea, Fairfax, La Cienega, Robertson, Sepulveda, Bundy, Lincoln, etc.? Or do we just leave it below or above grade, but add palm trees down the middle? In that case you would presumably keep the on/off ramps?
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Old June 7th, 2011, 09:55 PM   #9
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It makes more sense to remove useless stubs that simply dump tons of cars into neighborhood streets than whole freeways that are essential for regional travel. A prime candidate for removal is the Glendale Freeway south of I-5. I'd also remove CA-110 north of I-5 if it wasn't for the historical designation.

OTOH, I'm also one of the few people of the above-mentioned opinion who thinks the missing link in the 710 needs to be completed, tunnel preferred if it gets the job done and Caltrans can make a killing off selling the real estate they own along the corridor.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 11:25 PM   #10
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We needed clones of Jane Jacobs all over the country 50 years ago.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
We needed clones of Jane Jacobs all over the country 50 years ago.
So what you're saying is that Mid City needs the volume of the Santa Monica Freeway
interacting with all the aforementioned intersections and districts, neighborhoods .....
for the sake of organic development .... in the hopes that true civic progress and
density will be the result- regardless of the short term armageddon?
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Old June 8th, 2011, 05:30 PM   #12
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This approach would work best in older and larger southern California metropolises that have good street grids.

Keep in mind that the entirety of each freeway does not need to be removed, only a section of it.

More information is available here: http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/index.html

Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; June 8th, 2011 at 06:00 PM.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 08:33 PM   #13
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I'm still curious about the specifics. Do we leave the SM Fwy. where it is but narrow it and/or add trees down the middle? Or does it come up to ground level like another Olympic or Washington, maybe with a center divider? Are intersections controlled or are there underpasses?

btw, the closing of the 405 next month should give us an interesting taste of what life without freeways would be like.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 10:51 PM   #14
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I wouldn't convert the 10 into just another psuedo-freeway like Olympic but make it a parkway. Large grassy median with benches and running track. 2 lanes each in either direction. On the outer sides of the car lanes more trees and benches and larger mature trees along the sides. Skyscraper palms running down the middle from downtown to the sea.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 11:12 PM   #15
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That's how I would do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
I'm still curious about the specifics. Do we leave the SM Fwy. where it is but narrow it and/or add trees down the middle? Or does it come up to ground level like another Olympic or Washington, maybe with a center divider? Are intersections controlled or are there underpasses?

btw, the closing of the 405 next month should give us an interesting taste of what life without freeways would be like.
I think it would be crucial to bring it up and have controlled intersections, otherwise you'll still have one big city divider.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 09:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
btw, the closing of the 405 next month should give us an interesting taste of what life without freeways would be like.
That area hasn't been cut off completely since I was born
and will be a true test of our dependence on these corridors.
.
.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klamedia View Post
I wouldn't convert the 10 into just another psuedo-freeway like Olympic but make it a parkway. Large grassy median with benches and running track. 2 lanes each in either direction. On the outer sides of the car lanes more trees and benches and larger mature trees along the sides. Skyscraper palms running down the middle from downtown to the sea.
That sounds like a great idea, but that would be one hell of a boulevard-
with 5 lanes on each side and a total in planning, construction and
relocation costs (residents, businesses and public utilities) of 184 billion.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #18
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OK. So now we have two lanes each way, at street level, with palms down the middle and maybe on the sides. Presumably with 4-directional turn signals at each major intersection and some smaller ones. It sounds like this would carry about as much traffic as a normal boulevard, stopping at red lights across the city.

No bus lanes or carpool lanes?

Any thought on how this would affect cross-town traffic or north-south traffic at the intersections? Would these intersections need to be revamped and the cross-streets widened to handle the backed-up traffic waiting to turn right and left?

Milqy raised the issue of cost. I guess we would have to divert something from other transit projects to build this. What would be the work around while construction was progressing? People coming up from PCH would need to be re-routed.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #19
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Since SM Fwy is so wide, you could also add two streetcar lanes to connect the Ocean with Downtown (7th St Metro Center - Venice Beach?). Make the Expo Line run along SM Fwy.

Like they did in Paris:

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Old June 10th, 2011, 06:09 PM   #20
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The Expo Line and Purple will each go to Santa Monica (the Expo actually very near to the 10) so I don't think another light-rail line would be that useful. I also wonder if LRT, added to the former 10 traffic and the intersection issues, would be a good idea at that location.

Also, I am curious about the interchange with the 405. Or would the 405 be closed down as well? Perhaps replacing it with a boulevard and rail to the airport would make sense?
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