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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to hear your opinions on this from you guys. I myself have thought about this too. Especially with the bit of I-95 south of Downtown Miami (right south of the river). So much valuable land is used for the highway and the off ramps and the land around it is blighted, dirty, full of homeless people and their camps.

I am not out of it, in thinking this would happen anytime soon. I also think we would need a good mass-transit system before the residents of Miami-Dade actually want something like this done, however is something like this not worth at least considering?

If not the whole leg of I-95 from downtown south torn down, how about that awful off-ramp that shots from I-95 east just north of the Miami River. It just seems incredibly unnecessary.

Lastly, lets say something like this comes to fruition, and chunks or the whole of I-95 ever gets torn down or buried, what do you think would be the best use of the land? Should the land be used for parks, residential or commercial?

https://www.thenextmiami.com/opinion-time-tear-95-downtown-miami/
Every time we drive on or walk under the stretch of I-95 that runs through downtown Miami, we realize what a horrible roadway it is.

The highway’s overpasses and ramps tear through and divide some of Miami’s most dynamic neighborhoods, creating unnecessary blight. The positives of easier car access are far outweighed by the negatives created by these ramps, including visual and noise pollution.

As Miami continues to develop and become more walkable, it is becoming more evident that this highway will hinder, rather than advance, Miami’s future growth.

It has been almost 60 years since this stretch of highway was built. We are certain that if it was proposed today instead of the 1950s, it would meet fierce resistance and would never be built.

Our opinion: It’s time to tear down the entire stretch of I-95 south of I-395. Doing so would be an incredible triumph for the city, and we hope Miami’s leaders step up.
 

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I'd be 100% in favor and genuinely think any negatives would be overwhelmed by the positive effects.

It's not as if we don't have existing examples. Portland famously took down I-5 in their urban core (very contentiously and with much hand-wringing) years ago and the result has been terrific. A complete eyesore gone. Neighborhoods reconnected. And traffic? Negligible difference according to nearly everything I've ever read about it. Amazingly enough (I'm being facetious here) people can and WILL find other ways to get where they're going...including alternate routes that don't send a huge percentage of commuters headed to the same arteries at the same time. Which kind of IS what traffic jams are largely all about in the first place.

The other alternative is to bury an interstate underground and reconnect the old street grid above. Boston has done that (at great expense) and Philadelphia has similar plans with 95 since most of it in the historic core is below ground-level already. Probably not a realistic option in Miami given the water table and the staggering cost of overcoming that.

So...the Portland model of simply eliminating it? YES. I'd end the damn thing at the 836 interchange and then give it a year of grief and chaos or whatever until everyone realized the city was better for it. That Overtown could once again be a neighborhood. That you would not have this monstrous, ugly, concrete beast putting cars before street life. That you would open up that strip for housing and park space. That it would all be that ephemeral quality of just being NICER without it. And ultimately (as Portland---a rapidly growing city has shown) not at all the precursor of a traffic nightmare.

Know something I miss about living in Washington, D.C.? There's NO damn interstate cutting right through the center of town. Same with the vast majority of Manhattan. Can you imagine if the so-called "urban planning genius" Robert Moses had been able to run mega-interstates through lower Manhattan as he fully wanted to with much public support for it? Thank God level-headed New Yorkers rose up in indignation and stopped that from happening! And last I checked, neither New York or Washington is suffering terribly because I-95 (or any other interstate highway) bulldozed straight through their heart.

The transit part is secondary to me. We're not going to see anything much better than what we have now for a very long time because of financial realities and the climate in Washington to do anything about it. It's South Florida and the car will remain king the rest of our lifetimes, you can bet on that. But that doesn't mean we have to just ABDICATE to that and not do things that ultimately make it a better city while not forcing anyone OUT of those cars...just to change their habits a bit.

The odds of it happening anytime soon? Probably less than negligible. Portland is...uh...a bit more "progressive" in regards to stuff like that than nearly anywhere else in this country. But I sure as hell would love to see it and glad you brought it up.

Tear it down!! :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
^^ Beautifully said. I think the best point one can make for tearing down highways in cities is asking them, imagine if New York had highways going through it everywhere like most other cities would it be the same city? And then pointing out that D.C. and N.Y. don't have highways going right through them and they function just fine.
 

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Just look at what happened to Overtown for I-95


https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/QQt...839/60167_10151134208048122_575350922_n.0.jpg


https://www.cnu.org/sites/default/files/MiamiHerald_I95_Overtown_Construction_2.jpg


https://i1.wp.com/usa.streetsblog.o.../06/MiamiHerald_I95_Overtown_Construction.jpg

Remembering All That Was Lost to an Interchange in Miami:

Miami’s Overtown neighborhood was once known as “the Harlem of the South.” In this historic black neighborhood, legends like Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday would play to big crowds late into the night.
Read more: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/06/18/remembering-all-that-was-lost-to-an-interchange-in-miami/
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If I remember right reading this, the black population plummeted by the tens of thousands as they has to move out after the highways were built. And the highways were only half the problem! After all where are all those cars going to park? You guessed it, parking lots. They had to tear down tons of buildings just to build on ground parking spots! How urban planners could let the happen across the country is honestly quite sickening.

Here use this site to see pics of cities 60 years ago and you can slide a slider across the pics to see before and after of cities including Miami. Look at how much buildings were destroyed for highways and even worse for parking lots. http://iqc.ou.edu/2014/12/18/60yrssoutheast/
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Other cities are starting to tear down part of their highways, such as Detroit and believe it or not Houston. One of the big areas of the USA that are thinking about tearing down highways are located in the Midwest due to declining populations and wanting to increase their tax bases.

It is going to be very hard and take a long time, but I hope so much that our cities can be taken back from cars and given to people by tearing down and replacing the overabundance of highways and parking lots that destroyed US cities tax bases and populations which led to more poverty and then led to higher crime which then led to white flight and even less tax income and then a feedback loop.
 

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I'd be 100% in favor and genuinely think any negatives would be overwhelmed by the positive effects.

It's not as if we don't have existing examples. Portland famously took down I-5 in their urban core (very contentiously and with much hand-wringing) years ago and the result has been terrific. A complete eyesore gone. Neighborhoods reconnected. And traffic? Negligible difference according to nearly everything I've ever read about it. Amazingly enough (I'm being facetious here) people can and WILL find other ways to get where they're going...including alternate routes that don't send a huge percentage of commuters headed to the same arteries at the same time. Which kind of IS what traffic jams are largely all about in the first place.

The other alternative is to bury an interstate underground and reconnect the old street grid above. Boston has done that (at great expense) and Philadelphia has similar plans with 95 since most of it in the historic core is below ground-level already. Probably not a realistic option in Miami given the water table and the staggering cost of overcoming that.

So...the Portland model of simply eliminating it? YES. I'd end the damn thing at the 836 interchange and then give it a year of grief and chaos or whatever until everyone realized the city was better for it. That Overtown could once again be a neighborhood. That you would not have this monstrous, ugly, concrete beast putting cars before street life. That you would open up that strip for housing and park space. That it would all be that ephemeral quality of just being NICER without it. And ultimately (as Portland---a rapidly growing city has shown) not at all the precursor of a traffic nightmare.

Know something I miss about living in Washington, D.C.? There's NO damn interstate cutting right through the center of town. Same with the vast majority of Manhattan. Can you imagine if the so-called "urban planning genius" Robert Moses had been able to run mega-interstates through lower Manhattan as he fully wanted to with much public support for it? Thank God level-headed New Yorkers rose up in indignation and stopped that from happening! And last I checked, neither New York or Washington is suffering terribly because I-95 (or any other interstate highway) bulldozed straight through their heart.

The transit part is secondary to me. We're not going to see anything much better than what we have now for a very long time because of financial realities and the climate in Washington to do anything about it. It's South Florida and the car will remain king the rest of our lifetimes, you can bet on that. But that doesn't mean we have to just ABDICATE to that and not do things that ultimately make it a better city while not forcing anyone OUT of those cars...just to change their habits a bit.

The odds of it happening anytime soon? Probably less than negligible. Portland is...uh...a bit more "progressive" in regards to stuff like that than nearly anywhere else in this country. But I sure as hell would love to see it and glad you brought it up.

Tear it down!! :cheers:
Don't forget that San Francisco tore down the Embarcadero Freeway and not only is it NOT missed...locals wonder why it was ever needed in the first place.....
 

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Wow, here's the one major difference between Tampa and Miami, with so many raised highways gong in here, and in Orlando too, elevating the existing roads is the only solution to our traffic problems simply because of the geography and the way businesses were originally constructed (so close to the road so that widening couldn't take place).

Miami has the unique situation though of being more of a simple north/south flow, with the ocean to the east and the glades to the west.

What I always thought was the eye sore though (and I know this will be disagreeable with many) is the metro rail itself, especially through all those vacant lots and along the river. If Miami could construct anything that would really look great it would be to go underground with it's rail system and some of it's highways, (which with the port tunnel was a great start).

Another concept that someone else mentioned once in another forum was to build above the highways, so that the highways look like they run through buildings, with exit ramps that go directly into parking garages. Just a thought, downtown Miami eventually will have to push further and further west at some point.
 

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Don't forget that San Francisco tore down the Embarcadero Freeway and not only is it NOT missed...locals wonder why it was ever needed in the first place.....
A different animal than I-95 in Miami.

95 in Miami is the principle north/south route in and out of the city. The Embarcadero did not function that way for San Francisco.

The Embarcadero was just over a mile long. Putting I-95 under Miami south of 395 entails a distance of about 3.25 miles.

As I said above, this is a pipedream. It can be done, but the money is not there. If the Big Dig at 1.5 miles is going to end up costing $22 billion, I shudder to think how much putting 95 under Miami would be in today's dollars.
 

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I've never been a fan of tearing down something that functions to make a better one unless it truely warrants the cost. Money spent rebuilding that section of I95 (just like the spider bridge for 395), could be better spend providing mass transit for more Miami-ans instead. Transportation projects are almost always done to the detriment of other projects since they often compete for the same money, political good will, and/or construction resources.
 

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I think where 95 runs through Miami was (and remains) an urban disaster and eyesore. It's not as if it even effectively moves traffic in the urban core. It quite literally ENDS as a highway (all the way from Maine) a mile or two from DOWNTOWN. Completely nutty...unless the original template was "we're out of money at this point so let's funnel EVERYONE onto this same access/egress point and just dump it all onto US1."

I'd be amazed if there's a single person here who has lived and driven in Miami that hasn't used alternate routes to avoid that shit south of Downtown. For that matter, anyone who hasn't used NW 7th or 17th to avoid the damn thing going North when it's just a crucible of stupidity and gridlock. I used to all the time...going even further west sometimes as needed.

I know it isn't going anywhere, but I wish it would. Portland was right about this stuff. Drivers can (and WILL) find other ways and nobody, ever said how wonderful Paris or New York is because they have a 14-lane concrete and asphalt expressway cutting through their heart.

(plus, a lot of those other drivers are distracted idiots) :cheers:
 

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I think there is a masterplan that has i95 ending at 395 and a new road with a median, shopping, apartments, hotels, restaurants and parks going in. IT's on the city of Miami website, but large bandwidth needed to download the PDF.
 

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Yeah, I agree with others. While it would be pretty damn cool to do it is a pipe dream. Just waaaay to costly of an endeavor and you know how difficult it is to do anything down here that costs more than a couple dollars.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Cities change over time, it will happen. Exactly how and when we don't know. But we only need to go back before the highways were built in the 1950's and 60's to see how quickly cities can change. Then we can go back another 100 or so year before the steam engine and electric trolley cars to see cities change again. In another 50-100 years cities will change yet again.

It is only a matter of time, I just hope this time we bring cities back to thinking about PEOPLE first and not a mechanical machine first.
 

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How about selling the land salvaged from removing all that concrete? There's got to be tons of money there. Loads of useless acres that can be turned to prime real estate (riverfront in many cases).

Plus property values (& taxes) will skyrocket in the areas that currently border I95 and all it's disastrously ugly limbs
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
^^ That is exactly what I don't understand. The vast amount of potential tax revenue that was lost to cities and that they can make back just by having those money sinks of highways be replaced with taxes from housing and businesses. Many cities are in dire need of money for city services (think Detroit), they just need more tax paying entities.

Not to mention that highways do not benefit city centers primarily, they benefit people who live in far off suburbs who want to quickly go into a city and out. They wont be paying taxes from their homes to the city and they wont be stopping to buy something in the city center (as compared to how much they spend out in the suburbs).

It is like cities decided to commit suicide or sacrifice themselves for suburbia (well I guess the highway act and housing policies from the federal government pushed them to it also).
 

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It is like cities decided to commit suicide or sacrifice themselves for suburbia (well I guess the highway act and housing policies from the federal government pushed them to it also).
That's EXACTLY what happened...with a very generous push from automakers like General Motors that very actively pushed for ridding American cities of countless trolley lines and rail initiatives.

Because it was "bad for business."

That's not my opinion, by the way. It's documented fact. In the rise to "modernize" this country in the post WW2 era with Interstate Highways the personal car became KING. They literally encouraged the abandonment of cities by those with financial means to do so.

Miami was only peripherally part of that because it was a relatively small city back then and when it blew up the car was already a big deal...but what little existed in the 20's and 30's (trolley lines to Miami Beach and Coral Gables, etc.) went away very quickly for the same reason.

Anyway, a LOT of those "old" cities are reinvigorated today...generations later...and very much want that transit back. Even with decent transit here in Philly, can you imagine how many old trolley lines I see buried under asphalt? How many abandoned/mothballed subway extensions? How many stations in DIRE need of modernization?

I digress. What we need is a NATIONAL commitment to why this stuff is genuinely important...and the will to actually fund it. :cheers:
 
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