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Destroying Highways to Rebuild Cities

9:06 AM PDT on June 23, 2009

viaduct1sm.jpgHartford's
Aetna Viaduct, which the Courant called a "mistake" that has "cut the
city in half." Photo from Capital Region of Governments.

Today on the Streetsblog Network, Mobilizing the Region
is talking about highway removal. Specifically, the proposed teardown
or reinvention of the 40-year-old Aetna Viaduct in Hartford, CT, which
has already outlived its projected lifespan. Now the Hartford Courant
has become a proponent of the idea that getting rid of the road could
transform Connecticut's capital city:

WhenConnDOT initially proposed to repair and prop up the viaduct, civicgroups, businesses, and neighborhood associations, led by Tri-Stateboard member Toni Gold, urged the State and City to rethink the plans. Four years later, ConnDOT, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez and the advocateshave secured federal and city funding to conduct an alternatives study that would analyze whether decking, boulevarding or diverting the current highway traffic is possible.

Ateardown of the Viaduct, the newspaper wrote, could be “one of thegreatest feats of civic activism in the city’s long history.”

The
Aetna Viaduct, which divides some Hartford neighborhoods from the city
center, wasn't on the list that Congress for the New Urbanism released
last year of the 10 North American highways most in need of demolition. There are bound to be more worthy examples out there. If you have any targets in mind, let us know about them in the comments.

San Francisco Transit Oriented Design has a related post that looks at the history of highway construction in that city.

Plus: Sustainable Savannah on the continuing saga of the city's jaywalking crackdown; Tempe Bicycle Action Group warns of bike thefts (and shady bike sales) along the light rail line there; and Trains for America reports on high speed rail fever in Oklahoma.

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