Category Archives: Highway Removal Stories

San Francisco, California: Embarcadero Freeway

State Route 480 used to travel down the middle of San Francisco until 1989 when it was damaged by an earthquake. Post-earthquake, in the face of costly repair, much debate arose about what to do with it.

The city decided to remove it for good and the result was an increase in scenic views of the bay, the creation of urban success story Octavia Boulevard, and an economic boom. The removal created miles of public space in the city, room for walking and biking paths, and new transit routes that replaced the freeway. The project also saved the city substantial money in reconstruction and maintenance cost of the highway, and increased property values and brought in new business.


Rochester, New York: Inner Loop Expressway

The Inner Loop Expressway surrounded the Central Business District in the City of Rochester, cutting off the downtown area from the adjacent thriving neighborhoods. The expressway was inefficient and underutilized, and resulted in a suppressed downtown redevelopment, and discouraged many people from walking or bicycling to and from the city.

Highway removal and parkway reconstruction is currently in progress. The old 8 and 12 lanes of expressway will be converted into a single two-lane street with parking, separated bicycle tracks, and sidewalks. Anticipated benefits include sustainable economic growth by creating a more livable downtown; greater community interaction by allowing people to walk and bicycle between neighborhoods and downtown; increased traffic safety, and reduction of highway maintenance costs. The new parkway will also promote both commercial and residential development, raise local tax revenues, create jobs, and generate private investment. The project is expected to be complete in December 2017.