Dismantling Downtown Freeways

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UptownSport
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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby UptownSport » July 17th, 2013, 10:32 pm

US freeway system is fait accompli- a most brilliant one at that- no need to build more in downtowns- they're already there.

Remarkable the only argument agaisnt monorail - elevated rail is that no one else is doing it-

UptownSport
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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby UptownSport » July 17th, 2013, 10:40 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:Everything is perfect now and nothing will ever change forever so why do we even try let's just shut the forum down folks, we're obviously done here.

And I'll ask you again, how is this discussion any different than your advocating for monorails?
N one said everythings perfect-

I'm saying dismantling dt freeways is absurd!

Monorails are an accepted form of transit, they can and do function, one for about a century.

#if# someone would explain why they are absurd- i'm all ears- or even if they'd function, but aren't the best idea, be glad to hear it-

In short, the difference is between a non-absurd idea and an absurd one

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby FISHMANPET » July 17th, 2013, 11:07 pm

There are cities that are or have already torn down their freeways (San Francisco), and there are also large dense downtowns that exist without freeways (Vancouver).

You can't just say things you agree with are non-absurd and things you don't agree with are absurd.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby MNdible » July 18th, 2013, 7:15 am

RailBaronYarr wrote:I'm just interested to see what great cities out there are doubling down on core urban freeways.
If by doubling down, you mean maintaining and modernizing an existing major piece of infrastructure around which their metro area developed, I'd argue that most all of them are. If by doubling down, you mean greatly expanding them, probably very few.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby mplsjaromir » July 18th, 2013, 7:50 am

Monorails have their place. Airports and amusement parks are their most logical installation. If one decides to build elevated rail you might as well choose a higher capacity more flexible traditional rail system. Monorails are not absurd per se, but choosing to build one in a dense urban area means you have a lower capacity system, when building a high capacity system would be just as attainable. If an entity already has to build vertical circulation, acquire complete grade separation and have vibe killing shadows, may as well build a full metro.

Also beyond the conceptual stage there are few places to source monorail vehicles and parts. Few people are experienced in designing, operating and maintaining a monorail system in comparison to traditional rail. Heck, the Minnesota Zoo is tearing down their monorail because no one makes parts for the trains anymore.

Monorails and freeways are useful, but integrating them with dense urban areas is difficult. They make active and continuous street activity hard to achieve. Taking a long look at the value of having urban freeways weighed against the downsides is not absurd.

The Post War Modernists loved both urban freeways and monorails, I think time has shown that their thoughts were flawed.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 18th, 2013, 7:50 am

I would call what we did with the Crosstown Commons and 35W-downtown "doubling down" - expanding lanes, re-doing the walls and sound barriers, re-doing exits, and 'improving' entrance ramp flow, most of it financed with debt and/or a heap of federal money (for a stretch of freeway that serves local trips vs inter-state commerce by a wide margin).

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby Wedgeguy » July 18th, 2013, 9:17 am

FISHMANPET wrote:There are cities that are or have already torn down their freeways (San Francisco), and there are also large dense downtowns that exist without freeways (Vancouver).

You can't just say things you agree with are non-absurd and things you don't agree with are absurd.

TO be very honest here. Mother nature torn down the elevated freeway in San Francisco with a monster earthquake. What San Fran did was to not rebuild those freeway sections and adapted to on the ground roads, that I would say have close to the freeways capacity but with the grid built into it. I've not been for years so I can't remember, but I want to say it is like a 4 lane boulevard with trees and other things to make it more inviting to get to the water front. To say that San Fran went out of their way and decided to tear down working roads is an out right fabrication.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 18th, 2013, 9:29 am

^False, they had been considering taking it down for quite some time, the earthquake accelerated when they'd make the decision (it hadn't reached the end of its lifecycle yet, but would have). The fact that they are actively looking to take out 280 north of Caesar Chavez St shows their commitment to this practice.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby FISHMANPET » July 18th, 2013, 9:44 am

They were forced with much the same choice we made with the 35W bridge. For whatever reason the freeway was suddenly unusable, and it could be repaired or removed. San Francisco chose removal, we chose replacement.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby Wedgeguy » July 18th, 2013, 9:49 am

Again you say life cycle, But you don't tear down something that you have invested in, and like the 35W bridge it is supposed to be a 100 year bridge. San Fran like Boston wanted to get their waterfront back. Why they were build in the first place is beyond me, but you don't just tear down roads with no plan for how you plan to deal with traffic patterns. When the elevated water front freeway stub was torn down. That road DID NOT go away. it is still there, but is now on the ground and part of the grid. IT was made so that you could easily get to and from the waterfront. That freeway section did not go away. It was just changed to similar lane counts on the ground!
Boston took their Freeway and put it underground and took out some of the entrance and exits for safety. They too wanted to recapture their water front. They did not get rid of the freeway, but made it more livable for the urban core.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby Wedgeguy » July 18th, 2013, 10:10 am

To put a different spin on things, How many 8-10 lane roads do we have dissecting our down town?? In Paris I know there is a number of them, They are similar to freeway in they are as pain for a pedestrian to get across. Buenos Aires, also have several 8-10 lane road that are main through fairs in their city. Difference is one is more gridlocked than the other as far as what is a freeway and what is a major freeway like road.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby UptownSport » July 18th, 2013, 10:53 am

RailBaronYarr wrote:I'm just interested to see what great cities out there are doubling down on core urban freeways.
Um, ....

Image

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby Wedgeguy » July 18th, 2013, 11:32 am

UptownSport wrote:
RailBaronYarr wrote:I'm just interested to see what great cities out there are doubling down on core urban freeways.
Um, ....

Image
394 does not got thru the Core. it ends at the core. Or do you consider all of MPLS core, cuz I sure don't! If you use that logic then all of the major arteries over 4 lanes would become suspect in any city. Ours just have entrance and exit to them.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby UptownSport » July 18th, 2013, 11:58 am

Subject of thread is "Dismantling Downtown Freeways"

394 is a DT Freeway.

You're trying to qualify away from subject.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 18th, 2013, 12:06 pm

@Wedgeguy: Are you comparing an 8-10 lane street with skinnier lanes and direct pedestrian facilities at every cross street (as well as buildings with offices, retail, and housing directly abutting the public ROW) to a freeway trench? What streets in Paris are you referring to that are a pain for a pedestrian to cross? The Champs Elysses is one of the most notorious ultra-wide boulevards, has 4 lanes each way of car traffic, and is roughly 220' from lot line to lot line. However, ~100' of this ROW is for sidewalks, slip lanes (access to parking), etc. There are large pedestrian crossings every 220' or so. Compare this to 35W between 62 and downtown. At its skinniest, 35W is 270' wide (wider at points and this does not include the amount of space required for downtown exits, interchanges, etc). None of this is space pedestrians can be in, and you must travel another 50' on either side of the freeway before hitting a 'destination' (home, retail, etc). Grid streets crossing the trench vary in frequency (there are also ped/bike bridges), but at MINIMUM pedestrians can pass over/under 35W every 700', with distances surpassing 1,500'.

Paris' ring road, the Peripherique, is basically a freeway the way we would describe them - in a trench, many lanes, limited access, limited crossing points (despite them labeling it a boulevard). It's loud, smelly, ultra congested, and has physically/culturally cut off the inside from the outside. Plenty of people in Paris are talking about ways to mitigate the problems, from reducing the speed limit by 10 kph (with extra enforcement), to noise reducing pavement, to a few land bridges to connect neighborhoods. So, to say it's a huge success for the economy and culture of Paris would be a bit of an overstatement. With all that said, the Peripherique anywhere between 2.5 and 3 miles from the center of Paris (measured by me, the 1st Arr. roughly at the Louvre). Can you imagine if freeways stopped coming in to Minneapolis at: Theo Wirth on the west side, the U on the east side (let's go a bit further and just say 280), Lowry Ave to the north, and all the way down to 36th St to the south.

I'm not saying "do it today," I'm saying this is the reality of what Minneapolis would look like if a Paris-style road infrastructure was overlaid on ours. And, if given the choice of 35W+94+394 vs triple that in 200' multi-way boulevards bisecting our cities, I would take the latter any day. Like, if you told me the 200' ROW Hiawatha Ave/55 between downtown and 46th St (~3.5 miles) could magically become the Champs Elysses (2 miles from the Periph. to the Louvre but it continues NW for a bit more) with the LRT running beneath it, I would leap with joy. Random fact: The Champs handled 84,000 motor vehicles per day in 1994.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby PhilmerPhil » July 18th, 2013, 12:23 pm

Oh my god please lock this thread.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby twincitizen » July 18th, 2013, 1:29 pm

I just want to remind everyone that the thread is titled "Dismantling DOWNTOWN Freeways". Not "Eliminating all freeways everywhere #waroncars". Let's stick to specific examples, scenarios, fantasy maps, etc.

UptownSport (not that I can read your posts because I blocked you, but) you need to cool it. Pro-removal guys need to take it down a notch too, and maybe not respond to every single post from an obvious troll.

Let's talk about removal/cover-up/modification/air rights/etc regarding DOWNTOWN freeways only.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby mister.shoes » July 18th, 2013, 2:06 pm

I'm quoting myself here, but I really hate the 3rd/4th viaduct. I know this particular freeway was covered in my thread here and further up the line in this thread and over at streets.mn, but I really think it's worth continued discussion. And I think my plan would work really well. </self-congratulations>

mister.shoes quite some time ago wrote:
  • 3rd/4th Street viaduct removed, along with their connecting ramps to 94
  • 3rd/4th Streets connected across 394 and the RR trench on the southeast (note, this is the messiest area for vertical clearances, and may need rethinking)
  • 3rd/4th Streets intersect with Plymouth Ave on the northwest and to 94 via shorter ramps beyond
  • 8th Ave restored between 3rd and 5th Streets
  • Napco Ave extended both directions, to 3rd Street and through the empty lot and around to the 8th Ave/Oak Lake Ave intersection
  • 12th Ave reconnected across the new 3rd/4th Streets over to a new intersection where...
  • ...East Lyndale Ave N reconfigured to properly intersect with N 6th St (N 5th St extended) with a new bridge across 94 at a more sensible, grid-aware angle
As best as I can tell from Google Maps' 45° and Street views and recalling from memory, there shouldn't be any vertical clearance or steep grade issues, even with a few freeway ramps shortened significantly. I only had to remove one building—the Twin Cities International Elementary School, sadly—but given the increased population of the North Loop, a new school would be useful.

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talindsay
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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby talindsay » July 18th, 2013, 2:30 pm

Yes, that would be a huge improvement. Only remaining concern is traffic calming where those short ramps come on to Plymouth, with a population who's used to flying on a highway ramp for those few blocks; but I'm sure that could be worked out. This specific viaduct is especially awful. You might send those two maps to Peter Wagenius in the Mayor's office.

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Re: Dismantling Downtown Freeways

Postby Wedgeguy » July 18th, 2013, 3:01 pm

My only problem with your suggestion is that you now will have cars flying thru the warehouse district to reach the entrance to 94. Not much of a residential neighborhood when you have how many cars using it to get to 94. With stoplights you have added air pollution, possible gridlock. Just what I want to live with. Again, what you put up in theory does not always fly in reality. Similar to the theory that we built freeways along the waters edge in some cities as the disruption to existing business and residential would be less. In reality it cut the city off from it's waterfront and took away what we later decided was valuable real estate.


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