Ramps to Nowhere
My latest Slate column looks at a number of urban highway projects that were once planned but never built (or were built and then torn down). Here’s the gist:
A new exhibit at New York’s Cooper Union, Paul Rudolph: The Lower Manhattan Expressway—complete with an exhaustively recreated large-scale model of the proposed road—provides an opportunity to consider the invisible (and sometimes visible) presence of this and other phantom highways in the world’s cities. Existing merely as segments of many-tentacled schemes on faded planner’s maps, they are more than historical oddities or visions of an alternate future. They’re part of an ongoing dialogue about the meaning and possibilities of mobility in the world’s cities: Would their host cities be better off if these highways been built? How should we balance the desire for mobility with the desire to create livable, meaningful urban spaces? Is there any room for the megaprojects of Rudolph in a city that now favors pocket parks and restriped bike lanes?
There were plenty of examples I had to leave on the cutting-room floor, everything from Portland’s Mt. Hood freeway (the stub is pictured above) to the wider network proposed by Pompidou in Paris to Milwaukee’s Park East Spur, and if anyone has any images, recollections, would be curious to hear.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Yule matters to attend to…
This entry was posted on Friday, December 24th, 2010 at 5:10 am and is filed under Roads. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.