Frequently Asked Questions

Where will the traffic go? I don't want cars flying down my neighborhood street.

Cities that have removed freeways discovered that traffic overall decreased significantly with little to no impact to the surrounding road network.

According to a 1998 study from University College in London which examined 60 worldwide cases in which highway capacity was removed, this counterintuitive outcome resulted from either changed their scheduled activities or eliminated trips altogether.

Won't safety be compromised with the removal of the expressway?

Cities around the country that have implemented measures to reduce and stabilize speed have shown a reduction in serious injuries and deaths for everyone on the road, from drivers to passengers to pedestrians.

The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide, reports: “Vehicle speed plays a critical role in the cause and severity of crashes.” According to Elvik (2005), “speed has a major impact on the number of accidents and the severity of injuries and that the relationship between speed and road safety is causal, not just statistical.

How will people get to businesses or work if the expressway is removed?

Removing expressways actually tends to bring life back to neighborhoods and supports economic vitality.

Harbor Drive, Portland: The Tom McCall Waterfront Park has helped property values in the downtown rise on average 10.4 percent per year and led to a sharp reduction in crime in the area.

Embarcadero, San Francisco: A world-famous boulevard surrounded by a 25-foot-wide promenade led to a 300 percent increase in adjacent property values.

Park East Freeway, Milwaukee: Halting construction of the freeway preserved Juneau Park. Taking down the highway has opened 26 acres of land to be redeveloped and added back into the tax coffers. Land values have risen faster than in the rest of the city and the area is now reconnected with Milwaukee.

Won't removing the expressway prevent future growth?

New roadway capacity quickly fills up leading to the same level of traffic congestion, a phenomenon known as induced demand or generated traffic.

A report from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute explains: “Traffic congestion tends to maintain equilibrium. Congestion reaches a point at which it constrains further growth in peak-period trips. If road capacity increases, the number of peak-period trips also increases until congestion again limits further traffic growth. The additional travel is called ‘generated traffic’.”