Weekly News Digest for the Highways to Boulevards Movement (week of 12/13)

freewaycreativeWeekly News Digest

Hi all,

Here is what is being said about the Highways to Boulevards movement this week. If you come across any articles, feel free to share and please let me know if you have any questions.

A lot of interesting news in the highway world yesterday. First, the Colorado Transportation Commission voted 10-1 on a new rule requiring the state Department of Transportation and MPOs to measure the climate impact of planned projects and offset them if they exceed a given amount. This includes shifting funds from highway expansion to public transit and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. Then, the FHWA issued a memo encouraging state and local governments to consider fixing existing roads before building new ones.


Highways to Boulevards news

PDNHF risking more pollution in El Paso by pushing for deck plaza in Downtown: Opinion

El Paso Times December 2021

As a retired Sierra Medical Center emergency room physician, I’ve been alarmed by recent medical literature showing exactly how air pollution caused by vehicles harms El Pasoans’ health.


El Paso I-10 highway deck plaza receives funding, but some wary of what project would bring

El Paso Times December 2021

A project to build a deck plaza in Downtown El Paso, tied to the Downtown I-10 project, has come closer to fruition thanks to a federal grant.


Reconciliation bill would set transportation emission reduction targets – The Washington Post

The Washington Post December 11, 2021

A measure in the House’s $2 trillion economic initiative would require states to cut greenhouse gas emissions, promising rewards for transportation departments that post reductions and “consequences” for those that don’t.


Proposed state law seeks to ban freeway expansions in underserved communities – Los …

Los Angeles Times December 12, 2021

A state lawmaker from Los Angeles County plans to introduce legislation that would block freeway expansions in underserved communities across California.


As freeways expand, Black and Latino communities bear the brunt – NPR

NPR December 13, 2021

NPR’s Adrian Florido speaks with Los Angeles Times reporter Liam Dillon about the continued displacement of Black and Latino communities due to U.S. freeway expansions.


Pro-climate transportation planning rule that could mean major change nears vote

Colorado Newsline December 13, 2021

Environmental advocates are feeling hopeful as Colorado’s 11-member Transportation Commission nears a vote this week on a proposal to make state transportation planning processes more climate-friendly — but the rule’s supporters say the key will be in how the program is implemented in the months and years to come.


Assemblymember Cristina Garcia Planning Legislation to Stop Freeway Expansion in …

Streetsblog California December 14, 2021

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that State Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) is planning to introduce legislation to end freeway expansion in low-income communities already suffering from freeway harms


As transportation climate vote nears, car-friendly communities worry it will reduce funding for …

Colorado Public Radio December 15, 2021

The Colorado Transportation Commission will vote Thursday on a climate change policy that could shift resources away from polluting highway expansion projects and toward more environmentally friendly ones like public transit and bicycle lanes.


Assemblywoman to propose banning freeway widening in underserved communities …

Long Beach Post December 15, 2021

An assemblymember representing Los Angeles County cities said she plans to propose a bill that would ban the widening of freeways throughout California, including the contingent 710 Freeway project halted since March.


Austria Cancels Highway Projects to Reduce Climate Risk – Treehugger

Treehugger December 15, 2021

A minister says highways are ‘full of cement, full of destruction.’


The US Is Gently Discouraging States From Building New Highways

Wired December 16, 2021

Highways are not great for the planet. Their smooth, wide, inviting lanes have helped make transportation the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, responsible for 29 percent of the total.


Racism and Roads: Cities hope Biden infrastructure funds will help reconnect Black neighborhoods

TheGrio December 17, 2021

The United States’ history of redlining and racist transportation design practices may finally be addressed in a very real way as elected leaders have an opportunity to use federal dollars, secured by President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress, to begin infrastructure projects intended to reconnect Black neighborhoods with the worlds they’ve long been shut out from.


Past and future: Gov. Whitmer bids to revamp I-375 back into an urban boulevard – FOX 17

FOX 17 December 17, 2021

Years before the construction of I-375 in Detroit, the Black Bottom neighborhood was condemned and razed under guise of urban renewal or so-called “slum clearance.”


Less funding for road expansion, billions for greener transportation projects possible with …

Colorado Public Radio December 17, 2021

The Colorado Transportation Commission on Thursday approved a new rule that could divert billions of dollars to clean transportation projects in the coming decades.


Groups file federal complaint over I-45 project, urge civil rights review – Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle December 17, 2021

Critics of the plan to remake Interstate 45 north of downtown Houston filed a nearly 100-page complaint to federal officials Thursday, urging even greater scrutiny of the project’s effects on minority communities, an analysis they say state highway officials consistently have avoided.


Plazas and wide bridges over I-35? The City of Austin wants your input – KUT.org

KUT.org December 17, 2021

Large decks and widened bridges could cover vast swaths of Interstate 35 in Central Austin after the highway is expanded and lowered beneath ground level.