Freeway Fighters Digest (week of 9/19)

Lauren MayerWeekly News Digest

Hi all,

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

The call for nominations is open through Monday, October 3rd for the eighth biannual Freeways Without Futures report. This is a great opportunity to get local campaigns in the national spotlight at a time when the federal government is finally acknowledging the inequitable and harmful impacts of urban highway construction. Submit your nominations.

Reminder that the September Freeway Fighters meetup will be on Friday, September 30th at 2pm ET. We’ll have some time for new people to introduce themselves, hear updates from campaigns, and get together in some smaller breakout groups to network with similar campaigns.

Calendar invite:

Freeway Fighters news

State wins funds to rebuild site of historic black communities – CBS Detroit
CBS News September 17, 2022
The state of Michigan has been awarded $104.6 million to tear down I-375 in downtown Detroit, which is the location of once thriving black communities. 

Mayor Adams Announces Public Engagement Process to Accelerate Critical, Long-Term … September 17, 2022
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today outlined the community engagement process that will inform the administration’s effort to tackle long-standing issues with the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE).

Buttigieg awards grant to tear down divisive Detroit highway | AP News
AP News September 17, 2022
A long-delayed plan to dismantle Interstate 375, a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) depressed freeway in Detroit that was built by demolishing Black neighborhoods 60 years ago, was a big winner of federal money Thursday, the first Biden administration grant awarded to tear down a racially divisive roadway.

Don’t let freeway removal pass us by – The Mac Weekly
The Mac Weekly September 17, 2022
As Twin Cities residents, we are currently in the midst of a unique opportunity.

Colorado advocates celebrate removal of ‘highway boondoggle’ construction plans
Mass Transit September 17, 2022
A highway widening project along Interstate-25 has been stopped by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).  

Transportation ‘boondoggles’ cost billions, study says – Orange County Register
Orange County Register September 17, 2022
These vanquished “boondoggles” appear in the “victory” column: The death of the proposed extension of the 241 “toll road to nowhere” through San Clemente, which could have cost billions.

Black Texas farmers fight state’s efforts to seize land – San Antonio Express-News
San Antonio Express-News September 18, 2022
 To Texas transportation officials, expanding U.S. 183 is a chance to alleviate congestion south of Austin. 

Highway Boondoggles Part V: Duluth’s ‘Can of Worms’
Streetsblog September 19, 2022
It’s sometimes said that Minnesota has two seasons: winter and road construction.

Begin, Quick, Everyone: Repair the BQE the smart way – New York Daily News
New York Daily News September 20, 2022
The last mayor and the last governor didn’t do what they needed to repair and replace the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which has only crumbled more each day as the structure, which turns 70 in two years, is beaten down by the pounding of 130,000 daily vehicles.

City announces community meetings for ‘once-in-a-generation’ BQE redesign
Brooklyn Reporter September 20, 2022
Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez on Friday released a schedule for a community outreach process that they said will inform the city’s “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to redesign sections of the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE).

$1.5 Billion Awarded for Transportation Projects, Including $100 Million to Remove a Detroit Freeway
Planetizen September 20, 2022
The Biden administration on September 15 announced $1.5 billion in competitive grant funding for $1.5 billion for 26 highway, multimodal freight, and rail projects. 

‘Completely absurd’: Student organization to challenge I-35 expansion to 20 lanes
The Daily Texan September 20, 2022
UT students and faculty are organizing to resist the potential expansion of Interstate 35 from 12 to 20 lanes. 

Highway Boondoggles Part VI: Martinsville’s Big Miss – Streetsblog USA
Streetsblog USA September 20, 2022
The Virginia Department of Transportation’s proposed Martinsville Southern Connector would be an eight-mile bypass of Route 220 in southwestern Virginia running between Route 58 near Martinsville, Va., and the North Carolina border.

2022 Fall Fellowship: Reconnecting Communities across the BQE: Unraveling Moses’ Legacy
ArchDaily September 21, 2022
Seeking community stakeholders and interdisciplinary design teams working in Brooklyn & Queens: The IPA will help match teams of experts with community partners to assist in visioning plans for a post BQE neighborhood.

Atlanta City Council approves seeking $10.5M in federal dollars for ‘The Stitch’ to cap …
Reporter Newspapers September 21, 2022
The Atlanta City Council approved legislation today authorizing the administration to apply for $10.5 million in federal dollars to fund preliminary engineering for The Stitch, a project to cap the Downtown Connector with a park that city officials say would catalyze new development in the city’s center, including affordable housing.

$104M Federal Grant Will Allow I-375 Transformation to Start Sooner Than Planned
Detroit Regional Chamber September 21, 2022
A $104 million federal grant will expedite the conversion of the sunken Interstate 375 in Detroit to a six-lane boulevard at street level, officials will announce Thursday, enabling construction to begin in 2025 — at least two years earlier than planned.

Controversy brews over plans for I-35 expansion in Central Austin
CultureMap Austin September 21, 2022
Tensions are rising over the Texas Department of Transportation’s $4.9 billion plan to overhaul Interstate 35 through Central Austin.

I-5 Rose Quarter update: ODOT’s survey, Tubman relocation, and more – BikePortland
BikePortland September 21, 2022
Now that the City of Portland and the Albina Vision Trust have both signed onto Oregon Department of Transportation plans to expand I-5 at the Rose Quarter it may seem like smooth sailing for the controversial project.

Texas took part of a Black family’s farm for a highway in 1968. Now, the state’s coming back for more
Yahoo News September 21, 2022
The Alexander family is concerned that the expansion of U.S. 183, which spans 400 feet of their property, will destroy homes and demolish graves.

Op-Ed: A Unique Moment for Landscape Architects | Features – Archinect
Archinect September 22, 2022
One of my big takeaways from the gathering is that advocacy and education efforts for landscape architecture at national, regional, and local levels are critical.

Report: Construction on downtown’s ‘Stitch’ could start in 2024 | Urbanize Atlanta
Urbanize Atlanta September 22, 2022
First, the good news for Atlantans who support ambitious infrastructure projects with the potential to make the city more vibrant, functional, and equitable.

Feds Finally Using Highway Money to Tear Down Highways – Streetsblog USA
Streetsblog USA September 22, 2022
Federal highway grants that typically lavish billions of dollars to build or widen freeways will now be spent to dismantle a Detroit expressway that has separated communities for generations.

Highway Boondoggles, Part VII: Oregon’s Abernethy Insanity – Streetsblog USA
Streetsblog USA September 22, 2022
Every day, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, more than 100,000 vehicles travel the seven-mile stretch of Interstate 205 between Stafford Road and Oregon Route 213 in Oregon City — the often congested last remaining four-lane section of I-205.

Op-Ed: To Heal Historic Highway Harms, Sec. Buttigieg Needs Bold Thinking – Streetsblog USA
Streetsblog USA September 23, 2022
In 1966, the day after Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana Department of Highways bulldozers came for Claiborne Avenue’s century-old oak trees. 

Why Denver and L.A. Are Backing Away from Highway Expansions September 23, 2022
A planning authority in Denver took the rare step this week of deciding that the highway running through the heart of the region is wide enough as is, and redirecting funds that were previously assigned to lane expansions for other improvements instead.