Freeway Fighters Digest (week of 2/27)

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.

As you can see from the news items below, earlier this week the US Department of Transportation announced the initial 45 winners for the Reconnecting Communities grant program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to restore communities damaged by highways and other big roads. With the announcement, the program takes a small, but significant step to make the country’s approach to transportation planning more responsible and sustainable. Check out the reaction from America Walks here and read CNU’s reaction here.

Freeway Fighters News

Virginia Receives Nearly $3 Million Reconnecting Communities Grant | Planetizen News
Planetizen February 25, 2023
The cities of Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia were awarded almost $3 million in federal funding through the Reconnecting Communities grant program, reports Kassidy Hammond for WRIC. 

Ashley Drive project to reconnect Tampa neighborhoods divided by interstate
FOX 13 Tampa Bay February 25, 2023
The city of Tampa is ready to reconnect neighborhoods divided by I-275.

Baltimore’s “Highway to Nowhere” could be demolished to reconnect Black neighborhoods
TheGrio February 25, 2023
Using $2 million in federal grant funding, Baltimore officials will start developing a plan to reconnect Black neighborhoods by potentially demolishing a stretch of thoroughfare that displaced hundreds of families amid a failed highway construction project decades ago.

Madison seeks to reconnect south side neighborhood through federal funding
Spectrum News February 25, 2023
Hundreds of millions of federal dollars could make their way to Madison to bridge the divide between neighborhoods on the city’s south side.

The Shoreline Drive Gateway Project Awarded $30 Million in Funding | Roads and Bridges
Roads and Bridges February 25, 2023
Long Beach residents can expect to see some construction with the new Shoreline Drive Gateway project. 

Long Beach nabs $30M in federal funds for Shoreline Drive realignment – Urbanize LA
Urbanize LA February 25, 2023
The $1-trillion infrastructure package passed by Federal lawmakers in 2021 continues to pay dividends for Los Angeles County.

Oakland, Caltrans receives funds to study removing Interstate 980 in downtown – CBS News
CBS News February 25, 2023
Interstate 980 in Oakland may come down.

City of Houston Awarded Federal Reconnecting Communities Planning Grant for Gulfton …
City of Houston February 28, 2023
The United States Department of Transportation announced the City of Houston will receive $552,160 in federal funding through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) grant program for the Reconnecting Communities: Gulfton and Beyond Study.

ReConnect Rondo awarded $2M planning grant for I-94 land bridge – Star Tribune
Star Tribune February 28, 2023
St. Paul nonprofit ReConnect Rondo will receive a $2 million grant from the federal government for planning work on a proposed land bridge over Interstate 94, officials announced Monday.

City Council demands changes to I-35 plan – Austin Monitor
Austin Monitor February 28, 2023
Austin City Council wants Interstate 35 to have more crossings and fewer semitrucks, among other changes, as the Texas Department of Transportation gears up for a sweeping expansion of the highway through Travis County.

Residents voice concerns about plans for I-30 expansion in west Fort Worth
Fort Worth Report February 28, 2023
West Fort Worth residents Stephanie Muzi and Leanna Johnson listened attentively to a recent video presentation about the expansion of Interstate 30, occasionally snapping a photo of an interesting slide to share with their neighbors.

$185 million to help connect neighborhoods severed by highways, infrastructure
The Washington Post March 1, 2023
The construction of Interstate 94 sliced through St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood starting in the 1950s, destroying or displacing hundreds of homes and businesses in an African American enclave that a local newspaper editor once called “a riot of warmth, and color, and feeling, and sound.”

USDOT Awards Reconnecting Communities Grants | Planetizen News
Planetizen March 1, 2023
The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced 45 recipients of grants totaling $185 million under the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, funded via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Awards Announced from The Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program | Roads and Bridges
Roads and Bridges March 1, 2023
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $184 million in grant awards through the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). 

Reconnecting Communities: federal grant to help reunite Norfolk communities divided by I-264
13News Now March 1, 2023
The City of Norfolk is receiving a $1.6 million grant as part of a first-of-its-kind program that aims to reconnect and restore communities that were impacted by past transportation infrastructure decisions.

$185M in Grants to Reconnect Communities Severed by Highways Announced – Route Fifty
Route Fifty March 1, 2023
Buffalo, New York; Tampa, Florida; and Long Beach, California, are among the biggest winners in a first-of-its-kind federal grant competition to sew back together communities that were ripped apart by the construction of highways and other infrastructure decades ago.

KC’s Westside neighborhood awarded $1M from feds to reconnect community split by I-35
Startland News March 1, 2023
A newly announced $1 million grant is expected to help reestablish a Kansas City neighborhood that was cut off from itself and opportunity thanks to past transportation infrastructure decisions — part of a $1 billion plan to right what many call a decades-long wrong largely perpetrated against historic communities of color.

DOT announces ‘historic’ funding to reconnect communities cut off by old highway projects
KATV March 2, 2023
Government grants totaling $185 million have been awarded toward making communities whole after they were cut off by highways or other projects decades ago.

How a civil rights investigation could alter the I-49 Connector – The Current
The Current March 2, 2023
This month, federal highway officials announced a civil rights investigation of the project to complete the I-49 through the city of Lafayette. 

Austin City Council Calls for Changes to Interstate Widening Plan | Planetizen News
Planetizen March 2, 2023
The battle between local officials and the Texas Department of Transportation continues in Austin, where the city council voted 10 to 1 in support of a list of demands that calls for more crossings over Interstate 35, minimal displacement of homes and businesses in the project area, and other mitigation measures as part of TxDOT’s plan to expand the roadway through the capital. 

Travis County pushes TxDOT to modify I-35 plan to reduce land seizures, add more crossings March 2, 2023
Travis County commissioners are doing the same thing Austin City Council did last week: asking Texas to tweak its gargantuan I-35 expansion plan.

Could a federal windfall spell the end for Baltimore’s Highway to Nowhere? City leaders hope so.
The Baltimore Banner March 2, 2023
After razing homes and uprooting hundreds of residents more than a half-century ago, West Baltimore’s 1.4-mile ditch known as the “Highway to Nowhere” could — finally — be nearing its end.

South Park receives $1.6 million from Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program grant
King 5 News March 2, 2023
The South Park neighborhood was awarded $1.6 million from the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program.

Federal grant awarded to study removal of part of I-244 through Greenwood – Tulsa World
Tulsa World March 2, 2023
A north Tulsa church has beaten out the state of Oklahoma and city of Tulsa in efforts to secure federal funding for a study that includes looking at the possible removal of a portion of Interstate 244.

State to consider if dismantling Interstate 980 would repair damage to Black neighborhoods
Silicon Valley March 2, 2023
The arrival of $680,000 in federal funding could revive proposals to eliminate Interstate 980, the relatively little-used highway that separated West Oakland neighborhoods from the rest of the city when it opened almost a half-century ago.

Undoing the past: Lawmakers seek to mend California neighborhoods sliced by highways
CalMatters March 2, 2023
A new select committee  in the California Legislature will explore ways the state can reconnect neighborhoods that decades ago were torn apart by interstates and highways.

Advocates Applaud ‘Reconnecting Communities’ Grantees — With Some Exceptions
Streetsblog USA March 3, 2023
The federal Department of Transportation’s first picks for a historic new grant program aimed at repairing neighborhoods torn apart by highways were met by applause from advocates — even as they cautioned that far more remains to be done.

45 projects receive first Reconnecting Communities grants from US DOT | Smart Cities Dive
Smart Cities Dive March 3, 2023
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Tuesday the first round of grant awards for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which aims to restore connections between communities that had been severed by highways and other transportation infrastructure. 

Albina Vision Trust secures federal ‘Reconnecting Communities’ grant – BikePortland
Bike Portland March 3, 2023
The Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program (RCPP) was established in President Biden’s Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act back in 2021, and Portlanders have had their eyes on it from the start.

Atlanta Freeway Cap Among Reconnecting Communities Awards | Planetizen News
Planetizen March 3, 2023
A proposed freeway cap over Atlanta’s Downtown Connector dubbed The Stitch is one recipient of the recently announced first round of the federal Reconnecting Communities grants, reports Josh Green in Urbanize Atlanta.