Freeway Fighters Digest (week of 3/13)

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.

U.S. PIRG is gearing up for the next edition of their Highway Boondoggle Report and would like your nominations for highway projects to highlight in the next report. The purpose of this eighth edition of Highway Boondoggles is to continue drawing attention to wasteful and damaging highway projects – both new roads and expanded road capacity. This year U.S. PIRG hopes to draw special attention to projects states are proposing to move with funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Please send in your nominations to Laura Davis at by Wednesday, March 29.

Freeway Fighters News

Philadelphia kicks off project to reconnect Chinatown neighborhood divided by expressway
Smart Cities Dive March 11, 2023
Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp. are developing plans to reconnect the Chinatown community divided in 1991 by the Vine Street Expressway, according to a press release Wednesday.

I-676 In Chinatown Could Be Capped Under New Project | Philadelphia, PA Patch
Patch March 11, 2023
As work to cap part of Interstate 95 near Penn’s Landing enters preliminary constructions, officials are now eyeing the idea of capping parts of Interstate 676 in the Chinatown area.

The I-45 Expansion Is Happening, So Get Out of the Way – Houston Press
Houston Press March 11, 2023
The Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration announced this week that they have struck a deal regarding the federal civil rights complaint that has had the $9 billion I-45 project idling for the past two years.

Are Texas Transportation Commissioners’ Investments in Auto and Oil Fueling Highway Addiction?
Streetsblog USA March 11, 2023
When the I-45 expansion in Houston is finished, the highway that funnels suburban commuters to downtown will run through the backyard that Steph Valdez’s nieces and nephews now play in. 

Houston’s Disruptive History Of Highways, And What Transit Agencies Can Do Better
Next City March 11, 2023
For decades, residents of Clayton Homes and Kelly Village, two of Houston’s largest public housing developments, saw the shape of their neighborhoods shift due to highway building.

Future Highways Don’t Have to Divide Neighbourhoods or Nature – Gizmodo Australia
Gizmodo Australia March 12, 2023
Highway expansion is seemingly a fact of life. More people want to be able to travel and, in a country with an aversion to functional public transport, making more highways always seems to be the go-to option to turn that into a reality. 

New initiative aims to heal divide caused by West Baltimore’s infamous ‘Highway to Nowhere
AFRO American Newspapers March 12, 2023
A $2 million investment from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities Program will help bridge West Baltimore communities currently divided by the “Highway to Nowhere” which extends from N. Warwick Avenue to Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.

Meet the new I-81 Syracuse viaduct project director – Spectrum News
Spectrum News March 14, 2023
Betsy Parmley said she’s been with the state Department of Transportation since 2005, holding various roles.

City to consider replacing Terminal Island Freeway with park space – Long Beach Post
Long Beach Post March 14, 2023
The Long Beach City Council could ask for a path forward Tuesday on a long-discussed plan to replace an underutilized portion of the Terminal Island Freeway in West Long Beach with nearly 25 acres of new green space that would serve as a buffer to the port-related industries.

America’s Highway System Is a Monument to Environmental Racism and a History of Inequity | KQED
KQED March 14, 2023
Tremé is widely considered the oldest Black neighborhood in America.

The Feasibility of an I-94 Boulevard Conversion – March 14, 2023
Changes are coming to the 7.5-mile trench between the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis now occupied by Interstate 94. 

Regional bodies may face climate reality check on highway-widening claims
Greater Greater Washington March 14, 2023
Building over 1,000 miles of new highway and arterial lanes will help the Washington region meet its urgent 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target, according to several Virginia and Maryland transportation agencies and governments — despite decades of research showing the opposite.

How Houston’s Highways Impact Neighborhoods | Planetizen News
Planetizen March 14, 2023
In an adapted excerpt from Justice and the Interstates: The Racist Truth About Urban Highways published in Next City, Kyle Shelton director of the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies, describes the generational impacts of highway construction on communities and public housing developments in Houston, Texas.

‘Secretary Pete Can’t Save You’: FHWA OKs Houston Highway Expansion After Pause
Streetsblog USA March 16, 2023
One of America’s most infamous highway expansion projects is steamrolling ahead after a civil rights lawsuit brought it to a two-year pause — and experts say it’s unlikely to be stopped again unless fundamental changes happen in Congress and the Texas DOT.

Lake County endorses turning 1100-acre highway-expansion land into ‘greenway’
Chicago Tribune March 16, 2023
The Lake County Board formally endorsed a proposal Tuesday to transform 1,100 acres of land — originally set aside for a now abandoned highway expansion project — into a “greenway” that would connect trails, forest preserve land and open green space in the central part of the county.

A Serious Critique of Congestion Costs and Induced Vehicle Travel Impacts – Planetizen
Planetizen March 16, 2023
There are two contrasting perspectives concerning traffic congestion problems and solutions.

Never Again Is Now: The Transportation Professions’ Responsibility to Work Toward Justice
Common Edge March 16, 2023
This devaluation was the root cause of both highway routing decisions and there are many alternatives to expanding highways.

You love to see it: Rte. 53 extension proposal gets turned into a greenway project instead
Streetsblog Chicago March 17, 2023
We love a happy ending. It previously looked like Illinois Route 53 might be extended north several miles into Lake County, a wasteful highway expansion that would encourage more driving and degrade the environment. 

Controversial Houston highway expansion will resume following civil rights investigation
Architect’s Newspaper March 17, 2023
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)  and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have signed an agreement that allows a controversial Houston highway project to move forward.