August 27, 2003

Healing Freeway Scars

Category: Urban Planning

Columbus: As noted in David Sucher's fabulous city comforts blog, Columbus Ohio, faced with a freeway widening project, has chosen a revolutionary approach to designing overpasses: Adding shops and offices to them in such a way that the overpass becomes indistinguishable from a regular block in the city grid (at least from street level).

Ponte Vecchio, it may not be, but the significance of this project is that it will help repair the scars left by the rampant freeway building that took place in the 50s and 60s. It's a truely brilliant idea, one that we should hope more cities copy!

[better photos here]

Posted by Nick at August 27, 2003 10:28 AM


In Boston, I-90 is depressed as it passes through the city, including through the Fenway neighborhood, home of the ballpark. There are plans to buy the air rights from the Mass Turnpike Authority and build a highrise. There are arguments in the neighborhood about the scale of the building and other issues, many of which are probably valid. But really, could anything be worse than a 6 lane highway canyon?

Posted by: joe at August 29, 2003 9:46 PM

The Columbus project is not a typical air-rights deal; those are fairly common. The magic of The Cap it that it creates a connection between two sides of a freeway.

A high-rise --- if it had clear public right of way for both vehicle/bike/walker at its edges -- could also function that way.

The issue is not so much "air rights" as "connection."

Posted by: David Sucher at August 30, 2003 1:50 AM

Richmond, Virginia has a couple of blocks like this that pass over the Downtown Expressway.

Posted by: Josh Crockett at September 6, 2003 4:15 AM