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Thread: Interstates in urban areas

  1. #1

    Interstates in urban areas

    I've been wondering recently, and this is more of a question than a discussion starter... But is there anyway to connect interstates without having the space wasting on/off ramps?
    Since I'm from Kansas City i'll show an example:

    A ton of land is being eaten up around our Downtown Loop by interstates and their on/off ramps. Is there anyway to make the intersections eat up less land?
    They are enough of a problem to the urban fabric by just being there, but is there a way to help urbanize the area further by minimizing the space taken up by the intersections?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    How easy is it to acquire air rights over them from MoDOT?

    Also, there is an opportunity for such changes with the joint part of I-35/70 (the east-west part on the north side) - those rapid-fire interchanges are substandard and will have to be completely redone (likely removed) when the time comes to rebuild/re-engineer it.

    Mike

  3. #3
    I'm not sure how easy it is to acquire air rights... But I know that Bartle Hall's 1990s expansion and it's recent ballroom expansion extend over the highway. There has been talk (but not serious yet) of capping over the southern highway in the loop and making it into a tunnel since it is about 15ft or so below streetlevel.

  4. #4
    Highwaye engineers don't care about how much land they consume, unless it impacts the budget too greatly. If you try to get them to design tighter curves, they push back saying people's lives are at stake.

    You could try Boston's method for dealing with the problem: bury the highway at about $2 billion a mile. It worked for us!

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Intersection can be very simple.....unless you want to allow people to change from one road to another.

    For actual interchanges, the only way to reduce the amount of land used is lower the speed limit significantly so that the curves of the interchange ramps can be tighter.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Detroit has some very tight urban interchanges with several levels of flyover ramps. Probably the tallest is at M-39 (Southfield) and I-96 (Jeffries) freeways.

    The looping ramp structures do slow the traffic down during peak hours. Other issues include that it is largly residential in that area, so it is way out of scale against the housing in the area and noise and lighting are not real pleasant and degrade the housing values in the area.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    However, you are in an urban area, which IMO isn't designed or meant for a lot of automobile traffic. Thus traffic jams and slower traffic is going to happen. Eating up more land to make it so vehicles don't have to hit their brakes to turn is IMO just wrong in an urban setting.
    Driving your car in an urban area just isn't supposed to be convenient or easy.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    However, you are in an urban area, which IMO isn't designed or meant for a lot of automobile traffic. Thus traffic jams and slower traffic is going to happen. Eating up more land to make it so vehicles don't have to hit their brakes to turn is IMO just wrong in an urban setting.
    Driving your car in an urban area just isn't supposed to be convenient or easy.
    I would agree, however you're talking interstates here. Interstates are the backbone of economic activity for the United States. These have replaced both rivers and rail in most parts of this country for trade (this is especially true for cities such as Kansas City).
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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