Tear down the Viaducts? Benefits of freeway removal confirmed in new five-city review

With Vancouver moving closer to release of a new staff report on the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts, a new US report says the benefits of freeway removal are clear cut.

In fact, a review of freeway removal in five cities by New York’s Institute for Transportation and Development Policy says the benefits are so significant that its time for a national campaign to tear more of the urban highways down.

In an assessment of removals in Seoul, Portland, San Francisco, Milwakuee and Wisconsin, the review concluded that the cities’ benefits included:

  • increased property values and economic development in adjacent neighbourhoods;
  • better urban design through reconnecting neighbourhoods to parks and waterfront;
  • reduced maintenance costs for expensive freeway infrastructure; and
  • reduced air pollution and traffic impacts in nearby neighbourhoods.

All four benefits are relevant to Vancouver, where earlier studies have already confirmed that traffic volumes are declining across the Viaducts and could be accommodated on nearby streets or in future rapid transit investments.