An occasional update on items from Motordom – the world of auto dominance. 




Jon Norquist begins with Vancouver (which never built freeways), touches on the cities that removed elevated freeways, and ends with the cities that are trying to remove freeways. 

Kamala Rao, TransLink planner and Sightline board member, writes up the story on  a legend in urban planning circles: the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project – the removal of six kilometres of elevated freeway in Seoul, Korea.  (As told by Dr. Kee Yeon Hwang, the SFU Urban Studies visiting fellow.)

What he and his colleagues accomplished—tearing down a busy, elevated freeway, re-daylight the river that had been buried beneath it, and creating a spectacular downtown green space, all in under two and a half years—is nothing short of amazing, not because it actually worked (there was plenty of evidence from other cities to suggest that it could), but because they were able to get public support for it. It’s the stuff urban planners dream about—not to mention a timeline for a major freeway project that would make Seattle drool.


UPDATE: Dr. Hwang in New Westminster.




Peter Ladner sends along this Crosscut article on Seattle’s version of the Great Freeway Fight (no, not the Viaduct) –  “a wonderful– and balanced– wrap-up of Seattle’s historic and ongoing battles between highways and transit.”

The fight against R.H. Thomson (originally named ‘Empire’) had many chapters: NIMBY lawsuits that delayed the project; a City Council election that swept skeptics into office (Tim Hill, Sam Smith, Phyllis Lamphere); a new mass transit-booster mayor (Dorm Braman) who was more willing to scale the project down (from an expressway to a parkway); disagreements between the city and state over design and process; the rise of grassroots opposition citywide as neighborhoods became aware of the major impact the roadways would have on their quality of life. Their new name for the R.H. Thomson: the Jack the Ripper Expressway.

So many parallels to Vancouver.




From FlowingData:

Los Angeles … everything is spaced out and you have to drive almost everywhere you go. 

Waze, in collaboration with Gray Area Foundation and Nik Hanselmann, visualizes 24 hours of traffic in Los Angeles … starting  at 5pm, right in the middle of rush hour, slows down in the late hours, and then of course picks up again around 7am, as people commute to work. Red dots indicate high levels of traffic and green dots indicate hazards, which I assume are accidents.




Jean Chong directed me to the Harvard Business School’s research letter:

Several of the planet’s top city planning and environmental business experts gathered at Harvard Business School (to discuss) “Investing in Cities of the 21st Century: Urbanization, Infrastructure, and Resources” …

The transportation panel kicked off with a presentation by Liu Thai-Ker, an urban architect and city planner who helped plan the oft-praised public transportation system in Singapore.

The city encourages use of its system by keeping rider fees low, discourages individual automobile purchases by charging high ownership taxes, and keeps the trains running on time through public-private partnerships. Some 65-70 percent of city residents ride public transportation, he said, and while the city’s population has doubled since 1970, it does not look congested. “In Singapore, we always plan for 100 years of growth.”




Tom Durning thinks this video provides the basics: How much money will you save on gas? Where and when can you charge them? What happens if you want to charge your car at a friend’s house? GOOD’s latest video answers all these questions and more.