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Name:Michael Patrick
Location:San Jose, California, United States

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Friday, July 30


Freeway Caps

While digging on the Internet for information on land use impacts of urban freeways, I came across a blog entry on the freeway cap in Columbus. What a useful idea--bridges above freeways that contain more than just lanes of traffic and sidewalks. It could be a park like in Seattle (although Freeway Park is very noisy, said a classmate), or a transit station/village like a not-to-be-implemented-for-a-long-time idea in San Francisco (though public transit and freeways compete too much to be compatible).

Or it could be as mundane as a Walgreen's. Driving eastward on Interstate 80 (in Reno) a while back, I looked up and saw a Walgreen's sitting on an overpass. It seemed like unusually expensive real estate for a Walgreen's, considering the cost of building a bridge over a freeway, so I was puzzled. But how better to insulate a street from a sunken freeway than placing a ubiquitous staple of commercial districts right on the overpass, hence simulating an average, continuous street? Well, maybe placing a few small-footprint buildings on the overpass to simulate the old downtown the freeway divided, but that could be asking too much.

I think that this area is a very fruitful area of research. The main issue is money, of course. But there are also institutional issues.

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