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Detroit - Removal of I-375

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Perhaps the biggest irony in Detroit development now is the possibility that we may see I-375 removed for a surface street, restoring a neighborhood feel to downtown Detroit’s east side, even as road builders widen I-94, bulldozing more lanes of asphalt through the heart of the city’s rapidly developing Midtown district.

Removal of I-375 could come as I-94 is widened

If they could do an Embarcadero-style rebuild there, then I'd be all for it. (Of course, the only difference is that I-375 was never a double-decker freeway like I-/CA 480 was.)

Named for the rich dark soil that French explorers first found there, the Black Bottom district in the 1940s and ’50s housed the city’s African-American entrepreneurial class, with dozens of thriving black-owned businesses and the Paradise Valley entertainment zone, where Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie performed.

But the builders of I-75 and I-375 plowed multilane highways right through Hastings Street, the commercial heart of Black Bottom, and projects such as Lafayette Park and the public housing projects to the north destroyed the rest in the name of progress.

When Detroit paved over paradise: The story of I-375

It is a masterpiece of urban design and planning, providing rapid access to downtown. And it was designed to provide relief from urban traffic noise pollution for the residences. Detroit’s most effective architect-planner, Charles Blessing, who created the Medical Center (now Midtown), knew exactly what he was creating, and the solution is brilliant. Few cities provide such rapid access with ease to its core. The current design is crucial for the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

Lewis (Bill) M. Dickens: Removing I-375 an urban planning accident waiting to happen

More commentary:

It is an article of faith among much of the urban living crowd that the construction of I-75 was one of the biggest culprits to the city’s population decline. People would have stayed in the city, the thinking goes, if only you hadn’t made it so easy for them to live in the suburbs and work in the city. What these folks really want, although they never put it like this, is for the city to basically force people to stay by denying them the infrastructure that allows them to live elsewhere.

If I-375 goes away, we need a better reason than 'hot trends'


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