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Regional Boards => International Highways => Topic started by: ixnay on October 20, 2015, 07:50:13 AM

Title: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: ixnay on October 20, 2015, 07:50:13 AM
Among other things, the U.S. is known for NIMBY resistance to construction/improvement of superhighways.

How tenacious is NIMBY resistance to superhighways in foreign countries?  I imagine the Third Reich built autobahnen when Hitler wanted them to run, and China is just as brutal today, but how much resistance has, say, Britain met with re motorway construction?

ixnay
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: vdeane on October 20, 2015, 01:11:22 PM
Environmental laws are a major place where NIMBYs will bring lawsuits to derail projects.  This is possible because US environmental laws obsess over every little detail, so touching a single nest of the long-eared bat or something can derail a project if the Sierra Club or someone else puts up a fuss.  Other countries take a big picture approach, so a single facet can't derail a project as long as the project itself is fine.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: AlexandriaVA on October 20, 2015, 01:54:36 PM
As usual, Americans are guilty of great misunderstandings of the laws and customs in foreign countries.

Bear in mind that Hitlier employed deficit spending to fund construction of the Autobahn at a time of great unemployment. So taxes were not raised, and people were employed. Two political pluses right there. Additionally, unlike US Interstates, German Autobahn does not generally rip through the middle of neigborhoods, instead bypassing the cities.

China isn't a fair comparison either because they have really only recently begun the concept of private ownership of land. Certainly until the time of Deng Xiaoping, even discussing private property could land you in a re-education camp. So in a sense, there was no seizure of people's land, because all land belonged to the state anyway. So you're talking about comparing countries (US/UK) with property rights written into the life blood of their charter documents ("Life, Liberty, Property") versus that of a country which only even recoginzed the concept recently.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: J N Winkler on October 20, 2015, 02:42:00 PM
Britain has had enormous difficulties with motorway schemes--London Ringways, M3 Winchester/Twyford Down, M40 Otmoor, etc. all come to mind.

The Reichsautobahnen encountered comparatively little opposition during the Nazi period not just because Germany was then a totalitarian state, but also because populated valley floor routings were deliberately avoided.  Standards for maximum uphill grade had to be relaxed as a result.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: jakeroot on October 20, 2015, 03:14:32 PM
Britain has had enormous difficulties with motorway schemes--London Ringways, M3 Winchester/Twyford Down, M40 Otmoor, etc. all come to mind.

Also the Newbury Bypass...countless videos online from those protests. I think the Newbury Bypass may have been the last of the major road schemes before Labour took over.

Just from reading, since I am a history nut, Britain seemed to lead the world in road protests during the 20th century. Or maybe it was just better documented.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: jeffandnicole on October 20, 2015, 03:16:09 PM
Among other things, the U.S. is known for NIMBY resistance to construction/improvement of superhighways.

Much of the US Interstate system was built in the 80's and prior, and didn't face NIMBY resistance.  Heck, there's thousands more miles of Interstates than there are of Autobahns. 

In some countries, they are only getting around to building limited access-type highways, and in many cases are building them in outlying areas, compared to the interstate system where large chunks were built right thru cities.

I think you're trying to compare apples with pork chops here.  Yes, there's a lot of NIMBYism now, but you would probably find that in most counties where people live right on top of a construction project.  And even saying that, there are hundreds of projects today that are under construction near where plenty of NIMBYs live.  There's a lot of give and take, and no doubt that exists in other countries as well. Unless you read their news on a daily basis, you're not going to hear about it.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: lordsutch on October 20, 2015, 04:29:25 PM
Also the Newbury Bypass...countless videos online from those protests. I think the Newbury Bypass may have been the last of the major road schemes before Labour took over.

In fairness, the locals had to find something new to protest once basing ICBMs at Greenham Common was off the table.

It's not just environmental laws but also strong property rights that tend to obstruct infrastructure projects. Expropriating land in France for an autoroute or a new TGV line, even today, is much easier than in the US or even Britain - see the foot-dragging over HS2 in the UK, or the Dallas-Houston HSR line in the USA.

Although environmental laws can contribute as well - look at the obstacles that opponents of the barely-medium-speed rail line from Miami to Orlando have thrown up on a route that uses ROW already owned by the company wanting to build the line. (Some of that may not be principled opposition as much as other coastal cities north of Fort Lauderdale trying, and failing, to get All Aboard Florida/FEC to build stations in their towns rather than blowing through at 79+ mph and throwing a hissy fit in response.)
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: Chris on October 21, 2015, 04:32:12 AM
European environmental laws are roughly similar to those in the United States. In Europe too, freeway projects get delayed or rerouted over bats, some amphibian, stuff like nitrogen deposition or soil acidity. NIMBY's don't care about bats, but they use it to delay a project.

Although, if the road authorities did their homework right, there's little chance of stopping a road project. It's much more likely that a road project gets stopped due to politics than due to environmental concerns that can't be overcome.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: english si on October 21, 2015, 07:05:53 AM
Also the Newbury Bypass...countless videos online from those protests.
Not a motorway ;)

Quote
I think the Newbury Bypass may have been the last of the major road schemes before Labour took over.
It opened 18 months after Labour took over.

The M60 in east Manchester, M1 east of Leeds, and the M6 Toll were also under construction during the period and so Labour couldn't really lay a finger on these. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1) was the last major transport project to open before New Labour's dislike of infrastructure projects took effect. In 2007.

Labour's first move was to shelf everything and run studies in response to Swampy and co. The intention was always to build the roads eventually, but to also rethink them and look at transit schemes as well.

By the time the studies came in, Alistair Darling was the Transport Secretary, despite hating transport, and Ed Balls was a junior Treasury Minister who hated the idea of infrastructure spending. They stopped almost all of it happening.

When Brown became PM, he managed to shunt his junior minister diagonally (never really liking him) and put Darling in the Treasury, making Andrew Adonis a Lord and Transport Secretary. As part of the deal Adonis demanded several schemes to be guaranteed funding, and Darling had to accept as the promotion was too good to give up. And so ended the decade of ideological transport cuts and almost nothing getting built. George Osborne made infrastructure spending a key part of his recovery plan and recently appointed Lord Adonis to a special transport commission.
Quote
Just from reading, since I am a history nut, Britain seemed to lead the world in road protests during the 20th century. Or maybe it was just better documented.
They were at the end of it, which helps. OK, the backlash against urban motorways stuff was 60s and 70s, but the rural stuff was 90s.

The existence of a free press also helped.
Expropriating land in France for an autoroute or a new TGV line, even today, is much easier than in the US or even Britain - see the foot-dragging over HS2 in the UK
What foot dragging? They are still on schedule. OK, it could be a little bit faster, but the plan is moving incredibly quickly for the UK.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: jakeroot on October 21, 2015, 02:09:54 PM
Also the Newbury Bypass...countless videos online from those protests.

Not a motorway ;)

Smartass. You know what I mean. :cool:

Quote
I think the Newbury Bypass may have been the last of the major road schemes before Labour took over.

It opened 18 months after Labour took over.

The M60 in east Manchester, M1 east of Leeds, and the M6 Toll were also under construction during the period and so Labour couldn't really lay a finger on these. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1) was the last major transport project to open before New Labour's dislike of infrastructure projects took effect. In 2007.

Labour's first move was to shelf everything and run studies in response to Swampy and co. The intention was always to build the roads eventually, but to also rethink them and look at transit schemes as well.

By the time the studies came in, Alistair Darling was the Transport Secretary, despite hating transport, and Ed Balls was a junior Treasury Minister who hated the idea of infrastructure spending. They stopped almost all of it happening.

When Brown became PM, he managed to shunt his junior minister diagonally (never really liking him) and put Darling in the Treasury, making Andrew Adonis a Lord and Transport Secretary. As part of the deal Adonis demanded several schemes to be guaranteed funding, and Darling had to accept as the promotion was too good to give up. And so ended the decade of ideological transport cuts and almost nothing getting built. George Osborne made infrastructure spending a key part of his recovery plan and recently appointed Lord Adonis to a special transport commission.

Quite a nice read. I would like to point out that I meant "last of the schemes" in the sense that it was planned under supervision of the Conservatives. But I see now that the bypass is not alone in being planned under one government but built under another.

Quote
Just from reading, since I am a history nut, Britain seemed to lead the world in road protests during the 20th century. Or maybe it was just better documented.

They were at the end of it, which helps. OK, the backlash against urban motorways stuff was 60s and 70s, but the rural stuff was 90s.

The existence of a free press also helped

Is there still any heavy hatred towards large road schemes? Or is it dependent on the circumstance, like most of the world?
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 24, 2015, 01:09:54 AM
Since 1990, the Nordics have built a fair amount of freeway-class [motorway-class] projects and other upgrades to their highway networks, including the following:

Denmark:
Great Belt Fixed Link [Danish: Storebæltsforbindelsen]

Denmark-Sweden:
Øresund Bridge-Tunnel [Swedish: Öresundsbron]

Finland:
Highway E18 is now motorway from Turku to Helsinki, and the Ring III highway around Helsinki is being upgraded from arterial to motorway.

Norway:
Many new bridges and tunnels (including undesea tunnels) have been constructed, eliminating the wait for ferry crossings.

Sweden:
Highway 75 motorway south of Stockholm [Swedish: Södra länken]
Highway E20 motorway extension on the north side of Stockholm [Swedish: Norra länken]
Long sections of E4 have been upgraded from arterial to motorway (south of Stockholm there is one Super-2 type section, about 30 kilometers, the rest is full motorway)

Has there been opposition to these projects?  Yes!  The E20 extension was held up for many years because of its impacts on parklands, though the problems were finally solved.  The Green parties routinely oppose any and all highway projects, as do the parties formerly calling themselves Communist.

But as in the U.S., if the rules are followed, it is difficult to stop a highway project in court - but elected officials can (and sometimes do) cave-in to NIMBY and environmentalist opposition.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: Chris on October 24, 2015, 04:49:00 AM
Sweden built approximately 900 kilometers (550 mi) of new freeways between 1990 and 2010.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: Pete from Boston on October 24, 2015, 11:25:11 AM

NIMBY's don't care about bats, but they use it to delay a project.

Does this mean that a road opponent that really does value the bat habitat is off the hook for being called a NIMBY?
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: english si on October 24, 2015, 12:22:31 PM
Is there still any heavy hatred towards large road schemes? Or is it dependent on the circumstance, like most of the world?
It's always basically been scheme-dependent. Well almost scheme-dependent - "Road Block"'s chaining themselves to diggers was based on the scheme being near where the woman who wanted to relive the early 90s protests lived, rather than anything objectionable about it (she was adamant that building a new dual carriageway bypassing a town would add more traffic to a village used as a rat run because the town wasn't bypassed. Nonsense at the best of times, but when it's the 'reason' you give for chaining yourself to a digger for three days...).

Newbury, Tywford Down, etc were sensitive historical, cultural and environmental sites. The schemes' planners did an awful lot to minimise the damage before publishing plans, however people objected to the way it was done (the Twyford Down amateur designs are often hilariously damaging. I think one, from a Geography Professor, managed to almost totally isolate St Catherine's Hill by having it in the middle of the motorway, however a short tunnel on the wrong side of the hill that meant that the whole road would have been lit up like a Christmas Tree and a much deeper cutting built stopped it from being. It then also ploughed through the Water Meadows for a trivecta of terribleness).

Large projects are always objected to because of the headline cost, regardless of anything else.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 25, 2015, 03:35:59 PM
Sweden built approximately 900 kilometers (550 mi) of new freeways between 1990 and 2010.

Yeah, that is about right.  They have a goal to have the Stockholm Western Bypass done in the future (most of which will be in blasted tunnel, still bitterly opposed by Greens and NIMBYs).

All of E4 has full access control from Helsingborg to Stockholm and beyond to Uppsala and Gävle, though a short section is Super-2 (but will become full motorway at some point).

Plans call for all of E20 from Stockholm to Gothenburg (Swedish: Göteborg) to have full access control, but there is a pretty long gap (about 210 km) between Tollered  and Laxå that is mostly two-lane arterial which needs to be rebuilt as motorway or Super-2.

Similarly, I think E18 is to be upgraded to motorway or Super-2 from the Norwegian border to Lekhyttan, also about 200 km.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: riiga on October 26, 2015, 01:21:12 PM
All of E4 has full access control from Helsingborg to Stockholm and beyond to Uppsala and Gävle, though a short section is Super-2 (but will become full motorway at some point).
The gap of 2+1 road at Ljungby will be closed by 2020 if all goes according to plan.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 28, 2015, 12:46:18 AM
All of E4 has full access control from Helsingborg to Stockholm and beyond to Uppsala and Gävle, though a short section is Super-2 (but will become full motorway at some point).
The gap of 2+1 road at Ljungby will be closed by 2020 if all goes according to plan.

Are motorway plans online on Trafikverket's Web site somewhere?

Have you heard anything about the undersea connector between Norra Länken and Södra Länken?
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: J N Winkler on October 28, 2015, 11:29:31 AM
Are motorway plans online on Trafikverket's Web site somewhere?

It depends on what you mean by the word plan.  Trafikverket hosts material that is roughly comparable to environmental documentation in the US on its own website, including large-scale maps of proposed alignments.  Tender drawings for advertised projects, however, are hosted separately, through EU-Supply.com, and are available only during the tender period and require a (free) user account.  Drawings are typically published only for small- to medium-sized projects; for really large projects Trafikverket tends to use two-stage design-build procurement.

I have an EU-Supply.com account and used to collect Trafikverket tender drawings actively.  However, I have given up on it for the time being since I haven't coded automatic collection of tender drawings.  The only European country for which I have that set up at present is Norway, which is embarrassingly productive--my personal policy is to collect sign layouts for agencies that don't routinely publish sign panel detail sheets, and in the past couple of years I have accumulated over 1600 sign layouts, sign summary sheets, and sign panel detail sheets just for that country.  Spain has heated up just in the past three months as well, to the tune of 554 pages of sign design sheets alone.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: riiga on October 28, 2015, 11:38:00 AM
Are motorway plans online on Trafikverket's Web site somewhere?
Yes, the project page is here (http://www.trafikverket.se/nara-dig/Kronoberg/projekt-i-kronobergs-lan/E4-Ljungby-Toftanas/).

Have you heard anything about the undersea connector between Norra Länken and Södra Länken?
It's still being investigated and planned, nothing new there really. Seems a report regarding it and other future infrastructure projects will be presented to the government in 2017. Project page is here (http://www.trafikverket.se/nara-dig/Stockholm/projekt-i-stockholms-lan/Ostlig-forbindelse/Dokument/) but doesn't have that much info.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: Henry on October 28, 2015, 12:14:21 PM
I think the reason that the USA will always be far behind other countries like Germany, China and Japan infrastructure-wise is because they never got to complete their Interstates as originally planned, with countless miles of cancelled highways in cities everywhere (Portland, Atlanta and Washington, DC come to mind), whereas those countries have been able to complete their equivalents with little to no resistance.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: kkt on October 28, 2015, 12:19:36 PM
I think the reason that the USA will always be far behind other countries like Germany, China and Japan infrastructure-wise is because they never got to complete their Interstates as originally planned, with countless miles of cancelled highways in cities everywhere (Portland, Atlanta and Washington, DC come to mind), whereas those countries have been able to complete their equivalents with little to no resistance.

Although in most countries they didn't plan freeways through the middle of town.  They went around the urbanized areas, or ended at the edge.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: jakeroot on October 28, 2015, 12:36:21 PM
I think the reason that the USA will always be far behind other countries like Germany, China and Japan infrastructure-wise is because they never got to complete their Interstates as originally planned, with countless miles of cancelled highways in cities everywhere (Portland, Atlanta and Washington, DC come to mind), whereas those countries have been able to complete their equivalents with little to no resistance.

Although in most countries they didn't plan freeways through the middle of town.  They went around the urbanized areas, or ended at the edge.

I think that's one of the fundamental problems with our highway network. Never quite understood why, for example, I-5 goes straight through downtown Seattle. It seems to me that, given the opportunity to redo the system, routing I-5 away from Seattle (perhaps through Maple Valley through to the Snoqualmie Valley, and north from there) would have made more sense. I'm not saying urban freeways are bad, but the US seems to love plowing through neighborhoods more than anything.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: kkt on October 28, 2015, 12:42:44 PM
I think the reason that the USA will always be far behind other countries like Germany, China and Japan infrastructure-wise is because they never got to complete their Interstates as originally planned, with countless miles of cancelled highways in cities everywhere (Portland, Atlanta and Washington, DC come to mind), whereas those countries have been able to complete their equivalents with little to no resistance.

Although in most countries they didn't plan freeways through the middle of town.  They went around the urbanized areas, or ended at the edge.

I think that's one of the fundamental problems with our highway network. Never quite understood why, for example, I-5 goes straight through downtown Seattle. It seems to me that, given the opportunity to redo the system, routing I-5 away from Seattle (perhaps through Maple Valley through to the Snoqualmie Valley, and north from there) would have made more sense. I'm not saying urban freeways are bad, but the US seems to love plowing through neighborhoods more than anything.

Yes.  Or, at the time the I-5 routing decision was made, taking I-405's route through Bellevue would have made a lot more sense.

A lot of U.S. cities seemed to use the interstates as an excuse for slum clearance.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: TXtoNJ on October 28, 2015, 01:13:06 PM
I think the reason that the USA will always be far behind other countries like Germany, China and Japan infrastructure-wise is because they never got to complete their Interstates as originally planned, with countless miles of cancelled highways in cities everywhere (Portland, Atlanta and Washington, DC come to mind), whereas those countries have been able to complete their equivalents with little to no resistance.

Although in most countries they didn't plan freeways through the middle of town.  They went around the urbanized areas, or ended at the edge.


I was about to say, the Interstate system is far more extensive relative to population density than any of those countries, and it's not even close.

Here are some numbers:

Persons per kilometers of expressway length (lower number means greater service):

Japan:                    15,766.42
China:                    12,291.64
Germany:                6,277.28
US:                         4,181.09
Excluding AK/HI:      3,984.75


Expressway kilometers relative to population density (higher number means greater service, km per persons per square km):

Japan:                    23.88
Germany:                57.15
China:                    772.07
US:                        2,200.49
Excluding AK/HI:     1,924.05
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: Duke87 on October 29, 2015, 12:23:42 AM
I think that's one of the fundamental problems with our highway network. Never quite understood why, for example, I-5 goes straight through downtown Seattle. It seems to me that, given the opportunity to redo the system, routing I-5 away from Seattle (perhaps through Maple Valley through to the Snoqualmie Valley, and north from there) would have made more sense. I'm not saying urban freeways are bad, but the US seems to love plowing through neighborhoods more than anything.
Yes.  Or, at the time the I-5 routing decision was made, taking I-405's route through Bellevue would have made a lot more sense.

A lot of U.S. cities seemed to use the interstates as an excuse for slum clearance.

Indeed, there was a period of time in American urban planning where that was quite in vogue. It more or less ended when people figured out that freeways were not particularly effective at eliminating slums and in some cases could actually contribute to creating them (see, for example, Winslow AZ, or any other western town that's a shadow of its former self ever since an interstate bypassed it).

When comparing things to Europe, though, there's also this thing called population density that makes a huge difference in how things work. The Netherlands have a higher population density than any US state, and most European countries have population densities on par with the top 15 US states.

US populaton densities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_density)
World population densities (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0934666.html)

Safe to say, the US has a much sharper divide between urban and rural than Europe does, and this often has a profound impact on our politics since urban and rural areas can easily get pitted against one another. When the interstate highway system was first conceived it was not intended (at least not by Eisenhower himself) to build a lot of routes directly into cities, but there was all this federal money available and cities wanted a piece of it. They weren't about to let it all go to rural areas when they were paying taxes for it. (cite) (http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/interstate_highway_system/1960_04_08_Meeting.pdf)

Note as well how the country's pre-interstate toll roads tended to skirt around cities rather than being built through the heart of them. Because they were funded by tolls rather than taxes everyone paid, they didn't suffer from the same urban versus rural fighting. And meanwhile because they avoid going through the middle of cities, they actually better serve long distance traffic since they don't get plugged up by the congestion that going through the middle of a city tends to bring (okay, the tolls and wider interchange spacing also help by keeping short local trips off of them).

This model of building around rather than through cities is of generally superior utility and generally more common in Europe. It probably would be more common than it is in the US had we stuck to using tolls as a primary funding source rather than decreeing that no interstate highway shall have a toll unless grandfathered in.


Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: TXtoNJ on October 29, 2015, 11:26:40 AM
I think that's one of the fundamental problems with our highway network. Never quite understood why, for example, I-5 goes straight through downtown Seattle. It seems to me that, given the opportunity to redo the system, routing I-5 away from Seattle (perhaps through Maple Valley through to the Snoqualmie Valley, and north from there) would have made more sense. I'm not saying urban freeways are bad, but the US seems to love plowing through neighborhoods more than anything.
Yes.  Or, at the time the I-5 routing decision was made, taking I-405's route through Bellevue would have made a lot more sense.

A lot of U.S. cities seemed to use the interstates as an excuse for slum clearance.

Indeed, there was a period of time in American urban planning where that was quite in vogue. It more or less ended when people figured out that freeways were not particularly effective at eliminating slums and in some cases could actually contribute to creating them (see, for example, Winslow AZ, or any other western town that's a shadow of its former self ever since an interstate bypassed it).

When comparing things to Europe, though, there's also this thing called population density that makes a huge difference in how things work. The Netherlands have a higher population density than any US state, and most European countries have population densities on par with the top 15 US states.

US populaton densities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_density)
World population densities (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0934666.html)

Safe to say, the US has a much sharper divide between urban and rural than Europe does, and this often has a profound impact on our politics since urban and rural areas can easily get pitted against one another. When the interstate highway system was first conceived it was not intended (at least not by Eisenhower himself) to build a lot of routes directly into cities, but there was all this federal money available and cities wanted a piece of it. They weren't about to let it all go to rural areas when they were paying taxes for it. (cite) (http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/interstate_highway_system/1960_04_08_Meeting.pdf)

Note as well how the country's pre-interstate toll roads tended to skirt around cities rather than being built through the heart of them. Because they were funded by tolls rather than taxes everyone paid, they didn't suffer from the same urban versus rural fighting. And meanwhile because they avoid going through the middle of cities, they actually better serve long distance traffic since they don't get plugged up by the congestion that going through the middle of a city tends to bring (okay, the tolls and wider interchange spacing also help by keeping short local trips off of them).

This model of building around rather than through cities is of generally superior utility and generally more common in Europe. It probably would be more common than it is in the US had we stuck to using tolls as a primary funding source rather than decreeing that no interstate highway shall have a toll unless grandfathered in.




There was also a national security concern that didn't exist in Europe - the desire to disperse (white) population throughout the countryside to increase survivability in the case of nuclear attack. This required high-speed access to existing employment centers in the city, while encouraging the development of bedroom communities that wouldn't be targeted. This dovetailed with existing Garden City preferences and spurred federal action leading to suburbanization, including funding for urban Interstates.

The existing density and amount of nuclear ordnance that would be dropped upon Europe in the case of a NATO-Warsaw Pact made that a moot point over there, but it was hoped over here that dispersal could avoid such a risk. The development of multi-megaton hydrogen bombs, along with the understanding of fallout risks, eventually proved this to be a pipe dream.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 30, 2015, 10:16:22 AM
Safe to say, the US has a much sharper divide between urban and rural than Europe does, and this often has a profound impact on our politics since urban and rural areas can easily get pitted against one another. When the interstate highway system was first conceived it was not intended (at least not by Eisenhower himself) to build a lot of routes directly into cities, but there was all this federal money available and cities wanted a piece of it. They weren't about to let it all go to rural areas when they were paying taxes for it. (cite) (http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/interstate_highway_system/1960_04_08_Meeting.pdf)

It was intended to connect cities (at least cities of a certain population) and link the 48 states.

Note as well how the country's pre-interstate toll roads tended to skirt around cities rather than being built through the heart of them. Because they were funded by tolls rather than taxes everyone paid, they didn't suffer from the same urban versus rural fighting. And meanwhile because they avoid going through the middle of cities, they actually better serve long distance traffic since they don't get plugged up by the congestion that going through the middle of a city tends to bring (okay, the tolls and wider interchange spacing also help by keeping short local trips off of them).

This model of building around rather than through cities is of generally superior utility and generally more common in Europe. It probably would be more common than it is in the US had we stuck to using tolls as a primary funding source rather than decreeing that no interstate highway shall have a toll unless grandfathered in.

Some toll roads went close or through cities (some that come to my mind are the Mass Pike into downtown Boston; the New York State Thruway which ends at the corporate limit of New York City; the New Jersey Turnpike, which runs through several cities, perhaps especially Elizabeth (it had to go somewhere to reach the George Washington Bridge); and the Richmond Petersburg Turnpike [de-tolled 1992], which runs right through Richmond and Petersburg)).  The Connecticut Turnpike also ran through a fair number of cities, though I do not have a feel as to how developed some of them were when the Turnpike was constructed.

Some cities in Europe have few or no freeway-type roads going to the core or downtown area.  One that some members of this group are familiar with is London, where there is little in the way of motorway inside of M25 (the London "beltway," usually called an "orbital" motorway in the UK).
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: english si on October 30, 2015, 11:17:11 AM
Some cities in Europe have few or no freeway-type roads going to the core or downtown area.  One that some members of this group are familiar with is London, where there is little in the way of motorway inside of M25 (the London "beltway," usually called an "orbital" motorway in the UK).
There's more freeways than just the motorways, but London does suck there.

The oil crisis and protests against cities' (not just London, which, while incredibly destructive, looked sane compared to other cities' - eg Newcastle-upon-Tyne) over-the-top plans for urban motorway networks killed it all off. Local government reorganisation outside London in '74 also helped ruin the plans - not just urban - in what is now the 'M62 belt' (and Tyneside too).

As often has happened to London's transport network, it pioneered, and made a load of mistakes/suffered technical/creative difficulties that we still pay for* and other cities were able to learn from and get right. That said, there was little-to-no reason why the Arterial Roads of the 1920s couldn't have been both better protected from development. Some managed to be upgraded into decent-enough freeway-quality roads (a lot of the Western Avenue, parts of the North Circular, all the Kingston bypass) eventually, but on many, the damage was done in the design of the road on day 1 (eg nice round 'Circuses' providing junctions, framed by some commercial development on the edge of the circle) and all that can exist along those routes is an up-to-6-lane boulevard with frontages.

*See also the small gauges in operation on the UK's railways - from the small tunnels of the deep-tube network, to the inability to have double-deck trains that work.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: J N Winkler on October 30, 2015, 11:54:51 AM
As often has happened to London's transport network, it pioneered, and made a load of mistakes/suffered technical/creative difficulties that we still pay for* and other cities were able to learn from and get right. That said, there was little-to-no reason why the Arterial Roads of the 1920s couldn't have been both better protected from development. Some managed to be upgraded into decent-enough freeway-quality roads (a lot of the Western Avenue, parts of the North Circular, all the Kingston bypass) eventually, but on many, the damage was done in the design of the road on day 1 (eg nice round 'Circuses' providing junctions, framed by some commercial development on the edge of the circle) and all that can exist along those routes is an up-to-6-lane boulevard with frontages.

The underlying issue was the compensation-betterment problem.  The Ministry of Transport published its first set of comprehensive guidelines for road design and layout in 1930, and it advocated construction of service drives to segregate local and through traffic to maintain the arterial character of the road.  However, in many cases this involved a tradeoff (financially unattractive to many local authorities, who were in the driver's seat at the time since there was no trunk network entirely under central government control) in favor of acquiring more land only to get less in betterment from businesses fronting on the service road.

There were other factors operating in the background.  The collapse of the primary industries, mostly located in the north of England, resulted in a large population transfer to the south, which had fairly robust secondary industries (including car manufacturing).  That resulted in a lot of housebuilding and there was a lag before policy started to catch up with measures like the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935.  The economy was stagnant during the interwar years, with high unemployment, but the Treasury View (the intellectual forerunner of today's austerity mania) held sway, so infrastructure spending--including roads--was an easy cut.
Title: Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
Post by: Duke87 on October 30, 2015, 11:37:28 PM
Some toll roads went close or through cities (some that come to my mind are the Mass Pike into downtown Boston; the New York State Thruway which ends at the corporate limit of New York City; the New Jersey Turnpike, which runs through several cities, perhaps especially Elizabeth (it had to go somewhere to reach the George Washington Bridge); and the Richmond Petersburg Turnpike [de-tolled 1992], which runs right through Richmond and Petersburg)).  The Connecticut Turnpike also ran through a fair number of cities, though I do not have a feel as to how developed some of them were when the Turnpike was constructed.

The Mass Pike originally ended at 128, and you may note it skirts the edge of Springfield and Worcester rather than passing through the middle of them. The extension into Boston came later.

The NYS Thruway does end at the NY City line, but it skirts the edges of every other major city along its route without passing through the heart of them (Niagara Spur notwithstanding).

The NJ Turnpike by virtue of being in New Jersey bypasses Philadelphia and the bulk of NY City (but unfortunately not all of it). Also bypasses Trenton and skirts the edge of New Brunswick and Newark. It was built through an already urbanized part of Elizabeth, but that would have been difficult to avoid and it wasn't built directly through downtown or with any interchanges positioned to directly serve downtown.

As for the CT Turnpike, yes, that is a fairly glaring exception. It serves several major downtowns directly and they all were well established prior to it being built. Worth noting that the CT turnpike always had a strictly barrier toll system - there were never any ticketed sections or ramp tolls. So its means of collecting revenue was also unusual, it was deliberately designed so that most local traffic could use it for free while long distance traffic would have to pay. It was less of a true toll road and more of a freeway with toll plazas grafted onto it, which is why today there are no obvious vestiges of its former tolling.

CT by the time they built their turnpike had also already built the Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways further inland, bypassing all the downtowns along the coast. These roads were once tolled as well, so an argument could be made for putting them into the "toll roads bypassing urban areas" category.