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Author Topic: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs  (Read 9877 times)

ixnay

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Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« 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
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vdeane

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #1 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.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #2 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.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #3 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.
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jakeroot

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #4 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.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #5 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.
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lordsutch

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #6 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.)
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Chris

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #7 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.

english si

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #8 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.
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jakeroot

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #9 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?
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #10 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.
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Chris

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2015, 04:49:00 AM »

Sweden built approximately 900 kilometers (550 mi) of new freeways between 1990 and 2010.

Pete from Boston

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #12 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?
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english si

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #13 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.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 12:26:39 PM by english si »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #14 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.
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riiga

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #15 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.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #16 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?
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J N Winkler

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #17 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.
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riiga

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2015, 11:38:00 AM »

Are motorway plans online on Trafikverket's Web site somewhere?
Yes, the project page is here.

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 but doesn't have that much info.
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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #19 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.
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kkt

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #20 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.
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jakeroot

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #21 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.
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kkt

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #22 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.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #23 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
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 01:24:48 PM by TXtoNJ »
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Duke87

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Re: Foreign country superhighway construction and the NIMBYs
« Reply #24 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
World population densities

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)

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.


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If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.

 


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