City Nerd calls DuSable LSD the worst waterfront highway in North America – Streetsblog Chicago

Earlier this year Las Vegas-based planner and engineer (“planengineer”) and YouTuber Ray Delehanty, aka City Nerd, did a great job pinpointing Chicago as a fantastic place to live. In the video “Affordable Cities: 10 U.S. Metro Areas With Underrated Walkability, Walkability, and Transit,” he looked at “what are the most affordable.” [cities over 250,000 people] To live in the US, however, good prices intersect with the things city-lovers care about: public amenities, culture, sports, walking, bike-ability and transit service. They put Chicago first.

However, Delihanty is equally astute in spotting one in the new clip bad Things about living in Chicago: We walled off our beautiful lake front with an eight lane highway. In the video “Highway Engineering Madness: 10 Waterfront Freeways That Need to Go (North America Edition),” he presents a rogues gallery of cities that have ruined their waterfronts to make driving more convenient, and Chicago once again tops the list.

“Waterfronts and waterfronts: these are the most precious, one-of-a-kind places in the world’s truly great cities, where you’ll find incredible views, great entertainment, dense housing, tourism (maybe too much tourism), but really you’ll find it all,” says City Nerd, Rio and ( I think) shows inspiring images of Copenhagen.

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“For some cities, they’re a very convenient place to put a freeway,” he says. “From a highway engineering perspective, it makes sense to sit freeways along waterfronts and riverfronts: the shorelines are generally flat, no structures or tunnels are needed, and the natural barriers of a river, lake, or ocean mean fewer crossing conflicts. It’s a highway engineer’s dream. But traffic engineering has always (or usually) We do not take into account competing purposes that waterfronts may have, such as active and recreational uses or dense mixed-use development.

Here is their hall of shame in this category:

  • Gardiner Expressway (Toronto)
  • I-278/Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) (Brooklyn Heights)
  • I-5 (Portland)
  • Storey Drive (Boston)
  • I-5 (Sacramento)
  • I-787 (Albany)
  • I-64 (Louisville)
  • I-76 (Philadelphia)
  • I-95 (Philly)
  • I-5 (San Diego)
  • I-705 (Tacoma)
  • FDR Drive (New York)
  • I-190 (Buffalo)
  • I-580 (Berkeley/East Bay)
  • I-376 (Pittsburgh)
  • DuSable Lake Shore Drive (Chicago)
  • I-91 (Hartford)
  • I-293 (Manchester)
  • I-25 (Denver)
  • Hwy 315 (Columbus)
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Lastly, Delihany saves the bad for the DuSable Lake Shore Drive. “It looks like it could be some kind of tree-lined boulevard,” he says. “Oh, it’s a drive, not a freeway. But make no mistake, outside of the small section it moves [by] Millennium and Grant Parks, which is a freeway. What puts [Dusable] Lake Shore Drive above is the only land use. An amazing greenbelt of beaches and parks, up and down the coast on the east side of the roadway, and tons of density and great views on the west side. It runs practically across the city at almost all grade to maximize noise, air pollution and physical barriers from the lakefront.

He notes that occasional tunnels under the highway provide access to the shoreline for people on foot and on bikes. “I don’t know who would be excited about using it.”

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“Chicagoans, in weight, make existence [DuSable] Does Lake Shore Drive bother you? Delihany asks. “Or have you convinced yourself it’s not that bad? I’d be interested to hear from people who have had to live with it.

A rendering of an alternate design for DuSable Drive from the Better Streets Chicago website.
A rendering of an alternate design for DuSable Lake Shore Drive from the Better Streets Chicago website.

The good news is that we are Don’t Have to live with eight lanes of car traffic. The North DuSable Lake Shore Drive reconstruction project could result in two of the eight lanes being converted to bus-only lanes — if enough residents make it clear that’s our priority. And many advocates are pushing for a bolder vision of turning the Drive into human-scale surface boulevards, with more mixed-traffic lanes converted into more space for transit, walking, biking and green space.

Time for Chicagoans to stop letting our massive lakefront highway become a national embarrassment to our city.


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