But the story is more complex than that. Along the waterfront itself north of central Chicago, no Census tract has more than 50 percent of its resident commuters driving alone to work. Indeed, in most of those tracts, about 50 percent of commuters travel by transit and only about 30 percent drive alone to work (35 to 40 percent of households in this area own no cars). Thus the people who would be most impacted by the replacement of the expressway with something else—the people who live nearby—are already limited car users, as shown below.
There is, just as importantly, significant evidence that cities that have replaced waterfront highways with surface boulevards or simply pedestrian space don’t suffer from massive congestion on nearby streets or a crushed economy, as some transportation models would suggest. Expressways eliminated from use in cities like Madrid, Paris, San Francisco, and Seoul have seen their traffic “evaporate” as trips formerly taken by car have moved to transit, walking, and biking.
I call bullshit.
Case in point. My old neighborhood. Idiots running across the street to make it to the beach and getting killed. Bombers coming up from the Beach Cities and heading out to the 90 and the 10. Solution? Road diet. Put in bike lanes, take out vehicular traffic, after all none of the people there are commuting via these roads. Result?
- a 10-minute trip to the grocery store became 180 minutes.
- traffic provoked violent altercations with bicyclists, who lemme tell ya were not riding where the bicycle lanes used to be I tell you what 'cuz that was my ride
- commuters did not find new routes because surprise! there aren't any and if you're going to eliminate 8 lanes of commute, 8 lanes of commuters will not suddenly go "you know, things are now so shitty that I'll ride the bus where before I wouldn't." Instead they sprayed all over the westside turning residential neighborhoods into parking lots.
Yeah - if we want more livable cities, we need to get freeways away from the waterfront. But simply choking down the roads doesn't make people stop driving. It just makes them drive angry.