Many people lament the state of America’s cities. While there are many things that can deteriorate a city, the layout of a highway can perhaps bring about urban blight faster than anything else. The city of Rochester, New York certainly understands this principle. That is why Rochester committed over $23 million to fill in a highway that divided city. Constructed over 60 years ago, the highway was placed inside of a deep trench. The trench allowed commuters to rapidly leave the city and head for the suburbs without having to worry about neighborhood traffic in the city.
Placing the highway in a trench did double damage to the city over the course of 60 years. First, it prevented commuters from patronizing businesses in the city during daily commutes from suburban homes. Second, the trench intentionally divided the city in half. The highway and trench created a boundary that made it hard for neighborhoods to connect both socially and economically. Authorities in Rochester hope filling the trench and constructing a new highway through the city will strengthen neighborhoods and bring more businesses and homes into the downtown area.
Rochester is already seeing benefits from this ambitious project. For example, real estate located near the roads being built to replace the trench are selling for premium prices. People are eager to own homes, apartments, and businesses near the completed project. Hopefully, the project will be so much of a success other cities around America with rethink their own highways. What do you think?