CNU’s Highways to Boulevards

Tear it Down!” by John Norquist (CNU’s President and CEO)

“CNU believes that teardowns offer an attractive option for cities struggling with aging highway infrastructure. The strategies are proving themselves in adding value and restoring urban neighborhoods decimated by highway construction. This forum is a public platform for activists, academics, practitioners, engineers, professionals and more that wish to discuss and share resources on the freeway removal movement”: Reclaiming Urbanism, Revitalizing Cities

Highways to Boulevards: “America’s twentieth century highway building era included elevated freeways which cut huge swaths across our cities, decimating neighborhoods and reducing quality of life for city residents. This massive concrete infrastructure had devastating effects on urban economies. It blighted adjacent property and pushed access to basic amenities further out. With the Federal and State Departments of Transportation confronting shrinking budgets and cities looking for ways to increase their revenues, it is an ideal time to offer less expensive, urban alternatives to the reconstruction of urban expressways.”

CNU Model Cities




San Francisco: Octavia and Embarcadero

Freeways without Futures: “CNU believes replacing urban freeways with surface streets, boulevards and avenues is the most cost-effective, sustainable option for cities with aging grade separated roads. As the federal and state DOTs confront shrinking budgets, and cities look for ways to increase their tax bases and revenues, support is building for connected street grids and improved transit that are less expensive to maintain and offer urban alternatives to the reconstruction of urban expressways. The Highways-to-Boulevards Initiative unites a diverse set of professionals, residents and activists in advocating for these goals and demonstrating the value of freeway teardowns to restore urban neighborhoods.”

CNU Campaigns

New Orleans’ Claiborne Expressway (Interstate-10)

The Buffalo Skyway

Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct

St. Louis’ Interstate-70

CNU’s Top Teardown Prospects

1.  I-10/Claiborne Overpass, New Orleans

2.  I-895/Sheridan Expressway, New York City (Bronx)

3.  Route 34/Oak Street Connector, New Haven

4.  Route 5/Skyway, Buffalo

5.  I-395/Overtown Expressway, Miami

6.  I-70, St. Louis

7.  West Shoreway, Cleveland

8.  I-490/Inner Loop, Rochester

9.  I-81, Syracuse

10.  Gardiner Expressway, Toronto

11.  Aetna Viaduct, Hartford

12.  Route 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle

If you believe the Reconnect Austin Concept’s strategy for I-35 warrants consideration as an urban revitalization opportunity – please contact Caitlin Ghoshal, CNU Program Manager, at

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