Cities throughout the world continue to minimize their freeways, by creating urban boulevards that welcome people to participate in activities (families, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) instead of shunning them. One of the latest municipalities to create an approachable boulevard is Montreal, where they have taken a formerly obstructive highway overpass and constructed a ground level expressway with a landscaped park in the middle of it.
An article in CityLab details the transformation of the expressway, from a city killer to an inviting outdoor destination, where people come to play, view public sculptures, ride bikes, and simply hang out with friends. It’s another example of taking a derelict part of town, and injecting life into it by simply alleviating the inherent problems that most freeways possess.
In the case of Montreal, the second most populous municipality in Canada, the plan was to create a greenspace in the middle of an at-grade expressway. According to CityLab, this newfound space, formerly comprised of a freeway overpass, now features, “public green space, thousands of perennials and shrubs, rain gardens, exercise equipment, a fenced-in children’s play area, and two large pieces of public art.”
The area surrounding the transportation project, known as Griffintown, has gone from being a derelict part of Montreal to a shining star. It just goes to show that with the right inventive and sensitive planning, cities can create thoroughfares that its residents can actually interact with, and be proud of. In Buffalo, opportunities abound, along our waterfront, through our park system, right down to downtown’s core. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the City of Buffalo took this type of transportation planning seriously, instead of continuing to make the same mistakes over and over?
Lead image: Courtesy CityLab and the City of Montreal