Highway construction of the 1950s were a collision of value engineering, latent racism, and big government. Bulldozers loomed over families living on Almond Street who weren’t given any say.
The game has changed over the past half century. New federal rules require states to explore how roadway projects will affect the communities they cut through. And as aging infrastructure needs replacing, it forces cities, counties, and states to re-think how to rebuild their carelessly constructed highways.
Such a once-in-a-century opportunity is happening right now in Syracuse, New York. As the state’s department of transportation plans to reconstruct a downtown Interstate highway, the city has one shot to transform its downtown.