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  •  The freeways were not intentionally designed (4+ / 0-)

    to hide the poor parts of town. In fact, they were designed to go through them.

    When the freeway system was being laid out, Sewer Socialist Mayor Frank Zeidler directed them to go through areas of poor quality housing with the intention of building high quality public housing to replace them. Unfortunately, by the time the freeways were built Mayer Zeidler had retired and under Mayor Maier there was not the political will to construct the high quality public housing.

    As to the freeways being sunk below grade, that was done on purpose to limit the impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods. If the freeway had been placed at grade, it would have required massive embankments (blocks long) for side roads to overpass the freeway—dividing neighborhoods even worse than they were by the freeway as built. And if the freeway would have been raised above the existing elevation, it would have been much more costly, unsightly, and passers-by on the freeways still would not be able to see the neighborhoods (think Boston before the Big Dig).

    Suspicion Breeds Confidence

    by tlf on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:45:01 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Explain to me, then, why it is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Will Smith

      that the freeways don't go below grade in the richer parts of town...

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:31:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are a lot of factors in highway design. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith

        Earthwork is expensive, as are structures (bridges), as is right of way, anything to reduce these will be a more favorable design.

        Predominate in roadway design is drainage. It must be maintained or your roadway floods. The roadway cannot be below the water table, or the roadway floods. The water must have a place to go to downstream, or the roadway floods. The roadway cannot block preexisting drainage (without an engineered solution), lest other adjacent areas flood. Most urban roadways operate as ditches or creeks (at least so far as in conveyance of water). Placing a roadway below grade, as long as there is someplace to go with the water, may be easier than placing it above grade.

        Soil conditions are also important. In some areas is it impractical to go far above grade due to weak soils at depth. If the area was once a marsh, the marsh soils may still be present below ground, and the additional force from a raised embankment can cause these soils to shift, damaging your new roadway, and perhaps even surrounding areas. The poor soils can be excavated, but it is very expensive to do so. If the loading above can be limited to to prevent settling issues, while leaving a layer of poor soils in place, it may be a viable alternative

        (Milwaukee freeways do have poor soils beneath them in many areas, including the Stadium Freeway north of Miller Park, and I-43/94 in the vicinity of Becher Street, the long bridges there cross land, not water, in order to avoid poor soils. The fill used beneath the freeways in Milwaukee was also of questionable quality, and is an issue on reconstruction projects.)

        If the soils allowed for it, and the drainage would work, in areas with many cross roads needing overpasses (or underpasses, if we wanted to raise the freeway) it would be reasonable to have gone down and placed the freeway below grade.

        On the other side of the coin, I-794 between downtown and the 3rd Ward is raised, as it could not go down without falling beneath Lake Michigan level (it is also advantageous to be raised, as the crossings over the Milwaukee River at the Hoan Bridge, and the Menomonee River at the Valley (High Rise) Bridge where both required by the Coast Guard/Army Corp of Engineers to have 120' clearance over the rivers, at the time of construction (the Valley Bridge could be lower today).

        In summary, there are many factors used in deciding what design works best in what location, that I seriously doubt that there was any grand racist conspiracy to design the freeway to harm minorities. Due to the cost of the facility, project expense was usually the driving force for these decisions. Freeways were placed through impoverished neighborhoods because the land was cheap, (or, as eminent domain was often used abusively for construction of the early freeways, the residents had no ability to fight back—which may have been racist, but was probably just as classist). The design of the freeways was usually chosen to limit costs.

        Suspicion Breeds Confidence

        by tlf on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:11:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Grand Plan (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Will Smith, Puddytat, tlf

          Everyone forgets the grand plan with the freeway system in Milwaukee was the Appleton and Fond du Lac Avenue freeway spurs that were designed to connect to the Lakeshore freeway. These portions were partially built before everyone realized the shoreline park system along the lake would cease to exist.

          The City's plan to present the Lakeshore freeway as being 90% completed before the public notice of what the developers (primarily from Chicago.) intended to do using eminent domain to in a land grab to build high rise office and residential buildings along the lake front once the the shoreline was demolished.

          The grand plan backfired when the Sentinel revealed (Yes we had a liberal paper in town at that time known as the Daily Sentinel.) the real plans for the freeways that were being drawn up in the back room of City Hall.

          The whole sordid affair caused a revolt by everyone who lived in Milwaukee and this why Appleton Ave and Fond du Lac Ave are now used as freeway spurs. Building  those spurs demolished the homes of white working class people and rich people living in their path. Race had nothing to do with the pockets that Milwaukee has today.

          White flight to the surrounding suburbs started after this the grand plan failed and home values dropped as white people and businesses abandoned the northwest portion of the city along those spurs.

          This was around the time when manufacturing was shifted to China and other parts of the world. The long range plans for a vibrant northwest side of the City were mixed and the city unsure what to do simply let the north and northwest side of the city to rot as more and more black American's and slumlords bought up the cheap properties.

          Northridge which was built in the 70's was intended to be the cornerstone for reviving the northwest side but businesses continued to offshore manufacturing and plants that employed a large manually skilled workforce closed leaving the black population who worked those jobs without any jobs that provided a steady to support their families.

          Added to this was wage stagnation as prices for good and services continued to climb pushing more and more black families into poverty and the failure of the city to attract large manual labor based businesses to the area ensured poverty, a failing education system and the high crime rate you find on the north and northwest side of the city today.

          Block grants to rebuild the area from the Federal and State government were siphoned off to build and improve the out lying suburbs. All you have to do to see the effects of this is visit the library on 76th and Mill Road and then compare the facilities to those build in the suburbs to see the effects or inequity of the redirection of funding by states politicians.

          My better half can't remember the last time she's seen a current bestseller added to the shelf's at the Mill Road Library. I guess the logic is since black people don't read and are not as well educated as the white people in the suburbs there's no reason to stock the shelves at Mill Road with the latest books that children, teenagers and adults are reading.

          I could go on forever writing about examples of how decision of the bigots and racist who fled to the suburbs have gutted the inner cities funding on all levels so they can live the good life while the residence of the inner cities continue to suffer from poverty and injustice but it's pointless because the will to fix Milwaukee's problems have to come from the residents of the inner city who need to organize at the community level without all the in fighting and work for the greater good of not only black resident's but all the colors of the rainbow.

          You Tube Search H.M. Stephen O'Dell iCompositions Search Dawgs4Kats

          by hmsjo on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:33:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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