San Francisco

Freeways Without Futures: Report Calls for I-280, I-980 to Be Torn Down, Replaced With Better Alternatives

Traffic is one of the most frustrating headaches for Bay Area drivers, and now inefficient roads are adding to the irritation.

Two stretches of pavement in the Bay Area - Interstate 980 in Oakland and Interstate 280 in San Francisco - are among 10 freeways in the country that need to be torn down and replaced with more efficient urban boulevards, according to the "Freeways Without Future" report published by the Congress for the New Urbanism, a collective dedicated to constructing well-designed cities.

Instead of funneling money to repair or expand the two freeways, CNU recommends replacement alternatives that it says would better connect communities and generate economic opportunity.

CNU officials suggest I-980 be gutted and replaced with a "multi-way boulevard" with rail service running beneath the road. The concept would add housing to the region, and it would reconnect the West Oakland neighborhood to the downtown area, according to CNU.

Just across the San Francisco Bay, city officials are considering a plan that would knock down a 1.2-mile stretch of I-280 — the link that currently connects Highway 101 to Mission Bay — and replace it with affordable housing units and commercial space. The plan could also land a high speed rail station at the spot where I-280 currently ends.

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