January 01, 2005

What to Do About Urban Highways: Lessons from Mexico City

It has been many decades since a new urban highway like Robert Moses’ notorious Cross Bronx Expressway has been built in the US or Europe. Highways that forcibly evicted tens of thousands of disenfranchised low income minorities and expose countless others to dangerous levels of air pollution and unsafe traffic are largely a thing of the past. Unfortunately this is not the case in the megacities of the developing world. A recent example is Mexico City’s recently completed Segundos Pisos (second stories) ­ the double-decking of its major urban highways. The Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (Mexican Center for Environmental Law) and ITDP organized a workshop in June of 2004 to review Mexican transportation planning practice. Drawing on experience from the US, UK, Chile, Germany, and Israel, the workshop issued recommendations that better balance the needs of the environment, the community, and motorists.

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