Twenty-Eighteen is a year of massive road construction projects. These atypical projects overhaul some of the nation’s most congested cities with pedestrians and bus riders in mind: vintage streetcars are invading El Paso, Oklahoma City is becoming mass transit friendly via trolleys, Las Angeles is receiving a pedestrian-friendly face-lift and the nation is getting a new bus rapid transit systems.
Vintage street cars are returning to the road in El Paso. Street Car 1506 recently returned home for the first time in 40 years, states the El Paso Times, this streetcar traveled 3,800 miles, from Pennsylvania, to don the streets of El Paso. Streetcar 1506, as well as four others (which are still in the restoration process in Pennsylvania), will once again carry passengers through El Paso’s busy streets, and in their original shimmering sea-foam green and red. The streetcar restoration projects cost the city $97 million, although no one is complaining. Similarly, Milwaukee and Oklahoma city are undergoing long-awaited trolley expansion projects.
After merely a decade in the making, Las Angeles is unveiling, MyFigueroa, bike and pedestrian friendly street improvements. These improvements widen a 4 mile stretch of inner-city highway and include protected bike lanes, bike signals, an express bus lane, bus platforms and widened sidewalks for sitting and strolling. “The Figueroa Corridor Streetscape project transform[s] the Figueroa Corridor into a complete, multimodal street that better serves the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers alike (Myfigueroa.com).” Road construction has and will continue, to connect the nation via new technologies that interplay with the nation’s zeitgeist.
One of the largest public transformation projects is underway in New York. Manhattan’s Old Tappan Zee Bridge is being replaced with the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. According to Nytimes.com, the Old Tappan Street Bridge, a historic relic, must be dismantled piece by piece, “like a delicate pile of pickup sticks.” Remains of the bridge will produce 302,000 tons of salvage metal, which will be re-purposed as an artificial reef.
This year brings about several new bus rapid transit systems. These systems create dedicated lanes for mass transit. New bus rapid transit systems will connect Chelsea with the Seaport District, New York. Moreover, similar projects are underway in San Francisco California.
Road construction projects move the nation forward, they demonstrate the nation’s ingenuity and forward thinking. These massive projects no longer contribute to smog, but a green lifestyle, as old bridges are utilized to restore diminishing reefs and multi-lane highways give way for bicycle and rapid transit lanes. This is a year of massive projects, projects that integrate our collective needs with forward thinking.
*Sourced from Curbed.com unless otherwise noted