June 7, 2006
The Road (Freeway) Not Taken
A New York filmmaker has put together a great video clip on the paradigm shift moment here in Portland when we rejected the Mt. Hood Freeway. Hat tip to the Shift list for the pointer.
|Defeat of the Mt. Hood Freeway|
After many years of debate and planning for Portland's Mt. Hood Freeway, it was defeated in the 70s and changed Portland for the better in many ways. Camera & editing by Clarence Eckerson Jr.
June 7, 2006 8:02 AM
Ron Swaren Says:
I remember first seeing Robert Moses "1990 Transportation Plan" when it first came out in 1970. I was living on SE 20th Ave--right on the path of one of the proposed expressways. Since Tom Walsh had adopted opposition to that plan as a major plank in his bid for Mayor, I went down and volunteered some time during his campaign.
As I recall Jane Jacobs was also leading a fight against a freeway proposed to slice through Greenwich Village. Somehow, Neil Goldschmidt garnishes major credit for stopping the Mt. Hood Freeway plan but I think this was the work of SE Portlanders.
Identifying a problem (i.e. runaway freeway construction) and identifying the best solution, though, are two different things. It is unfortunate that the MAX has escalated from the original $9 million/ mile estimate to now 10 times that. In ultra high traffic areas that might not be so much a problem but I think we need to scrutinize new proposals and be truthful and realistic about the total cost, factoring in inflation. After all, Eastside MAX did eventually cost twice the estimates. Furthermore, even though commuter rail tends to be an effective development strategy, we would be fooling ourselves to think that traffic on the major thoroughfares will ever decrease. All that we can do is manage the flood. How can traffic have a net decrease when so many new people are moving in to the corridors? Still, that is the best result. Perhaps the winners will be the suburbanites who see little increase in their neighborhoods because the new traffic is in the corridors!
There are some cities that rail transit may not prove effective for. I think we should be careful in touting our experience as the model for them. Let's not let our egos carry us away.
June 7, 2006 9:35 AM
Ross Williams Says:
Somehow, Neil Goldschmidt garnishes major credit for stopping the Mt. Hood Freeway plan but I think this was the work of SE Portlanders.
If there is one thing that gets remembered it ought to be this one. It was the neighborhoods and citizens who formed an alternative vision of Portland and persuaded/elected political leadership to adopt it. In the big picture, elected officials are followers, not leaders.
I have heard former Governor Barbara Roberts say that "Neil always supported the freeway." It was only after others shifted the political ground that he took up his role as the leader of Portland's renaissance. Not that he didn't play a very important role in a lot of the changes that took place or in the pace of those changes. But that role was at the end of the process, not the beginning.
The Portland region is facing another paradigm shift in the discussions of the I-5 bridge. If the decision is made to build the relationship to Clark County as a suburban bedroom community for Portland connected by freeways, it will set off a whole series of changes that will transform Portland again. It will be much closer to the national model for cities that the Mount Hood freeway advocates envisioned.
On the other hadn, if Vancouver is integrated by a series of local multi-modal connections it will spawn communities with job and housing growth on both sides of the river. And continue to create the kind of region that it started by turning its back on the Mount Hood Freeway. That is not going to happen without citizens laying the political ground so that elected officials can step out to help.
June 7, 2006 10:00 AM
Steve Schopp Says:
"""All that we can do is manage the flood"""
That's not what is being done.
The flood is purposefully being ignored.
It may serve you well to call it "managing" but
the totalitarian and collective discounting of the need for added road capacity to meet the needs of growth is not a management tool in any sense or distortion of the word or function.
The guiding light in much of the status quo, even in the face of repeated failure seems to be perpetual hope that someday it will all gel.
Far from it.
More cannibalizing of transit service and other basic services budgets to fund more rail and high density at all costs will only grow and weaken what long ago became no more than a pyramid scheme.
As new rhetoric touting TOD's as relieving congestion echoes in today's Oregonian (Light rail-Gresham) all signs point to more of the same.
June 7, 2006 10:26 AM
Ron Swaren Says:
I think you are saying: "Let's use commuter lines to Vancouver, in diverse locations, and not concenttrate so much on revamping the I-5.":
"On the other hadn, if Vancouver is integrated by a series of local multi-modal connections it will spawn communities with job and housing growth on both sides of the river"
That would be the ideal. I have been favorable to the multimodal crossing at the BNSF/Amtrak corridor as an alternative to major I-5 reconstruction, but even that alternative would need some other major connections to make it workable as a secondary route: 1. crossing at W. End of Coluimbia BV to Hwy 30 and also crossing to Front Ave at present RR bridge.
WDOT's analysis was that this would only produce a 15% reduction on I-5 traffic, as projected in 2020. So I believe some revamping of CC traffic would be needed: perhaps some relief of bridge congestion would also be seen in extending Interstate MAX over to Vancouver, but I would use the short detour to the BNSF corridor, rather than alongside the I-5 bridges. Some people grouse about this added length, but I think density in Vancouver is trending to the west, anyway. Then you could have two routes to Downtown Portland, one on Interstate MAX and another on this western route (hopefully not an expensive MAX system, though.) I think Front Ave will gradually become a more important route as Northwest Portland gentrifies. And U of P is just across the Willamette.
Are there some other "local multimodal connections" you are thinking about? I would agree on the paradigm shift. There are a lot of decisions to be reached in a short time frame; it apppears that a continuance of Tri Mets' MAX strategy has the upper hand.
June 7, 2006 12:18 PM
Ross Williams Says:
How can traffic have a net decrease when so many new people are moving in to the corridors?
As I recall, while population growth contributes to the growth in traffic, the primary cause of increases is longer trips and more trips per person. In other words, it is lifestyle changes that are driving the growth in traffic. And I believe that is true even in Portland.
There are some cities that rail transit may not prove effective for.
I agree. But I think it is important to recognize that the fundamental choice Portland made was not what to build, but what not to build. There were other alternatives to the Mount Hood freeway other than light rail, there were other alternatives to the Harbor Freeway than Waterfront Park, there were alternatives to a huge parking structure in the middle of downtown other than Pioneer Square. It was not the choice of alternatives, but the decision to choose an alternative that transformed Portland.
June 9, 2006 5:44 AM
John B. Says:
Portland lawyer Charles J. Merten had a lot to do with stopping the freeway.
June 9, 2006 10:47 AM
I'm sure all those who have died in traffic accidents on Hwy 26 are very thankful that the freeway never got built. God forbid we should be able to get to Mt. Hood faster and more safely.
June 9, 2006 11:23 AM
Bob R. Says:
What is the logic to your statement? It seems to come off as "lots of people die on one highway, so let's build more highways". Wouldn't making improvements to Hwy 26 to make it safer be more cost effective?
Incidentally, your statement of "God forbid we should be able to get to Mt. Hood faster and more safely" isn't entirely correct: The Mt. Hood "freeway" would not have gone further east as a freeway than 52nd ave (the original planned I-205 alignment):
"The alignment would have started with the unfinished elevated wye interchange at the east end of the Marquam Bridge. It then would transition to an open-cut as it moved southeast to a point just south of Division Street. From there, the route would travel directly east until about SE 52nd Avenue. At this point, there would be a curve to the southeast, resulting in another direct easterly route on or near SE Powell Blvd. to I-205. A spur off of this route would connect to a proposed replacement for the Ross Island Bridge."
(Quoted from the WikiPedia entry on the Mt. Hood Freeway)
East of I-205 would have been an expressway, and in fact portions were actually constructed and are in use today:
"Section Three of the proposal continued southeast from Gresham and ran to the outskirts of Sandy. This section was actually constructed (and is an expressway-grade highway), with a single interchange at the junction with Oregon Highway 212."
Do you know what that expressway segment between Gresham and Sandy is called today? Why, it's part of Highway 26. That would be the unsafe stretch of road to which you are referring. That's right, the Highway 26 expressway *IS* the remnant of the Mt. Hood Freeway proposal that actually got built.
On another note, look at all the homes and businesses along SE Division and Powell... would it have been better to destroy all of these (in a 5-block wide berth) just so people could get from the Marquam bridge to I-205 faster, bypassing all the neighborhoods that just got paved over?
- Bob R.
June 11, 2006 10:33 AM
there was also a transitway proposed down the median of the mount hood freeway for the exclusive use of buses but the stations would have been of rapid transit quality.
one of the alternatives to the freeway was to use the acquired corridor solely for a grade seperated transit line.
June 13, 2006 1:01 AM
Jason McHuff Says:
First of all, its a great video.
Does anyone know where I can get the map they show in the movie of the properties that they acquired? Someone (not me, but I have edited that page) put in the Wikipedia entry that the parking lots & new houses along Powell Blvd. are on lands formerly for the freeway. I've been leerly of this but the film shows that a good amount of land was indeed acquired.
Overall, it just goes to show that projects can indeed be stopped...
June 13, 2006 8:52 AM
Lenny Anderson Says:
There was also the I-505 spur that was planned for the NW Thurman/Vaughn corridor. It was to be a double deck elevated beauty. Visit Food Front on NW Thurman and then walk west to see the re-development that has occurred on this former freeway project. ODOT had acquired quite a few properties in this corridor as well before it was dropped in the 70's.
June 13, 2006 10:04 AM
Ross Williams Says:
WDOT's analysis was that this would only produce a 15% reduction on I-5 traffic, as projected in 2020.
The question is what kind of community we want, not how much traffic there is on I-5. Do we really need 15% more freeway trips across the river? No matter what alternative is built, it won't actually reduce the traffic on I-5. It will simply provide opportunities for more people to travel.
The real question is how do we want to integrate the two sides of the Columbia. What kind of communities do we end up with. The WashDOT vision is of Seattle where people live in one place and commute long distances somewhere else to go to work. Building more bedroom communities is the "purpose and need" of their preferred transportation system.
June 15, 2006 2:06 PM
Doug Allen Says:
For those who weren't around at the time, the web site created by the late Ernie Bonner has some great material and accurate history.
On the subject of the Mt. Hood Freeway, you should read his interview with Betty Merten at http://www.planpdx.org/pages/MertenBetty.html.
You can see from that interview that fairly early on, Neil Goldschmidt and his staff were supportive of axing the Mt. Hood Freeway, but that his support for light rail was rather late in coming. This matches my own recollections.
July 15, 2006 2:44 AM
What the video does not address is the fact that after the Mt Hood Freeway was defeated, there was also an effort to stop the completetion of I-205. Can you imagine the traffic snarls we would all be in today if the activists had succeeded in this endeavor as well? The truth is that light rail is ineffective and expensive. Most people who ride light rail would ride buses if it were not for light rail anyways. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on light rail transit that is repeatedly turned down by the voters, go the much more inexpensive route with buses, or even a rapid bus transit system with devoted lanes.
While money is only being spent new mass transit in the Portland area, an equal share of the money should go towards new roads, highways and freeways. A vast majority of the public in the city of Portland uses the roads to travel to and from work each day, not mass transit. It is time we spend our taxpayer dollars on what the majority of its citizens actually use. We need to quit wasting our money and time on expensive light rail and instead invest in a larger bus system and new freeways.
July 15, 2006 7:37 AM
Ross Williams Says:
Can you imagine the traffic snarls we would all be in today if the activists had succeeded in this endeavor as well?
I suspect they are mostly imaginary if you think it would be worse than what exists now. The real question is what kind of development pattern would have occurred without I-205.
My guess is that much of the eastward sprawl of Clark County would not be there. Battleground would be a smaller, but distinct, community, rather than a bedroom community for Portland. Its harder to predict Clackamas County development, but Oregon City, Gladstone and Milwaukie would probably have far denser development. Lents and the other southeast neighborhoods would probably be a lot more prosperous.
The reality is new freeways do not serve existing users, they serve new development. People who choose to can travel longer distances - and that is a benefit - but those longer trips they choose will fill the freeway and its approaches and exits. Existing trips will be as slow and often slower.
September 8, 2006 11:45 PM
It is understandable what you are saying but it is not entirely true. For example, cities on the far west side such as Hillsboro and Forest Grove have very little freeway acces. Residents of these cities cannot go north, south or west on any freeway or even any major roadway for that matter. However, Hillsboro is one of Oregon's largest cities and Forest Grove is growing very quickly. Traffic on 26 is horrible and MAX has done little if anything to curb traffic on that congested freeway. Building a west-side bypass that resembles I-205 (only on the west side of the metro area) would without a doubt decrease traffic not only in that area but also on I-5, 217, and I-205. People in the Portland Area are finally beginning to understand that MAX is not the answer to the the areas traffic problems. It is but ONE component. Invest equally in transit and road-building and overall congestion will improve in and around Portland. Congestion is bad for the economy, the environment and most of all, the liviablity of our great city.
September 9, 2006 10:17 AM
Paul Edgar Says:
Peter, thank you for your reasoned comments.
September 9, 2006 2:21 PM
Ross Williams Says:
It is understandable what you are saying but it is not entirely true. For example, cities on the far west side such as Hillsboro and Forest Grove have very little freeway acces. Residents of these cities cannot go north, south or west on any freeway or even any major roadway for that matter.
That is not really true. TV highway is a "major roadway" and they have Highway 26 close by which is a limited access highway that will take them as far west as anyone else in Portland can get, albeit not much further than they already are.
But that ignores the central question. How many trips will the 70,000 people living in Hillsborto make south or north? The answer, as the bypass study showed, was not very many. Not nearly enough to justify a huge investment.
Essentially, people don't want to get from Hillsboro to Wilsonville and beyond or vice-versa very often. My guess is the number of trips northbound would be even smaller. So a bypass does little to relieve traffic on 217 or I5 or 26. These roads are congested because that is where the destinations are that people want to reach. Putting roads where they don't want to go won't help obviously.
September 11, 2006 9:04 AM
Paul Edgar Says:
Ross, sometimes you cannot see the forest from the trees in your statement:
Essentially, people don't want to get from Hillsboro to Wilsonville and beyond or vice-versa often.
The problem is that we are forcing approximately 250,000 north/south incendents of travel daily onto a few corridors like; I-5, 1-205 and 217.
We need more options and capacity.
August 19, 2008 7:50 PM
Thankyou Peter for getting the idea out there, finally it seems ... we need a 205 extension from the N Wilsonville exit out through Sherwood up behind Bull Mtn then Cooper Mtn and then on out to Hillsboro, and we need to do this while the land is still relatively available. I do believe this would relieve some of that God awful congestion on 217 and 26.
August 19, 2008 9:31 PM
Erik Halstead Says:
Ross Williams wrote: The WashDOT vision is of Seattle where people live in one place and commute long distances somewhere else to go to work. Building more bedroom communities is the "purpose and need" of their preferred transportation system.
That also seems to be the purpose and ideals behind MAX:
People work in Portland.
People live in Gresham (18 miles east), Beaverton (9 miles west), Hillsboro (18 miles west), Milwaukie (6 miles south), and now Vancouver (9 miles north).
I live in the City of Portland, within Portland City Limits, with my City Hall based at 1221 S.W. 4th Avenue. My home is closer to downtown than three of the four primary MAX destination communities and one of the two planned MAX destination communities.
To which Ross asks, The question is what kind of community we want, not how much traffic there is on I-5
My response is, I want a community that is inclusive of its residents. However, the City of Portland and Metro's own planning have convinced me that my most logical travel option is not to take the bus that serves a bus stop just 1,200 feet from my front door - but to either drive my single-occupant motor vehicle a distance of 1.4 miles to a Park and Ride lot to catch an express bus; or to use I-5 to reach my downtown destination.
Does that make sense? Does it make sense that Portland thinks its travel options are "freeway or light rail", or "walk or Streetcar"?
August 19, 2008 9:46 PM
Erik Halstead Says:
A New York filmmaker has put together a great video clip on the paradigm shift moment here in Portland when we rejected the Mt. Hood Freeway.
Back to the OP thread, I have to wonder, did cancelling the Mt. Hood Freeway really have the impact that the video, and others, claim that it has?
Looking at the route of the proposed Mt. Hood Freeway, from I-5 to Powell Boulevard is an industrial area with many underutilized, underdeveloped properties.
Along Powell from 17th (the railroad overpass) to 39th is akin to 82nd or 122nd Avenue - another major street with little activity along it. Powell does just as much to divide the community along here, with few safe pedestrian crossings.
39th to 52nd has some newer style commercial developments, many of which abut Powell directly. There is also a significant community park on this stretch.
52nd east all the way to Gresham is hardly what I would call "community oriented"; many stretches of the road are very unfriendly and divide the community (especially 52nd to I-205); I-205 east is dangerous at best and lack sidewalks and other amenities conducive towards a well planned community.
This area (52nd east) also is home to a large number of less-than-desirable residential areas.
What did this area get in exchange? MAX? No, MAX was built too far north to serve this area; in fact MAX was built not in lieu of the freeway, but along another freeway - the Banfield.
Do freeways automatically make for a bad environment? I don't believe so - both Seattle (Alaskan Way Viaduct/SR 99) and Tacoma (I-705) have successfully redeveloped freeway neighborhoods to create vibrant, inviting areas. Seattle's well visited waterfront is not "separated" from downtown by the Viaduct but many opportunities exist for people to get from the two areas. Pike Place Market is well connected to the Waterfront.
Tacoma has successfully redeveloped its downtown core AND the Foss Waterway frontage, building a successful Museum District and a UW campus - with I-705 and a four-track mainline railroad smack through the middle. A decorative pedestrian walkway connects the two areas and makes it easy for people to live in the Foss Waterway condos and walk to work, easily going across four mainline railroad tracks and six freeway lanes.
Am I suggesting the Mt. Hood Freeway should have been built? No, but many of the claims presented make little sense in the full context of area development and what has occurred since the 1970s. The area that the Mt. Hood Freeway would have gone through, have not reaped significant social benefit thanks to the cancellation of the freeway - save for one very short stretch of Powell. MAX, as a "replacement" did not even serve the same area, and as a result the people in the Powell corridor never benefitted from the investment given to MAX two-and-a-half miles to the north. Nor did the City improve Powell east of I-205 to improve the community out east.
August 19, 2008 9:58 PM
Bob R. Says:
Erik, I'm not sure why you're responding to a thread which is over a year old (and Ross isn't here anymore, he left after you demanded his sanction), but you should drive along SE Division to see the homes and businesses which the Mt. Hood Freeway would have seriously impacted, and in many cases would have completely eliminated. It's not just about Powell Blvd. (And there's a lot of good stuff along Powell, too, despite the problems.)
January 22, 2009 9:18 PM
Portland would have been a very different place had the Mt. Hood Freeway, or any of the major freeway proposals, gone through. For one, it wouldn't have one of the highest levels of congestion in the country. Considering how marginal the numbers are for the light rail system (6%, if I'm not mistaken?), I hardly think "light rail" stands in for a solution that could have moved thousands of cars a day across an area where now, people sit for hours trying to get across the city, when they work and live in suburbs on far ends of the town.
I think this video is silly, focuses on a few specific areas of Portland that have benefited, while completely ignoring that the larger Portland metro area has suffered immensely from a lack of a decent freeway system. Thinking about "other things than what accommodates cars" is great...if you live in a city where nobody drives. The vast majority of people in Portland drive cars, and in my opinion, focusing on solutions that ignore reality are neither wise nor commendable solutions. They are costly "solutions" that create even more costly problems.
Portland is a "place," but it is a place where I hate to venture, because I know wherever I go, no matter what time of day, I'm going to encounter horrific traffic, long delays, and get lost in a labyrinth of poorly designed freeways where one wrong turn lands you on the complete other side of town. Portland is in desperate need of legitimate planning for roads and traffic -- and I hope for once, those plans will address the REALITY of life in Portland, which unfortunately occurs primarily in CARS, and will focus less on an ideal that has never been attained, a city where everyone walks everywhere.
January 23, 2009 9:29 PM
It's not just about Powell Blvd.
Agreed, it's a bad idea to tear out a neighborhood to build a freeway. Why is the Mt Hood Freeway a good example for not fixing traffic problems at all, if a car is impacted?
I just watched that video for the first time since '06 when I first saw it. It's not that compelling, there's a lot of mistaken "facts" spread throughout.
Oddly, it reminds me of San Diego, where people brag about helping to stop Select Arterial 680. Oddly, the worst traffic in the county occurs in the areas that rejected highways. Ironically those are the areas that complain the most about traffic.
There's a million little fixes the region could do to improve traffic flow, but it seems there's opposition to every single one. Rebuilding some interchanges along I-84 or I-405 could help the whole system significantly. I-5 through the Rose Quarter and the lane drop could be much smoother.
At the East side of the Marquam we could do a nice connection to 99E, and 99E/224 could take significant upgrades without taking private ROW.
The west side is where the worst gaps are though. From 217 to the 99W connector there should be 3+2 lanes (10 lanes, like the CRC), allowing 3 for long haul and 2 for local traffic.
Really though, I can't figure out why it costs twice as much to build a freeway in Oregon vs any other state. It seems systemic to every project here.
April 29, 2009 11:52 PM
Dave H Says:
I've been trying to start taking pictures of leftovers of various freeways that were not built around town, and the left-over results of them throughout Portland. I just posted the first of many blog posts about I-505 (that would have most likely destroyed the very apartment I'm typing this from), and would love to get feedback from the community here.
I'm trying to get pictures (they're linked from the blog post) for my Flickr account to illustrate the ways that freeways that were not built effected neighborhoods. I have some pictures currently about the former streetcars of NW PDX (as well as the ballpark they fed), but that's later.
Sorry to use this blog as a stepping off point, but it seems somewhat relevant to the discussions we've had here, and I hope there are users here who may have some first-hand stories they can tell a lowly product of the 80's about the age of Interstate building.
December 29, 2010 11:45 AM
I visited Portland this summer. It is a nice city, but it will probably never become a great city due to the lack of logical transportation options like freeways. I was frustrated by the narrowness of many of the highways and the poor planning. Reading over this site, now I am starting to see why. I remember how the few bike riders I saw acted like they owned the roads. It is apparent that they, along with their pals who swear by mass transit, would rather see the city choke on itself in order to support their twisted cancerous agenda. Just because you don't like something does not mean that it is not the best option for the city as a whole. Build some little bike paths and a few trains if it makes you feel better. But face facts... the super majority of people use cars. So... build more freeways. It is the most logical answer.
December 29, 2010 1:23 PM
Bob R. Says:
few ... acted ... they ... their pals ... choke ... twisted cancerous agenda .. if it makes you feel better.
Sigh. Real criticism, please?
December 29, 2010 4:03 PM
Douglas K. Says:
it will probably never become a great city due to the lack of logical transportation options like freeways.
Right. Because when I think of London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney ... the thing that immediately jumps to my mind is "freeways"
would rather see the city choke on itself
The next city that manages to build its way out of congestion with freeways will be the first.
December 30, 2010 2:48 PM
Lenny Anderson Says:
Obviously Brian failed to ever get out of his car, so he actually missed the real Portland during his visit. You see any place best from transit...bus or rail, on a bike or on foot. I wonder if he has ever been to Vancouver BC...now there's a city on the fast track to failure!
January 18, 2011 10:43 AM
Ben C. Says:
What are we going to do when a war breaks out and they shut down the Interstate system? The Mt. Hood Freeway was to be an Interstate so when such an activity would happen We The People on the east side would have an expressway to get into the Rose City like Seattle, Denver, Phoenix and even San Diego has. (State expressways with exits that would not be closed.)The Banfield then would have been that option to use. Without the Sunrise expressway and the Mt. Hood freeway Portland is not prepared for its Citizens who have worked hard. Listening to fools is never an option when the reality is unpreparedness. Hey grasshopper we Ants have been working all summer long knowing after 9-11 this reality is probably a whisper away. Your genius is your dunce cap. Check mate let's build the Mt. Hood Freeway. (Did not build ballpark. Little parks with no people or kids. State owned parking lots.) My Portland can do better than this on a bad day that will affect so many people that think the interstate system was built for their car. Even Spokane is building a north-south freeway without an interstate no. so they will have something in case of emergency. Even with the Beltline and Delta Expressway Eugene is somewhat prepared for a catastrophe like a big city would be. Lets quit not telling the truth. Portland is not prepared and many people in the know lie by using every other explanation than the one ODOT had for building the Mt. Hood Freeway. Being Prepared.
January 18, 2011 12:59 PM
What are we going to do when a war breaks out and they shut down the Interstate system?
At least four full-scale wars, albeit none of 'em declared, have "broken out" since the launch of the Interstate Highway System. In addition, we've seen one major foreign attack on US soil in that time. None of this has resulted in the "shut down" of any US highways, for military mobilization, or any other purpose. If defense of the nation ever requires that freeways be closed to the public so that they can be used unfettered by the army...we've got far more serious problems than a short drive to work.
January 18, 2011 1:04 PM
The Interstate highway system has seen some nonstandard uses in civil defense situations, such as the use of contraflow lane reversal to evacuate cities in the face of oncoming (but predictable) natural disasters such as hurricanes. (The freeway is closed to regular traffic, and both directions are reserved for outbound traffic). A big problem, as the poorer residents of New Orleans found out as Katrina was bearing down, is this is kinda useless if you don't have a car. At any rate, this is mainly a concern of inter-urban mobility, which is a separate issue from what mode best suits mobility within a city.