Learning the Interstate Highways

Don’t remember that in Alaska.

Edit-but you’re right, they do get interstate funding. Just nothing about them looks like an interstate (signs or construction):

“ Both Alaska and Puerto Rico also have public highways that receive 90 percent of their funding from the Interstate Highway program. The Interstates of Alaska and Puerto Rico are numbered sequentially in order of funding without regard to the rules on odd and even numbers. They also carry the prefixes A and PR , respectively. However, these highways are signed according to their local designations, not their Interstate Highway numbers. Furthermore, these routes were neither planned according to nor constructed to the official Interstate Highway standards.”

I-35 took my High School football and baseball fields.
I’m old enough to have been around at opening of some of these roads, my car might be the only one on the road, roads that are now clogged.

My parents rented part of a 3 family in Syracuse when I was growing up. We were displaced when I-81 was built and the sold/took the 3 family we were in. We were lucky that my parents were able to buy a small house about 30 miles north of Syracuse. Several hundred families were displaced when I-81 came through. Now starting next year, they are abandoning that stretch of highway and turning I-481 into I-81 to completely circumvent the city.

There are two factors in that phenomenon, IMHO.

First, it seemed that a lot of folks were slow to catch-on that these new, toll-free superhighways had been built.
I can recall hearing a few conversations between my father and several of our neighbors, in which Dad mentioned how nice it was to drive on I-78 instead of old Route 22, and also how convenient it was that I-287 carved a new path through Central NJ. He got blank stares.

He tried explaining that he was referring to the new Interstate expressways.
More blank stares.

He even tried saying “You know… the highways with the red, white, and blue shield markers”.
Still… blank stares.

It really seemed that a lot of folks were very slow to find out about–and drive on–these new roads.

Another factor in the incredible difference in traffic density from then until now is that many of these highways facilitated the development/expansion of towns that had previously been distant from expressways, and the construction of these highways allowed people to move away from urban areas, but still have a reasonable commute to work.

My town–which has two interchanges on I-287–went from largely farmland with fewer than 20,000 residents in 1960, to almost 50k residents by the late '90s. For better or worse, a lot of the farmland became housing developments, people moved to a semi-rural area from which they could commute to work via car, and the once-empty Interstate highways became congested during commuting hours.

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Map is also missing I-43 in Wisconsin: Milwaukee to Green Bay via Sheboygan and Manitowoc, near the Lake Michigan shoreline.

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Shame on my but the quiz it is only about the longest Interstates. Otherwise it would have been unplayable.

Sure it could…there’s this thing called Zoom-in and Zoom-Out. Most Map apps (Google Maps) does it all the time. As you Zoom in the map becomes more detailed adding more streets/roads/interstates. Zoom out and less detailed.

In a particular neighborhood in St. Paul that was separated by I 494, people have been complaining about the disasterous effects of ruining a neighborhood for over 50 years. Even though everyone affected is now dead or gone. So the answer now under consideration is building a land bridge over the freeway, complete with grass and parks. I guess it had been done other places. Truth be told it was always and still is a crime and drug infested area and building a land bridge will allow it to spread.

I lived in Pasadena when they were building I-210, rode my bicycle on it before it was opened. They put it around the railroad tracks; I walked those once when it was between them but before the freeway opened, often before the freeway construction.

They put them through poor communities deliberately; not all were awful before. Rochester is working on taking one of theirs out.

That’s what I-81 did in Syracuse. East side of I-81 through the city are the Hospitals and Syracuse University. On the other side is the Low Income housing projects. They reason they’re taking down I-81 through the city is because it’s an elevated road and the amount of snow and salt every year does a lot of damage. Too much maintenance every year. Plus the fact there’s more traffic and now that section of highway can get extremely dangerous during rush hour. Really a poor design from the start.

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I agree. It was because the poor neighborhoods were not organized well enough to sustain the fight to keep the roads out. Sometimes poor areas can prevent highway intrusion. I-95 does not go through DC. It stops at the Beltway at College Park, MD, becomes the eastern leg of the beltway, then picks up again at Alexandria, VA on the south side. There is an I-95 extension from the southern intersection to DC, but it has a spur designation.

Many years ago, NY’s Road Czar–Robert Moses–wanted to run a 10 lane highway (The Lower Manhattan Expressway) clear across the Southern part of Manhattan, thereby obliterating most of Little Italy, Chinatown, and SoHo. (Please note that, back in those days, SoHo was very poor and run-down, and it was mostly populated with starving artists who illegally occupied old industrial loft spaces. Today, it is one of NYC’s wealthiest and most fashionable neighborhoods.)

Anyway, a woman named Jane Jacobs was able to ratchet-up enough community outrage to eventually cause NYC to abandon those plans:

I’m not well versed on the selection of road routes. I do know though they have to buy the land even after condemnation. So it would make sense to route the road through areas that would cost less. Still they aren’t about to create a freeway with a winding route like they did in the old days, just because of some higher cost residential or business areas. We have some original roads created in the 1800’s that twist and turn according to where the farms were and other factors, but that’s not going to happen with interstates.

On the St. Paul practice freeway, the reasonably affluent neighborhood mounted a fierce fight against the freeway. They finally lost but managed to get a court order to maintain the speed limit at 45. That’s why it’s called the practice freeway with cars leisurely moving along at 45. From 70 to 55 to 45 and the police love it.

So in general I would say it is not only poor neighborhoods with poor influence that get chosen. Building a land bridge kinda shows how much political power “they” have. “They” not being anyone still alive that lived there.

Just as with virtually everything else, there are a lot of myths about the origin, the design, and the purpose of the Interstate Highway system. The site below explodes those myths:


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As usual, lots of information from our brother. I just remember during Ike’s years and the Minneapolis area road development talking about the need for evacuation. I wasn’t around in 1944, at least that’s what I’m told. Of course this was when everyone was sure we would have a nuclear attack and Minneapolis was seen as a target. Sitting in traffic in later years, I often thought of what a fallacy that was. It would take days for everyone to get out on the congested concrete ribbon. We would all die. Sections of the system though were decades in completion so you might get out of the city but forget about getting to safety places like Iowa or South Dakota during an attack.

I’m sorry I just can’t read the whole thing, but some interesting design issues I learned was the importance of sight lines. I don’t remember the exact specs but hills and curves etc. were designed so that you could see ahead a minimum distance. So no surprises. Of course that relied on people actually being awake at the wheel to see the object to be avoided. The human factor, always the human factor.

In the 1950s, my grandfather was high up in the New York State Department of Highways. He had two state issued vehicles with special license plates, a Caddy and a 4-wheel drive Jeep (he did not mind getting “his hand dirty…”). He was deeply involved in the planning and construction of the New York State Thruway, a 500+ mile controlled highway that runs from New York City North to Albany, then West to Buffalo.

Since it was built with some Federal funds, sections of the Thruway had to be Toll-Free. He pushed for it to be split among the major cities that the Thruway passed by, New York City, Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Buffalo, and other cities…

New York State issued Bonds to pay for the rest of the construction and the public was sold a “Bill of Goods” that the tolls would be lifted once the Bond was paid off. At least that was what Governor Thomas Dewey and his cohorts said. When the Bonds were finally paid off, the Democratic State Legislature led by Gov. Mario Cuomo voted to keep the tolls in place, they just could not sacrifice this "Golden Goose and her Golden Eggs…

And Dewey, who was a Republican, and a “crime fighter” would have made the Free roadways fairly distributed did nothing and the only part that ultimately turned out to be free was the first 60-miles, Exit 1 in New York City to Exit 17 at Newburgh. It turned out that all the “power players” lived or worked in NYC and they did not want to pay tolls from their homes in the Catskills to their work in the City…

As I wrote, “in the 1950s”, well it’s the 2020s and the tolls are still in place and the last numbers available for the tolls collected are $750 million in 2016… The initial cost to build it in the first place was less than $600 million, even though the Bond sales totaled over $750 million, to this day, no one knows where the difference in between the cost and the bond totals were, nor was anyone held accountable…

How many Hundreds of Billions of Dollars have flowed into the General Fund over the years for use at the discretion of the legislature…

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Heh heh heh. Government is expensive.

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Indeed it is, but the ultimate cost of anarchy is far higher.



The definition of anarchy sounds strangely similar to the government. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Paul Pelosi purchased 25 call options of Tesla stock at the time the White House announced the nations commitment to electric vehicles.

Nancy Pelosi Buys Tesla Calls, Stands To Benefit From New Biden EV Plan (yahoo.com)

Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul buys Tesla stock worth $2.2M (nypost.com)

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