In the late ‘60s, there were plans to build the Three Sisters Bridge and elevated highway system in DC. Luckily, they fell through. A recent Washingtonian piece detailing the story made us want to re-publish GGWash editor Dan Malouff‘s post on just how may highway-sized bullets we’ve dodged:
Map based on 1958 Basic Freeway Plan. Click to enlarge.
This is a map of the Washington that would have been if mid-century planners, dedicated as they were to driving and the clearance of historic neighborhoods, had their way. It’s a the highway network proposed for the region during initial planning of the Eisenhower Interstate System, in 1958.
Each of these canceled highways, shown in red on the map, has its own story. Some were canceled due to civic activism, others because later proposals in the 70s preempted them, and others due to good old fashioned sanity.
Because they were never built, entire neighborhoods that might have been wiped out were saved, downtown was never physically cut off from its surroundings (except to the south), and millions of dollars were reallocated to construction of the Metro. Because these highways were canceled, Washington is the beautiful, walkable, vital city that we know and love today.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.