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Stop the Road:Freeway Revolts in American Cities

Journal of Urban History , Volume 30 (5): 674 – Jul 1, 2004


Sage Publications
Copyright © 2004 by SAGE Publications
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Stop the Road:Freeway Revolts in American Cities


This article analyzes the freeway revolts that erupted in American cities in the 1960s and early 1970s. Until the mid-1960s, state and federal highway engineers had complete control over freeway route locations. In many cities, the new highways ripped through neighborhoods, parks, historic districts, and environmentally sensitive areas. Beginning in San Francisco, citizen movements sprang up to challenge the highwaymen. New federal legislation in the 1960s gradually imposed restraints on highway engineers, providing freeway fighters with grounds for legal action. Leaders in the new U.S. Department of Transportation pushed for a more balanced transportation system and more sensitive highway decision making. Case studies of freeway building and citizen opposition in Miami and Baltimore illustrate larger patterns of the national freeway revolt.
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