In 2015, we called I-375 "America's silliest interstate," and advocated for its removal in a three-part series that reimagined possible uses of the land. [Read part one
, and three
in that series]
And at long last, the city and state will get to put those ideas into practice. Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced that it would be demolishing the I-375 freeway.
"The commitment to remove I-375 and restore surface streets puts Detroit firmly in the ranks of cities trying to undo the damage done a half-century ago by ramming high-speed freeways through urban neighborhoods," writes John Gallagher for the Detroit Free Press
Built in 1964 as an accommodation to suburbanites working downtown at a cost of $50 million, I-375 displaced thousands of African American Detroiters and wiped out the city's historic and vibrant Black Bottom neighborhood. All for a 1.067-miles-long interstate.
"At the mid-20th Century, urban planners believed that high-speed freeways were essential to creating efficient, modern urban areas," writes Gallagher. "Cities everywhere pushed expressways through their older street grids. But, in hindsight, expressways did incalculable damage to cities like Detroit, destroying viable neighborhoods and facilitating the flight of residents to the suburbs."
The current plan, which likely won't begin until 2022, would be to restore surface streets with medians and bike lanes.