Urban Boulevards: Coming to a City Near You

CNT’s President, Scott Bernstein, and Congress of the New Urbanism’s (CNU’s) John Norquist, have spent a good chunk of the past year traveling around the country offering their expert opinions on the benefits of replacing elevated highways with more open, street-level systems.

This past week at the invitation of Congressman Brian Higgins, they were in Buffalo, NY speaking to a group of residents. In Buffalo, the issue (not unlike the situation in Seattle) is the Skyway elevated highway. Buffalo’s situation is not unique: what to do with an aging, underused, expensive, and often obstructive infrastructure. In Buffalo’s case, the Skyway intrudes on the value of a viable city waterfront.

The movement across America “back to the cities” should naturally create an opportunity to reconnect and redevelop around Buffalo’s waterfront. But, the issue is larger than simply a real-estate opportunity. It is one of economic equity. Which is to say, development (or redevelopment) should include options for reducing congestion and sprawl, mitigating greenhouse gases and air pollution, lowering the cost-of-living, and increasing racial and economic diversity. This development approach is more responsive to the equity ethic that people in urban areas are demanding.

, an alternative newsweekly in Buffalo, covered the story with an insightful interview of Scott and John. Read the interview here or watch it online at their site.