Highway Fallout: Images of Cincinnati Before and After the Road Bomb

Aaron Renn at the Urbanophile has been looking at the devastation wrought on different cities by highways. And he’s uncovered a pretty dramatic example in these pre- and post-highway photos of Cincinnati’s West End.

Here’s a view of the neighborhood in the 1950s, the “before” photo:

Image: ##http://www.cincinnati-transit.net/##Cincinnati Transit##

And here’s a satellite view of how it looks today:

The West End today, bisected by I-75

It’s almost unrecognizable, but on the left in both photos you can see Cincinnati’s in-tact Union Terminal train station. In the later version, a lovely City Beautiful-style plaza in front of the station has been converted to parking. Much of the rest of the area has been converted to industrial parks.

Renn says:

Over the Rhine is one of America’s most stunning historic districts. When I visited the city last year, one of the locals explained that there had been “miles” of neighborhoods just like it obliterated by freeway construction. I found this difficult to credit until I came across the photographic proof.

If the West End was still walkable and people-centered, would it be undergoing a renaissance today like Cincy’s Over-the-Rhine? We’ll never know.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobilizing the Region reports that Camden, NJ, recently cut the ribbon on a series of active transportation projects funded by a federal TIGER grant. The Green Lane Project shares a graphic showing which American cities have both protected bike lanes and bike-share. And Second Avenue Sagas posts some intriguing fantasy maps of New York City subways.

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