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Portland, Oregon bans cars on new bridge

The Tilikum Crossing would serve buses, streetcars and light rail, but not private automobiles. (DearEdward/flickr/cc)

Construction of a bridge in a major U. S. city is not normally fodder for national or international news. Unless it’s the Tilikum Crossing in Portland, Oregon.

As Brian Libby reports for Citylab, this is the first multimodal bridge in the U. S. that would ban private automobiles. The bridge would accommodate light rail, street cars, city buses, pedestrians and cyclists when it’s complete in a year. It will span the Willamette River.

While Portland is known for its environmental consciousness, the prohibition on cars stems from a “practical” reason: There are no road networks on either end of the bridge, the article says. City officials also don’t want to spoil development efforts on both sides of the river with noisy freeways.

Libby notes that Portland has a long history of deemphasizing automobiles. The city opted to use federal highway funds for light rail instead of a highway in the early 1970s. In the 1980s, a busy thoroughfare along the Willamette was removed to make room for a park an early example of urban freeway removal that has since occurred in San Francisco, Boston and Seoul.


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