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Claiborne Expressway: Should It Stay Or Should It Go Now?

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Removing urban highways and replacing them with walkable thoroughfares has been a hot trend for years now. The Claiborne Expressway, which sliced through the Tremé and Seventh Ward neighborhoods in the 1960s, has been the center of a community study, and next month the city will announce official options for the overpass. Possible scenarios include removing the entire 2.2 mile stretch of the elevated structure, removing some ramps, or keeping the whole thing. It's considered an eyesore and the experts say it reduces home values, kills small businesses, and has hefty upkeep fees. But not everyone is pro-Operation Teardown. It would free up land – about 50 acres of lots are currently covered by the overpass– but some locals worry developers will swoop in and price everyone out. The Port of New Orleans expresses some serious fright about a teardown, too. Reports say that removal of the expressway would only add about two to six minutes of travel time, depending on your route. But the Port says 256,000 trucks a year use the Claiborne Expressway, hauling cargo from the river to warehouses in New Orleans East.

Scenario 1:
· Remove the St. Phillip and Esplanade Avenue ramps
· Remove the lakeside ramp at Orleans Avenue
· Add enhanced bus service on Claiborne Avenue

Scenario 2:
· Remove all ramps between Canal Street and St. Bernard Avenue
· Add street car service to N. Claiborne Avenue and walkable mixed-use developments

Scenario 3:
· Claiborne Expressway overpass is removed
· Streetcar service is added to N. Claiborne Avenue
· Claiborne is revitalized as a "Corridor of Culture," the art-covered columns currently under the overpass would stay, and a green space and mixed-use developments would be added.
· City to unveil Claiborne expressway options in September [Louisiana Weekly]
· Top 12 urban highway removal projects [Smart Planet]
· Restored Avenue Would Meet Traffic Needs, Stimulate Rebirth in New Orleans []
· Livable Claiborne Communities [Official Site]