Feds: CDOT’s Terrible I-70 Widening Isn’t Terrible Enough to Qualify as a Civil Rights Violation

If CDOT gets its way, this Swansea Elementary playground will be on top of a highway instead of next to it. Image: David Sachs
If CDOT gets its way, this Swansea Elementary playground will be on top of a highway instead of next to it. Image: David Sachs

For a half-century, the minority, low-income neighborhoods of Elyria, Swansea, and Globeville have been saddled with the traffic, noise, and pollution from freeways rammed through by state and federal road agencies. The Federal Highway Administration last week doubled down on that history by shrugging off a civil rights complaint from residents who want the Colorado Department of Transportation to nix plans for a wider I-70 in their backyards.

In the finding released Thursday [PDF], FHWA concluded, despite all evidence to the contrary, that tripling the width of I-70 would not disproportionately and adversely affect north Denver residents, and that CDOT went through the motions to gain federal approval.

The Denver Department of Environmental Heath study linking the pollution-spewing freeway to poor neighborhood health [PDF] was not sufficient grounds for the FHWA.

“In fact, the preferred alternative is projected to reduce Elyria-Swansea residents’ exposure to emissions and air toxics by alleviating congestion in the community,” the report states cheerfully. It’s the same thinking that’s been devastating urban neighborhoods for decades — ignoring the fact that the immediate congestion relief will be short-lived, and that road widening projects generate more traffic and more pollution in the long run.

The FHWA doesn’t dispute that people will be displaced, and that this displacement will primarily affect Hispanic residents:

“Due to the relatively large amount of residential relocations, and the likelihood that these relocations will disproportionately affect Hispanic residents, the preferred alternative could have a disparate and adverse impact on Elyria-Swansea.”

It’s just that this discriminatory impact is unavoidable, as far as the feds are concerned:

“FHWA finds, however, that even if the selection of the preferred alternative resulted in adverse, disparate impacts, [CDOT] has provided a substantial and legitimate justification for its actions and shown that a less discriminatory alternative has not been identified.”

FHWA also claimed that CDOT’s widening project has “community support” and insisted that a four-acre park being built on top of the new, bigger highway will heal old neighborhood scars. Thousands of local residents opposed to the project would disagree.

Apparently FHWA considers this community support. Photo: David Sachs
Apparently FHWA considers this “community support.” Photo: David Sachs

“We are obviously disappointed with the Federal Highway Administration’s decision,” Earthjustice attoney Joel Minor said. “And I think that decision failed to fully grapple with the factual information and the legal arguments that we submitted on behalf of our clients.”

Local advocates have proposed rerouting I-70 north along I-270/76 and replacing this section of the highway with a tree-lined boulevard. FHWA did not consider that option as a genuine alternative, accepting at face value CDOT’s claim that tearing down I-70 would be more expensive than digging a trench and widening it. The federal finding did not acknowledge an analysis submitted by Earthjustice that questions CDOT’s findings.

  • The problem is that the alternative that is preferred by the Ditch the I-70 Ditch crowd would have forced additional pollution on other largely minority and low-income neighborhoods along I-270 and I-76.

    There are far more mobile homes along I-76 than there are houses within a half mile of I-70 in Elyria/Swansea, plus a large single-family neighborhood between Pecos and Sheridan. Along I-270 the southern part of Commerce City borders the freeway.

    I-70 also runs through a large older industrial / warehouse neighborhood where property values could be negatively impacted by loss of freeway access, and Elyria / Swansea is also bisected by a couple of major railroad lines, which also expose the neighborhood to pollution too. The railroads predate the neighborhoods in-fact, while older US and State primary highways also bisect this area too.

    Their surface boulevard plan looks great except that it is only capable of handling 20% of 2035 projected corridor demand. I proposed a longer 6-8 tunnel under their boulevard plan that would have gone subsurface west of the east end of the Coliseum on the west and just west of Quebec on its east end, with a single exit at Colorado, which would have had fans to blow the exhaust out into industrial neighborhoods on either end but the Ditch the Ditch crowd wasn’t interested.

    In-fact the Ditch the I-70 Ditch crowd tossed me off their Facebook page for holding a different opinion and for proving them wrong on their claim that the Park Hill to Platte drainage issue substantially predates the I-70 ditch proposal.

    The only way an Interstate highway can be vacated is for CDOT to do extensive traffic impact study, and prove that the alternative doesn’t negatively impact national or regional freight interests nor other motorists in-addition to local motorists. Then they must submit a petition to the FHWA that our Governor must also sign, and then the FHWA and the US-DoD must approve the petition.

    Both I-70 and I-25 are also international freight corridors connecting Canada to Mexico under NAFTA, which adds extra complexity to the issue.

    And no matter what happens to I-70 the Park Hill to Platte drainage issue remains as does the Omaha & Grant Superfund clean-up issue. I even suggested to Denver Planning how they could solve almost their entire lack of capacity issue just by making the 18th hole at City Park golf course a par-3 and using the other half of it for a big retention basin, which wouldn’t require closing the only public golf course in the area, but I was told that it was too late for my idea last fall.

    In-addition to seeking to protect a low-income neighborhood from an existing freeway the Ditch the I-70 Ditch group is also trying to drive up freight rates and delivery costs in the same area. I suggest now that gentrification has reached the southeastern part of Elyria/ Swansea that fairly quickly the entire neighborhood will be worth double to triple the currrent value of the houses individually as a single development parcel, which would allow the entire neighborhood to be rebuilt somewhere else and leave plenty of money left over too, which is likely the City’s goal.

    If we all want Metro-Denver to keep growing we must work to eliminate several major bottlenecks, with I-70 east of I-25 being one of them. What we really need would be a 50% minimum hike in our fuel tax, which would put us near the middle of other US States rather than near the bottom on fuel tax rate, and give CDOT and potentially RTD more funding to work with.

    Otherwise it is already forecast that Metro-Denver including its suburbs will be the 1975 size of Metro-Detroit by 2040, and Metro-Detroit has several freeways with 10 to 12 lanes each, either that or the end result of realizing DRCOG’s 2040 Fiscally Constrained RT Plan will be gridlock across the entire city for 8-12 hours every day, which will eventually drive lots of business out of the city.

    This whole question was always much bigger than one little neighborhood and its battle to spread the pain of Denver’s ongoing growth off onto anyone else but them.

    • Expert Blockotect

      All of your logic is centered around the idea that the traffic capacity is a constant and not a variable. The reality is people choose to drive because it’s the most convenient option, made possible by ever expanding freeways. Freeways have been removed before in Milwaukee, Portland, and San Francisco, their traffic wasn’t impacted and their economies didn’t grind to a halt. Want a current example? Atlanta traffic is no worse off than it was before the I-85 bridge collapse.

      http://www.ajc.com/news/local/bridge-collapse-accident-snarls-afternoon-commute-for-some-motorists/UDsH9RbHtDrybuAS56T8RO/

      • TakeFive

        There’s a yuge difference between removing certain specific freeway segments and tampering with a major, critical transportation and freight corridor like I-70.

        It’s also a bit disingenuous to not acknowledge that even in Portland their transit chief is supporting the current need to expand their freeways. As for Milwaukee perhaps you may be unaware of the major improvements and freeway expansion that has occurred in recent years.

        • Expert Blockotect

          That’s a pretty specious comment. There’s never been a major freeway removal in the US, so how are you so sure there would be a “yuge difference” between the two? As far as removing stubs go, every removal has regenerated the economy around the area of the removal. Why wouldn’t the same happen for a major corridor? The removal of the Cheonggyecheon in Seoul (a major corridor by the way) seems to dispute your claim. How does any city in Europe survive without a major highway running through it?

          As far as Portland goes, it’s more disingenuous to not acknowledge that Portland’s economy has blown up since the 70’s with zero freeway expansion and a whole lot of transit expansion. The transit chief’s comment about wanting to expand the freeways means what exactly? There are plenty of officials who call for highway tear downs, such as Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner. Hot air blows in every direction.

          Aside from anything current, Milwaukee only expanded the Marquette interchange, which gobbled up more land that would have brought in tax revenue to the city. Meanwhile the Park East area continues to add more tax revenue to the city.

          • The M1 Motorway looks like an urban freeway in London to me, just as the M4 Motorway west of Buckingham Palace In fact I have already found a dozen freeways in London in the last 20 minutes using Google Earth: The Southern Blackwall Tunnel approach is a freeway, as is an east-west freeway it connects to that runs to London City Airport.

            Most of their urban freeways are not quite as wide as ours but they never ripped out all their old multi-story inner city warehouses like most US cities did, nor all their old rail lines either. London also sees a fair amount of freight move by barge on the Thames River and has five major airports scattered around the city too.

            Just think, another 25 years worth of growth and several million refugees show-up and Denver could be as large as London is today.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5931637,-0.2353796,295a,35y,342.09h/data=!3m1!1e3

      • The Embarcadero Freeway in California was never finished, was only a part of the Interstate highway system from 1959 to 1969, until the local government in San Francisco and then California Governor Edmund Brown voted to end any opportunity of finishing the highway. After the big earthquake that also destroyed the Nimitz freeway in Oakland (I-880), the badly damaged Embarcadero Freeway (CA-480) was taken down.

        Actually if you read the comments in the piece on I-85 traffic that Streetblog did the impact on surface streets was heavily impacted as was traffic on the north bypass in Atlanta, I-285. This is what happens when a news source has an editorial bent, they often twist facts to assuage their own opinion.

        There is a Federal FHWA program that can get unfinished and planned segments of Interstate highways removed. Governor Lamm used the program to temporarily end funding for what was to have been I-470 on the southwest side of the metro-area, however that highway was later built on the same ROW as C-470, and it is backed-up dead-stopped every day now.

        So how do you propose north metro commuters get to downtown after removing I-70 results in massively adding to traffic on I-25 between I-70 and I-76, where there is no more room for expansion without tearing down commercial buildings? Moreover, such an expansion would add to pollution issues imposed on Globeville residents too.

        Remember that neither of the promised north-side FasTracks lines are done and won’t be done for many years because RTD is flat broke after wildly overspending on the completed portion of FasTracks, so much so that they are also cutting north side bus routes.

        • Expert Blockotect

          “Actually if you read the comments in the piece on I-85 traffic that Streetblog did the impact on surface streets was heavily impacted as was traffic on the north bypass in Atlanta, I-285. This is what happens when a news source has an editorial bent, they often twist facts to assuage their own opinion.”

          Let me get this straight, you cherry picked the one out of 12 comments that actually opposed the article where the individual said to check back in a couple of weeks because the schools were all on spring break, which the author did, and published a AJC status (see link in my first reply) that said the traffic was no worse off after the collapse than before. And you for some reason want to believe that one commenter had credibility over the AJC source (not streetsblog by the way)? Did you not happen to notice the majority of the other comments that praised the freeway removals? As for the northern section of I-285, it’s always been a parking lot even before the I-85 collapse.

          When you remove a freeway, people adapt. They take the train, the bus, carpool, ride their bike, walk, stop making unnecessary car trip, telecommute, move closer to work, find a new job closer to their home, etc, etc. People aren’t stupid, they’ll figure out a way to get around. Just like the people are doing in Atlanta right now with the I-85 collapse. Like I said, traffic is a variable, not a constant. It doesn’t increase to infinity regardless of the situation. The rest of your rant seems to believe otherwise and is full of a lot of BS accusations for some reason. And you’re complaining that Streetsblog has a slant? A bit hypocritical don’t you think?

          • My entire professional experience is moving freight, most of it in major US urban areas. No, at Noon I-285 on the north side is not generally a parking lot, though it is during the morning and evening rush, just like I-294 around Chicago or the Dan Ryan move pretty well except during rush periods too.

            Yes, Streetsblog obviously has a slant as removing freeways is not what more than 90% of Americans want. Most Americans don’t want to have to pay double or more for freight than they pay now, and most Americans prefer to drive rather than walking a mile each way to a train. Most Americans can afford to own and drive cars too, no matter how they are powered.

            We could solve some of that problem by building enough high-rise urban hydroponic greenhouse capability to grow most of our food locally, but I have already figured the necessary physical size, which comes to about 20 square miles of floor space just for our current population.

            Hydroponics and the newer aeroponics would use a whole lot less water than farming in dirt would, and emit a lot less GHG emissions too. However, would giant urban greenhouses be sustainable or not over the long-term?

            The answer is likely no.

            So why try so hard to remove a section of existing mainline urban Interstate highway without any prior legal precedent, and impose all the extra pollution and noise on the residents along I-270 and I-76, who outnumber Elyria/Swansea residents, who have lived with traffic pollution, industrial pollution, and railroad pollution since before everyone living in the neighborhood was born?

            I just wonder what your angle is, what you are thinking that you would stand to gain from doing so.

          • Expert Blockotect

            “Have you ever seen how hard it is to get onto a train in a really big city in rush hour? In some cities you might stand for an hour in-line on the platform waiting for space on a train.”

            No, you’re wildly exaggerating this. I’ve gotten onto trains in Manhattan during the evening rush. A little tight, but no wait.

            “Urban living is great when you are in your 20s or 30s, before you get tired of the high costs, the crime, the dope addicts, all the drunk driving accidents, after getting your house burglarized a few times, and your car or your bike stolen.”

            Sounds like a bunch of fear mongering. Prospect Park in Brooklyn is full of millennial families. Families lived all over the city until redlining and freeways sucked them out into the suburbs. By the way, this all happens in the suburbs too on top of the isolation, and the horrid health effects of sitting in a car all day to get anywhere.

            “…impose all the extra pollution and noise on the residents along I-270 and I-76”

            Only if you don’t believe in induced demand (a theory accepted since the 1930’s), which I’m guessing you don’t.

            I have no angle. There’s no big anti-freeway lobby I’m getting checks from. I know the harm of freeways, they are unnecessary and cause serious social harm.

          • Redlining and freeways? How old are you my man? You talk about Millennials in one sentence and talk about something that happened in NYC between the 1930s and 1960s in the next. When were the major freeways in NYC built anyway?

            There are more than 200 miles of freeways in the NYC area that predate World War II. Does the Hutchinson River Parkway ring a bell? Bronx River Parkway? Merritt Parkway? How about the Grand Central Parkway? Northern States or Southern States Parkways? Saw Mill River Parkway? Hudson River Drive? Heck, the Long Island Motor Parkway went bankrupt before World War II.

            When was the Holland Tunnel built? About the same time that the Pulaski Skyway was built, and an early stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike joined it with the Chicago Skyway well before the Interstate Highway Act. Freeways ruined your whole life even though they also brought immense economic growth across the US too.

            One place I stood on the platform for 30 minutes before giving-up and flagging a taxi was in Santiago, Chile. I have some photos of that experience if you would like to see them. A train would show up, maybe 200 people would get off, another 200 would get on, and leave the other 5000 people standing there.

            I also have experience riding the subways in NYC but most of mine is either from the early 1960s or the early 1970s, back when the percentage of people riding transit was higher than it has been in the last decade.

            I have ridden the train both in Chicago and in LA, as well as just once here in Denver, one round trip from Cinderella City back in 2008 when I was visiting someone down there. The closest train to my house is at 38th and Blake even though we live near Hwy 7 and I-25, one of those neighborhoods that ScamTracks promised service to only to break their promise.

            Remember when the NY, New Haven, and Hartford ran trains out of Grand Central until 1:30 AM and started again at 4:00? Whatever happened to that? Now Metro North quits a couple hours earlier and the frequency of trains is less than it was in the early 1970s. I just rode a Metro North train from White Plains to a Yankee game in September, but we drove to the train station in White Plains too. After that Yankees game there was an easy hour line to get back on the train so we rode Uber home instead.

            Frankly at the age of 60 I dislike walking very far, and I haven’t ridden a bike since 1975 except once when I borrowed one in 1997, when it felt like was on the ragged edge of control the entire mile I rode it. I have absolutely no desire to live in the city again like I once did 35 years ago but we do come down to the city several days per-week, and the only way that either my wife or i are comfortable with is driving.

            One last question. Do you consider the term “urban” to mean just the inner-city, just the city limits, or to include the suburbs and/or perhaps just beyond the suburban fringe?

            I was born in the suburbs of Detroit in 1957, and my dad was born in the suburbs of Boston in 1929. My mom was born in the suburbs of Kansas City in 1932, and my stepdad was born in the suburbs of San Francisco in 1924. Now I consider the built-up area whether city or suburban to be urban myself, but it appears to me from reading this blog that some people consider the term urban to only mean within the inner part of the city limits.

            Do you consider Green Valley Ranch or the area around Southwest Plaza Mall to be city or suburban? By all appearances both are very suburban, but they are both Denver city neighborhoods. What is the difference between suburban living inside Denver’s city limits and outside? Only which government collects taxes.

            Does this look like suburban living to you? Nope, it is within Denver’s city limits, and they are not going to be happy if you take their freeways away.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.6397135,-105.0743205,3a,60y,298.98h,81.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMGhOXn3wD9TK1dFrTNwL7Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

            Kind of looks like the projects, eh? Nope, suburban.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9887988,-105.0791341,3a,30y,109.44h,86.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sY1XQOVEaoWW3FC6KMbkWSw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

            Urban? Nope, suburban fringe

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9778946,-105.1321538,3a,60y,5.66h,78.7t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1subWFNl2GNd_muTy46qcbqw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

            How about here, the 20400 block of East 48th Place?

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7828156,-104.748355,3a,60y,11.96h,82.55t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHb-_eSGbdbTQjI_OYs8CHg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

            Nope, within Denver’s city limits, and they are not going to be happy if you take their freeway away either.

            So, what constitutes urban, the entire urban area or just the inner city? Frankly the vast majority of urban residents have very different needs than the future transportation policies advocated by this blog and some of its commenters, and as we paid for these highways and use them every day, we are not terribly happy with your idea to make our lives much more difficult and more-expensive just so that a couple percent more city residents can commute by bike to work.

          • Expert Blockotect

            Freeways didn’t bring economic growth. They were a symptom of cheap abundant oil. Freeways are harmful to an urban economy as they suppress the land values of any adjacent property. Once you remove the freeway the land values recover. If you think I’m pulling this out of my ass I encourage you to look at the research Chuck Marohn and Joe Minnicozi do at Strongtowns and Urban3 respectively.

            I’m not sure if those last comments are threats or warnings. The suburbs have long been subsidized by the inner city. This is also discussed by Marohn and Minnicozi. If hurting suburban residents feelings by removing the freeways is the worst that can happen, than our cities should have no problem bringing out the wrecking ball. The Elyria-Swansea residents don’t seem to agree with you; a neighborhood where residents have to put up with the freeway gutting their neighborhood, physically and economiclly.

          • You don’t live in Elyria and you repeatedly fail to answer any of my simple questions. There are 50 places in Metro-Denver where land value near the freeway is 10 times what it is in Elyria. How can you say that freeways destroy land values? What is the land value of the Pepsi Center, or that new high rise within a few blocks of I-25 and Speer? Aren’t Denver residents essentially subsidizing that neighborhood?

            Freeways brought tremendous economic growth. Cities were hamstrung right through the Civil Rights Act and and Fair Housing Act, which forced minority Americans to only live in a few rundown high-crime inner-city neighborhoods. Sun Valley, Auraria, Five Points, and the projects in Lincoln Park that are long gone today were where Denver’s minority residents were forced to live.

            Downtown Denver used to have a fair amount of polluting industry. The entire area between Union Station and the Platte River was nothing but a giant railroad yard as recently as 1992 with a few mainly run-down old warehouses fronting on the tracks. Virtually every one of those factories along Blake used to emit huge clouds of smoke back before the Clean Air Act. Most people didn’t want to live in the city back then as it was too polluted and too dangerous.

            So I am destroying your city living in the suburbs? Oh boy, you are so full of it. Want some cheese with that whine? Your city is more-expensive than almost all the suburbs these days, so if anything, your city is running up prices in our suburbs. At least I have lived here since 1982 and my grandfather used to employ people in Denver from the 1940s through the 1980s at his trucking and warehousing business. You sound like a latecomer to me.

            You want to find out what really happened to Denver I suggest reading this piece: “Historical Residential Subdivisions of Metro-Denver, 1940-1965”. a US Park Service document of 285 pages. It goes over the entire story in great depth.

            Basically World War II and the military build-up here destroyed Denver as the DOD built a bunch of outlying military facilities and single-story outlying factories, which were much more-efficient than were older inner-city factories along the railroad tracks, and they had to build housing along with their outlying bases and plants, creating instant suburbs after the war.

            Housing was in such short supply during and after the war that many old houses in the city were cut up into multiple small apartments which rapidly resulted in them being run down . Remember during the war all the trains were steam trains, hundreds every day pouring all their coal smoke into the city.

            Why whine and cry so hard about freeway pollution in Elyria which is only 1/5th as bad as it used to be just 50 years ago when that neighborhood was full of polluting industry, back when heavy trucks, trains, and the jetliners at Stapleton put out nothing but huge black clouds of smoke?

            https://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/sample_nominations/DenverSuburbsMPS.pdf

            You really bought that whole poor city hemmed in by its suburbs garbage, didn’t you? Denver is not hemmed-in and DIA proves it as does Southwest Plaza and Green Valley Ranch. It isn’t metropolitan government and taxation like Houston, Columbus, or Louisville, KY are but plenty of Denver looks just like any suburb in town, in-fact the lot sizes on 9th Street on the Auraria campus are 8000 square feet rather than 4000 or less that is common in real cities. Basically the entire city is a suburb by big city standards out east.

            You never did answer my simple question either. Are the Green Valley Ranch or Southwest Plaza neighborhoods urban or suburban? According to the Federal government, the entire built-up area of Metro-Denver is an urban area, that is a legal definition. Perhaps you would enjoy taking urban development law at the graduate level as I have already done?

            How about instead of the trucking industry fighting Denver tooth and nail for decent uncongested access you inner-city haters of decent roads come on out to the warehouses and pick-up what you need there instead?

            Here is King Soopers dry goods warehouse:

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7461057,-104.7775511,419m/data=!3m1!1e3

            Here is their frozen food warehouse:

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7923999,-104.8715364,426m/data=!3m1!1e3

            Here is their fresh food warehouse, along with meat and their bakery too.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7169861,-105.0126689,419m/data=!3m1!1e3

            Either that or just drive out to one of the suburban stores that you seem so hate so much.

          • PS: Cities inland off of oceans or navigable rivers were a byproduct of cheap coal according to your rationale too.

          • Expert Blockotect

            “Cities inland off of oceans or navigable rivers were a byproduct of cheap coal according to your rationale too.”

            Funny. I don’t remember reading about all people owning 2-3 steamboats per household.

            “Your city is more-expensive than almost all the suburbs these days.”

            That’s correct. Inner city residents pay the same rates and taxes for water, sewer, highways and all of the maintenance as the ‘burb folks do. Yet, per person, the cost of building all of that infrastructure is much less in the city than the ‘burbs because of the greater density. On top of that, employees grab their paycheck from the city, and run off to their SFR in the ‘burbs to skirt out on paying for the taxes that support that infrastructure. So thank you for proving my point.

            “many old houses in the city were cut up into multiple small apartments which rapidly resulted in them being run down”

            Right. Capitol Hill is a real hell hole. Whole Foods only puts stores in hell hole neighborhoods.

            “freeway pollution in Elyria which is only 1/5th as bad as it used to be just 50 years ago”

            So cram more freeway into the neighborhood and get that PPM count back up to 1960’s levels already!

            “Aren’t you gentrifiers guilty of running a bunch of low-income city residents out of their homes and businesses too?”

            You’re starting to make “grasping for straws” assumptions and point fingers I see. Sounds like you’re running out of BS.

            “Perhaps you would enjoy taking urban development law at the graduate level as I have already done?”

            Is this supposed to make you look credible? The bankers that caused the ’07/’08 crash were all Ivy League scholars fyi. But keep trying to pound it into my head. It might work next time.

            “my grandfather used to employ people in Denver from the 1940s through the 1980s at his trucking and warehousing business”

            I noticed in another post you claimed that you were part of the freight industry. Which means you are part of a special interest group that stands to lose if this or any freeway were eliminated. Giving you a pretty big incentive to come out here and tout mouthfuls of BS. All for the green, even at the expense of the already ravaged Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.

          • Expert Blockotect

            “Cities inland off of oceans or navigable rivers were a byproduct of cheap coal according to your rationale too.”

            Funny. I don’t remember reading about people owning 2-3 locomotives per household.

            “Your city is more-expensive than almost all the suburbs these days.”

            That’s correct. Even though on a per person basis the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure in the city is cheaper because of the greater density, the mass exodus of people that could afford a loan in the “tax haven” suburbs left the city and all of its infrastructure maintenance payments to the poor who couldn’t afford a loan and who were discriminated against through redlining. The cities were left to foot the bill with a reduced tax base and could either default on loan payments, jack up the rates, and/or let it crumble. All the while the suburban commuters that choke up the freeways during rush hour enjoy earning their pay in the city and then taking it out to the ”tax haven” suburbs where it props up all of the city owned infrastructure. It’s no wonder why you praise the (for suburban benefit only) subsidized freeway so much. So thank you for proving my point.

            “many old houses in the city were cut up into multiple small apartments which rapidly resulted in them being run down”

            Right. Capitol Hill and Cherry Creek are real hell holes. Whole Foods only puts stores in hell hole neighborhoods.

            “freeway pollution in Elyria which is only 1/5th as bad as it used to be just 50 years ago”

            So cram more freeway into the neighborhood and get that PPM count back up to 1960’s levels already!

            “Aren’t you gentrifiers guilty of running a bunch of low-income city residents out of their homes and businesses too?”

            You’re starting to make “grasping for straws” assumptions and point fingers I see. Sounds like you’re running low on the usual BS.

            “Perhaps you would enjoy taking urban development law at the graduate level as I have already done?”

            Is this supposed to make you look credible? The bankers that caused the ’07/’08 crash were all Ivy League alumni, fyi. But keep trying to pound it into my head. It might work next time.

            “my grandfather used to employ people in Denver from the 1940s through the 1980s at his trucking and warehousing business”

            I noticed in another post you claimed that you were part of the freight industry. Which means you are part of a special interest group that stands to lose big if this or any freeway were eliminated. Giving you a pretty big incentive to come out here and tout mouthfuls of BS. $700 billion in profits and $60 billion in tax payer subsidies aren’t quite enough. All for the green, even at the expense of the already ravaged Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.

    • acerttr250

      You couch everything in “this is the way it is”. It isn’t. I70 from i25 to 76 could disappear tomorrow. People would move on and figure it out. As for the freight rate thing, that’s ridiculous. Nobody bases a rate based on a street or highway.

      This portion of 70 never should have been built. It was cheap, convenient and the people impacted were brown or black…Or poor. That needs to end. The viaduct needs to come down. Period.

  • HamTech87

    Having been in the neighborhoods along this highway, I can tell you it is already awful there. And this will just make it worse.
    If we don’t do more to lower VMTs — and building a wider highway is doing the opposite — the climate and our health is going to be screwed.

    • The projected 2035 I-70 demand east of Quebec is 280K plus, which includes a 10% reduction in VMT. By 2035 auto fuel mileage should be double what it is now if not more, as hybrid and EV technology will be much less expensive by then.

      The fact is that already battery/hybrid technology exists in China where a mid-size SUV gets 120 mpg and a small SUV gets 150 mpg. (BYD’s Tang and Song hybrid models). BYD’s e6 is a boxy-looking crossover that looks a bit like a Dodge Journey, which is fully electric with a 187-mile EPA-rated range.

      Turbine-hybrid power already exists for trucks and buses too which will triple their fuel mileage and cut emissions by about 70% using natural gas or methane for fuel rather than diesel fuel. Both UPS and FedEx are already testing Turbine-hybrid tractors and delivery trucks in-fact.

      Unless Denver secedes from the US I am afraid we are stuck with having to move a fair amount of food and freight, and of course under our current economic system if 3% annual growth stops we can’t even employ all of our young people entering the workforce.

      I will agree that our current economy nor southwestern US and Mexican water supply nor food supply do not appear sustainable at this point but I have already proved that there isn’t nearly enough irrigated farmland remaining within 100 miles of Denver to meet just urban Front Range food needs unless average crop yield goes up by 250%.

      If the temperature keeps rising so do mountain snow levels and so does the surface water evaporation rate, while it appears quite likely that both the Denver Basin and the Ogallala Aquifer at our latitude will be depleted in the next 2-3 decades, which should be just about the same time that most urban areas exhaust their groundwater supply and with it 60-75% of their urban water supply, with the average resident of Mexico City already receiving less than 40 gallons of supply per-day, already declining at 5-8% per-decade.

      Mexico City is also more than 4 times the population of Colorado too, while in just another 20 years El Paso and Juarez ought to be double the population of Metro-Denver when they exhaust their remaining groundwater supply too.

      The way it appears now is that Denver will become a very popular place within 20-30 years as millions of desperate refugees flood into town as the temperature continues to rise. In 30 years I’ll be age 90 if I am still around but what about my 3 Millennial kids and grandkids?

      • acerttr250

        So we need more useless freeways? Uh-huh.

        • TakeFive

          Let Me Correct That For You

          We need better more efficient (not more) freeways to move and deliver the many things that you need and use every day that you now take for granted.

          • acerttr250

            You mean the highways I am forced to is because the government fails to plan so that people don’t have to drive. In addition, the government continues to ignore density and spread like cancer basically convicting this generation to a life sentence of driving.

          • TakeFive

            The Gubment does the bidding of its citizen/voters; that’s how it should be.

            BTW, the efficient movement of goods and services is as critical to a well-functioning city as are sidewalks and bike lanes. Lastly if you don’t think that the cities on the Western Slope and along I-25 and U.S. 36 have much political clout you would be sorely mistaken.

          • acerttr250

            Denver has the most political clout and will only gain as the population increases in the city limits. Eventually, the outreaches of Colorado will simply be window dressing. Enjoy this “clout” while you still can. It’s fleeting.

          • TakeFive

            So would you like to start one of those “Denver should secede from the state” movements?

            Of the ten Fortune 500 companies whose HQ is in Colorado exactly one is in Denver/downtown; Davita (Thanks Kent). Most are in south metro with a couple in Boulder Co. BTW, the CEO of the largest company is a yuge fan and patron of the Denver Zoo. If you’re not familiar with the Denver Zoo you should grab some kids off the streets and make a day trip there; might change your life.

            What industries would you guess contribute the most? Agriculture? That’s one.Tourism would certainly be right up there. How much time have you spent in Summit, Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield or La Plata counties? Ever spent a week in Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park? You might be surprised how many Texans know more about Colorado’s western slope than you. Ever been fly fishing?

          • acerttr250

            You fail to understand that “Denver” means “Denver Metro”. Politics follow votes and money. Outside of Denver metro, the state is sparsely populated. Despite the upswing in economy, besides the Denver Metro, the state is stagnant. If the state wasn’t putting out the cash for life support for most of Colorado, there would be not much there.

          • Not entirely true, as the urban Front Range from Colorado Springs up to Fort Collins is doing fine. Summit and Eagle County are doing OK, as is Routt County. I will agree that most Colorado Counties dependent on agriculture or on historic mining haven’t been doing so well unless they have a major resort draw of some kind, and most of our mountain Counties have had to pay double for their Obamacare than is the case in Metro Denver too.

          • I lived in Avon and Edwards from 1983-85, and in Georgetown in 1991. I lived in Metro-Denver or in the mountains all but 6 years since the fall of 1982. I have owned five single-family houses here, the most-recent one is worth $700K.

            My grandparents owned a cabin in Kittredge right on Bear Creek and my grandfather owned a truckline that employed people in Denver from the 1920s through the 1960s when he sold it. His company (Schock Warehouse) was right off the Delgany offramp off the 23rd St bridge. My grandfather also owned some grazing land in Summit County at one time too, back before the Eisenhower Tunnel was done.

            I am old-enough to have driven over Vail Pass on old US 6 before the freeway was done, in-fact I have probably taken over 1000 trips to West Slope companies delivering freight and another 2500 trips delivering freight along the urban Front Range as well as to the cities and towns of the Eastern Plains too. I probably know Colorado far better than you do in-fact.

          • TakeFive

            Again, my comment was a reply to acerttr250. You do likely know Colorado and western slope even better than I do although my history timeline is similar.

          • “The Gubment does the bidding of its citizen/voters; that’s how it should be”.

            If that was true we wouldn’t have fracking within 500 feet of homes and schools when the minimum safe distance from a well blowout explosion due to the heat involved is over 2000 feet, and the minimum safe distance from a major fracking industry haz-mat leak is up to 2.5 miles depending on weather at the time of the spill.

            Rather than lambasting my position I think perhaps you should do some reading on FHWA MAP-21 and FAST Act freight congestion and DOD freight policy as your claim that towns and cities along Interstate highways have any real power to prevent or remove major mainline Interstate highways shows quite a level of naivete.

          • TakeFive

            Mark… my reply was to acerttr250, not to you. Check the arrow after my handle to know who the reply is to. Thanks.

          • Why do you hate freeways so much? Gee, I really would much rather drive long distance at much higher speed on a freeway than having to fight urban traffic in every little town. I have lived near freeways before too.

      • TakeFive

        Fantastic comment Mark. I always prefer facts that reflect reality as opposed to fantasies.

        BTW, the economy chugs along at closer to 2% growth and to find the productivity gains necessary to push it above 3% would likely displace many workers. Not sure I accept your water scenarios but you’re obviously well-versed on the topic and I am not.

        • acerttr250

          If the answer to gdp was simply highway building, we could build ourselves into perpetual prosperity never once suffering a recession. Highways have nothing to do with gdp.

          • TakeFive

            My reference to GDP growth was in response to what Mark said. Never said it had significant impact on the GDP. But since you bring it up the efficient movement of goods and services can help productivity. Well maintained roads can also mean less down time for the rigs that bring us what we need.

          • acerttr250

            If you believe the Roads of Colorado are not maintained, you should hit up Alabama or Arkansas.

          • Back in the spring and summer of 2010 lots of local roads around Detroit were nothing but a sea of giant potholes but at-least the State kept the freeways functional.

          • I recently used a figure for employment growth from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp that showed an average rate of 3.375% for all of 2014, all of 2015, and the first 6 months of 2016, though during the first 6 months of 2016 employment growth had fallen off to just 2.9%. I would have to go through individual monthly reports to get more-recent data.

          • TakeFive

            Oops, sorry, when I hear GDP I automatically think of the nation. With respect to Denver I’m sure you’re close enough.

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