America has a huge transportation infrastructure deficit, which means lots of our highways are due to be rebuilt. But according to Next American City editor at large Diana Lind, we'd be better off simply knocking them down, especially the ones that blight our cities.

It's been done before, reports Andrew Nusca at SmartPlanet:

After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the city of San Francisco faced the tremendous task of rebuilding the structurally-damaged Embarcadero Freeway. Instead, they tore it down, replaced it with a people-friendly boulevard that encouraged development. The surrounding area has since rebounded, Lind said, with higher property values, more tourism and more housing for city residents.

Boston and New York have also obsoleted highways, or decided not to build them in the first place, thus trading in urban no-man's-land for thriving, economically productive streetscapes.

And how will people get around without all those highways? Mass transit, of course. America is relearning what countries in Europe and Asia never forgot — in cities, cars are often the least good way to get around.

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