“The Freeway Fighters Network serves as a think tank for advocates who are working to transform communities that have been scarred by highways,” said leading anti-freeway advocate Amy Stelly.

There’s now so many freeway removal projects and grassroots advocacy campaigns underway that a peak body is needed to represent them all.

A recent special report in The Fifth Estate looked at how a growing number of cities overseas had demolished freeways, and examined why Australian cities should follow suit.

Well, unlike a peak-hour motorist, it looks like the idea is gaining traction fast.

The latest from the US is that a peak body has been formed to represent all the freeway removal projects and advocacy groups across the country.

Backed by Congress for the New Urbanism, The Freeway Fighters Network covers 50 projects or campaigns to either build over or demolish urban freeways, along with a further 19 community groups opposing freeway expansions.

Along with advocating for freeways to be replaced with multimodal transportation systems, housing and open public space, the group calls for investments in community development that builds wealth for nearby residents.

“The Freeway Fighters Network serves as a think tank for advocates who are working to transform communities that have been scarred by highways,” said Amy Stelly, co-founder of the Claiborne Avenue Alliance in New Orleans. 

It comes after the Biden Administration set aside $US1 billion ($A1.3 billion) for urban freeway removal as part of its infrastructure bill, sparking the imaginations of a growing number of communities across the country.

What’s especially interesting, given the deep political divides in the US at the moment, is that the communities looking to get rid of roads aren’t all clustered in red states or blue states. 

FFN counts member organisations in states like California, New York, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Michigan and Vermont; as well as in Texas, New Orleans, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina.

 “The studies are conclusive: widening freeways doesn’t ease congestion. Instead induced demand quickly absorbs added capacity, generating more greenhouse gases and wasting billions of dollars,” CNU executive director Rick Cole said.

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