Skip to content
CityLab
Transportation

Burying a 1950s Planning Disaster

The partial removal of the Inner Loop might make Rochester, New York, the city that finally breaks a ruinous mid-century mold.
The Inner Loop of Rochester, New York, pictured in 2015.
The Inner Loop of Rochester, New York, pictured in 2015.Norman Garrick

Realizing the devastating effect urban freeways have had on downtowns across the U.S., many cities are now contemplating some form of freeway removal. Most of these discussions haven’t gotten very far, but in Rochester, New York, officials have moved beyond the talking phase and are actually taking action.

One year ago, the city started trucking in mud from the bottom of Lake Ontario and dumping it into the ditch that was once the eastern quarter of I-490, the so-called Inner Loop, that severed downtown Rochester from its neighborhoods on all sides.