New York and London Roads


    IT is stated in Roads and Road Construction of July that municipal engineers were greatly impressed by the highways followed during the Royal tour in the environments of New York. In particular the West Side Express Highway, the Triborough Bridge, the Henry Hudson Parkway and the Great Central Parkway can be described as magnificent highways. They form part of the system which has been built up during the past ten years near New York. Some of the engineers have returned with plans for bringing certain old-fashioned highways of Great Britain up to date. In Now York City and Long Island alone there are more than a hundred miles of parkway and nearly two hundred fly-over crossings. Traffic using these routes is able to reach the heart of Manhattan without a single hold up such as those which delay motorists many times on most routes into big cities of Great Britain. The question is discussed why New York and in a lesser degree Paris, Rome and Berlin have been able to achieve what London has only been able to do in a very minor degree. It is suggested that there are two factors, the first connected with organization and the second with a happy choice of opportunities and times for road building. The development of parkways in the vicinity of New York was conceived and promoted by an independent organization known as the Long Island State Park Commission. This Commission has pursued a continuous policy, and has overcome difficulties in a way impossible to a well-meaning local authority. The opportunity presented by the economic crisis of 1929 and the vast sums afterwards distributed by the Federal Government for the relief of distress and unemployment was taken full advantage of with very happy results. The result has been that New York has now an unrivalled arterial road system. It is hoped that a similar coincidence, namely a strong independent planning authority aided by the central government could, and perhaps one day will, do the same for London.

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    New York and London Roads. Nature 144, 323 (1939).

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