Rose Garden, how community resolved the freeway debate

It so much fun to see the Rose Garden at Leif Erikson Park. Today there was wedding. The story of the construction of Interstate 35 and Duluth’s Rose Garden is Interesting. This  Website explains  that what follows is not an ideal example of how to design an urban freeway, but rather a case study of the dynamics of the issue of the urban freeway, its effects on the community, and its design. It is worthy of detail because its history typifies that of the American urban freeway in general, with the shift in attitudes towards freeway construction during the 1960s that led to discord and friction between function-minded highway engineers and civic-minded citizens; it is worthy of detail because of the notable way in which the community resolved the freeway debate by seeing the highway as something which could benefit rather than destroy and unite rather than divide a community; and it is worthy of detail because of its design, which features a combination of aesthetic, mitigation and integration techniques which make it an example of good urban freeway design.

Slowly, the possibilities began to take shape. Instead of building up, why not build the freeway down and cover it with a “lid” atop which could be built a park? The lid would hide the freeway from the urban fabric as well as protect traffic from lake spray. The park, furthermore, could be used to connect downtown Duluth to the waterfront. Thus was the beginning of Lake Place. Similar tunnels could be used to hide the freeway and protect historic buildings such as the Fitger Brewery as well as existing civic spaces such as Leif Erikson park.Read more at

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