Evan M. Lopez
Lind has a bold proposal: Get rid of the three-mile stretch of I-95 between the Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman bridges.
City Paper: What changes would need to be made to eliminate that section of I-95?
Diana Lind: You would probably need some sort of beefed-up Columbus Boulevard. In addition, you would really want to provide a host of other transportation options, particularly for the regional traffic that's on I-95. At the same time, you'd have to think of ways of moving people out of their cars and into public transportation.
CP: What are the benefits of getting rid of I-95 downtown?
DL: The one that I'm really pushing — and the reason I'm thinking about removal rather than, say, highway burial — is that I think there's a lot of economic opportunity that's locked up in the land that's being taken up by I-95. I think that there's an opportunity here to provide parks and other amenities to neighborhoods ... and for the city to lure businesses and industry to that particular section, to raise more capital for Philadelphia.
CP: What is your game plan for convincing people?
DL: The game plan is to engage everyone in Philadelphia about this debate, to get the [traffic] data and the information needed to make a case for removing the highway, and to make it a national issue, so that the idea of removing I-95 doesn't seem as crazy when there're 10 other major cities trying to do a similar thing.