On a national scope, his methods and teachings also inspired the generation of highway planners that built the Interstate Highway System.
From "The Power Broker, Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro.
“The Power Broker, Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” by Robert Caro tells the story of Robert Moses, of his transformation from earnest idealist to hardened pragmatist, of his accumulation of power acquired entirely without democratic process and of the impact of that power on New York City and the rest of the country.
In 1943 Robert Moses came to
As the end of World War II came into view, the political and business leadership of
For two months, starting in September 1943, the “Moses Men” worked out of their headquarters in the Multnomah Hotel (now the Embassy Suites Downtown
Portland City Commissioner William Bowes, an admirer of Robert Moses, strikes a Moses-esque pose.
The report, titled “Portland Improvement” covered many aspects of civic enhancement. New parks, school and water system improvements, a civic center and new railroad station were proposed in the reports 85 pages, as well as an arterial freeway system that incoporated prior plans with a freeway loop surrounding downtown.
A few years ago, I acquired a copy of Portland Improvement.
What follows is a view of the
(Click on photos to expand). The plan emphasized freeway development. Transit was not addressed, it wasn’t even mentioned. One of the striking features of the map of proposed freeways is how familiar it looks, containing early versions of the I-5 routing through downtown ( further east) I-405 and I-205 (closer in).
The plan called for a version of the
The corner of North Shaver and North Overlook, where the Moses version of the
“The canvas on which Moses had drawn the Gowanus (parkway) creation was a neighborhood known as
From “The Power Broker, Robert Moses and the Fall of
The 1943 version of the
Harbor Drive was an important part of the highway plan. The proposed ramp system to the
The eventual configuration of Harbor drive at the
Robert Moses found
“The expense involved in resituating the station would be prohibitive as it would necessitate an enormous amount of trackage relocation. It is therefore not recommended”
Robert Moses would have approved of much in this picture, but even he would not have placed the east side freeway on the riverbank.
The east bank of the Willamette in “
The plan called for a “
For all of Robert Moses’ reputation as a builder of parks, “
Much of “Portland Improvement” ran afoul for funding in a series of postwar elections. Still, the plan existed as a template for much of
Robert Moses mark on
The consequences of Robert Moses’s influence is still felt in
His belief in freeways and disdain for transit influenced a generation of
Commissioner William Bowes decision to allow the removal of the Portland Traction interurban lines downtown loop to ease the construction of the new
Portland's and the nations reliance on freeways will be around for long time to come.
“To build his highways, Moses through out of their homes 250,000 persons- more people that lived in Albany or Chattanooga, or in Spokane, Tacoma, Duluth, Akron, Baton Rouge, Mobile Nashville or Sacramento. He tore out the hearts of a score of neighborhoods, communities the size of small cities themselves, communities that had been lively, friendly places to live, the vital part of the city that made New York a home to its people.
By building his highways, Moses flooded the city with cars. By systematically starving the subways and the suburban commuter railroads, he swelled that flood to city- destroying dimensions. By making sure the vast suburbs, rural and empty when he came to power, were filled on a sprawling, low-density development pattern relying primarily on roads instead of mass transportation, he insured that the flood would continue for generations if not centuries, that the New York metropolitan area would be- perhaps forever –an area in which transportation –getting from one place to another- would be an irritating, life-consuming concern for its 14,000,000 residents.”
From "The Power Broker, Robert Moses and the Fall of
The Oregonian, February 11, 2007 “Car-chocked highways certain to get worse” by James Mayer.
It's Robert Moses’s world, we just live in it.