Freeway Exit

KPBS Public Media

Freeways are not free. We pay for them in all kinds of ways — with our tax dollars, our time, our environment and our health. While freeways have enabled huge amounts of economic growth, they've also caused displacement and division. Learn the forgotten history of our urban freeway network, and how decades after that network was finished, some communities are still working to heal the wounds that freeways left behind. As climate change threatens to wreak havoc on our cities, freeways are not just a part of the problem. They can also be part of the solution. read less

Our Editor's Take

The Freeway Exit podcast reviews the past, present, and future of America's freeways. The host is reporter Andrew Bowen from KPBS Media. He invites listeners to imagine living without freeways and acknowledges that it's no easy feat.

Freeways are integral to the transport system. Most people use them daily. Yet, what is the impact of freeways decades later? How are they affecting the environment? Bowen shares insights on the Freeway Exit podcast. He discusses the roads' beginnings as well as how they affect people today.

The first podcast episode begins by reviewing "San Diego's first freeway." SR-163 intersects Balboa Park. That beautiful canyon park is often called the city's "crown jewel." Balboa features hummingbirds and connects nature to its urban surroundings. Bowen talks to an environmentalist about the road. The activist's wish to return to life before the freeway. What could this mean for the community? The host returns to the 1941 decision for the highway, which received 89% voter support. One citizen of San Diego County remembers this vote. He discusses how San Diego wanted to compete with San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Another episode investigates "The freeway revolts." Bowen begins at an elementary school that could have been destroyed for a freeway if activists hadn't fought to save it. The whole community wouldn't have existed. It's an optimistic story of a group united to protect their neighborhood.

Each episode of Freeway Exit explores another aspect of these essential road systems. Bowen investigates their creation and the opportunities they provide. He also questions the idea of them being "free." After all, the freeways cause negative health and environmental effects. He also comments on the time people spend on a freeway and the noise the cars make.

Freeway Exit examines the history of these roads in which many people lost homes. When some are at risk of collapse, Bowen questions their importance to today's society. What is the future of freeways? This program has some answers.

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