This just in… Amid interstate debate, former Milwaukee mayor to talk about progressive alternatives to urban freeway

Indiana landmarks will host a talk by former Milwaukee mayor and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism , John Norquist, on thetopic of “Urban Freeways and the Value of Cities”. The event will be held Monday, February 26th from 6 to 7 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.) at Indiana Landmarks Center located at 1201 Central Avenue. Attendees are asked to RSVP for the free event at or call 317-639-4534.

John Norquist, former Milwaukee mayor and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism

In Indianapolis, a growing coalition of groups and businesses is calling for more forward-thinking alternatives to INDOT’s proposed expansion of the aging I-65/70 inner loop infrastructure. To offer a perspective on the issue, Indiana Landmarks is bringing John Norquist, an expert on urban freeway removal, to give a talk on Feb. 26. The talk at Indiana Landmarks Center is open to the public.

When Norquist was mayor of Milwaukee, he championed the removal of an elevated downtown highway and its replacement with a boulevard that spurred tax-base-supporting development. After leaving elected office in 2004, Norquist spent a decade as president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a national organization that promotes walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions.

Based on his experience taking down the Park East Freeway, Norquist created a program at the Congress for the New Urbanism to help advocates and local officials pursuing highway teardown initiatives. He’ll discuss other examples in his talk, “Urban Freeways and the Value of Cities.”  The event is free with an online rsvp or by calling 317-639-4534 for a reservation.

Author of The Wealth of Cities, Norquist has taught courses in urban planning and development at the University of Chicago, Marquette University, DePaul University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. He is working on a book about federal programs that help and hurt cities.

Neighborhood organizations and residents, members of the business community, historic preservationists, landscape designers, and architects are among those advocating for a solution other than widening the existing I-65/70 inner loop that surrounds downtown Indianapolis.

Planned in the 1960s and completed in the 1970s, the loop has reached the stage where it needs significant investment according to INDOT.

“We believe there are alternatives that could reduce or even eliminate rather than expand the highway through downtown. Indianapolis deserves a forward-looking solution similar to those undertaken in San Francisco and many other cities, rather than a doubling down on nearly 60-year old thinking,” says Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks.

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