The Embarcadero Freeway: A San Francisco Disaster
The Embarcadero Freeway, also known as CA-480, was a freeway located in San Francisco, first constructed in 1959. Planned to be part of the Interstate Highway System, originally proposed as a connection to US 101 and US/40-50 in 1947, the Embarcadero was proposed as I-480. When it became clear the entire freeway wouldn't be built, the I-480 designation was removed, converting it into a State Highway.
View of the freeway, facing north near Howard Street. (America's Canceled Highways)
|Image: SF Chronicle, "Vista views of a section section of the Embarcadero Freeway, February 3, 1961, looking north"
While certainly part of the freeway revolts of the 1970's that occurred in other parts of the United States, it should be noted that the opposition to the freeway was not universal. According the America's Canceled Highways, the city’s Chinatown neighborhood feared the loss of traffic between the Bay Bridge and their district would have a severely negative effect on business.
This is a map of former State Route 480 in California as it existed in 1964, with unconstructed parts in purple. (Wikipedia Commons)
|Embarcadero Plaza in front of the Ferry Building became a place where ferry & streetcar commuters, Farmers Market, cafes and landscaped boulevard peacefully coexist. (Soul of America)