L.A. Times Analysis Shows Racist Harms of Freeway Projects
Overall for five states - California, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas - large highway building projects demolished homes predominantly in Black and Latino neighborhoods
This week the Los Angeles Times published a three-article series on freeway expansion’s present and past harms to communities of color. The Times examined three decades of freeway expansion projects in five states – California, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas – and found that large highway building projects demolished homes predominantly (nearly two-thirds) in Black and Latino neighborhoods.
For Caltrans projects, the L.A. Times found that 100 percent of the 1,254 homes demolished were in non-white areas. Note that the Times focused on projects that displaced 100 or more households. Many of California’s highway widening projects fall below that threshold – for example: Metro and Caltrans under-construction widening of the 71 Freeway through Pomona has demolished 21 homes in the Latino/Asian Westmont neighborhood.
The three Times pieces are:
- Freeways force out residents in communities of color — again – relates current stories of freeway project displacement in communities of color in Houston, Los Angeles, Tampa, and elsewhere
- The racist history of America’s interstate highway boom – relates much of the history of highway building focusing on Black and Latino neighborhood
- How we reported the story on highway displacements – outlines the LAT five-state 30-year mega project analysis noted above.
The Times series features fantastic aerial photography graphics showing home demolitions in Tampa and in the L.A. County city of Norwalk.
Streetsblog L.A. readers will recall earlier SBLA reporting on these neighborhoods erased by Metro and Caltrans 5 Freeway widening demolitions. The $2 billion I-5 South freeway widening, expected to be completed in 2022, took 423 full parcels – mostly homes – in majority Latino neighborhoods in the southeast L.A. County cities of Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, Downey and La Mirada. Metro and Caltrans are already planning hundreds more home demolitions along the 5 Freeway through Santa Fe Springs and Downey.
SBLA’s January 2021 coverage included several before/after images, including the pair below.
Read the Times coverage – linked above.