Today, like its predecessors, the expressway has struck a technological threshold. Its downfall is its limited capacity. Even the biggest highway can move at most a couple hundred thousand cars per day—sufficient for small cities and for long-distance trips, but inadequate in a city of millions. And while people were once content—or at least powerless to resist—the demolition of thousands of homes and entire neighborhoods for new urban highways, those days are also over.
I’ve always been fascinated by how cities grow and develop. It’s like physical history, like the rings on a tree. Even here in Des Moines, traffic gets choked in the morning and the evening, when everyone commutes to and fro.