Background In 1927, construction was begun on the West Side Elevated Highway. Running from 72nd Street to Battery Park, the highway was a harbinger of things to come. All the pros and cons of what has now become the classic interstate highway confrontation were built into the West Side Elevated Highway. It provided access . . . and encouraged sprawl. It stimulated the local economy, but at the expense of local serenity. It responded to the growing demand from auto owners, but didn't it also make that demand grow? And, in the 1970's, the highway, any highway, must face the added issues of environmental degradation and energy consumption.
From the Thirties to the Sixties, the West Side Highway became an increasingly integral part of New York City life . . . and increasingly a target of criticism. For over a decade, planners and