Reader's View: A ‘greenway’ over I-35 would spur housing

We won’t be pushing the interstate down into the earth but covering it over to create positive spaces and a new positive environment above it.

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Interesting how the words “downtown housing” come up often in conversations about a proposal to build a 15-acre pedestrian and park "greenway" over Interstate 35 in Duluth. The fact is, the greenway would become a major draw to encourage increased downtown housing.

Several attractors of housing promise to be basic results of the greenway proposal: greenspace; open space; quiet; amenities for people; the tying together of two commercial districts; birds; nature; a contrast with pavement, buildings, and traffic; walkable connections, including for lunch and dinner; and meeting with, seeing, and visiting with people in a unique, quality downtown space.

To create something like this in the middle of a downtown would indeed be unusual. And to be able to create it on the edges, or directly in the center, would be perfect.

Key will be separating vehicles from people. Removing vehicles’ polluting exhaust from the air we breathe will be critical.

Fortunately, huge excavations and resultant costs and problems with water and utilities should not be an issue. We won’t be pushing the interstate down into the earth but covering it over to create positive spaces and a new positive environment above it. Values people treasure in their neighborhoods would be replicated, with the tree and vegetation cover and the absence of vehicular noise and conflicts.


Imagine walking through a new green environment — the greenway — to reach your many interests and needs, whether it’s health care, food, the library, Depot, government, shops of all sorts, or entertainment. You name it, it promises to be at close proximity.

Name any other city with anything close to this. This is an opportunity, and it is absolutely feasible, reasonable, and beneficial. Elderly thinking of a move? The resultant downtown housing would fill every need to keep them as part of our Duluth.

Kent G. Worley

Grand Rapids, Michigan

The writer was a landscape architect in Duluth from 1967 through 2007. He designed Lake Place, the Lakewalk, Leif Erikson Park, and Interstate 35 through downtown Duluth. He can be reached at

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