Fellows in the News

Regan Patterson was featured in the recent Grist story: "A freeway ripped the heart out of Black life in Detroit. Now Michigan wants to tear it down." 

"In June 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Interstate Highway Act into law, spurring a multi-decade national infrastructure building boom. In cities across the U.S., these new roadways were disproportionately routed through communities of color. From Detroit to New Orleans to Miami, this construction helped contribute to the decimation of the culture, political power, and economies of Black America amidst the peak of the Civil Rights movement. 

“Throughout the country, urban freeways were routed through Black neighborhoods, resulting in the malicious division and forced displacement of Black neighborhoods, as well as local Black economies,” said Regan Patterson, an environmental engineer and current fellow at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

But this infrastructure is hitting the end of its lifespan, and communities are now debating what to do with their legacy highways. ... Rather than rebuild or repair I-375’s aging bridges, the Michigan Department of Transportation, or MDOT, announced in 2017 that it would replace the sunken, four-lane highway with a street-level boulevard lined with sidewalks and bike lanes."

Read the original article for the full story and more from Regan. 

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