IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

From elevated freeways to surface boulevards: neighborhood and housing price impacts in San Francisco


  • Cervero, Robert
  • Kang, Junhee
  • Shively, Kevin


Freeway “deconstruction†marks an abrupt shift in urban policy. Priorities are shifting away from designing cities to enhance mobility toward promoting economic and environmental sustainability, livability, and social equity. This paper investigates the neighborhood, traffic, and housing price impacts of replacing elevated freeways with surface boulevards in two notable yet different corridors of San Francisco: Embarcadero along the city’s eastern waterfront and Central Freeway/Octavia Boulevard serving a predominantly residential neighborhood west of downtown. A combination of informant interviews, literature reviews, and statistical analyses are used in examining neighborhood, traffic, and housing impacts of these two roadway conversions. The research shows freeway conversions generally lead to gentrification of once-declining neighborhoods, although public policies like affordable housing mandates can temper displacement effects. In general, operational and improvements to surface streets along with enhanced transit services and walking environments have accommodated considerable shares of former freeway traffic so as to avoid the traffic nightmares that were predicted when grade-separated freeways were removed. Empirical evidence on residential sales transactions reveals that the dis-amenity effects of proximity to a freeway have for the most part given way to amenity benefits once roadways are converted to nicely landscaped multi-way boulevards. We conclude that freeway-toboulevard conversions, a form of urban re-prioritization that gives more emphasis to neighborhood quality and less to automobility, have yielded net positive benefits without seriously sacrificing transportation performance.Â

Suggested Citation

  • Cervero, Robert & Kang, Junhee & Shively, Kevin, 2007. "From elevated freeways to surface boulevards: neighborhood and housing price impacts in San Francisco," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0rd80444, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt0rd80444

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item




    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt0rd80444. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.