THE IMPACT OF BELTWAYS ON CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICTS: A CASE STUDY OF RICHMOND

To what extent can a circumferential highway affect retail activity in the central business district it surrounds? Do anticipated travel demands justify construction of such highways? Through a case study of Richmond, Virginia, the authors investigate these issues, which are of significance to many cities contemplating beltway construction. Muller et al. compare the rates of suburbanization in six other medium-sized cities--three with beltways and three without. They find that the proportion of central business district sales declined more rapidly in the areas with beltways, confirming the findings from earlier beltway impact studies. In the case of Richmond, evidence suggests that the beltway would not change total business activity in the region as a whole. However, the beltway would accelerate a decline in population, jobs, tourist trade, and retail trade in the central city by attracting new commercial development to suburban areas served by the highway. Demographic and traffic trends indicate that only marginal traffic reduction through downtown Richmond would be expected upon completion of the circumferential. As a consequence of this study, commissioned by the city, Richmond officials opposed further beltway construction, but state officials are proceeding with its development. (Urban Institute)

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This abstract appeared in the Urban Institute Publications in Urban Affairs.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Urban Institute

    2100 M Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20037
  • Authors:
    • MULLER, T
    • Neels, K
    • Tilney, J
    • Dawson, G
  • Publication Date: 1978

Media Info

  • Pagination: 101 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00324480
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: URI No. 21500
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 21 1981 12:00AM