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davidals

Largest US Cities not directly on an Interstate Highway

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There have been several threads devoted to various planned new interstate highways in varied locations around the country; many of those threads contain references to various "largest cities not on an interstate;" and those references aren't always actually correct. Thus, in the interest of correct info - 2000 census bureau numbers, here's a list of the largest US cities NOT directly located on an interstate. The population rank (according to Census 2000 figures) is shown for cities 100,000+

Anchorage, San Juan and Ponce aren't listed - technically 4 Alaska state routes (non-freeway) and 4 Puerto Rico highways (freeways/tollways) are part of the interstate system, but aren't signed as such...

1. Fresno, CA (37) (Study/dicussion of upgrading CA99 to I-7 or I-9; no timetable)

2. Bakersfield, CA (68) (Study/discussion of upgrading CA58 into a western extension of I-40; also see note for #1-Fresno)

3. Modesto, CA (101) (see note for #1-Fresno)

4. Oxnard, CA (121)

5. Salinas, CA (151)

6. Santa Rosa, CA (139)

7. Brownsville, TX (150) (Possibly on a southern spur of the I-69 extension to south Texas)

8. Thousand Oaks, CA (187)

9. Palmdale, CA (189)

10. Simi Valley, CA (201)

11. McAllen, TX (215) (see note for #7-Brownsville)

12. Ventura, CA (234)

13. Athens, GA (238) (within 40 miles of I-85 and I-20)

14. Boulder, CO (within 40 miles of I-25, I-70 and W I-76)

15. Santa Barbara, CA

16. Visalia, CA

17. San Angelo, TX (Studied southen extension of I-27 rejected in early 1990s)

18. Albany, GA (Proposed/approved I-175 spur from Cordele to Albany cancelled in early 1980s)

19. Napa, CA

20. Bloomington, IN (On or near proposed I-69 extension)

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I've listed something similar - based on Urbanized Areas, which is of interest b/c from what I understand, any UA of 50k+ is supposed to have some interstate highway connection. Some of the cities you list, such as Boulder - do have a limited access link (US 36 from Boulder to I-25) but obviously Athens, GA doesn't (though plans are for GA 316 to be upgraded to limited access).

But I wonder how true to the plan are the Eisenhower Highway folks, UA's of 50k are becoming more common & state DOTs are not as adament about upgrading freeways to the Interstate highway system as they once were. Maybe the environmental planning restrictions are higher for Interestate highways, but more states such as GA are more interested in constructing divided highways with restricted access.

I'm not a big highway fan - but I do see the need for remote cities to be linked by freeway. It's an economic neccessity, explaining why Dothan, AL has been in the hunt for a connection to I-10 for years.

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I've listed something similar - based on Urbanized Areas, which is of interest b/c from what I understand, any UA of 50k+ is supposed to have some interstate highway connection. Some of the cities you list, such as Boulder - do have a limited access link (US 36 from Boulder to I-25) but obviously Athens, GA doesn't (though plans are for GA 316 to be upgraded to limited access).

But I wonder how true to the plan are the Eisenhower Highway folks, UA's of 50k are becoming more common & state DOTs are not as adament about upgrading freeways to the Interstate highway system as they once were. Maybe the environmental planning restrictions are higher for Interestate highways, but more states such as GA are more interested in constructing divided highways with restricted access.

I'm not a big highway fan - but I do see the need for remote cities to be linked by freeway. It's an economic neccessity, explaining why Dothan, AL has been in the hunt for a connection to I-10 for years.

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^

Definitely - the new additions to the interstate system are bound by tighter environmental regs, tighter money, and greater attention to social costs - the blasting of major freeways straight through downtowns during the 50s and 60s did have seriously detrimental effects in some instances. In a few cases planned interstates - like the 840 outer loop around Nashville - were constructed as limited-access freeways not quite to interstate standards, and signed as state highways just to get them built faster, with an eye to improving and re-signing them at some TBA future date.

Most of the cities listed DO have connections to similar limited access freeways, especially the California cities, which are mostly along CA 99 or US 101. Fresno and Bakersfield have surged to over 400,000 and 200,000 in population (respectively) during the last couple decades, so better access has turned into a big deal in those places, and the only interstate high-priority corridors that is looking definite in the West is the upgrading of 99 into an interstate.

I'm a little dubious about the idea of building roads solely as an economic spark - it's an expensive crapshoot, and environmentally and financially you can't put 'em everywhere - I'm starting to think that certain missing links in the system (like Asheville-Charlotte-Wilmington) would be best served by high speed rail. Nontheless, there are certain places, like Dothan (en route to the Gulf Coast), Lynchburg (on the US 29 Greensboro-to-DC corridor which is already being gradually upgraded), or Greenville NC (one of the fastest growing NC cities out of the big 3 metros) where it does make sense at several levels.

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Here in Tyler we're pushing 100k and the Interstate (I-20) runs about 10mi. north of town. But, E. Texas has a wonderful network of state highways that crisscross the state so that you don't even miss the Interstate that much. Pretty much anywhere you'd want to go you can get to on these highways. In fact, our last two trips over 100 miles were taken on the state highways. Since the speed limits are the same on the state highways as the Interstates, it was faster and shorter to take them than the Interstate, and since they're wonderfully maintaned you might argue it's more comfortable than the Interstates too!!

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Bend, Oregon MSA will reach 300k in 15 years. It's nowhere near an interstate. Interestingly, I'm not even sure they want one...

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