One of the biggest issues that cities face is a lack of natural vegetation. This lack of trees and plants leads to higher levels of air pollution as well as higher wind levels and even increased summertime temperatures. Each of these issues makes city life a bit harder, but putting a large park into the environment helps reduce them noticeably.

freeway park seattle
Freeway Park in Seattle. One of the oldest cap parks in America.

What is a Cap Park?

This is what cap parks are known for and why they are becoming so popular. Freeways run through trenches much of the time that they are build. This means it’s possible to put a top or cap over them and then build on that. Many cities rely on this advantage to produce parks or other natural areas that citizens can enjoy. The freeway doesn’t change much and the city benefits dramatically from the change. Of course it’s a massive undertaking to cap a freeway, but for many people it’s worth it.

There are a total of 162 different cap parks in the USA alone and there are even more in places like Europe and Asia. The very first of these parks was put together in Seattle Washington, and the most recent was built in Dallas Texas. Five such parks are being considered for Southern California.

Connecting Communities

One side-effect of freeways is that they segment cities. Even with bridges making travel back and forth across a freeway possible, the large highway still keeps many people from visiting the other side of hteir city. The main issue here is that there is just too much traffic over the small cluster of bridges going back and forth. Parks can connect both sides of the community in a more cohesive way that will often cut down on traffic, or at the very least make it possible to move back and forth through walking or biking, something that wouldn’t have happened before. This opens up the community more and connects the two segmented sides into one location again.

Blotting out Noise

Anyone who’s stood by a freeway for any stretch of time knows how noisy they can be. With vehicles traveling back and forth constantly there is a never-ending stream of noise that you have to deal with. One major benefit of a cap park is that much of that noise is blotted out, at least in the small area the park is constructed in. Through careful placement, major residential districts can be improved by these parks, making them much quieter and more enjoyable to be in.

Raise Property Values

Another side effect of cap parks is that they raise property values of the buildings that are located near them. Nobody wants to live next to a noisy freeway, but who wouldn’t want to live across the street from a lush park that always seems to have something going on? This means that property values nearing the parks will shoot up dramatically, giving owners something to look forward to.

The Hollywood Central Park is a proposed cap park that could bring with it many of these benefits. It’s an exciting idea that’s quickly gaining support by locals.