The role of a local government planner in unprecedented coordination work

on the undergrounding of the motorway in the middle of Yokohama City


Toshio Taguchi


Akira Tamura, who subsequently became a renowned Japanese town planner, was assigned by Yokohama’s socialist mayor Asukata a difficult task to solve a tangled argument regarding the design type of the new motorway structure. Tamura joined the city administration in 1968 on Asukata’s request, coming from the private practice as a town planning consultant who had proposed the spine projects to remodel Yokohama in 1964. Its solution became the first example of actual urban design implementation that changed part of the new elevated motorway project undergrounded in the city center. It had been conducted by a local initiative directed by Tamura that had never existed before under its highly centralized administrative system of Japan. The project was conducted through tenacious re-negotiation efforts among concerned parties including the national ministries. These negotiations focused on the critical stage where the central government had made the formal and legal decision on this project.


The Metropolitan Motorway Authority (“MMA”) was an institution planning and implementing construction of the motorway network under the auspices of the Ministry of Construction (“MoC”). It was originally established in 1959 to resolve traffic problems of the Tokyo metropolitan area through investments from the national government and the metropolitan government. The MoC ordered the MMA to extend its metropolitan network to the harbor city of Yokohama in 1964. Although Tamura claimed that he was a visionary on townscapes, even from its early period of motorway construction, there was a concern over the preservation of important townscapes among road experts of both institutions. Therefore, some experts saw the use of dried canals as one of the ideal types of motorway structures.


In 1964, Tamura also proposed a motorway network by constructing elevated structures over existing rivers or canals in the middle of the city. Despite the city’s motorway section’s idea to utilize unused canals as motorway routes, the underground route encountered severe difficulty in passing closely under the fragile piers of the national railway in the canal. Because of this technical difficulty, Asukata had to abandon hope of undergrounding. However, Asukata later changed his policy back to undergrounding. Since the huge interchange appeared in the middle of the city connecting its motorway with the national network in the suburbs, Asukata recognized that it would devastate the townscape of the city center. During negotiations, relocating the interchange was the most delicate issue to decide. Using the dried canal was fundamentally against the concept of the linear park proposed as an area redevelopment hub envisaged by Tamura. Along the same route in this canal as the motorway, the new subway project planned by the city transport authority in coordination with the Ministry of Transport was already set forward. Eventually, the interchange location was moved to the canal in the periphery of the city center. Reaching an agreement accommodating all requirements of the concerned parties took time, though each party made concessions. 


Although Tamura only succeeded in accomplishing part of the extension as being undergrounded, this was thirty percent of the initial motorway extension, which represents the most important section. Tamura needed almost one year to accomplish the negotiation, and then the motorway was finally opened in 1978. Since this successful coordination, Tamura consolidated his position as a new chief planner in the administration. It has become normal among local government officials to be confident and independent as equal partners with the National Ministries. Last, despite Tamura having written about the motorway solution in his books, empirical research on its coordination and background would strengthen Tamura’s achievement.


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ニューヨーク市におけるロアーマンハッタンエクスプレスウエイ計画の経緯 A study about the Lower Manhattan Expressway in New York City

ニューヨーク市における1960年代高速道路問題に関する田口俊夫の研究論文が、日本建築学会の審査に通り「日本建築学会計画系論文集」に掲載されたのでご報告します。田村明研究とニューヨークとの結びつきは、唐突な感じがするかもしれない。NYマンハッタン島南端のSOHO地区に計画され断念されたロアーマンハッタンエクスプレスウエイLower Manhattan Expresswayは、1968年に推進派のロバート・モーゼスRobert Mosesと反対派のジェーン・ジェイコブズJane Jacobsが、ジョン・リンゼイ市長John Lindsayを巻き込み激しく対立した事案であった。一方、田村は横浜都心部で首都高速道路を地下化する事案の調整を進めていた。横浜では、市民要望を受けた飛鳥田市長の強い意向もあり、田村たちの粘り強い関係機関の調整を経て、都市景観に配慮した高速道路の「地下化」が合意された。NY市ではリンゼイ市長による地下化の案と半地下部分の上空利用を想定した「複合開発Joint Development」構想が提案されたが、実施されなかった。横浜が使われなくなった運河を再利用できるのと異なり、NY市では既存の街区を破壊して高速道路用地を生み出すしかなかった。当時のNY市における交渉過程を、NY市公文書館が保管する報告書や内部文書を発掘し、あわせてNew York Timesの新聞記事を経年的に検索して明らかにした。本研究の目的は、田村による横浜での事案が、実はNY市で同時代的に類似事案があったことを示すことで、田村の世界的な文脈での位置づけを図ることにある。


We are pleased to announce that Toshio Taguchi's research paper on the 1960s motorway issue in New York City has been reviewed by the Architectural Institute of Japan and published in its journal. The connection between Akira Tamura's research and New York City may seem strange: Lower Manhattan Expressway, planned at the SOHO district, the southern tip of Manhattan Island, was abandoned in 1968. The Lower Manhattan Expressway was the subject of a bitter confrontation in the 1960s between proponent Robert Moses and opponent Jane Jacobs, involving Mayor John Lindsay. Meanwhile, Tamura was coordinating the undergrounding of the Metropolitan Expressway in the central part of Yokohama. In New York City, Mayor Lindsay proposed an undergrounding plan and a "Joint Development" plan that would use the above of the open-cut. But this was not implemented unlike Yokohama, where disused canals could be reused, in New York City the only option was to destroy existing city blocks to make right-of-way for the motorway. The process of negotiations in New York City at that time was clarified by excavating reports and internal documents kept by the New York City Archives, and by searching New York Times newspaper articles over time. The purpose of this study is to show that Tamura's case in Yokohama is compatible with the one in New York City in their global planning context.

NY論文by Taguchi.pdf
PDFファイル 2.6 MB

参考資料 References

以下の資料は、当NPO副理事長・田口俊夫がニューヨーク市立公文書NYC Department of Records & Information Servicesに出向き入手したものです。論文に引用時は、当NPOのサイトに掲載したものであることを明示ください。

When you make the citation of these documents below, please refer to the source of citation as our site of the NPO.

Lower Manhattan Expressway Plan for Planning
Lower Manhattan Expressway Plan for Plan
PDFファイル 17.2 MB
New York Times article about Lomex on March 28, 1967
New York Times article about Lomex March
PDFファイル 1.2 MB
An Estimate of Vehicular Air Pollution Potential at the Proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway
An estimate of vehicular air pollution p
PDFファイル 1.1 MB
Exchange of letters between Robert Moses and John Lindsay
Exchange of letters between Moses and Li
PDFファイル 1.3 MB
Memorandum in opposition to Legislation providing for the Merger of Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority with the New York City Transit Authority and other transportation Facilities
Memorandum in opposition to the merger o
PDFファイル 4.1 MB
Memo on removing Robert Moses from TBTA chairmanship
Memo from L.A.Craco to Mayor about Moses
PDFファイル 2.3 MB
Minutes for the second meeting of the Transportation Council held on March 10, 1967
Minutes for the second meeting of the Tr
PDFファイル 4.0 MB
Transportation Council meeting to be held on February 3, 1967
Transportation Council Meeting to be hel
PDFファイル 2.0 MB
Press release by the Lindsay administration
Press release by Lindsay_20210402_0001.j
JPEGファイル 1.3 MB