4. Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX)

Robert Moses’ Proposal for the Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) that would connect the East and Hudson River crossings. Image via Library of Congress

On of Robert Moses’ most hated plans was the Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX), an expressway that would have cut through SoHo and Little Italy to connect the Holland Tunnel, Williamsburg Bridge, and Brooklyn Bridge. Although the project was initially approved in a 1941 proposal, the development of three other roadways in the city (the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the Harlem River Drive, and  the FDR Drive) slowed the construction process for LOMEX, which was estimated to cost $72 million. Had Moses actually succeeded with the endeavor, large parts of Manhattan would have be destroyed, and an estimated 2,000 families and over 800 businesses would also have been displaced.

In 1971, Governor Nelson Rockefeller shelved the project due to an increase in carbon monoxide levels around the area. In addition, outdated traffic counts meant that Moses’ estimates on the roadway’s benefits to the vicinity were obsolete by the time the project received approval by the Federal Bureau of Public Roads. Community activists led by Jane Jacobs also prevented the expressway from becoming a reality.