Environment: Showdown in the Park

Not so long ago, U.S. highway builders simply picked the path of least resistance and let the concrete flow. They favored public parks because such land was cheaper and no relocation of people was needed before the bulldozers went to work. But things are changing fast: a grass-roots revolt is stopping highwaymen from freely paving the land —especially parks.

In Memphis, for example, conservationists howled in 1968 and 1969 when both the Johnson and Nixon Administrations' Transportation Secretaries (Alan S. Boyd and John A. Volpe) routinely approved a concrete invasion of the city's 342-acre Overton Park, which includes a zoo, golf...

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