Moses Roberts was a significant figure in the shaping of the New York City and its constructed environment. From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, Moses was a mastermind behind numerous landmarks in New York City such as the Jones beach, the Triborough Bridge, Shea stadium, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The World’s Fair Grounds in Queens, The United Nations Headquarter, Robert Moses power dam, Major Deegan Expressway, alongside other numerous constructions, playgrounds, house projects, roads, and parks. Moses was fully absorbed in his personal visions and dreams of developing New York City while he believed that his actions were for the public interests.
Before Moses reformed the landscape of New York, New York was had 2.5 million acres of land on which Moses built the 416 miles of parkways, 658 playgrounds and 13 bridges. Moses is believed to be the most famous planner in the US who served in both local and state government in New York for about three decades (Callahan &Ikeda, 2004). As the planner, Moses was in charge of over the construction undertaken in New York; from house networks to roads, bridges. Moses sought to construct free highways as he believed that it was the only way towards easing automobile congestion in the New York City.
Moses took full advantage of the state and federal funds which paid off a larger amount of the project costs he embarked on. However with the increase in automobiles, the roads he had built once again became congested; therefore, Moses resort to building of freeways. However, as Moses’ construction demands grew, the state and federal money was not enough to funds all of his projects. Therefore, he designed better freeways that appealed to the government in order to solicit more funds from them (Brown, 2002). However, apart from the government, Moses sought funds from other developers and investors such as Carl M. Loeb who donated $250,000 in 1954 (Barlow, 2007). During the 1940’s most of the federal funds were channeled towards war. As a result, Moses was not able to beautify recreation facilities as manpower was limited.
Before Moses built the free highways, Congestions, slow traffic and accidents in Central Business Districts, was common as the streets were narrow yet they had to accommodate pedestrians, automobiles, as well as horse drawn wagons. In some cases, it was reported that pedestrians moved faster that vehicles. When Moses took over the planning of New York City, he quickly initiated the creation of the freeways which were quickly adopted as they proved to be cost effective as well as speedy in automobile movement (Brown, 2002). As the freeways were expanded into more lanes with some reaching up to ten lanes, low cost housing units were demolished alongside other useful amenities.
Moses’ power gradually declined when serious conflicts between the city engineers and planners arose over incorporation of freeway in the urban center without causing much interruption to the existing setting. Besides, the duo clashed over the need to provide faster and more direct transport means in the city. Due to the high financial resource needed, it was resolved that only one of the above could be attained (Brown, 20002). As a result, Moses as a planner was left with little room for expansion and development unlike before.