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Surprising before-and-after photo of European highway transformation highlights major issues with US infrastructure: 'I'm so tired'

"Really shows that we could do anything if [North America] wasn't so addicted to cars."

"Really shows that we could do anything if [North America] wasn't so addicted to cars."

Photo Credit: iStock

A highway transformation had the internet buzzing after a Reddit post revealed stunning before-and-after photos from the Netherlands. 

In a subreddit dedicated to promoting healthier modes of transportation, a Redditor shared two images from Utrecht, a city known for its gorgeous parks, canals, and historical sites. However, it appears the city has done a lot of work to become what it is in 2024. 

"Really shows that we could do anything if [North America] wasn't so addicted to cars."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The before photo, which the original poster says is from the 1980s, looks as though it could be taken in just about any major city in the United States. A drab six-lane roadway dominates the scene.  

The after photo takes us to the present day, according to the OP. A boat is floating on a revitalized canal lined with greenery and flowers. 

"Really shows that we could do ANYTHING if [North America] wasn't so addicted to cars," one commenter vented. "... I'm so tired of all the, 'But what about the drivers?' arguments." 

Indeed, the United States, in particular, is known for having a car-dependent infrastructure, making it difficult for people in many cities to walk or bike while running errands or going to their jobs. This can painfully contribute to a lot of time spent in congested traffic, with commuters breathing in harmful fumes released by gas-powered vehicles.  

Yet a poll by Hattaway Communications revealed the U.S. may be ready to turn a corner, with more than 80% of voters believing that highway expansions aren't the answer to our transportation woes. Many also expressed the desire for increased pedestrian and biking paths, as well as additional public transportation options. 

There have been promising developments in that regard. For example, one town in North Carolina is showing what is possible for those who prefer walking or biking. Meanwhile, high-speed rail projects in California are underway and bringing jobs to the state

As for Utrecht, the OP doesn't provide any further information about the exact location of the photos. A profile by Public Space, though, reveals that citizens intervened to begin restoring a canal and other parts of the city that had been diminished for roadways decades ago. That highlights how taking collaborative action can help create a happier and healthier community.  

"Mmh. Want want want," one commenter responded.

"That looks like it could be two stills out of a Star Trek episode or movie," another said. "It's just a warp drive and transporter away from a 23rd century utopia."

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