Friday, February 05, 2016

Latest Demolition Special Townhouses Now Named "Brookland Station"

Logical transportation corridor land irresponsibly sold by WMATA to developers for short term profit without regard to long term highway and railway transport needs.

1971 report with I-95 along eastern side of RR buried

1966 report with I-95 along eastern side of RR, 
consistent with 1962 JFK Administration Report I-95 B&O Route concept 
that would be subverted starting with severe route deviations with official proposal published in October 1964

About that recent new development along the sliver of land along the east side of the B&O Metropolitan Branch RR of demolition special - teardown special townhouses that I reported about in November 2015

As reported in the blog "The Brookland Bridge", these townhouses have been given a name -
"Brookland Station"

According to that blog article:
We have been following the ins and outs of the development along 9th Street NE near the Brookland Metro for a while now. We recently learned that the 16 townhome development has a name, Brookland Station, and the units are now available. Each home will have two levels with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The top units will come with roof decks. The website describes them as luxury homes with hardwood floors, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, and 9 foot ceilings.

The sales team created a video about Brookland, which you can check out here, and the website is peppered with phrases like:
book a spot now before they open a whole foods around here.
book a spot now before the northwest residents hear about it.
The addresses of the homes are 3300 – 3314 9th St NE. The development will have 8 parking spots and the price of the units starts in the upper 500’s.
Here's the address of the project's web site:
The comments at the Brookland Bridge blog article suggest a degree of local misunderstanding whether these were to be rentals or available for purchase: 
I had thought these were supposed to be rentals, not for purchase. Oh well, another developer who lied his way through application processes.

At least at the meetings I went to, the developer always claimed these would be for purchase.
Whatever may be the case, anyone considering purchasing any of these "Brookland Station" units should be aware of the area's transportation significance, as these are among a series of recent constructed projects irresponsible situated upon the most logical transport corridor within northern Washington, D.C. regarding the un-built I-95 link from the downtown I-395 Center Leg truncated at 4th Street and New York Avenue, and the interchange at the Capital Beltway next to the 250 foot wide PEPCO corridor.

That un-built highway link would have one of the greatest positive effects upon the area road network, with the least impacts.  It would have a housing displacement comparable to the recently constructed Inter County Connector project in Maryland prior to the recently constructed "The Hampshires" townhouse project upon the traditionally open Masonic Eastern Star field for the connecting segment between the B&O RR and the PEPCO corridor.  And it would and should be done in a more unobtrusive fashion in the more built up areas as Brookland, encased in box tunnel segments with new parkland atop.

It would be canceled during the late 1960s-early 1970s, with a good deal of emotion about what were being termed "white mans roads through black mans homes", though as the result of a scuttling amist the political confusion following the JFK assassination.

The B&O Route concept for the I-95 North Central Freeway was actually relatively UN-controversial with and following its endorsement by the Kennedy Administration, in a comprehensive transportation report dated November 1, 1962.
The freeway was politically subverted by the planning shenanigans of the betrayal of the JFK B&O Route vision, with the highway tightly aligned along the RR, and perhaps even partially enclosed within park covered box tunnels (if the 1963-1965 planning for the Inner Belt freeway in JFK's home area of Boston was any indication).

That betrayal, starting with the failure to release an engineering report during 1963, and the subsequent October 1964 release of an engineering report with routes all over the map, and a "recommended route" partially along the B&O RR, but with serious route deviations in Brookland and especially in Takoma Park, Maryland,  created most of the widespread opposition.

The subsequent engineering report released in November 1966 was far more faithful to the JFK plan, with the North Central Freeway mainline strictly aligned along the B&O RR corridor.  (However, it introduced a new route deviation where I-95 would have left the RR, with the connection ramps swerve westward into Fort Totten Park before turning northeasterly between Gallatan and Galloway Streets within D.C., and then in Maryland via Northwest Branch park, to the existing stubbs just inside the Capital Beltway).

The 1966 plan greatly reduced the popular opposition, but would be soon subverted by the actions of the then newly established U.S. Federal Highway Authority in early 1967 announcing their lack of commitment to the 1966 plan via their intent to re-open the planning process to the options contained within the infamous October 1964 plan, ostensibly to save $22 million - perhaps a 5% construction cost savings - by using more residential rather than industrial properties and to avoid having to construct some vertical retaining walls that would be necessary to reduce the freeway's land requirements versus expansive sloped embankments.

According to this June 1967 letter from Takoma Park resident Duncan Wall to Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew:
"...The reduced, re-routed proposal was made public last year with endorsement of D.C. And Maryland highway authorities. The D.C. Portion was forced through the National Capital Planning Commission by votes of representatives of the D.C. Highway Department and of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. From this we concluded, reasonably enough, that the highway authorities of the two jurisdictions (Maryland and D.C.) had reached a firm understanding with the Bureau of Public Roads.
Many of us were therefore astonished and aroused to preparations for renewed protests when Washington newspapers recently reported that the Bureau has acted to open it all up again. We have not found the Bureau forthcoming with candid information, but the press articles intimate an intention to force Maryland to accept modifications of route or design ostensibly “cheaper.”

The result is that the whole controversy, which had been somewhat quiescent, is beginning to agitate the communities again. I can assure you this is so, for although I recently resigned chairmanship of the Metropolitan Citizens Council for Rapid Transit and write this simply as an individual citizen who wishes your administration well, I do remain in close touch with neighborhood sentiment on transportation-related issues..."
Such planning manipulations led to the reversal of the long standing support for the freeway from the relevant bodies of the D.C. City Council and the U.S. National Planning Commission.
Interstate Traffic from the North

With respect to interstate traffic moving into the metropolitan area from the north on I-70S and I-95, vehicles with destinations beyond the District clearly should be diverted around the beltway. Interstate traffic with destinations within the District has options that are obviously as satisfactory as such traffic finds in any metropolitan system. The interstate system -- as a city to city system -- gives no assurance of freeway access to the heart of the central city. Both I-70S and I-95 traffic can move down the same arterial street network used by the commuters, and presumably a large part of this interstate traffic will be at non-peak hours.

I-95 traffic can be channeled over a short jog on the beltway to the Baltimore Washington Parkway for a penetration into the District over that route. Three options would be provided for this interstate traffic with downtown destinations -- via Kenilworth Freeway, via the proposed new Anacostia Parkway, and via New York Avenue (which is being improved as a major entrance into the Nation's capital from the east). Additional capacities to handle this I-95 traffic, of course, will of course be needed on the beltway and the Baltimore Washington Parkway. (An alternative would be a new highway in Maryland that would bring I-95 directly into the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at or near the Kenilworth interchange.)

The Commission believes that these facilities can adequately provide for interstate traffic from the north with central area destinations. The construction of a freeway to the north (in addition to the string of major surface streets) in order to accommodate interstate traffic would simply open up another arterial gateway for the suburban commuter. This the Commission rejects as both unnecessary and undesirable. (pp. 31-32)
That decision would leave a situation of no grade separated radial highway links inside the Capital Beltway from the George Washington Parkway in Virginia, to the Baltimore Washington Parkway in Maryland, and no such highways permitting trucks in the even greater arc from I-395 (I-95) in Virginia, to Route 50 from Maryland.  It would also place a disproportionate amount of the traffic burden within D.C. along the antiquated Anacostia Freeway in the area's poorest least affluent area- never-mind the political sloganeering of the time.

Asides from un-built I-95, the placement of these townhouses was irresponsible for denying space for later upgrading-expanding the RR, such as with extra tracks for higher speed passenger service.

ANYONE considering such a purchase of one of these 16 residential units upon a transportation corridor important for a great many people, particularly an important missing link highway scuttled under such circumstances that would be used by some 200,000+ people daily, should be conscious of that.

At the very least, they should make note of that, in order to negotiate a lower purchase price for any of these demolition special townhouses.

An Overview Upon The Assault Upon This Transport Corridor:

A Historical Overview:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Small Piece of the Grand Arc

New park along a segment of the Grand Arc right of way-
the NoMa Green

The Park Details:

North of New York Avenue and bounded by Harry Thomas Way, NE, on the west and the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) on the east, this large rectangular parcel of land is the best opportunity to provide an expansive open green space in the neighborhood. This project was a key component of the NoMa Public Realm Design Plan. With its adjacency to the MBT and strong trail connections, the NoMa Green site is easily accessible from many surrounding neighborhoods and development of this site as an attractive and active recreation area will help promote the safety and vitality of the trail. Community input into what is desired at this location has touched on an amphitheater, a strong connection to the MBT and grilling facilities. Other community participation identified tending a garden and walking through a meadow as desirable for the NoMa Green.

Grand Arc

A Better Future, A Different Future

More on this at Greater, Greater Washington

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

2002 Development Blocks NB I-395 Center Leg Tunnel On-Ramp

Northbound I-395 Tunnel On-Ramp,
included in 1975-1986 project
blocked by a 119 unit apartment building constructed 2002-2003, the "Golden Rule Plaza" - apparently never objected to by Ron Linton, who promoted a 1996 plan for a northern tunnel extension from I-395.

Washington, D.C. I-395 Center Leg Tunnel
with the un-opened northbound tunnel on-ramp at right
Note the expansion joints on K Street delineating the load-bearing tunnel walls-
this Center Leg segment was designed to provide 8 full lanes, plus shoulders and an additional northbound to westbound lane to connect with the planned I-66 K Street Tunnel.

This Center Leg segment would be constructed 1975-1978 but for some final finishing work completed 1984-1986 that would include the non-load-bearing added tunnel wall to narrow the carriageways from 4 to 2 lanes apiece.
As its constructed started in 1975, its design accommodated the connections to the I-66 K street Tunnel and the I-95 (I-395) North Leg, respectively 'de-mapped' in 1977 and 1978

Mid 1970s plan with the northbound on ramp as a cut and cover tunnel

 1967 version with the northbound on-ramp largely un-covered

Pictures below taken by Douglas Andrew Willinger, November 18, 2015

Looking north along 2nd Street NW, just north of H Street NW, 
note the highway style lamps at left, in front of the parking structure

A few feet further north, note the highway style lamps behind the wire fence

Looking over the fence, note the space these lamps hover over

Yes, the lamps hover over a slope

Not simply a slope, but an unpaved ramp, leading into a tunnel portal

A closer view of the tunnel portal

A look to the south from the parking area access ramp atop the tunnel portal

A longer view to the south of the sloped ramp into the tunnel portal, 
note the exhaust tower at top center

A look to the north at the roof atop the northern tunneled-covered portion of this on-ramp

Another look northwards, note how the tunnel ramp extends beneath the corner of the air rights apartment building atop the I-395 Tunnel just south of K Street NW

A look at this southwards from the north side of K Street, 
note how that building was designed to go atop the tunnel in a manner 
respecting its underground right of way

A look looking from south of K Street, northwards

Note the expansion joints on K Street delineating the load-bearing walls that frame this tunnel on-ramp

And note this irresponsibly located demolition special apartment building, 
built in 2002- 2003
the "Golden Rule Plaza"
directly in the path of this on-ramps geometric continuation!

A closer view of this irresponsibly located apartment building, 
with the I-395 northern approach visible

Another view of this irresponsibly located apartment building intruding within the I-395 reservation area,
note the additional newer buildings to the left, placed irresponsibly within the past of the eastbound to southbound connector below-ground ramps for the planned I-66 K Street Tunnel.

The I-66 K Street Tunnel was initially promoted by opponents to the earlier 1955 plan for crosstown I-66.
But it would be 'de-mapped' during the 1970s to siphon its funds to sped WMATA construction, with false arguments that Virginia was not going to build their inside the Beltway segment of I-66, and that the world was going to run out of petroleum by the 1990s somehow rendering private automobiles obsolete.

A look at the I-395 tunnel portal on the north side of K Street

Another look at the northern I-395 Tunnel portal, 
note the homeless people's tents in the vicinity of the non-load-bearing walls that block off the space of the outer 2 lanes added during the 1980s after the de-mapping of the connecting freeway segments, the space is used for DDOT storage

Another view, showing the northbound I-395 Tunnel portal 
and the separate tunnel portal at the left for the blocked on-ramp

The north portal of the on-ramp, with I-395 portal obscured at right

The north portal of the on-ramp

A view from the south with K Street running left-right 
showing the non-offending apartment building atop the I-395 Tunnel at left, 
and the offending apartment building in the path of the on-ramp, at right

The southwest corner of the offending apartment building

The front of the offending apartment building constructed in 2002-2003
the Bibleway Church "Golden Rule Plaza" -
a sad waste of money!!!
WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bible Way Church of Washington, DC,
 currently celebrating its 75th Anniversary, has announced the groundbreaking
 for a new 119-unit senior high-rise apartment building, the Golden Rule Plaza,
 to be constructed just south of the Church at New Jersey and K Streets, NW.
 The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the site on Saturday, June 8, 2002
 at 11 AM. DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Anthony A. Williams, DC
 City Council Chair Linda Cropp, Ward Six Council Member Sharon Ambrose, Ward
 Two Council Member Jack Evans, DC Housing Finance Agency Director, Milton J.
 Bailey, DC Department of Housing and Community Development Director, Stanley
 Jackson, as well as other city officials, community leaders, and
 representatives of business and financial institutions will participate in the
 Construction for the senior housing building will begin in June 2002. The
 Golden Rule Plaza is anticipated to be open in July 2003. This new senior
 high-rise is the Church's third sponsored housing development to be built in
 its downtown community, within sight of the United States Capitol. "Since its
 founding in 1927, the Bible Way Church has conceived its mission to encompass
 not only the spiritual, but also the practical aspects of the lives of our
 members, the surrounding community, and the entire city," said Bishop James
 Silver, Pastor of Bible Way.
 Originally conceived in the late 1980's by its founder and 64-year pastor,
 the late Bishop Smallwood E. Williams, the active development phase of the
 project began in the early 90's.  Alicia Terry, President of the Golden Rule
 Plaza, Inc., grew up at Bible Way and is currently partner in a major national
 law firm specializing in public finance.  Vice President Ronald Lipford, AIA,
 also a Bible Way product, heads his own architecture firm in Prince George's
 County. Terry and Lipford have led a team of board members, community,
 technical, and financial advisors to complete the complex development process
 over the past several years.
 Financing for the Golden Rule Plaza was provided by: the District of
 Columbia Housing Finance Agency, the US Department of Housing and Urban
 Development, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, Apollo
 Housing Capital, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta and Riggs Bank, and
 Square 456 Associates.  In addition to Golden Rule Plaza, Inc., the
 development team included: MissionFirst Development, LLC (development
 manager); Bryant, Bryant, Williams, PC (architect); the Orr Companies
 (construction manager); Maggin Construction Company (building contractor);
 Baber & Kalinowski, PC; Kutak Rock LLC; Holland & Knight; Liotta, Dranitzki &
 Engel; and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips (legal).

It is a shame that Bibleway church would do something so contemptuous and wasteful by insisting upon this exact location; it is unclear why this building was not located differently, perhaps across the street, or even just a few feet to the north and east in order to not block the path of the on-ramp.

This northern segment of the Center Leg had been re-designed to steer to the northwest in order to avoid the Bibleway Church itself on the southwest cornet of New York and New Jersey Avenues NW- some earlier versions would have displaced it.