Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Scrap "Capitol Crossing" & Build A Park

 


 

This blog has editorialized against the Capitol Crossing air rights project atop the un-covered trenched segment of Washington, D.C.'s Center Leg Freeway as an ill advised endeavor that constricts the freeways's existing below ground level capacity by over 50% including  its utterly irresponsible constriction of the emergency shoulders- all to increase the developer's profits, so done with no apparent consideration of the costs of replicating the lost capacity, via a perjurious US FHWA of 'no significant impact'.

There is an additional reason to oppose Capital Crossing.  Why more more buildings?   The area of Washington, D.C. has relatively little park space in the area north of the National Mall.  The Center Leg has an existing park atop it for a meagerly single block.

Instead of simply scrapping the existing Capital Crossing project design, why not scrap it radically- eliminating not only the infringing support columns, but as well the monolithic new buildings of which that area has a new abundance of, and build a new park atop?

Does Washington, D.C. really need these new buildings?

Especially when the surrounding area is being heavily re-developed!

Have Congress enact legislation to purchase the air rights, scrap the Capitol Cross project, demolish the offending intrusions upon the sunken I-395 right of way, and construct a lid respecting such with a new park atop, perhaps with a hot house for plants, thus providing an oasis for such year round..

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Luckily This Did Not Occur In The Takoma Station Area

B&O Metropolitan Branch RR
May 1, 2016 Sunday Morning HAZMAT Freight Train Derailment- just before 7AM
near the Rhode Island WMATA Station





14 car derailment, with 3 leaking cars- one of sodium hydroxide (similar to bleach or Drano)- reportedly was sealed Sunday; another of non-hazardous calcium chloride said to be non-hazardous, also plugged; and another of ethanol slowly leaking from the base of a valve, and contained.

No injuries.  No evacuations ordered.

Was an interstate shipment from Cumberland, Maryland to Hamlet, North Carolina.

Cause of derailment unknown.

Caught on video.  See:  http://abcnews.go.com/US/video-shows-dramatic-csx-train-derailment-dc/story?id=38827399

Fortunately this did not occur in an area as the Takoma Station area, to the north, just inside the Washington, D.C. line, where the railroad is upon an embankment higher than the adjacent wood framed residential dwellings recently constructed as part of the mania for 'transit oriented development'.   Such a derailment there would kill dozens of people in their homes within such projects as 'Elevation 314'  for being irresponsibly located within the footprint of a derailment and at a lower elevation- meaning that that train cars would not just come into their dwelling laterally but also from top down.


'Elevation 314'






 



Derailments along that railroad corridor in 1996 and in 1976 did not result in such injuries or deaths because the nearby dwellings were set back 50 feet or more from the railroad.  The 1996 derailment just north of 16th Street in Silver Spring went eastward into an apartment building parking lot; while the 1976 derailment, though from the embankment just south of the Takoma Station area, went westward upon Blair Road and the front yards of the houses along that Roads' west side.

Location of the May 1, 2016 derailment is adjacent to two new 'transit oriented development' real estate development projects by MRP Reality and Douglas Development.




Monday, May 02, 2016

Richard Laymen Reports On Road Tunnels- February 9, 2016


Richard Laymen/Rebuilding Space in The Urban Space makes some good points about the need for road tunnels in urban areas, even as he so far fails to defend the space to facilitate their construction, from badly located new real estate development.

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2016/02/london-mayor-proposes-roadway-tunnels.html

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


London Mayor proposes roadway tunnels to divert surface motor vehicle traffic and congestion


Central Artery before and after, Boston.  

According to the Guardian ("Boris Johnson unveils road tunnel plans to ease London congestion"). From the article:
“Around eight of every 10 journeys in London are made using our roads – whether by car, taxi, motorbike, bus, cycle, foot or freight – which is why it is vital that we think big. We must deliver long-term solutions that will not just make the most of the space we have for road users but bring environmental and amenity improvements to local areas.” ...

He added: “By pushing forward strategic initiatives we are outlining today, we will lay the foundation for the next wave of improvements to everyone’s experience of the road network across the city.”

The major road tunnels are based on the strategies pursued in Stockholm and Boston, although the latter’s “Big Dig” proved difficult, costly and controversial. The success of flyunders in transforming parts of cities such as Madrid, where its inner ring road was partially buried, may make the smaller projects more viable. TfL believes a 1.3km tunnel at Barking could create a new neighbourhood of 5,000 homes in a blighted area, and that either tolls or the housing could make the project pay for itself.
Who knew that there is the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association?

-- "Urban Road Tunnels," ITA
-- "MADRID CALLE 30: AN URBAN TRANSFORMATION PROJECT"

I mention this because I have suggested this in the North Capitol-Blair Road corridor in DC, and support it for through traffic on New York Avenue (the equivalent of a connection between I-95 through DC to Virginia)--this is not my idea originally, it was suggested in the New York Avenue Transportation Study about ten years ago. 16th Street NW would be another corridor where this is worth considering. [DW- That study proposed a tunnel connecting to the I-395 Center Leg to the northeast under New York Avenue; it made no reference to any northern radial corridor as North Capitol-Blair Road, nor the parallel B&O].

The justification is that the negative impacts on abutting neighborhoods are significant and worthy of mitigation.  The underground trip would be faster and therefore should be worthwhile for users, thereby justifying toll charges for the privilege.  See "Tunnelized road projects for DC and the Carmel Tunnel, Haifa, Israel example--tolls."

I didn't know about the Madrid example. Marseille removed a highway along the waterfront by shifting it to an underused rail tunnel. Thessaloniki built a tunnel around its historic traffic to divert traffic and create a more pedestrian-centric environment along the waterfront.

t.

In Long Beach, an undergrounded rail tunnel, the Alameda Corridor, was built to facilitate freight movement between the port and the freight railway system.

It could have been interesting to have also built a tunnel for truck traffic between the port and the highway system, since the road system is inundated with truck traffic generated by the port.

Miami is creating such a facility, the N.W. 25th Street Viaduct Project, between the Miami Airport's cargo hub and the local freeway system (pictured at left).*

Of course, Boston's "Big Dig" or Central Artery Freeway is another example ("10 years later, did the Big Dig deliver?," Boston Globe) although it is not tolled.

Note that the tunnel underpasses in various places in the city, such as at Massachusetts Avenue and Thomas Circle for the roadway system and on North Capitol Street between M Street and Rhode Island Avenue, were early attempts to facilitate traffic movement but without providing simultaneous improvements in conditions for neighborhoods and the urban street fabric.


Capitol Crossing, before.  

The Capitol Crossing development, which will deck over of the I-395 freeway between Masachusetts Avenue and D Street NE is an example of decking over an existing facility, without creating a new tunnel. [DW- Alas, it reduces the right of way profile 50% with zero consideration of the comparisons of the real estate project's extra profitability versus that of restoring the lost capacity via a pair of new parallel tunnels]]


Reknitting the street grid in Washington by decking over more of I-395.

==========

* Separately, I wonder if the Long Bridge reconstruction project--the bridge carries passenger railroad, freight railroad, and subway trains over the Potomac River between Southwest DC and Arlington County--should add lanes for a bi-directional dedicated busway.

It could serve National Airport when the subway is closed as well as tour bus traffic and other bus traffic to and from DC.

posted by Richard Layman @ 11:34 AM&Permanent Link 9 comments


Anonymous Anonymous said...
if you are going to have freeways for cars in a large city this is the way to go- but my beef with the Big Dig is that they put too many monster roads up on top instead of what is being done here in DC which is to actually rebuild the city that had been taken out in the first place. Boston is a world better than before the BD but they could have done an even better job using the new freed up space.
12:01 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
Take advantage of the opportunity to bury existing railway corridor, bring log covered waterways back to the surface and create vast new park corridors, as I have long suggested via my Grand Arc proposal for Washington, D.C.

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2008/02/extending-legacy-with-grand-arc.html

Do be sure to write out about misplaced real estate development placed too close to such corridors in in other wrong places as "The Hampshires" townhouses that are essentially demolition specials, as well as poorly designed projects as the Capitol Cross project that combines the righteous idea of covering the Center Leg with the foolishness of wasting up to 50% of its capacity, thus necessitating a new pair of parallel cut and cover tunnelways.

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2007/09/washington-dc-big-dig.html


2:25 PM
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Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
Also, any tunneled extension from the northern end of the Center Leg should arc beneath the intersection of New Jersey Ave and N Street rather than the 1990s-early 200s plan instead under 4th and New York Avenue. The former would take advantage of the space beneath the recreation field of Dunbar HS and be easier to construct, and provide far superior geometry for the transition to the northeast.

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2007/11/i-395-extension-superior-option.html

Thankfully the more recent Dunbar HS building replacement does not conflict with doing that.

Such could then continue as a duel stacked tunnel beneath O Street before turning to join the railroad corridors.

A tunnel beneath New York Avenue would be better for a continuation of a cross-town I-66 Tunnel that from Mt Vernon Square to Washington Circle run beneath K Street- the idea favored by opponents to the 1950s plan for a new swath along Florida Avenue and U Street.

To the east of the railroad, the cut and cover tunnel should then run alongside New York Avenue with a box containing highway and a new WMATA rail subway, beneath a linear park and new development with a deck atop the rail chasm.

The authorities subverted the idea of extending the tunnel east by only considering the pricier, more disruptive and less profitable idea of placing it directly beneath New York Avenue.

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2015/01/new-medievalism-overides-popular.html
2:41 PM
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Blogger Richard Layman said...
the problem with tunneling the Metropolitan Branch is that it isn't particularly wide. So the amount of land generated would be minimal. As a park or bike trail, it wouldn't be worth the expense.

cf. the width of the High Line.

However, it could be worth doing it it were possible to double but probably triple stack tunnels for railroad and subway transit.

But it would cost many billions, and the benefit would likely not be greater than the cost.

Selective tunnels for roads could have much greater social and economic benefit.
3:04 PM
Blogger Richard Layman said...
tunneling New York Avenue is a different issue. Normally, I'd say not to do it with transit, since there is no compelling need to move the existing trackage just for the hell of it.

I don't know exactly how the track is threaded, but it seems that from New Carrollton you can figure out how to get to Annapolis, and from New Carrollton to DC there is no need to tunnel.

Just do a London Overground in terms of organizing the service, as I outline in past posts.

2. The I-66 idea is interesting but I don't think serves much purpose. But you could build it in conjunction with the proposed separated blue/silver line that I have written about in the past. Dumping traffic on city streets isn't something that makes sense.

3. But in conjunction with I-66, I've suggested a cut and cover tunnel for an RER type line out of Union Station (a continuation of Penn Line) which would be electrified.

4. I don't know enough about electrification technology to figure out how to make an Annapolis to DC rail line electrified rather than diesel. Maybe it's just as easy to put it underground to be able to electrify it.
3:12 PM
Anonymous charlie said...
When i was going to Madrid the construction for the tunnel was just starting. A real mess, and it made getting to the in laws hard.

Probably the best analogy in the various plans in DC to bridge/tunnel over E st and the area around 66 and the Kennedy Center.

(Again, we have the tunnel machines but the shadow government only wants to use them for sewage, not for transportation. Different funding buckets)

Or to blow the willinger's mind, build a tunnel under K, run it under georgetown (and take down whitehurst), go under the potomac and then up Spout run).

7:32 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
The B&O Metro Branch corridor would be simultaneously widened, to the degree that it would still fit, in Brookland between the mainline of CUA buildings, and the Turkey Thicket neighborhood. That would likewise avoid Brooks Mansion, and would displace relatively few dwellings, less than the 34 of the cir 1970 version of the 1996 North Central Freeway. However my version would pace southbound tunnel box carriageways stacked, immediately west of the RR, directly beneath John McCormack Drive, and unstacking to the south in the lightly developed industrial area along 8th Street NE, with a southbound portal immediately past Franklin Street thus affording THE best vista perhaps anywhere along the Interstate Highway System.

The displacement besides the 34 or so targeted by the 1966-70 plan would be confined to the foolishly misplaced new buildings such as the 2 Arts Space buildings nearest to the RR.

To the north, recently recklessly located buildings as the Elevation 314 project would be demolished, as they should as safety hazards as residential wood framed buildings within a footprint of a potential freight rail derailment from a set of ELEVATED tracks, as would the Cedar Crossing and a corner of the adjacent project. The late 1990s Takoma Co-Housing project is thankfully just outside the footprint. To the north, the historic Cady Lee mansion and the row of houses along Takoma Avenue would all be avoided; however the foolishly placed mid 1960s Montgomery Gardens apartment complex would be at least partially demolished.

For the connection to the PEPCO corridor, a depressed, part or all covered link along the north side of New Hampshire Avenue would displace 27 1940s houses just inside D.C., strip retail just inside Maryland, and of course a good chunk of that recent demo special of "The Hampshires" which was a completely irresponsible development, before swinging across New Hampshire Avenue to run via the PEPCO corridor to the I-95 stubbs at the Capital Beltway. To address the challenging topography, I would have NH Avenue upon a new bridge with I-95 passing through its southern abutment.

New retail and housing could then be constructed in a lid atop the NHA I-95 segment, rather than keeping it as an open trench. I would do the same in spots to the north along the PEPCO corridor, including a lid with such at University Avenue.

The benefits would be immense. Not simply for achieving a full northern I-95 link plus one towards I-270 and a cut and cover tunnel beneath Georgia Avenue as an alternative to the old Northern Parkway proposal. But as well with the creation of a vast new northern radial park - a northern Mall in essence - for Washington D.C. extending down to the rear of Union Station- already the existing end-cap. And furthermore, as I see it, with a resurfacing of the long buried Tiber Creek.

New high speed tolling would make this only even more practical.

7:49 PM
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Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
"Or to blow the willinger's mind, build a tunnel under K, run it under georgetown (and take down whitehurst), go under the potomac and then up Spout run)."

Something akin to that was briefly proposed by the Committee of 100 cir 1968.

A variant of that would be to build a 3 Sisters Bridge, but rather than the mess of spaghetti for its approaches, do those via a tunnel that makes the elevation change arcing beneath the recreation field of Georgetown University.

The existing I-66 terminus near the Watergate ought to be reconstructed as an underground semi-Orb beneath a new pedestrian park overlook.
7:54 PM
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Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
The New York Avenue corridor to the east of the B&O RR is a fantastic canvas for redevelopment extending to and past Montana Avenue, with downtown DC-Paris scaled buildings along its northern side with the new freeway and WMATA line in tunnel box. there is a great deal of space that could be worked with by digging out the space immediately north of the Avenue, and then extending a deck atop the RR chasm.
7:57 PM
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 Delete
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
" I have suggested this in the North Capitol-Blair Road corridor in DC, and support it for through traffic on New York Avenue (the equivalent of a connection between I-95 through DC to Virginia)--this is not my idea originally, it was suggested in the New York Avenue Transportation Study about ten years ago."

That study only addressed a tunnel beneath New York Avenue extending from existing I-395 Center Leg; it said nothing about the northern part of North Capital Street, nor Blair Road, etc.

What would be the locations of your proposal's southern and northern portals? Presumably you would have it start on NCS in the vicinity of New Hampshire Avenue, but how far would it go? Georgia Avenue? 16th Street? The Capital Beltway? Would not a portion of it run along the B&O, and how would you thread it through Takoma DC and SS MD?

Should not any coverage of real estate development in say the Takoma Station area address the need to preserve a clear path for such a tunnel?

You ought to study this more and present a drawing.
9:21 PM
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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Reginald H. Booker Dies Last Year At 74

Booker was an Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC) figure who worked with Sammie Abbott and Marion Barry


REGINALD HARVEY BOOKER (74) Passed peacefully on July 19, 2015. He is survived by one daughter, Jaha Booker; two sons, Daniel Gayden and Jamal Booker; three grandchildren, four sisters, Germerish Booker, Arlene Jackson, Ruby Holt and Wendetta Watson; two brothers, Harry Jackson, Jr. and Jerome Jackson; and a host of other relatives and friends. Services will be Monday, July 27 at Horton's Chapel, 600 Kennedy St., NW.; 10 a.m. viewing and 11 a.m. service -

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx



I wrote about this freeway controversy previously:

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2009/10/ruth-abbott-widow-of-sammie-abbott-dies.html

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2014/09/getting-over.html

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2012/01/crafted-controversy-scuttling-of-jfks-b.html

A Takoma Park, Maryland resident's 1967 Letter to then Gov. Spiro Agnew How This Controversy Was Being Stoked:

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2015/02/june-1-1967-duncan-wall-letter-to-spiro.html

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Center Leg Capitol Crossing Constriction Continued 2

A March 6, 2016 photo shoot, showing the support columns intruding even further inward than the non-load bearing add on walls in the northern Center Leg

A Congressional inquiry about this right of way giveaway would be in order, particularly regarding the lack of any cost benefit analysis of the added developer profits versus the added taxpayers' costs of replicating the lost capacity via a parallel tunnel to the east beneath 2nd Street NW, next to Georgetown Law Center.



Looking North At The Northbound Lanes




Looking South At The Northbound Lanes

Note how these idiotically placed support columns along the right-hand side of the northbound lanes are not even in a single line, despite the published plans showing else-wise.





Looking South At The Southbound Lanes

Note the new deck atop the southbound lanes.

Looking North

The U.S. Congress must be asleep to allow this travesty to continue.

They ought to stop this project and not allow it to continue until these support columns are removed and the plans modified to fully respect the right to of way.

That would be most cost-effect than to allow this project to continue with the current irresponsible design.

Otherwise the project should undergo a future partial demolition, which would be costlier than simply stopping the project now and requiring its design be modified before continuing.

Those involved with this irresponsible design shall one day be brought before a Congressional Committee to explain themselves, from the officials in the U.S. Federal Highway Authority that signed off on this project, to those within the Jarvis Company...

By doing nothing, those in the U.S. Congress are probably only going to make matters worse, with people asking why they did nothing.

See the November 2015 photo-shoot:
http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2015/11/center-leg-capitol-crossing.html