Saturday, February 28, 2015

I-395 Center Leg Capitol Crossing- Non Interstate Spec Shoulders?

Shall the I-395 Center Leg even meet Interstate highway specifications anymore?

Is this even legal?

I am unaware of Congress de-certifying the I-395 Center Leg as an Interstate Highway!

The maximum lane number in each direction is not less than two and there should be emergency escape ramps and climbing lanes in some parts of the highway if needed. The minimum width of each lane should be 3.62 meters. The outside shoulder width is 3 meters while the inner shoulder width is 1.2 meters. In rural places, the median width should be 11 meters and in urban areas, it should be 3 meters.

The minimum vertical clearance in urban places should be 4.3 meters and in rural place, it is 4.9 meters. Bridges along the highway should have not less than HS-20 structural capacity. It is also important that bridges have lanes that measure 12 feet. Tunnels along the Interstate should have a width of not less than 13.1 meters. These should have two lanes. Each lane should have a width of 3.6 meters. The outside shoulder of the lanes should measure 3 meters while the inner shoulder should be 1.5 meters (4.9213 feet).  Additionally, it is important that tunnels have safety walkways. These should be found on each side of the tunnel. The walkway should measure .7 meters.

 "Typical I-395 cross section"  page 10 2009 Air Rights EIS

4.9213 required.

4.0 shown in cross section labeled 'typical I-395 cross section.

? shown in overhead at actual spot of the pinch.

The I-395 3rd Street Tunnel Capital Crossing Air Rights projects needs to be STOPPED until the design is changed to fully respect the full 8 lane plus shoulders right of way.

Likewise the project should be re-designed to maintaining both the on ramp and the off ramp, with a redesign that keeps the idea of the center loader ramps- a basic design that needs to be adopted to Interstate highways particularly those in urbanized areas as infinitely more suitable for reconciling freeway related and more localized traffic, including pedestrian any bicycle.

The U.S. Congress ought to investigate the planning and those involved with this unwarranted selling out of the sunken I-395 Center Leg right of way.

Friday, February 27, 2015

An Opponent to the Northwest Freeway Passes Away

who had been appointed by President Kennedy as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Capital Transportation Agency to work upon Recommendations for Transportation in the National Capital Region: A Report to the President for transmittal to Congress by the National Capital Transportation Agency November 1, 1962

Thomas Farmer - from Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.
d. February 5, 2015 at 91

Died February 5, 2015 at the age of 91.

Was from the Cleveland Park area of Washington D.C. NW

From 1961 to 1964, he was chairman of the advisory board of the National Capital Transportation Agency and roughly concurrently helped form the Northwest Committee for Transportation Planning.

Cleveland Park was the neighborhood of the attorney Peter S. Craig, where the I-70S Northwest Freeway was proposed to have its south-eastern portion run between the Wisconsin Avenue corridor to then cross Rock Creek Park and run through the Mount Pleasant area before turning due south a few hundred feet west parallel to 14th Street NW to meet the I-66 North Leg of the Inner Loop along U Street as that latter freeway was proposed in the 1955 Inner Loop Study.

The NW Freeway, as shown in 1957 and 1959 study reports, would have entered Washington, D.C. at Friendship Heights,  paralleling Wisconsin Avenue from the Capital Beltway through Bethesda, and so continuing to a set of cut and cover tunnels beneath Tenley Circle, with this Wisconsin Avenue corridor segment displacing about 74 houses within the District, according to the 1957 report.

A prohibition upon a mixed use - allowing trucks - freeway in Glover Archibold Park led to the 'Cross Park Freeway' routing for the south-eastern portion of the I-70S NW Freeway through the Cleveland Park area, displacing there about 0 homes, before crossing Rock Creek Park where the segment to the east would have displaced probably 1,000+ houses in the Mount Pleasant area.  Although the freeway's impacts where primarily to the east, it was Cleveland Park that would be perhaps the main nexus of the opposition to any freeway planning to the west of Rock Creek Park, that would successfully get the U.S. Congress to include a 5 year moratorium on such planning in far NW.

A significant amount of such activists, including those from Bethesda would then -- cir 1960-1962 -- favor routing I-70S along a North Central Freeway paralleling Georgia Avenue that would have displaced an upwards of 4,000+.  Others though, including Peter S. Craig, would favor the alternative routing along the B&O railroad-industrial corridor, displacing far far fewer houses while avoiding establishing a new local bisection, as adopted by the Kennedy Administration's transportation report dated November 1, 1962. 

As Farmer had been appointed by President Kennedy as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Capital Transportation Agency from 1961 to 1964, which helped produce that November 1, 1962 report, he might not have been dogmatically opposed to freeways within Washington D.C. in general.

1959 NW Freeway - Cleveland Park

1959 NW Freeway - Mt. Pleasant


At this time, "A Trip Within The Beltway" has no further details on Thomas Farmer's freeway related activism, and can simply gather from the time-line and his location -- Cleveland Park -- that he was active against the Northwest Freeway

Thomas Farmer

New! Thomas Laurence Farmer, whose Washington career in public service and private law practice spanned 63 years, died February 5, 2015 at his home in Cleveland Park surrounded by his family. He was 91 years old. The cause was neuro-degenerative illness.

Thomas Farmer combined private law practice with a passion for politics and international affairs. He first came to Washington in 1951 where he worked for the CIA for three years as a Covert Operations Officer. He returned to Washington in 1958 as an Associate of the New York law firm of Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett and to work in John Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Appointed by President Kennedy as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Capital Transportation Agency from 1961 to 1964, he helped lead a crucial battle that prevented interstate highways from bisecting Washington.

From 1964 to 1968, he worked as the General Counsel for the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development, and contributed to the establishment of the Asian Development Bank. From 1977 to 1981 he served as Chairman of the Intelligence Oversight Board during the Carter administration. From 1970 to 1994 he was partner in the law firm Prather, Seeger, Doolittle and Farmer.

Born in 1923 in Berlin, to an American father and a German Jewish mother, Tom Farmer came with his parents to New York City in 1933. He graduated from Great Neck High School in 1940 and from Harvard College (A.B. 1943), where he was a member of the Editorial Board of the Harvard Crimson. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946 and worked as a member of the Military Intelligence Division of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, Washington. He then read Law at Brasenose College, Oxford (LL.B. 1948) and at Harvard Law School (LL.M. 1950).

Tom Farmer was deeply involved in developing relations between the United States and Germany in the Postwar era. In 1983 he helped found the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies as a Director and Secretary-Treasurer, and was a Trustee until his death. In 1994, with Henry Kissinger and German President Richard von Weizscker, he helped found the American Academy in Berlin, served as its Founding Chairman until succeeded by Richard Holbrooke, and continued as a Trustee until his death. In 1993 he became the only non-German appointed to the Treuhandanstalt, the “Trust agency” of the Federal Republic of Germany after reunification in 1990, and helped implement privatization of the state-owned coal industry in the former East Germany. He received the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1997.
He is survived by his wife, Wanda Walton, his three children: Daniel, Sarah and Elspeth, and five grandchildren. A prior marriage to Elizabeth Midgley ended in divorce.*

And from The Washington Post:

Thomas L. Farmer, a Washington lawyer who represented banking interests in his professional life and fought freeway construction through the nation’s capital as a civic activist, died Feb. 5 at his home in the District. He was 91.

The cause was progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurodegenerative disease, said a daughter, Sarah Farmer.

From 1970 to 2002, Mr. Farmer was general counsel to the Bankers Association for Foreign Trade, and for two years after that, he was senior counsel for international finance for the American Bankers Association.

He was chairman of the advisory board of the National Capital Transportation Agency from 1961 to 1964 and, about that time, he also helped form a citizens group called the Northwest Committee for Transportation Planning.

With the committee, he was a leader in a successful battle to block the construction of interstate highways through the city. Highway opponents argued that a network of interstate freeways would have torn up the city and destroyed neighborhoods.

JFK Was Re-Considering The 3 Sisters Bridge & North Leg

Recommendations for Transportation in the National Capital Region: A Report to the President for Transmittal to Congress by the National Capital Transportation Agency November 1, 1962

had rejected the 3 Sisters Bridge and North Leg,

yet by mid 1963 JFK was reconsidering these links:

Owing to concerns that the proposed 2x2 'express street would be inadequate, along with abandoning the Crossing at 3 Sisters, a follow-up letter dated June 1, 1963 letter enumerates the cross town I-66 North Leg and Three Sisters Bridge as the most controversial segments require further study
“…I noted that certain portions of the highway network within the District of Columbia required further study. The guidelines which I believe should be followed in this re-examination are as follows:
The re-examination should focus upon the sections of the highway plans which have from the beginning been the most uncertain and the most controversial- the North Leg of the Inner Loop and the Three Sisters Bridge, both of which involve the manner in which necessarily involve a re-study of those additional portions of the plan which are directly affected by the conclusions reached in the re-examination…”
With his November 1962 report having rejected the Three Sisters Bridge, his June 1963 letter calling for that bridge’s ‘re-examination’ meant that it might be needed, hence having JFK place freeways alongside Catholic University of America and Georgetown University.

Canceled B&O D.C. I-95 next to Catholic University of America

The canceled I-266 Three Sisters Bridge- pointing at Georgetown University 

Hence in the months leading up to his assassination, JFK was reconsidering a highway proposal that had been rejected by the November 1, 1962 transportation report, hence placing a second interstate highway next to a major Roman Catholic Church property.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I-66 Additional Decking Contemplated In Rosslyn

Eleven companies as reported here, have formally shown interest; these include Akridge, Vornado Realty Trust, Monday Properties, The JBG Cos.  Brandywine Realty Trust.Developers, and Comstock Partners LC- infamous for their 'Hampshires townhouse development project upon the least environmentally impactive route for DC I-95

"Site 4" would likely be the easiest new cover-way to construct, for involving a new roof atop an existing trenched freeway segment and have the best potential for reconnecting existing developed areas.

"Site 3" involves taking the western portion of the existing Gateway Park that was built as the surface atop the cut and cover tunnel segment of I-66.  As this park was part of the design to mitigate I-66 upon downtown Roslyn which is heavily built up, "Site 3" may logically the likeliest to be opposed.

"Site 1" and especially "Site 2"are upon the side of a hill and hence would likely involve either a wall or terracing.  if such were extended to also cover the adjacent George Washington Memorial Parkway, local access to the Potomac River waterfront could be enhanced.

Sites "4", 1, and 2" all involving essentially extending the tunnel portion of I-66 that was built with only 2 lanes plus one shoulder in each direction.

From my recollection of reviewing Washington Post indexes of the controversies regarding the construction of I-66, activists sought to so constrict this, meaning that only 3 lanes per direction without shoulders could be accommodated without relatively expensive reconstruction- whether demolishing the outer walls and constructing replacements spaced further out, or constructing parallel tunnel-ways.  

Given that the Roosevelt Bridge into Washington D.C. has 7 lanes total with a movable center divider to provide 4 lanes in the peak traffic direction, it would be sensible to treat the covered portion of I-66 as at least a potentially 6 lane highway.   Hence, any extension of the tunnel-cap should provide space for at least 3 lanes plus one shoulder per direction, and hence be somewhat wider than the existing facility.

IMHO the focus upon reducing the width of I-66 as misguided, that local concerns were better met with further mitigation, such as additional cover/air rights atop the freeway, as well as a 4 rather than a 2 track WMATA rail line thus providing express service to potentially reduce traffic pressure from the highway..  As that portion of I-66 had been earlier planned with 3 lanes per direction plus one or two shoulders per direction, the decision to construct each of its directional covered carriageways with only 2 lanes and a single shoulder saved nothing in the way of right of way/displacement and simply reflected the dictates of that time.

For more on the history of I-66, see the link from Scott Kozel's site "Roads To The Future":

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Center Leg Constriction To Start Today

Project to illegally constrict the I-395 sunken right of way, blocking off the outer 2 lanes in each direction and narrowing the median shoulder to start today- February 24, 2015.

Rejection of late 2014 developer proposal to fully close highway segment during construction, means that motoring public gets to witness the rip off of the right of way as it physically happens.



February 23, 2015

Media Contacts

Reggie Sanders — (202) 437-0809,>>

Michelle Phipps-Evans — (202) 497-0124,>>

Phase One of I-395/3rd Street Tunnel Construction Project Begins February 24th Two-lane traffic will be maintained in each direction during peak hours with limited closures during off-peak hours

(Washington DC) The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced today that Property Group Partners (PGP), the developer of Capitol Crossing, will begin construction in the I-395/3rd Street Tunnel on February 24th, 2015. Work in northbound and southbound lanes will be performed between D Street and New York Avenue, NW, and have no significant impact on traffic during daytime hours. Minor traffic impacts, which will be primarily overnight, will occur to accommodate this enabling work.

Motorists should anticipate delays during this first phase due to periodic lane and ramp closures at night and one permanent ramp closure (I-395 3rd Street off-ramp). This phase of the construction project will take approximately five to six months to complete, weather permitting.

Motorists can anticipate the following impact on traffic in the area:

·        The I-395 southbound off-ramp to the 3rd Street Tunnel will be closed permanently during this phase. There will be no vehicle parking on the ramp, and motorists should seek alternative routes.

·        The southbound travel lanes will be reduced to a single lane of traffic on a limited number of weekdays during off-peak hours, from 11 pm to 5 am; and on certain weekends from midnight to 7 am.

·        The I-395 northbound 3rd Street Tunnel on-ramp will close on a limited number of weekdays during off-peak hours from midnight to 5 am; and on certain weekends from midnight to 8 am. During the 3rd Street on-ramp closures, traffic will be diverted to the 3rd and D Street on-ramp.

·        The northbound travel lanes will be reduced to a single lane of traffic during off-peak hours from 9 pm to 5 am for a limited number of weekdays; and on certain weekends from midnight to 8 am.
·        The northbound off-ramp at 2nd Street, NW, will remain open.

·        Motorists will experience more delays at the following intersections:

o  New York Avenue and the 3rd Street Tunnel entrance.

o  New York Avenue and 4th Street, NW

o  New York and New Jersey Avenue, NW

o  2nd Street and D Street, NW

o  3rd and D Street Tunnel Entrance

Truck traffic must follow truck detours and adhere to over-height restrictions. Traffic on northbound and southbound I-395 will experience slower speeds through the work zones.

At this time, no parking restrictions are anticipated. Pedestrians and bicyclists should pay attention to changing traffic patterns as well.

Motorists are urged to stay alert and use caution when traveling through the work zones. Fines are doubled for speeding in work zones. Motorists are also advised to plan for additional travel time, use alternate routes or seek alternate means of transportation, as traffic delays are likely to occur.

For additional details, please contact the project’s public outreach office at (202) 719-0196.

For more information about the project, visit<<>>

See more articles on this constriction project:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

EYA Fostered & Exploited Buyer Ignorance & Lack of Forethought

When Maureen Cohen Harrington moved into her home on Virginia Avenue Southeast, she said she never thought about trains. But she said she started paying attention when she realized CSX wants to temporarily reroute trains through her front yard, as close as eight steps from her front door by her count, so CSX can double the size of its nearby tunnel.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Where's DC Safe Rail on Takoma Transit Oriented Development?

D.C. Safe Rail opposes the project to rebuild the freight rail tunnel under Virginia Avenue (with temporary open trench at lower grade) adjacent to a group of EYA townhouses constructed within the past decade.

What do they, and such allied groups as the 'Committee of 100 on the Federal City' have to say about the far more egregious case of new transit oriented development adjacent to an ELEVATED freight railroad in a different part of Washington, D.C. -Takoma?

from a recent search

 Elevation 314 next to elevated heavy freight rail at the Takoma Metro Station

Spring Place- with wood framed construction to reduce costs.