Friday, January 26, 2007

Virginia House Resolution #44


Offered January 10, 2007

Prefiled December 27, 2006

Memorializing the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of the District of Columbia to construct Interstate Route 95 from College Park, Maryland, to the southern border of the District of Columbia in the City of Alexandria.


Patron-- Marshall, R.G.


Referred to Committee on Rules


WHEREAS, Interstate Route 95 is the primary North-South Transcontinental Route running from Miami, Florida, to Houlton, Maine, spanning 1,919.74 miles; and

WHEREAS, the gap through the District of Columbia is one of only three in the entire Interstate Route 95 system; and

WHEREAS, the Capital Beltway was designed with the plan that Interstate Route 95 through the District of Columbia would be constructed; and

WHEREAS, today the Capital Beltway is now overloaded with more than 230,000 vehicles a day; and

WHEREAS, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge was also originally designed and built with the plan that Interstate Route 95 through the District of Columbia would be constructed; and

WHEREAS, the evergrowing volume of traffic has caused significant damage to the Bridge and, therefore, caused a massive reconstruction; and

WHEREAS, the Springfield Interchange also is in the process of a major reconstruction due to the extreme traffic volumes that could be alleviated by construction of Interstate Route 95 through the District of Columbia; and

WHEREAS, a direct route in and out would save time for both commuters and travelers by not having to be directed around the District of Columbia; and

WHEREAS, the construction of Interstate Route 95 through the District of Columbia would also add another much needed evacuation route out of the metropolitan area; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of the District of Columbia be urged to construct Interstate Route 95 from College Park, Maryland, to the southern border of the District of Columbia in the City of Alexandria.

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House transmit a copy of this resolution to the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of the District of Columbia so that they may be apprised of the sense of the General Assembly of Virginia in this matter.

Delegate Robert G. Marshall
(R) - House District 13

This proposal needs to mention how few homes would need to be displaced by the extension of I-395 (I-95) through Washington, D.C.

The number would be less then that displaced by the current projects in Virginia (57 for the Springfield interchange and 300+ for the Woodrow Wilson Bridges).

This resolution could also point out the creative use of cut and cover tunnels in other cities including Charles town, Massachusetts, and East Seattle, Washington that should be employed for crafting
a neighborhood and environmentally friendly I-95 through Washington, D.C. via the route with the best combination of serviceability and the maximum use of existing corridors : the B&O/PEPCO route.

This, or another resolution needs to call on D.C., Maryland, and Federal authorities to start a formal study.

Bicentennial I-95

To mark this bicentennial year of the U.S. declaration of independence, officials followed the recommendations of those promoting signs over construction, and hence the placing of I-95 signs on the southeastern portion of the Capital Beltway between the I-95 interchange in Beltsville Maryland and Springfield Virginia as “I-95”. This is the segment of the Capital Beltway that includes the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and a portion of the Springfield interchange- neither of which were designed for the idea of placing I-95 on the Capital Beltway. I-95 would penetrate Washington, D.C. only for a few hundred feet of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Under this scheme, existing inside the Beltway I-95 in Virginia (the Shirley Highway) and in D.C. became I-395.

According to popular sentiment of the mid 1970s, simply resigning this portion of the Capital Beltway was the solution.

Although it would seem to many to be a good idea during the mid 1970s, this decision undoubtedly shifted the burden in ways that went virtually unmentioned by the people who pushed the idea of canceling the D.C. freeway system.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I-95 Baltimore Washington Parkway-Laurel Connector

The July 1973 cancellation of PEPCO I-95 did not immediately end planning for a I-95 through Washington, D.C. Rather it ended an I-95 that would provide the local serviceability of a north south freeway somewhere on the northern part of Washington, D.C.

The more north-south B&O/PEPCO I-95 was superseded by the idea of routing I-95 via a new connector, that would be the first portion of an Outer Beltway near Laurel, Maryland, to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, widened with its bridges replaced to permit truck traffic, before entering the District via a New York Avenue Industrial Freeway along the Amtrak railroad, to the North Leg East to connect to the existing I-95 Center Leg/ Mall Tunnel (I-395 Third Street Tunnel), then built to Massachusetts Avenue, and to the not yet built I-66 North Leg K-Street Tunnel.

Opposition to allowing trucks on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and to a lesser degree, the demolition for the final 2000 foot long North Leg East approach along New York Avenue's north side between New Jersey Avenue and North Capital Street to the northern terminus of the Center Leg, brought this final old D.C. I-95 proposal's cancellation by 1976.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pushing I-95 into more of Northwest Branch Park and a useful cross Potomac Bridge and connection to Virginia I-95 and I-66

On November 22, 1968 The Washington Post reported that the private organization, the Committee of 100 on the Federal City had their proposal for routing inside the Beltway I-95.

Like the official planning, it would continue I-95 inside the Beltway in Maryland along the Northwest Branch Park corridor.

Unlike the official plans it would not veer away from the Northwest Branch corridor to enter D.C. via the Fort Drive route; instead it would continue along Northwest Branch for another two miles to cross south of the Baltimore Washington Parkway before turning southwest to connect directly with the Anacostia (Kenilworth Avenue) Freeway.

Under this proposal, the Baltimore Washington Parkway would be extended along the west bank of the Anacostia River to RFK Stadium, with a freeway extension to the SE Freeway at Barney Circle via essentially the southern portion of the planned but un-built East Leg.

It is not said how routing a highway along a wetland plain can even be considered environmentally preferable to an existing power line right of way and a railroad industrial corridor, nor how a diagonal route cut to an existing highway is preferable to a north south route where none exists in the broad area of northern Washington, D.C. The newspaper article does not say if for what distance I-95 would be carried along the Anacostia Freeway, and makes no mention of how this would connect with existing D.C. I-95 (the SW Freeway), such as by not even mentioning adding ramps to the 11th Sreet Bridges.

Neither does the November 15, 1968 "Recommendations of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City Concerning the NCPC Staff Draft, “Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital”."
Connect I-95 with the Capital Beltway. Following the North-west Branch of the Anacostia River Kenilworth Avenue in Prince Georges County, connect I-95 with the Kenilworth Freeway (I-295).

However, the December 3, 1968 testimony by Committee of 100 Chairman Grosvenor Chapman provides a hint:
Between Alexandria and National Airport there would be a new bridge as recommended by the Staff of the National Capital Planning Commission. This bridge would provide from the south an alternative I-95 route inside the Beltway for vehicles having a destination in the District north or south of the Anacostia River.

It would probably require widening of Route 295 north to the Anacostia Bridge as well as distributors to the Anacostia area. On the Virginia side, the new bridge would connect with I-95 and perhaps eventually with I-66 via the Washington and Old Dominion right-of-way. Our study “Potomac Bridges Compared to Traffic Forecast” dated February 24, 1968, which was presented to the City Council at the public hearing last March, shows that this is the only Potomac River crossing within the District of Columbia which can be justified in the year 1990.
This bridge would have to be significantly south of National Airport for flight path concerns. A route for such a bridge appears in early 1950s planning, with a route continuation in Virginia southwesterly along the FR&P railroad corridor in Alexandria, turning west to join what became the Capital Beltway.

The Committee of 100’s 1968 suggestion to use the Washington and Old Dominion right-of-way route along 4 Mile Run would have connected this new bridge to I-95 and I-66, creating a useful trans Washington, D.C. downtown bypass through what would be the lower half of an intermediate loop incorporating a widened Anacostia Freeway instead of the Fort Drive route in DC SE.

I have not been able to find the statistics for the numbers of residential dwelling units this would have displaced, with the bulk being along the 4 Mile Run route in Virginia, owing to Virginia's failure to preserve this corridor from overly close development.

Today, this former railroad corridor carries an electric power line that runs to and along I-66 towards the Dulles Airport Access Road.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And so does the US National Capital Planning Commission

D.C. area Highways with Completed Inner Loop but no northern radial

The 1968 Amended Major Transportation Plan WITHOUT a North Central Freeway

In 1968, efforts were soon underway to amend the master plans within the appropriate venues, with extensive public debates and open hearings held before the U.S. National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the D.C. City Council. This would occur only after a brief attempt by the Johnson Administration White House to abolish the NCPC, made within 1 week of this suit's conclusion. This proposal, reported in The Washington Post February 21, 1968 and presented to members of Congress by Assistant Budget Director Harold Seidman and Washington, D.C. Deputy Mayor Thomas W. Fletcher, would transfer NCPC's functions to a Federal Capital Area Planning Agency, headed by an administrator appointed by the President with Senate confirmation.

By the end of 1968, NCPC adopted a newly revised Major Transportation Plan with a further reduced freeway network. It maintained the proposed Inner Loop Freeway (with the cross-town I-66 link via a K Street Tunnel rather than the earlier proposed open depressed freeway through approximately 2500 residences along Florida Avenue and U Street). But it deleted the North Central and Northeast Freeways, in favor of the ideas of feeding I-70S and some I-95 traffic upon the local street grid, with completing I-95 through D.C. via a New York Avenue Industrial Freeway, and in Maryland via the Baltimore Washington Parkway; this would be with either via a short jog on the I-495 Capital Beltway, or a new highway connecting I-95 with the Baltimore Washington Parkway at or near the Kenilworth interchange. According to the NCPC's "Red Book" (Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital) regarding the approved Major Thoroughfare:

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)

Building I-95 would add a super arterial.

Another arterial would be another Wisconsin, Georgia or New Hampshire or Rhode Island Avenues – arterials, which have traffic lights.

This would represent a change in opinion with N.C.P.C., which had previously approved a portion of the North Central Freeway, a portion of the East Leg, and Three Sisters Bridge, September 15, 1966, as well as the remaining portions of North Central Freeway on October 13, 1966, and the remaining portion of East Leg on February 9, 1967. (This matched the District Commissioners' approval of these projects September 20, 1966.) This would result in a roadway network with no north-south radial route into Washington, D.C. for the roughly 10:30-2:30 northern arc between the GW Parkway in Virginia, and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland, and no such mixed traffic road (permitting trucks) for the 9:00-3:00 northern arc between Virginia's I-66 and Maryland's Route 50.

It's a decision that saved 59 houses in DC NE, and 600+ in NW immediately to the west of North Capitol Street for the North Leg East segment to connect with the existing Center Leg (3rd Street Tunnel), along with countless lost hours that no transportation study that I know of addresses.

Both the north south B&O route and the New York Avenue Route to Maryland Route 50 require the North Leg East segment, so canceling the B&O Route sacrificed a great utility for few homes.

As for the North Leg East, its 600+ figure could be reduced to about 34 with a different route.

Yet those, such as people at the U.S. National Capital Planning Commission and The Washington Post would rather lie to themselves and to the public.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Washington Post Lies About Inside the Beltway I-95

In its issue of November 26, 2000, The Washington Post Magazine ran an article titled “Lost Highways” that appeared with the byline Bob and Jane Freundel Levey.

The cover juxtaposed two pictures: one of a group of college students camping out on the 3 Sisters “islands” rocks protesting the then impending 3 Sisters Bridge; the other of the interchange of the Capitol Beltway and Route 1 in Alexandria, Virginia. Perhaps the message this was meant to convey was that we do not want the former looking like the latter.

Fictitious I-95 Northeast Freeway route through Takoma Park, intersecting the North Central Freeway just north of Piney Branch Boulevard

This article included a map showing a fictitious alignment through Takoma Park for I-95. This maneuver mis-reports history by taking the 1973 route which would require 0 homes via using the existing PEPCO power line right of way, and rotating it in a graphics program; the actual route intersected the North Central B&O corridor at New Hampshire Avenue.

This has the effect of turning this highway from having low impacts by using the existing 250 foot wide PEPCO power line right of way, by instead running an all new swath through Takoma Park on a less direct route with inferior geometry for the connection to the North Central Freeway (compare the above and below)

DeLeuw, Cather Associates and Harry Wesse & Associates, LTD, 1971

Numerous people caught this gross error and contacted The Washington Post via writing letters to the editor, and by posting to that newspaper’s Talk Central bulletin board. (I have not been able to locate an archive of that late 2000 thread found at a November 27 discussion with the Leveys). Here's a discussion on misc.transport.road:

NO one at The Washington Post responded, nor would they print a correction of this, nor of any of the other errors.

The article would end on a hard-line anti-public highway note: not here, never. Never mind that the area referred to is WMATA parking lots which could be reconstructed atop a cut and covered highway.

Notably, it’s a position they chose to back up with non-facts.

The Anti-Freeway Dogma's Indifference Towards The Consequences