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.

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