Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I-395 Extension: A Superior Option

officially un-considered Dunbar - O Street Tunnel
for extending I-395 (I-95) in Washington, D.C. near N.Y. Avenue

Washington, D.C. I-395 options

Dunbar - O Street (yellow and green double deck tunnel)
approx. 1,300 foot radii; 34 dwellings displaced
1971 design
approx. 800 foot radii; 600+ dwellings displaced
1996 design
approx. 300 foot radii; 0 dwellings displaced

Currently truncated I-395 Center Leg at New York Avenue

Images produced by National Capital Planning Commission for the Washington Geographic Information System. Distributed by VARGIS LLC of Herndon, VA.

Note the convenient placement of Dunbar HS, creating a clear area of its recreation field to arc a tunnel to run beneath O Street.

I came up with this idea myself; however I must wonder if this idea came to the designers of the current Dunbar HS.

Friday, November 23, 2007

ECTC 1970

Scans of a poster "Freeway Cancer Hits D.C.!" by the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis, with Marion Barry as one of its Vice Chairmen.

Shows the 1966 Supplementary Study (*) B&O Route North Central Freeway with the 1960s design for the Florida Avenue - U Street North Leg.

(*) Fails to show tunnel configuration alongside Montgomery Community College shown in the 1966 Supplementary Study, even while correctly showing the tunneled segments to cross the railroad at Lamond and at Fort Totten.

Monday, November 19, 2007

11th Street Bridges Project: Marion Barry Missing in Action?

Notes on the Bridge Oversight Hearing
For the record, Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry was NOT in attendance at this Very Important meeting that will significantly affect his ward. Pretty disappointing, actually.
Marion Barry was a leader of the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC) which successfully pushed for truncating the freeways on the north (west) side of the Anacostia River, and was particularly vocal in stopping the Three Sisters Bridge near Georgetown, and the I-95 North Central Freeway alongside Catholic University of America.

Although these actions placed a disproportionate percentage of the express vehicular traffic through the less affluent areas of the south (east) of the Anacostia river in Ward 8 which he now represents at the D.C. City Council, he successfully sold that as stopping "white man's roads through black mans' homes".

Sunday, November 18, 2007

11th Street Bridges Project: Elitism Domination

Just check out the comments (pdf file) of the "Capitol Hill Restoration Society"


It revolves entirely around the idea of REDUCING benefits to society, by obsessing on reducing express road capacity, while saying absolutely nothing about design mitigation, such as cut and cover tunneling. They say nothing about maintaining the division of the 11th Street Bridge interchange and its western portion of the SE Freeway- for the sake of crossing a railroad segment that is planned for removal.

Could it be they prefer this division as a way of segregating their neighborhoods from those to the south?

This is typical of the sort of elitism masquerading as environmentalism, particularly within Washington, D.C., that I wrote about here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

11th Street Bridges: A Suggested Alternative

The existing 11th Street Bridges project bundles too many bad ideas to past muster, particularly its creation of a new elevated berm highway for the sake of crossing over a RR that will be removed a few years later.

Instead, adopt short and long term plans:

Short term: simply add the desired missing ramps from the 11th Street Bridge to and from DC 295 to the east. To fit these with the existing pair of two lane from I-295 to and from the west-south and the pair of two lane local connectors, with the existing pair of four lane spans, reduce the local connections from two to one lane apiece, and make the new I-295 ramps each with one continuous lane with two lane approaches along the Anacostia Freeway. To provide these with two lanes each would require re-routing at least the northbound local connection to the new northbound express ramp, or widen at least the northbound 11th Street span from 4 to 5 lanes.

Concurrently or consecutively, reconstruct the Anacostia Freeway underground as has been suggested by the DCDOT project for the Pennsylvania Avenue interchange, extended as far towards the 11th Street Bridges as geometrically possible. Because of the extra vehicular traffic, Anacostia Freeway underground reconstruction should accomodate a minimum of 4 lanes per direction, plus shoulders and a merge lane.

Long term: following the RR removal-relocation (which will depress and bury a segment of the the existing RR along the Anacostia Freeway), replace the 11th Street Bridges with lower level spans that go underground south of M Street to an undergrounded SE Freeway, maintaining the full connections at both ends of these spans, with the existing eastern SE Freeway segment covered with a waterfront promenade, and so extended towards RFK Stadium/Whitney Young Memorial Bridge, and which undergrounds a portion of its connecting Anacostia Freeway segment.

This spreads and mitigate the burden while spreading the benefit- including reconnecting the area of SE boundaries north and south via I and M Streets, and east-west via 7th and 12th Streets, opening up blocks of reclaimed land for new development.

The official planning squanders these virtues.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

WMATA Takoma Station Transportation Treason and Criminal Malfeasance

Train wreck in Washington, D.C. SE, one day after WMATA's 5-0 unanimous (and near discussion-free) decision to continue to chock the North Central Red Line corridor, underscores subversion of evacuation corridor preservation in the name of providing "transit friendly"development or a "new urbanism" better descried as a "new medievalism."

Go to Takoma Station today and look at the proximity of the "Cedar Crossing" and "Elevation 314" residential projects built after 2001 (and after I took these photos), and envision such a derailment. Also recall that two previous derailments along that RR corridor in 1976 and 1996 had greater setbacks between the RR and anyone's home, respectively Blair Road and a parking lot, giving at least 50 feet. At least one wing of Cedar Crossing, and most of Elevation 314 fall within such a derailment footprint.

Where's the U.S. Department of Transportation on this potential safety risk?

Where's the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on evacuation corridor preservation?

Interesting how such decisions are usually unanimous with little or no debate.

Railcars Fall From Bridge into Anacostia River- The Washington Post Nov 10
Metro Board Approves Project at Takoma Station- The Washington Post Nov 9

Thursday, November 08, 2007

11th Street Bridge Project Rush Job

continuing 1950s style elevated and surface freeway to overpass an existing railroad that's officially envisioned to be removed


The "Final EIS Preferred Alternative"

This study bundles a good idea -- ramps connecting to both directions of the Anacostia Freeway with numerous bad ideas, starting with deleting the ramp connections towards RFK Stadium, and the creation of a counter-intuitive left hand split form the eastbound SE Freeway via an elevated berm for the sake of crossing a RR that's envisioned to be removed and relocated, as per the study announced earlier this year.

The "Final EIS Preferred Alternative" adds other bad ideas, continuing with destroying the freeway continuity to the east, placing all of the vehicular traffic on the surface through traffic light intersections.

And Now, Anacostia- the 11th Street Bridges Project

11th Street Bridges Project: 4 Options Considered

11th Street Bridges Project: Considerations