Monday, December 10, 2012

11th Street Bridge Project Stresses Need to Improve - Bury DC 295 and Connections to Route 50

This December 7, 2012, having the opportunity to drive with my Dad from New York to Williamsburg and Jamestown Virginia, drove through Washington, D.C. via the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to the new 11th Street Bridge connection to the SE/SW Freeway.

That only renewed my astonishment of the lack of comprehensive planning to update the antiquated DC 295 Kennilworth Avenue Freeway,( to say nothing for now about the lack of grace of the approaches of the replacement 11th Street bridges, more appropriate in style to my eye to someplace other than Washington, D.C). 

Think about the 1983-1996 Barney Circle Freeway Bridge proposal, with the wealthier neighborhood northwest of the Anacostia River avoiding a brief freeway extension (despite the topography allowing it to be covered).  And think about DC295, making even more of a wall from the waterfront to the neighborhoods to the southeast of the river, representing impact deferred being impact increased.

The new 11th Street Bridges project completes the connection between the SW/SE Freeway and DC 295 to and from the northeast, and hence is going to increase traffic upon DC 295 Kenilworth Avenue Freeway.

So what's being planned?

A new undergrounded segment beneath a new traffic circle or oval at Pennsylvania Aveune.

A newly widened and lenthened trench at and near Eastern Boulevard.

Nothing from either the feds nor D.C. for anything further, eg. replacing the segment in the vicinity of East Capitol Street beneath an artisically designed lid for extending and enhancing the L'Fant plan axis east.  Not since the 1990s with USNCPC's 'Extending the Legacy' program.

I say entirely replace it with an 8 lane interstate specification grade cut and coverway with full 12 foot lanes and shoulders.  Start the new excavation alongside the existing freeway.  And be damn well sure to make sure that new real estate development is not built too close that would intrude upon the widening requirements.