Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Relief For Washington D.C.'s Truncated Freeway System?

excerpt from:

"...We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it...."

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The New York Times Covers 'Capitol Crossing' Project

Not a mention of this project's give-way to developers of the public's right of way:

See the other articles about this developer give-away that squanders 50% of the below ground level Center Leg Freeway's design capacity, and even disregards safety by squeezing the median shoulders, at the tag below.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

'Streetsblog' Apparently Sides With Wealthy NIMBY's Against Popular D.C. Area Transit Project

The underlying principle here is that big investments ought to be based on forecasts—whether of future traffic or ridership—that fully reflect all the information we have at hand on how travel patterns are changing, and are likely to change in the future.
Unfortunately, this is an overly optimistic interpretation of the ruling, in my view. I'm all for more realistic forecasting methods, but there's little evidence in this case that MTA or FTA should have done anything differently.

While it's true that DC Metro transfers are predicted to account for about a quarter of the Purple Line's ridership, let's game this out: assuming current trends continue, Metro ridership will be about 10% lower than its 2009 level by the time the Purple Line opens in 2022.

So: 25% x 10% = 2.5% difference from the current forecast. Significant, sure, and something to plan for, but hardly an earth-shattering difference.

And that's a very generous assumption for the plaintiffs. For one thing, it's quite possible that Metro's woes would actually increase Purple Line usage, since a new light rail line is likely to be a far more reliable option.
And, as mentioned, the Purple Line's projected opening is six years in the future. (And keeps getting delayed by lawsuits like this.) It's highly unlikely that Metro will still be in such bad shape by then.

It's a very different situation than relying on clearly outdated traffic models, where courts have shown every deference to state DOTs, even in the Wisconsin case mentioned (which was a very narrow ruling).
For context, Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail is a NIMBY group based in a wealthy suburb, Chevy Chase, that has opposed the Purple Line since its inception for reasons that have nothing to do with ridership forecasts.

For years, they've thrown every legal argument at the wall hoping something would stick -- declaiming the effect of the project on their namesake trail, mainly, even saying that danger to a rare arthropod should scrap the whole project.

What this ruling really says is that they've found a judge who finally bought one of their capricious arguments. A judge who happens to live in Chevy Chase and is a member of a country club that is vehemently opposed to the Purple Line, for that matter.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Anti Freeway/Anti WMATA Rail Transit System Activist Angela Rooney Dead at 96

of the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC)

Rooney not only opposed the North Central Freeway,
but also the planned/built WMATA rail transit system

Angela Rooney, Douglas Willinger, Jeremy Korr
1998 'Freeways in Washington' panel
D.C. Historical Society Conference

ECTC - Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis names, 
on 'Freeway Cancer Hits Washington, D.C.' poster partially visible in the preceding photo
with Angela Rooney listed among its 'Secretarial Committee' ,
with R.H. Booker as Chairman, Marian Barry as Vice Chairman, 
and Samuel Abdullah Abbott as Publicity Director

On Saturday, August 20, 2016 of Washington, DC. Beloved wife of 60 years to Thomas P. "Tom" Rooney; wonderful mother of Kate Rooney Miskovsky and the late Christopher Rooney; loving grandma of Alex, Megan, Lauren Miskovsky and Alexis Rooney; sister of the late William Bayer and Joan Severin. Survived by her daughter-in-law, Kimberley Rooney; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors. Angela enjoyed a long and extraordinary life. She was a devoted wife and mother, who also found time to pursue diverse careers, and her three main passions; art, acting, and activism. After receiving her BFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, she served three years with the American Red Cross during WWII. Angela worked for the NY Botanical Society and the DuPont Company. She moved to Washington, DC, in the 1950s taking advanced acting classes at Catholic University, which led to a TV job on the Mark Evans Show. Following her marriage to her devoted husband Tom, they settled into Brookland in DC. She soon became involved in many civic organizations, often as a co-founder including the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis, NCTC, UNECC, Preservation of the Brooks Mansion, The McMillan Reservoir, Trash Transfer station issues, and a staunch supporter of the Metro System. During these years she also worked as a manager of the Kennedy Center Theater Chamber Players and special events at the National Gallery of Art. She received numerous distinguished awards for her dedication to the city and her community. A Funeral Mass will be offered at St. Anthony''s Catholic Church, 1029 Monroe Street, NE, Washington, DC on Friday, August 26 at 10 a.m. Interment Mt. Olivet Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to Capital Caring Hospice, 2900 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042.
Jeremy Korr of the University of Maryland and myself appeared on the 1998 D.C. Historical Society conference panel 'Freeways in Washington' with Angela Rooney, and moderated by Keith Mulder.!topic/misc.transport.urban-transit/XGUztwmeBUA
Doug was followed by Angela Rooney, a lady from the Brooklands area who was an activist during the era. She spent most of her time plugging her friend Helen Leavett's long out-of-print book,"Superhighway, Superhoax," which is an excellent work if you believe that we'll run out of gas in 1975. Ooops. She also entertained us with stories about how the FBI was out to get her and her ECTC cronies, and how the newspapers and media in general were interested only in silencing these fine citizens. She mentioned that they never did anything illegal, two minutes before telling us how a few of them got arrested during protests -- ahem -- but had little mention of Marion Barry's formula for burning down suburban houses in retaliation for
those lost to wrecking ball in DC. Another interesting story was about a fantasy road that has never existed on any master plan for DC, with a highway being tunneled under the Lincoln Memorial. She mentioned that cars and Metro were not the answer to our transportation
, but rather some unnamed "multimodal" system consisting of, one presumes, Star-Trek type transporters. No doubt the FBI is suppressing that technology as well. Strangely, she was silent about the homes that have already been lost in Springfield VA for the I-95 widening, as well as the hundreds of apartments that will be razed in Alexandria, all due to the Beltway's being overburdened due to the cancellation of a through-DC I-95. I suppose White Men's roads through Hispanics' Apartments is okay.
I first met Angela Rooney in or about February 1998, upon paying her and her husband a visit with Ruth Abbott (1920-2009), widow of Sammie Abbott (1908-1990).  Ruth had told me that she and Rooney had not seen each other in years, and I thought - correctly - that this would be an interesting person to meet.

It was at this meeting that Angela Rooney told me that she had also opposed the WMATA rail transit system.

It was also at this meeting where she called me a 'dangerous' person for my idea of a primarily cut and cover tunneled B&O North Central Freeway/CSX/WMATA Railroad beneath a new linear park, the Grand Arc- a characterization that coming from her that I viewed as a compliment.

I had probably first hear of Rooney from her 1997 internet published interview with Chris Niles, who I subsequently met, with him telling me that his family's house or houses had been targeted by planned freeways.  This interview has been re-published at the Mark Robinowitz site "Peak Traffic":

Date: 19 May 1997 19:56:02 EST
Subject: WRN Intersect V1 N3 Section 1 Article

May 5, 1997 Volume I Number 2

Interview with a Freeway Fighter

Angela Rooney was one of the leaders in the anti-freeway movement from the early 60's to the early 70's that succeeded in preventing the construction of 1500 lane miles of freeway in the region. This included an extension of I-95 and an "inner-circulator," both of which would have, among other things, destroyed thousands of homes and small businesses in the District of Columbia. I have spoken to Ms. Rooney several times and have been deeply impressed with her courage, commitment to speaking truth to power and political savvy. Her knowledge of both the political history of transportation struggles in this region and the essentials of effective movement building are of great value to today's activists fighting current highway projects. I recently asked her how she became involved with the Freeway Fighters and how they became such an effective fighting force. Following are some excerpts of her thoughts from that conversation. -- Chris Niles.

"I think the first thing that struck me was the social inequality of ramming a huge freeway through a largely black section of the city which would have just ripped up neighborhood after neighborhood, community after community. It was just a massive attempt to destroy half of Washington DC. Better connected whites in Northwest simply said no way are you going to ram a freeway down Wisconsin or Connecticut Ave or anywhere else in Northwest. So the highway department went back and redrew it and said "wow, we can go through Northeast, they don't have any clout." But the idea that this was going to be imposed on the city without any real opportunity to be heard from was to me an outrage...

I quickly learned that there was no one to lead us or protect us. I heard that there was to be a hearing in Takoma Park, another community that the freeway would decimate. So, I took myself out and I watched what happened at the public hearing.. As I heard the testimony, I found the people that I wanted to work with. We started this huge network. We did not have the advantage of getting funding for anything, ever.
It began with meetings every week, meetings every day sometimes. We went to all the hearings and learned the tactics of the labor unions, by which I mean simultaneously organizing and educating, though without having the guns right in our faces. At the top of the list was educating. We realized that our job was to teach people what their rights were, to realize that the constitution guaranteed those rights, to stand up for them, and to speak out.

We were scrupulously careful in never having a meeting from which anyone was barred or never having a plan that was not within our constitutional rights to carry out, to hold a meeting, to picket, to demonstrate. Everything that we did was within the law. Still, what came down was the heavy, heavy boot of the FBI and our newspaper (the Washington Post). The Post called us everything from communists to pinkos to "that little band of discontented people..." Our job was to educate from the highest economic level to the lowest economic level and bring them all together at the same table whenever possible so that everybody was focused on the same issue. We were immensely advantaged by having a guy named Sam Abbott who was at heart and soul a great union organizer to focus and understand what was really going on. We understood that almost all of our troubles came out of the '56 Highway Act which created an enormous lobby of asphalt and cement people, auto companies, tire makers, all the people who make money from highways. They were well-entrenched in Congress and drinking deeply from the federal trough that was set up called the Highway Trust Fund. They had little respect for anyone who got in their way and they were astonished that anybody like me, a white woman living in a largely black neighborhood would get up and testify strongly, mincing no words...

The Federal Highway Administration, was in fact breaking its own laws left and right. They would not hold the proper hearings, they would not publish advance notice of meetings. We had to force the government to obey its own laws and regulations. The more you saw of how criminally they behaved, the more you learned the importance of learning what they were up to all the time. You tracked the organizations that supported the highways, that greased the wheels. You also learned another important thing: Always know where the money is coming from and where it is going. We eventually succeeded in networking a large area that included the suburban areas of Maryland and Virginia and the whole of the District of Columbia. The idea was to create a political climate of understanding of what was being done so that the lawsuits that were brought and the lawyers who had joined us-there were not many but there were some brilliant ones-would be judged in a political climate that understood the social injustice and the terror that was being visited upon this city and the suburbs...De Toqueville said that the most important thing for a democracy to succeed is an educated and involved citizenry. That does not mean learning how to be a rocket scientists. I'm talking about the operations of our government in action. You need to understand why people vote the way they do and what they're interested in.. You've got to help people to see how to look at things and analyze the political situation in a generalized way, not just go along because this Democratic guy is nice or that Republican says something you want to hear. You divorce the issue from party politics, stick with the issue and learn how it plays out in the big picture as well as in your own community...

Our first rallying cry was: "No White Men's Roads Through Black Men's Homes!"  We had to do that as offensive as it was to some people because it was absolutely the truth. It was indeed Black men's homes and businesses that were being confiscated. It was a very personal kind of insult, especially in a city where many blacks worked for the Federal government the city, to find out that your home could be gone just like that. The highway proponents felt no compunction about this. I don't remember whether it was the highway lobby men or the representatives from the FHA but they would say, "yeah, we built that road and we didn't even have to give them the moving money. They didn't know they were supposed to get it...

Our other rallying cry was: "Freeways No!, Metro Yes!" That was in everything we put out to focus hard on the fact that we needed good public transportation. If they built I-95, the inner loop, the outer beltways and all the other roads, there was no hope for a Metro being built because there would be no money. So we fought long, long and hard for years to break open the trust fund for other kinds of transportation. People had no idea that they had an option...Even in the 1960's, we were calling loud and clear for a multi-modal, interdependent, complete transportation system. We discovered that there was no "transportation plan" for the United States at all. That was a euphemism they used to use: "Oh, we have to build that road, it's a part of the transportation plan.". We were very happy when we learned, after being blackmailed as a city and told we would get no federal payment if we did not take the money for the freeways, that the money had been shifted over to Metro. I truly believe that the money was shifted because the freeway people realized that they were operating in a city that made it impossible for anybody to be elected unless they were against the freeways-including Barry. At the same time, they suddenly realized that if they got Metro, and built it in their image, they could make just as much money, maybe even more because then they could enrich all those suburban developers. We did lobby for good Metro stops in the city that would not destroy the whole neighborhood with uncontrolled development around every Metro stop. Developers did not get their way around every Metro station in the District-not yet at least. But they pretty much got their way at suburban Metro stations. Look at Tyson's Corner, for example. With Metro, they have simply recreated, by and large, highway-like development pattern. If we had had our druthers, we would not have built Metro out into the cow pastures, and we would not have built so damn deep. It was, is, an overbuilt system. I mean, look at Dupont Circle. I doubt very much that they had to go that deep. It is not a well conceived system. It was never integrated properly with the buses or light rail. Further, public transportation should be available to everyone and it should be free. There is no reason it can't be.

There were always agent provocateurs that we needed to deal with. We expected them to be at mass meetings. We learned to look at the shoes to see if they were shined. We learned not to be deceived by anyone who wore fake dashikis-there were lots of those. We learned to study the people who brought unnamed camera crews. We knew our phones were tapped, all the time. We received a lot of phone calls from so-called innocent people just asking how many people did you expect to turn out, or offering to provide coffee and donuts. They would also say that they were writing books and wanted to know if we thought this country was really worth saving. We knew people who worked at the FBI and they saw our files. Sometimes, provocateurs would go to our meetings and attempt to rouse the crowd to some kind of action that would force the police to interfere. That was never our style. It was always brought on by an individual or group of people sent there to try to force the crowd into some kind of useless action.. I used to get called up by white people who thought they were looking after my good and they would ask me, "why do you associate with those people? They don't even use good grammar?" They would also say that they thought the company I kept was dangerous because they thought some of them were what they used to call "pinkos." It was very silly. I would say "why don't you stop worrying about the style of their speech and listen to the content..." Ten years later, we won a lawsuit against the FBI for harassment

We learned that it was important to distinguish the private decision making process from the public one. The private decision making process in Washington consisted of the Gold Plan, the Silver Plan and the Blue Plan. The Gold Plan was for those who will make serious money from the private decision making process. The Silver Plan was for the hangers on who receive secondary benefits from the Gold Plan. The Blue Plan is the one that the community is supposed to see...Generally speaking, you never get a look at the Gold Plan unless you paid thousands of dollars a year to belong to 'the club...'

"The media has taken over the job of the highway lobby of brainwashing the American people. We are so deep into the culture of the automobile now that we have no notion how we have been suckered into it. Children from the time they are born assume the right of the automobile. It is the biggest sex symbol in America. But our dependency on the car has backfired all over the country: air pollution is worse, traffic jams are far worse then they ever were, water runoff is worse.

Despite all this, the highway lobby continues fighting for more roads...Recently, the Post was a part of a transportation study (now reading from a recent Post editorial): "The study was conducted by a group of national and regional transportation specialists hired by the Board of Trade with funds from various member companies...including this newspaper." This study was a done deal before it was completed so it would say exactly what they wanted it to say; and what they want is to build roads that we prevented them from building in the 60's..."

I think one of the most important lessons that came out of our efforts is that there is no compromise unless there are equal advantages on both sides. Otherwise it's not compromise. What are activist giving up when the compromise? Nothing. What are the highway people getting? Everything they wanted. It's really important to understand this because people are always being asked to be reasonable. There is no such thing as being reasonable when somebody is putting your head on a chopping block. People are deceived all the time: "Let's get a few of you together and talk it over, we're all reasonable people." You are dead in the water if you buy that. Never go in small groups. Take everybody. Let everybody hear what the highway proponents are up to."
Such sentiment was what was largely precipitated by the sort of 'planning' that had fashioned Washington, D.C.'s planned main northern traffic artery into something that became highly unpopular, from what had previously been a relatively uncontroversial idea when initially proposed via the John F. Kennedy administration in November 1962.
Rooney is the latest to die among those involved with Washington, D.C.'s freeway planning controversies.

Reginald Booker Dead

Marion Barry Dead

Peter S. Craig Dead:

Ruth Abbott Dies 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Scrap "Capitol Crossing" & Build A Park



This blog has editorialized against the Capitol Crossing air rights project atop the un-covered trenched segment of Washington, D.C.'s Center Leg Freeway as an ill advised endeavor that constricts the freeways's existing below ground level capacity by over 50% including  its utterly irresponsible constriction of the emergency shoulders- all to increase the developer's profits, so done with no apparent consideration of the costs of replicating the lost capacity, via a perjurious US FHWA of 'no significant impact'.

There is an additional reason to oppose Capital Crossing.  Why more more buildings?   The area of Washington, D.C. has relatively little park space in the area north of the National Mall.  The Center Leg has an existing park atop it for a meagerly single block.

Instead of simply scrapping the existing Capital Crossing project design, why not scrap it radically- eliminating not only the infringing support columns, but as well the monolithic new buildings of which that area has a new abundance of, and build a new park atop?

Does Washington, D.C. really need these new buildings?

Especially when the surrounding area is being heavily re-developed!

Have Congress enact legislation to purchase the air rights, scrap the Capitol Cross project, demolish the offending intrusions upon the sunken I-395 right of way, and construct a lid respecting such with a new park atop, perhaps with a hot house for plants, thus providing an oasis for such year round..

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Luckily This Did Not Occur In The Takoma Station Area

B&O Metropolitan Branch RR
May 1, 2016 Sunday Morning HAZMAT Freight Train Derailment- just before 7AM
near the Rhode Island WMATA Station

14 car derailment, with 3 leaking cars- one of sodium hydroxide (similar to bleach or Drano)- reportedly was sealed Sunday; another of non-hazardous calcium chloride said to be non-hazardous, also plugged; and another of ethanol slowly leaking from the base of a valve, and contained.

No injuries.  No evacuations ordered.

Was an interstate shipment from Cumberland, Maryland to Hamlet, North Carolina.

Cause of derailment unknown.

Caught on video.  See:

Fortunately this did not occur in an area as the Takoma Station area, to the north, just inside the Washington, D.C. line, where the railroad is upon an embankment higher than the adjacent wood framed residential dwellings recently constructed as part of the mania for 'transit oriented development'.   Such a derailment there would kill dozens of people in their homes within such projects as 'Elevation 314'  for being irresponsibly located within the footprint of a derailment and at a lower elevation- meaning that that train cars would not just come into their dwelling laterally but also from top down.

'Elevation 314'


Derailments along that railroad corridor in 1996 and in 1976 did not result in such injuries or deaths because the nearby dwellings were set back 50 feet or more from the railroad.  The 1996 derailment just north of 16th Street in Silver Spring went eastward into an apartment building parking lot; while the 1976 derailment, though from the embankment just south of the Takoma Station area, went westward upon Blair Road and the front yards of the houses along that Roads' west side.

Location of the May 1, 2016 derailment is adjacent to two new 'transit oriented development' real estate development projects by MRP Reality and Douglas Development.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Richard Laymen Reports On Road Tunnels- February 9, 2016

Richard Laymen/Rebuilding Space in The Urban Space makes some good points about the need for road tunnels in urban areas, even as he so far fails to defend the space to facilitate their construction, from badly located new real estate development.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

London Mayor proposes roadway tunnels to divert surface motor vehicle traffic and congestion

Central Artery before and after, Boston.  

According to the Guardian ("Boris Johnson unveils road tunnel plans to ease London congestion"). From the article:
“Around eight of every 10 journeys in London are made using our roads – whether by car, taxi, motorbike, bus, cycle, foot or freight – which is why it is vital that we think big. We must deliver long-term solutions that will not just make the most of the space we have for road users but bring environmental and amenity improvements to local areas.” ...

He added: “By pushing forward strategic initiatives we are outlining today, we will lay the foundation for the next wave of improvements to everyone’s experience of the road network across the city.”

The major road tunnels are based on the strategies pursued in Stockholm and Boston, although the latter’s “Big Dig” proved difficult, costly and controversial. The success of flyunders in transforming parts of cities such as Madrid, where its inner ring road was partially buried, may make the smaller projects more viable. TfL believes a 1.3km tunnel at Barking could create a new neighbourhood of 5,000 homes in a blighted area, and that either tolls or the housing could make the project pay for itself.
Who knew that there is the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association?

-- "Urban Road Tunnels," ITA

I mention this because I have suggested this in the North Capitol-Blair Road corridor in DC, and support it for through traffic on New York Avenue (the equivalent of a connection between I-95 through DC to Virginia)--this is not my idea originally, it was suggested in the New York Avenue Transportation Study about ten years ago. 16th Street NW would be another corridor where this is worth considering. [DW- That study proposed a tunnel connecting to the I-395 Center Leg to the northeast under New York Avenue; it made no reference to any northern radial corridor as North Capitol-Blair Road, nor the parallel B&O].

The justification is that the negative impacts on abutting neighborhoods are significant and worthy of mitigation.  The underground trip would be faster and therefore should be worthwhile for users, thereby justifying toll charges for the privilege.  See "Tunnelized road projects for DC and the Carmel Tunnel, Haifa, Israel example--tolls."

I didn't know about the Madrid example. Marseille removed a highway along the waterfront by shifting it to an underused rail tunnel. Thessaloniki built a tunnel around its historic traffic to divert traffic and create a more pedestrian-centric environment along the waterfront.


In Long Beach, an undergrounded rail tunnel, the Alameda Corridor, was built to facilitate freight movement between the port and the freight railway system.

It could have been interesting to have also built a tunnel for truck traffic between the port and the highway system, since the road system is inundated with truck traffic generated by the port.

Miami is creating such a facility, the N.W. 25th Street Viaduct Project, between the Miami Airport's cargo hub and the local freeway system (pictured at left).*

Of course, Boston's "Big Dig" or Central Artery Freeway is another example ("10 years later, did the Big Dig deliver?," Boston Globe) although it is not tolled.

Note that the tunnel underpasses in various places in the city, such as at Massachusetts Avenue and Thomas Circle for the roadway system and on North Capitol Street between M Street and Rhode Island Avenue, were early attempts to facilitate traffic movement but without providing simultaneous improvements in conditions for neighborhoods and the urban street fabric.

Capitol Crossing, before.  

The Capitol Crossing development, which will deck over of the I-395 freeway between Masachusetts Avenue and D Street NE is an example of decking over an existing facility, without creating a new tunnel. [DW- Alas, it reduces the right of way profile 50% with zero consideration of the comparisons of the real estate project's extra profitability versus that of restoring the lost capacity via a pair of new parallel tunnels]]

Reknitting the street grid in Washington by decking over more of I-395.


* Separately, I wonder if the Long Bridge reconstruction project--the bridge carries passenger railroad, freight railroad, and subway trains over the Potomac River between Southwest DC and Arlington County--should add lanes for a bi-directional dedicated busway.

It could serve National Airport when the subway is closed as well as tour bus traffic and other bus traffic to and from DC.

posted by Richard Layman @ 11:34 AM&Permanent Link 9 comments

Anonymous Anonymous said...
if you are going to have freeways for cars in a large city this is the way to go- but my beef with the Big Dig is that they put too many monster roads up on top instead of what is being done here in DC which is to actually rebuild the city that had been taken out in the first place. Boston is a world better than before the BD but they could have done an even better job using the new freed up space.
12:01 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
Take advantage of the opportunity to bury existing railway corridor, bring log covered waterways back to the surface and create vast new park corridors, as I have long suggested via my Grand Arc proposal for Washington, D.C.

Do be sure to write out about misplaced real estate development placed too close to such corridors in in other wrong places as "The Hampshires" townhouses that are essentially demolition specials, as well as poorly designed projects as the Capitol Cross project that combines the righteous idea of covering the Center Leg with the foolishness of wasting up to 50% of its capacity, thus necessitating a new pair of parallel cut and cover tunnelways.

2:25 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
Also, any tunneled extension from the northern end of the Center Leg should arc beneath the intersection of New Jersey Ave and N Street rather than the 1990s-early 200s plan instead under 4th and New York Avenue. The former would take advantage of the space beneath the recreation field of Dunbar HS and be easier to construct, and provide far superior geometry for the transition to the northeast.

Thankfully the more recent Dunbar HS building replacement does not conflict with doing that.

Such could then continue as a duel stacked tunnel beneath O Street before turning to join the railroad corridors.

A tunnel beneath New York Avenue would be better for a continuation of a cross-town I-66 Tunnel that from Mt Vernon Square to Washington Circle run beneath K Street- the idea favored by opponents to the 1950s plan for a new swath along Florida Avenue and U Street.

To the east of the railroad, the cut and cover tunnel should then run alongside New York Avenue with a box containing highway and a new WMATA rail subway, beneath a linear park and new development with a deck atop the rail chasm.

The authorities subverted the idea of extending the tunnel east by only considering the pricier, more disruptive and less profitable idea of placing it directly beneath New York Avenue.
2:41 PM
Blogger Richard Layman said...
the problem with tunneling the Metropolitan Branch is that it isn't particularly wide. So the amount of land generated would be minimal. As a park or bike trail, it wouldn't be worth the expense.

cf. the width of the High Line.

However, it could be worth doing it it were possible to double but probably triple stack tunnels for railroad and subway transit.

But it would cost many billions, and the benefit would likely not be greater than the cost.

Selective tunnels for roads could have much greater social and economic benefit.
3:04 PM
Blogger Richard Layman said...
tunneling New York Avenue is a different issue. Normally, I'd say not to do it with transit, since there is no compelling need to move the existing trackage just for the hell of it.

I don't know exactly how the track is threaded, but it seems that from New Carrollton you can figure out how to get to Annapolis, and from New Carrollton to DC there is no need to tunnel.

Just do a London Overground in terms of organizing the service, as I outline in past posts.

2. The I-66 idea is interesting but I don't think serves much purpose. But you could build it in conjunction with the proposed separated blue/silver line that I have written about in the past. Dumping traffic on city streets isn't something that makes sense.

3. But in conjunction with I-66, I've suggested a cut and cover tunnel for an RER type line out of Union Station (a continuation of Penn Line) which would be electrified.

4. I don't know enough about electrification technology to figure out how to make an Annapolis to DC rail line electrified rather than diesel. Maybe it's just as easy to put it underground to be able to electrify it.
3:12 PM
Anonymous charlie said...
When i was going to Madrid the construction for the tunnel was just starting. A real mess, and it made getting to the in laws hard.

Probably the best analogy in the various plans in DC to bridge/tunnel over E st and the area around 66 and the Kennedy Center.

(Again, we have the tunnel machines but the shadow government only wants to use them for sewage, not for transportation. Different funding buckets)

Or to blow the willinger's mind, build a tunnel under K, run it under georgetown (and take down whitehurst), go under the potomac and then up Spout run).

7:32 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
The B&O Metro Branch corridor would be simultaneously widened, to the degree that it would still fit, in Brookland between the mainline of CUA buildings, and the Turkey Thicket neighborhood. That would likewise avoid Brooks Mansion, and would displace relatively few dwellings, less than the 34 of the cir 1970 version of the 1996 North Central Freeway. However my version would pace southbound tunnel box carriageways stacked, immediately west of the RR, directly beneath John McCormack Drive, and unstacking to the south in the lightly developed industrial area along 8th Street NE, with a southbound portal immediately past Franklin Street thus affording THE best vista perhaps anywhere along the Interstate Highway System.

The displacement besides the 34 or so targeted by the 1966-70 plan would be confined to the foolishly misplaced new buildings such as the 2 Arts Space buildings nearest to the RR.

To the north, recently recklessly located buildings as the Elevation 314 project would be demolished, as they should as safety hazards as residential wood framed buildings within a footprint of a potential freight rail derailment from a set of ELEVATED tracks, as would the Cedar Crossing and a corner of the adjacent project. The late 1990s Takoma Co-Housing project is thankfully just outside the footprint. To the north, the historic Cady Lee mansion and the row of houses along Takoma Avenue would all be avoided; however the foolishly placed mid 1960s Montgomery Gardens apartment complex would be at least partially demolished.

For the connection to the PEPCO corridor, a depressed, part or all covered link along the north side of New Hampshire Avenue would displace 27 1940s houses just inside D.C., strip retail just inside Maryland, and of course a good chunk of that recent demo special of "The Hampshires" which was a completely irresponsible development, before swinging across New Hampshire Avenue to run via the PEPCO corridor to the I-95 stubbs at the Capital Beltway. To address the challenging topography, I would have NH Avenue upon a new bridge with I-95 passing through its southern abutment.

New retail and housing could then be constructed in a lid atop the NHA I-95 segment, rather than keeping it as an open trench. I would do the same in spots to the north along the PEPCO corridor, including a lid with such at University Avenue.

The benefits would be immense. Not simply for achieving a full northern I-95 link plus one towards I-270 and a cut and cover tunnel beneath Georgia Avenue as an alternative to the old Northern Parkway proposal. But as well with the creation of a vast new northern radial park - a northern Mall in essence - for Washington D.C. extending down to the rear of Union Station- already the existing end-cap. And furthermore, as I see it, with a resurfacing of the long buried Tiber Creek.

New high speed tolling would make this only even more practical.

7:49 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
"Or to blow the willinger's mind, build a tunnel under K, run it under georgetown (and take down whitehurst), go under the potomac and then up Spout run)."

Something akin to that was briefly proposed by the Committee of 100 cir 1968.

A variant of that would be to build a 3 Sisters Bridge, but rather than the mess of spaghetti for its approaches, do those via a tunnel that makes the elevation change arcing beneath the recreation field of Georgetown University.

The existing I-66 terminus near the Watergate ought to be reconstructed as an underground semi-Orb beneath a new pedestrian park overlook.
7:54 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
The New York Avenue corridor to the east of the B&O RR is a fantastic canvas for redevelopment extending to and past Montana Avenue, with downtown DC-Paris scaled buildings along its northern side with the new freeway and WMATA line in tunnel box. there is a great deal of space that could be worked with by digging out the space immediately north of the Avenue, and then extending a deck atop the RR chasm.
7:57 PM
Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...
" I have suggested this in the North Capitol-Blair Road corridor in DC, and support it for through traffic on New York Avenue (the equivalent of a connection between I-95 through DC to Virginia)--this is not my idea originally, it was suggested in the New York Avenue Transportation Study about ten years ago."

That study only addressed a tunnel beneath New York Avenue extending from existing I-395 Center Leg; it said nothing about the northern part of North Capital Street, nor Blair Road, etc.

What would be the locations of your proposal's southern and northern portals? Presumably you would have it start on NCS in the vicinity of New Hampshire Avenue, but how far would it go? Georgia Avenue? 16th Street? The Capital Beltway? Would not a portion of it run along the B&O, and how would you thread it through Takoma DC and SS MD?

Should not any coverage of real estate development in say the Takoma Station area address the need to preserve a clear path for such a tunnel?

You ought to study this more and present a drawing.
9:21 PM

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Reginald H. Booker Dies Last Year At 74

Booker was an Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC) figure who worked with Sammie Abbott and Marion Barry

REGINALD HARVEY BOOKER (74) Passed peacefully on July 19, 2015. He is survived by one daughter, Jaha Booker; two sons, Daniel Gayden and Jamal Booker; three grandchildren, four sisters, Germerish Booker, Arlene Jackson, Ruby Holt and Wendetta Watson; two brothers, Harry Jackson, Jr. and Jerome Jackson; and a host of other relatives and friends. Services will be Monday, July 27 at Horton's Chapel, 600 Kennedy St., NW.; 10 a.m. viewing and 11 a.m. service -

I wrote about this freeway controversy previously:

A Takoma Park, Maryland resident's 1967 Letter to then Gov. Spiro Agnew How This Controversy Was Being Stoked:

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Center Leg Capitol Crossing Constriction Continued 2

A March 6, 2016 photo shoot, showing the support columns intruding even further inward than the non-load bearing add on walls in the northern Center Leg

A Congressional inquiry about this right of way giveaway would be in order, particularly regarding the lack of any cost benefit analysis of the added developer profits versus the added taxpayers' costs of replicating the lost capacity via a parallel tunnel to the east beneath 2nd Street NW, next to Georgetown Law Center.

Looking North At The Northbound Lanes

Looking South At The Northbound Lanes

Note how these idiotically placed support columns along the right-hand side of the northbound lanes are not even in a single line, despite the published plans showing else-wise.

Looking South At The Southbound Lanes

Note the new deck atop the southbound lanes.

Looking North

The U.S. Congress must be asleep to allow this travesty to continue.

They ought to stop this project and not allow it to continue until these support columns are removed and the plans modified to fully respect the right to of way.

That would be most cost-effect than to allow this project to continue with the current irresponsible design.

Otherwise the project should undergo a future partial demolition, which would be costlier than simply stopping the project now and requiring its design be modified before continuing.

Those involved with this irresponsible design shall one day be brought before a Congressional Committee to explain themselves, from the officials in the U.S. Federal Highway Authority that signed off on this project, to those within the Jarvis Company...

By doing nothing, those in the U.S. Congress are probably only going to make matters worse, with people asking why they did nothing.

See the November 2015 photo-shoot:
An overview: