This was the general type of mindset that was used to 'de-map' the Washington, D.C. Freeway system during the 1970s, as displayed in this November 13, 1973 letter by Peter S. Craig on behalf of the "Committee of 100 on The Federal City" to D.C. Mayor Walter E. Washington, regarding the proposed I-695 South Leg Freeway to connect I-66 with the SW Freeway:
. ... This request is made because, from my review of the “Combined Corridor and Design Report”, it is obvious that Mr. Airis is proceeding from demonstrably erroneous or obsolete premises, errors that would be manifest if there were an adequate hearing. For example, his report proceeds from the assumption that there will be a 50 percent increase in area population by 1990 with a 100 percent increase in auto travel. Such an assumption is incredible in the face of (1) recent actions by EPA under the Clean Air looking toward the necessity of reducing future auto travel and (2) the growing fuel crisis which, according to Administration spokesmen, will lead to gas rationing within six months and, by 1990, may well render the private automobile as obsolete as the horse and buggy. Furthermore, it should be noted that the proposed six-lane South Leg is designed on the premise that at least 50 percent of the traffic utilizing it would come from two highly controversial (and unapproved) freeways- the [I-66] North Leg Freeway and the [I-266] Three Sisters Bridge."
(2) the growing fuel crisis which, according to Administration spokesmen, will lead to gas rationing within six months and, by 1990, may well render the private automobile as obsolete as the horse and buggy.
Never-mind the feasibility of alternative fuels, synthetic fuels, alcohol based fuels based upon various forms of bio-mass. Somehow we were simply going to abandon automobiles in mass rather than admit to the reality that the market would simply shift to alternative liquid fuels. Or that we could not even consider an Open Fuel Standard, as per the sort of technology seen with the 1963 Chrysler Turbine. Let alone bring about the mass development and deployment of quite excellent electric and hybrid electric automobiles.
And never-mind even the utter inaccuracy of such predictions, as we are now 25+ years past 1990, and petroleum supplies have become sufficient as to bring about a major drop in petroleum prices, which after spiking to over $100 an barrel are now down to around $30.
Nor the potentially misleading Peter S. Craig characterization about the proposed South Leg's accompanying "highly controversial" freeways, the North Leg and the Three Sisters Bridge. Though the latter was quite well protested, the North Leg had become far far less controversial before 1973, as per the plans approved by the D.C. City Council, U.S. National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the D.C. Department of Public Works by the late 1960s, replacing the initial highly unpopular version of the North Leg seen in the 1955 Inner Loop report for an extensive new swath along Florida Avenue and U Street, with the alternative promoted by that initial plan's opponents as Elizabeth Rowe of NCPC and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, of a cross town I-66 Tunnel under K Street NW.
1971 Inner Loop
Nor the characterizations (see underlined) contained within a May 12, 1975 letter by Elizabeth Rowe upon behalf of the Committee of 100 On the Federal City:
Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Council:
The Committee of 100 on the Federal City respectively requests early action by the Council on two very pressing transportation matters:
First the de mapping of unnecessary and unwanted freeways in the District of Columbia through amendment of the city's Comprehensive Plan and appropriate requests to the US Department of Transportation for the removal of such freeways from the Interstate system
Second, the initiation by the Council, in cooperation with the Mayor, of a request to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the transfer of the federal aid formerly earmarked for such freeways (in excess of $1.4 billion) for completion of the presently-authorized Metro rail transit system.
These actions are necessary to implement two very pressing needs: First to remove forever the cloud of destruction and more autos in an auto-chocked city caused by the presence of obsolete freeway plans in the comprehensive plan and on the interstate system; and second, to help meet the escalating costs of construction of the Metro system.
That letter was accompanied by a letter dated the same day from Peter S. Craig calling for the deletion of every freeway segment that ended up being 'de-mapped', including that of the I-66 K Street Tunnel, upon the grounds that "...This Council already has urged that Virginia abandon I-66 inside the Beltway in Virginia. Consistent with this action, I-66, within the city should also be scrapped." never-mind that I-66 inside the Beltway was built and opened to traffic by 1982. See both of these May 12, 1975 letters here.Respectfully submitted,
Mrs. Elizabeth Rowe, Chairman
Notably, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration documents about these 1975-1978 "de-mappings" strangely, show a map of the proposed freeway system, not as approved by U.S. NCPC and the D.C. City Council, such as the 1966 "Low Level" B&O Route North Central Freeway that was close to what the JFK Administration prescribed in 1962, but rather an earlier set of plans featuring the latter (1963+) version of the East Leg to RFK Stadium/East Capitol Street, and the 1967 straight line diagonal tunnel route version of the South Leg, but with the earlier plans for the North Leg, together with the infamous 1964 bastardization of the B&O North Central Freeway, as if the controversy was being stoked within the Federal level.
Rather than address such a strange set of discrepancies though, by asking if and why the U.S. Federal Highway Authority had actually kept these earlier highly unpopular routes as its official plans into the 1970s, the Peter S. Craig letters instead focusing upon simply "de-mapping" the entire yet to be built system, asides from the short extension of the Center Leg north from Massachusetts Avenue to K Street, as a source of obtaining some extra funding for the WMATA system. Never-mind that the 1962 JFK Administration planning had included both what essentially became the WMATA system and the freeways.
Apparently, at no time, did any of this discussion of any of these "de-mappings" ever ask if they were truly necessary, nor contrast this extra funding for WMATA with the extra costs for reviving any of these freeways at some time in the future, as the purported permanent nature of of such "de-mappings" - as opposed to say simply deferring them -- would translate to a failure to preserve rights of ways/easements from subsequent real estate development situated without regards to their impacts upon such costs. Consequently, we have seen such real estate development travesties as the blockage of the path of the Center Leg Tunnel northbound on-ramp just to the north of K Street by the irresponsibly located "Golden Rule" apartment building; the current "Capitol Crossing" air rights project that steals half of Center Leg's 8 lane design capacity, various projects irresponsibly built too close to the B&O corridor constricting its expansion, plus that of "The Hampshires" townhouse project upon what was traditionally the open field of the Masonic Eastern Star Home property along the north side of New Hampshire Avenue directly in the path to connect the B&O and PEPCO corridors- with both these latter two projects initially promoted as products of the Jarvis Company.
It would be one thing if planning as that simply involved the highly locally destructive earlier planned routes.
For instance, I don't consider the Takoma Towers apartment building in Takoma Park, Maryland, built in 1972 and located exactly upon the infamous 1964 route deviation, to be a "demolition special" as that's an insane routing location for the North Central Freeway. Nor would I apply such a term to say something built upon the path of the original North Leg along Florida Avenue and U Street.
Rather, I use that term to describe such projects as:
- Those that intrude upon the Center Leg, as "Golden Rule". The intruding portions of the substructure of "Capitol Crossing".
- Projects in Brookland, D.C. as those directly upon the B&O Route as planned in 1962 and 1966+. Such as that upon the I-95 portion, as those to the east as a portion of the recent development just south of Rhode Island Avenue, and to the north with the the Douglass Development project to the east at 805-809 Channing Place NE, "Brookland Station" project along 9th Street, whatever is proposed upon the WMATA facility, and the industrial strip further north. Plus the nearest portion of what was recently built at Fort Totten. And those to the west upon what is the better idea for routing the southbound lanes -- consider the vista just south of Franklin Street! -- as the "Arts Space" duet, anything along the eastern side of 8th Street, and further south, the MRP proposal to the west, plus something upon the Brookland WMATA facility.
- Those further north along the B&O, whether from the 1960s as the Montgomery Gardens apartments immediately west of the B&O just north of its entry into Washington, D.C., thus pushing both directions of the I-70S (I-270?) North Central Freeway to the east to bring it into conflict with the row of older houses along Takoma Avenue, and currently, with what WMATA is having EYA build upon their facility in Takoma. And especially that area's projects as "Cedar Crossing" and "Elevation 314" which constrict the B&O corridor in an exceptionally irresponsible manner as potential death traps located within the footprint of a potential de-railment sending heavy freight train cars tumbling downward from a railway that is elevated into these dangerously close wood framed residential buildings. Past de-railments, one from this elevated railway in 1976, and another from a non elevated segment more than a mile northward in Silver Spring Maryland in 1996 would avoid such potential death, as the former tumbled into Blair Road and the latter into a parking lot, with the respective houses and apartment building being set further away from the railroad.
- And of course "The Hampshires" townhouse project directly in the path to connect the B&O and PEPCO corridors- the latter being infinitely preferable than the earlier routing via Northwest Branch Park, and the logical option under Federal legislation barring the use of park-lands for highways when there is a reasonable alternative, as in this case, of a 250 foot wide electrical power line right of way- with the combined B&O-PEPCO Route and its connection along the northern side of New Hampshire Avenue constituting the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA) for a northern radial highway for Washington, D.C. Despite this, U.S. National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) Executive Director Patricia E. Gallagher, AICP, in a decision regarding a proposed re-zoning:
On behalf of the West Group Development Company, LLC and The Jarvis Company, LLC, the District of Columbia Zoning Commission has referred a proposed action for a consolidated Planned Unit Development (PUD) and a map amendment for a residential development for review and comment. The proposed PUD (6000 New Hampshire Avenue, NE is located within the Lamond-Riggs neighborhood in northeast Washington, D.C. on approximately 11.5 acres in Parcel 126/74 and Lot 858 in Square 3719, bounded by Rittenhouse Street, New Hampshire Avenue, Peabody Street, Chillum Place and Sligo Mill Road, NE, and in Lots 69–73, 801, 824 and 826 in Square 3714, bounded by Peabody Street, New Hampshire Avenue and 1st Street, NE. ... [upon] ... the former campus of the Masonic Star Nursing Home and Med-Star Health offices and is currently an open lawn area that is under-developed....
Pursuant to delegations of authority adopted by the Commission on August 6, 1999, I find that the proposed consolidated Planned Unit Development (PUD) and related map amendment for a residential development (6000 New Hampshire Avenue, NE) located in Parcel 126/74 and Lot 858 in Square 3719 bounded by Rittenhouse Street, New Hampshire Avenue, Peabody Street, Chillum Place and Sligo Mill Road, NE and in Lots 69 – 73, 801, 824 and 826 in Square 3714 bounded by Peabody Street, New Hampshire Avenue and 1st Street, NE, Washington, D.C., would not adversely affect any federal interests nor be inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital.Such projects most certainly adversely affect the federal interest of an efficient, modern highway system for the Nation's Capital, in particular to provide a mixed use radial freeway within the vast northern Washington, D.C. arc served by no freeways whats-over between the George Washington Parkway in Virginia and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from Maryland, no interstate freeways from I-66 to the west in Virginia to I-295 from the south in Maryland, and mixed use freeways from I-395 (former I-95) in Virginia to Route 50 from Maryland, as inside the Beltway Virginia I-66 is not open to trucks.
This U.S. NCPC "planning", like that of the 1975+ de-mappings, make no such apparent mention of any of this, nor that the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and the Route 50 Freeway feed into a sole freeway into Washington, D.C.- the antiquated DC 295 Anacostia Freeway, which is both substandard for traffic serviceability and for local connectivity being a conventional surface and elevated facility severing D.C.'s neighborhoods to the east - incidentally its least affluent area - from the Anacostia River waterfront.
All of these projects intrude upon space needed remedying this deplorable status quo, conflicting with vital links to the north necessary as alternative routes as the vital B&O-PEPCO North Central/Northeastern Freeway constructed in a neighborhood friendly fashion as cut and cover tunnelways beneath new linear parks atop to spread the traffic burden, as well as permit closing the existing antiquated-divisive Anacostia Freeway to facilitate its replacement with a modern cut and cover facility to re-unite D.C.'s least affluent neighborhoods with the Anacostia River waterfront.
The outright "de-Mapping" rather than deferring the freeways, for fiscal and environmental-social justice reasons, should have been defined as criminal.